This Month's Recipe: Magnificent Vegan Berry Cheesecake!



I guarantee this recipe will make you happy! I was introduced to the idea of this dessert a couple of years ago at a potluck dinner. A friend made a version of this cake from a video she found on social media that listed the ingredients and steps, but not the measurements. The results were colorful and delicious, but very soupy. I did some research and found several different recipes online, but none were quite right. So, after some trial and error, I finally came up with a recipe that is pretty and ridiculously delicious. The optional herbal ingredients add a boost of color, flavor, and nutritional value, but don’t worry if you don’t have access to them.


CHEESECAKE RECIPE

Ingredients:

Crust:

• 1 cup packed pitted Medjool dates

• 1 cup raw walnuts (can also use almonds)

• 2 teaspoons maca powder (optional–adds a nice malty flavor)


Filling:

• 1 1/2 cups raw cashews (soaked)*

• 1 large lemon, juiced

• 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

• 1/2 cup maple syrup

• 2/3 cup full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream

• 3/4 cup raspberries

• 1 teaspoon hibiscus powder (optional–makes a brilliant pink color)

• 3/4 cup blueberries

• 2 teaspoon blue butterfly pea flower powder (optional–makes a vibrant blue color)

• 3/4 cup blackberries


Instructions

If using springform pans: Wrap one 9-inch or 4 4-inch springform pans with 1-2 layers of aluminum foil, covering the bottom and the sides. Lightly coat the bottoms and sides with coconut oil. Cut a circle of parchment paper for the bottom of the pan. Place about ½ cup of the crust mixture in each the 4” pans (or all of it for the 9” pan) and pack down tightly with the bottom of a glass or back of a spoon (the glass works best). Place in the freezer to firm up while you make the filling.


If using cupcake tins: Line cupcake tins with parchment paper. Press paper down into the tin using a small measuring cup or the bottom of a glass. Place about 2 tablespoons of the crust mixture in the parchment paper “cups” and pack down tightly with the bottom of a measuring cup, the bottom of a glass, or back of a spoon. Place in the freezer to firm up while you make the filling.


To make the crust:

• Add dates to a food processor or blender until it turns into paste and forms into a ball. Remove and set aside.

• Next, blend the walnuts into a coarse meal. Add dates and maca (if using) to the nut meal and blend until a chunky dough forms, which holds together when you squeeze it between your fingers.**


To make the filling:

• Add all filling ingredients, except berries, hibiscus powder, and blue butterfly pea flower powder, to a blender and mix until very smooth. I had to blend it for a while in my regular blender, but if you have a Vitamix, this part of the process should go quickly. If the mixture doesn’t look completely smooth, you can add a bit more coconut milk.

• Set aside two cups of the filling.

• Add the raspberries and hibiscus (if using) to the filling that remains in the blender. Blend until the color is uniform.

• Divide the raspberry filling evenly among the tins or pans. Tap a few times to release any air bubbles and even out the filling.

• Place s cup of filling in the blender and add the blueberries and blue butterfly pea powder (if using). Blend until the color is uniform.

• Divide the blueberry filling evenly among the tins or pans. Tap a few times to release any air bubbles and even out the filling.

• Place the remaining cup of filling in the blender and add the black raspberries. Blend until the color is uniform.

• Divide the black raspberry filling evenly among the tins or pans. Tap a few times to release any air bubbles and even out the filling.

• Freeze until firm–at least 4 hours.

• Remove from freezer, and pop the cakes out of the tins or pans and place on plates. Allow to sit at room temperature before serving – 10 minutes for cupcakes, 20 minutes for 4” or 9” cakes. Make sure they don’t sit too long or they will get mushy.

• The cakes, if removed from the tins or pans and placed in an airtight container, will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, or the freezer for up to 2 weeks.


Notes

*Cover in water and soak overnight in the refrigerator. Or quick-soak by covering the cashews with boiling hot water, soak uncovered for 30 minutes, then drain.

** If the date-nut mixture is too dry, add a few more date. If it’s too sticky, you can add a few more nuts.

I purchase blue butterfly pea powder from iherb, and hibiscus and maca powders from Mountain Rose Herbs and Anima Mundi Herbal Apothecary.