Raw Vegan Cherry Bakewell Cheesecake Recipe

By Marcus Samuelsson |

I’ve dubbed this recipe a ‘Cherry Bakewell Cheesecake’ in honor of that most delightful of pastries (Cherry Bakewell Tart), which hails from, yep you’ve guessed it, Bakewell! If you’ve never been, Bakewell is a gorgeous little town ‘up North’ – the North of England that is. It’s very cutesy, adorable, scenic, picturesque, get the picture? Put it this way, picture a postcard. Got it? Good.

You may or may not be surprised to discover this ‘cheesecake’ contains absolutely no cheese. None whatsoever. It is made solely from…wait for it…cashews! Can you believe it? Some of you might be dubious, cautious or even perturbed to learn that cashews make the creamiest, smoothest, luscious(est?) cheesecake that is sure to rival the real thing. Honest. I don’t kid when around when it comes to dessert and once you’ve tasted this cheesecake you’ll know I speak the truth.

Ingredients

For Crust

1/2 cup hazelnuts

1/2 cup ground almonds

1/2 cup soaked dates, chopped

1 tsp almond extract

For Cherry Cheesecake Layer

1 1/2 cup pitted fresh cherries

1/2 cup soaked cashews

1/4 cup agave nectar

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 tbsp lemon juice

For Vanilla Cheesecake Layer

1 1/2 cups soaked cashews

1/2 cup agave nectar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Juice 1/2 lemon

1/4 cup filtered water

Topping

1/2 cup flaked almonds

Directions

Photo: Aine Carlin

Photo: Aine Carlin

1. Place the cashews in a large bowl and cover with filtered water. Allow to stand for 4-6 hours. Soak the dates in a smaller bowl for about an hour or until they are reasonably soft. (Otherwise you could just use Medjool dates, which are already very soft.)

2. Place all the crust ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until crumbly. Line a cake tin with baking parchment and turn the crust mixture into it. Press firmly to the edges using the back of your fingers. Place in freezer for 30 minutes.

3. Rinse out the blender and add the cherries, agave and lemon juice. Blitz until completely smooth, it should be liquid like. Next add the cashews and coconut oil and blitz until completely smooth and creamy. It should be quite thick. Taste for sweetness, if you prefer it sweeter then add a little more agave.

4. Take the crust out of the freezer and carefully pour in the cherry cheesecake mixture, scraping down the sides with a spatula (waste not, want not!). Smooth with a spatula until it is completely even and return to freezer for an hour.

5. Meanwhile, rinse out the blender again and add all the ingredients for the vanilla layer. Blitz until completely smooth. This layer will be less thick and almost more like a cashew cream. When the cherry layer has set carefully pour over the vanilla mixture. Smooth with a spatula, sprinkle over the flaked almonds and place in the freezer for several hours.

6. When it has set, transfer to the fridge for 30 minutes before trying to remove it from the tin.