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No-Bake Cheesecake Cups!

I typically use this introduction area to write something flashy that will get you excited about making the recipe that follows. Today, how about I just get out of the way and let you enjoy some cheesecake porn?

There is nothing I could say to describe the deliciousness of these cashew-based cheesecake cups. They taste every bit as good as real cheesecake, except they have no animal products, cholesterol, refined sugars, or any overly processed ingredients. The fact that they require no baking and only take 10 minutes to prep is just icing on the, uh, cheesecake.

The inspiration for this one came from yet another lovely member of the One Ingredient Diet 2014 Challenge who shared berry and rose-flavored versions with the Facebook group. The recipe here is for the plain cheesecake version, which is my favorite, but see other flavor ideas (blueberry? chocolate? lemon?) suggested at the bottom of this recipe.

Cheesecake Cups

Makes 12 cheesecake cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked
  • 1/3 cup silken tofu
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 lemon (juice)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cup nuts (2-3 varieties)
  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 2 tablespoons coconut butter (or oil)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Pinch of salt

Cheesecake Cups Square

Step One

In a food processor, combine all ingredients from the second list (nuts, dates, coconut butter, maple syrup, and salt) and pulse until the nuts are completely broken down and you have a nice dough-like consistency. Which type of nuts work best? I find the combination of 1/2 cup each brazil nuts, almonds, and walnuts works perfectly, but you can use any combo you like.

Step Two

Press about 2 tablespoons of this mixture to the bottom of cupcake liners (if you have reusable ones like shown, great) or simply a cupcake pan. The idea is to have a flat bottom layer about 1/3 inch thick. Then, pop them in the freezer to solidify while making the filling…

Step Three

Take the cashews (which should have been soaking for 3+ hours) and drain the soaking water. Combine with all ingredients from the first list (tofu, maple syrup, non-dairy milk, coconut oil, lemon juice, and salt) in a high-powered blender and blend for several minutes until silky-smooth. You may need to add more non-dairy milk for this to blend properly, but remember: the more liquid you add, the softer the filling will be. Give this a taste and adjust anything as needed โ€“ if you like sweeter desserts, you may want more maple syrup.

Step Four

Pour about 1 inch of this filling into each cheesecake cup and return to the freezer to solidify. Depending on your results, you may be able to keep this filling solid at refrigerator temperatures, but I find that they keep best in a sealed container in the freezer. When ready to serve, allow to thaw for just 8-10 minutes and they have the perfect, soft, creamy texture.

Flavor Suggestions

The plain recipe here is actually my favorite; it has a delicious pure cheesecake taste that is just wonderful, but… you really can’t go wrong adding a variety of throw-ins. To make each of these, simply add these extra ingredients along with the cashews when blending the filling:

  • Berry – Frozen berries work magic in this cheesecake filling. Since the berries add a little extra bulk, it would be smart to use 1/4 cup less cashews and 1/4 cup frozen berries. Then you can either blend the berries fully (like the photo below) or keep some chunks by adding them at the end for just a quick pulse.
  • Chocolate – Toss in a few tablespoons of cocoa powder and one extra tablespoon of maple syrup for chocolate cheesecake.
  • Lemon – The filling does have lemon juice, but kick it up a notch by adding 2 teaspoons of lemon zest into the filling.

Cheesecake Cups Berry

Cheesecake Cups Split

44 Comments

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  1. ๐Ÿ˜€ Yummy! Cheesecake was my favourite dessert pre-vegan and I’ve fallen in love with raw cheesecakes these past few years. I am still on the lookout for the ultimate baked cheesecake to replicate those NY style baked cheesecakes I used to be mad about though.

    • Ah, those more complicated cheesecakes are wonderful and can definitely be made vegan (I’ve made some pretty accurate replicas) BUT they always require overly-processed and unhealthy ingredients like fake cream cheeses, etc. ๐Ÿ™

    • Hey Joann, You could definitely use Tofutti non-dairy cream cheese for a very authentic non-dairy cheesecake and make a nut-free crust. It’s not quite as healthy or unprocessed as these, but really tasty. Google “Tofutti Cheesecake” and you’ll get plenty of ideas!

      • Thanks so much Andrew. Nut, dairy and wheat allergies are a big problem for me. I always miss out whenever there is a cheesecake being served.

    • For your nut allergy, replacing oats or hemp seeds instead of nuts will probably work. I sometimes replace a portion of nuts with oats in my raw crusts to lower the fat content.

    • Hey Lisa! I just looked it up using caloriecount.about.com and it’s about 215 calories each (I made 14 with this recipe). So, yes they’re pretty high in calories and fat and not something you’d want to eat all day… but a lot better than real cheesecake ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. These sound & look delicious!!! I’m trying to cut gluten, dairy, & meat out of my diet, so I have been experimenting with recipes. My problem: my mother had breast cancer, and I have been told to avoid soy and soy products. What could I substitute for the tofu?

    • Hey Cheryl! Interestingly, I’ve seen research that links whole soy to breast cancer prevention, but regardless, you can very easily substitute an extra 1/4 cup of cashews in place of tofu. The tofu actually just makes these a little healthier and lower in fat, so extra cashews will just make them extra delicious ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. These look amazing! QQ: What type of non-dairy milk do you recommend for this? I’ve had some bad luck recently using Almond in a few recipes – the flavor tends to overpower. I’m not a huge fan of soy – any thoughts on Rice or Oat?
    Thanks!

    • Thanks, Molly! I actually use soy a lot. It has a little more fat and thickness than other non-dairy milks and it’s typically my favorite. But if you don’t like that, I think basically anything will work here!

  4. I am watching my carbs and protein. I need low carbs and very high protein do you have a way to measure those things as well as fiber content?? I’d appreciate your help with this.. thanks

  5. I have made them today, and they are really taste great. I am still surprised how genuinely delicious they are. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  6. Hi! So excited to try these! I am about to get started, however, I’m worried that my mini pan is too, well, mini. The pan seems to hold about 24… am i just over thinking?

  7. I made these as dessert for a four course dinner party I was hosting. Had everyone fooled, no complaints or guesses. The big reaveal was after they all finshed eating, opening up people’s minds for these kinds of food is great! Many thanks for this (and many other) lovely recepies.

    • That’s a great story, Nikita! I love opening people’s minds to plant-based food like that. It’s so much fun to make amazing food for people and then tell them it was vegan afterwords ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. I’m looking for a good recipe to try vegan cheesecake as I’ve never made it yet but I don’t use oils. Anyway to substitute for coconut oil?

  9. Hi! These look yum, and I’m planning on making them in the morning (I have cashews soaking!). I guess I’m wondering how long they took to set the second round in the freezer? I’m trying to plan a start time and had to let another recipe go for another time because the set time was going to be too long of a wait (it required 6+ hours, and I’ll have maybe 4 or 5 hours of setting time).

    Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

    But no worries, if I don’t make them tomorrow I would definitely still be interested in knowing.

    • Hi! Oh they definitely shouldn’t take that long. It’s just long enough for them to freeze, if I remember, which shouldn’t be more than an hour or two at most considering how small they are.

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