Shanghai-based foodie and restaurateur Lindsey Fine (aka Veggie Mama) has been creating all sorts of delicious vegan recipes since moving to China eight years ago. You can read all about the perks of eating a plant-based diet via her blog Veggie Mama and sample recipes on this series, Cooking with Veggie Mama. In this edition, Lindsey shares her recipe for Vegan Cherry Chocolate Chunk Cheezecake.
Since I first started my journey into vegan cooking, cheezecake made using cashews has always been a favorite of mine. Cheezecake is definitely something you make when you want to surprise people with a delicious vegan treat that they won’t believe is egg and dairy free. It’s creamy and delicious, and the best part is it’s heart healthy!
Once you get the hang of it, it’s really easy to whip up, and you can do any kind of variation you like. Think orange and chocolate, Oreo, strawberry, blueberry, matcha... the possibilities are endless!
Cherry Chocolate Chunk Cheezecake
For the Base
1 cup walnuts
3/4 cups oats
8 regular or 5 madjool dates, pitted and soaked in hot water for 5 minutes
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons pure cocoa powder
Dash of salt
For the Cheezecake Filling
2 cups cashews, soaked overnight
4 tablespoons refined coconut oil
1 C coconut milk
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and roughly chopped
3/4 cup vegan milk chocolate pieces, broken into medium chunks
For the Caramel Sauce
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 full fat coconut milk or coconut cream
4 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. In a food processor fitted with an S blade, add all of the ingredients for the base. Process on high for 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed. The mixture should stick together and there shouldn’t be any large chunks of walnuts remaining.
2. Line an 8x8 pan with waxed paper and add mixture. Press mixture down with a spatula and evenly coat the entire bottom of the pan.
3. Place the pan in the freezer to set while you prepare the cheezecake filling.
4. In a high-powered blender, add all of the cheezecake filling ingredients, except the cherries and chocolate. Blend on high for 3-4 minutes, until completely smooth. You might need to scrape down and push the mixture a couple of times.
5. Sprinkle the cherry and chocolate chunks a little bit at a time into the blender and fold them into the creamy filling.
6. Take the base out of the freezer and pour cheezecake mixture into the pan. Spread evenly and smooth out the top with a spatula.
7. Put the pan into the freezer and let set for at least 5 hours (overnight is best).
8. For the caramel sauce, add all ingredients except the vanilla extract into a small pot and mix. Heat over medium-low heat for 7-8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add vanilla and cook for 1 minute more. Remove from heat and let cool. Transfer to a jar and refrigerate.
9. When the cheezecake has set, remove it from the freezer and let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Cut into bars and plate.
10. Heat caramel sauce for 1-2 minutes in the microwave and drizzle caramel sauce over them. Add dried rose petals if desired.
Read more Cooking with Veggie Mama
[Images courtesy of Veggie Mama/Lindsey Fine]