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 – 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