Finally, a baked vegan cheesecake with natural ingredients that is easy to make and tastes heavenly.
I am so happy to be sharing this recipe on the blog, as I really love the taste of cheesecake and was eager to find a way to re-create it without dairy cheese, refined sugars and store-bought biscuits in the crust.
The mission is finally accomplished, I can say that I am really satisfied with this tofu cheesecake! The crust is super crunchy and perfectly crumbly, the cream is tasty and cheese-like in flavour, the thin layer of fruit jelly on top brings an acidic note for the perfect balance…
If you are looking for a classic raw-vegan cheesecake, this is not that at all. This tastes more like a guilty pleasure, less like cashew cream. Nothing wrong with cashew cream – I actually think it is quite a luxurious thing to eat and have written some recipes for delicious raw cakes like this raw blueberry no-cheesecake in the past.
Still, what I LOVE about this baked tofu cheesecake is the fact that, unlike the cashew “cheesecakes”, it lacks all that heaviness that you get from using a lot of nuts. It is much less fatty (the cream actually has only natural fats from tofu, which is not that much) and therefore feels lighter and more fluffy.
I have to admit, I have neglected the whole blogging thing lately; this is actually a recipe that I wrote in September, while there still were elderberries around forests here in the northern Croatia. It was a really flavourful autumn combination, but any other fruits are welcome in this recipe instead!
Just be mindful of how dense or watery the consistency of the fruit is, to be able to combine it with the right amount of agar. Some general guideline would be to use one to one and a half teaspoon of agar powder per two cups of liquid.
Simple, practical and possible to make gluten-free
I hope you won’t get scared off when you read the ingredient list and the process – this cake is actually pretty easy to make, just requires a little bit of patience with waiting for each layer to cool down.
I usually like to start making it a day in advance, to avoid the last-minute hustle. You can always pour the last layer on the next day, as it doesn’t need that much time to set.
One of the things that I love about this recipe is that it does not require a high speed blender like most raw vegan cheesecake recipes, because all the ingredients are naturally soft and easy to blend. Even a simple food processor will work just fine.
Even though I prefer to use a bit of spelt flour in the cream (I don’t really tolerate gluten that well, but a small amount like this works fine!), you can adjust the recipe and make it completely gluten-free by substituting the spelt flour with fine rice flour.
The perfect cheesecake crust without processed ingredients
If you were on the lookout for a cheesecake with a nice, crumbly crust that is made from natural ingredients instead of store-bought stuff, you might have just landed on the right place.
Nothing against eating some processed foods every once in a while, but I will never use them in my recipes. Instead, I prefer to find a healthier solution that will taste and feel as luxurious and decadent, with even more flavour.
In my opinion, this crust is exactly that. Made from almonds and oats, it is naturally gluten-free; you can even make it oil-free by replacing the coconut oil with the same amount of almond butter.
I figured out that this small amount of oil will not do any harm, and will add to the crunchy and crumbly, cookie-like texture of the cheesecake crust. If you are avoiding oil for any reasons, just substitute it with almond butter and it will be fine.
When making cakes, I always like to use my home-made almond butter; you can follow this simple recipe to make it in your kitchen too!
A super tasty plant-based “cheese” cream
This tofu cream is SO cheesy and creamy, it’s insane. Plus, it happens to be quite low in fat and high in protein; it doesn’t leave you feeling heavy after eating a slice.
To be fair, I did almost forget what the real cheese tastes like. Still, I can almost vividly remember the taste of real cheesecake, and this one actually tastes crazy similar. I actually love that it lacks the “fatty” component that the dairy has – it makes it lighter and easier to digest.
Tofu is high in protein, so that is a plus if you want some extra macros in your slice of cake. Honestly, a slice of this goodie keeps me full for quite some time, so I sometimes even eat it as a snack. Guilty as charged!
In this recipe I like to use agave nectar to keep the cream light in colour, but other non-refined sweeteners such as maple syrup, coconut sugar or light muscovado will work well too. The non-carbohydrate sweeteners such as xylitol can be OK as well, but I prefer the real sugars in this recipe, as tofu does have a bit of a flavour that actually gets neutralised a bit with a combination of agave and lemon juice.
After the baking
While cooling down after the baking, the “cheese” cream will crack a little bit on the surface. I have been making and improving this recipe over last couple of years, and I still didn’t find the way to fully avoid cracking. Slower baking at a lower temperature did seem to help a bit, so I now bake it on 160 °C for about 50 minutes, as written in the recipe below.
To avoid having visible cracks on the surface, I almost always make a top layer to this cake to cover them up – such as this plum and elderberry jelly in the recipe.
As for storing this cake, it will last up to a week in the fridge. It is the best to keep it covered to avoid drying out.
- 80 g ground almonds (2.8 oz)
- 80 g oat flour or ground oatmeal (2.8 oz)
- 80 g almond butter (2.8 oz)
- 80 g coconut oil (2.8 oz)
- 80 g coconut sugar (2.8 oz)
- 1 pinch Himalayan salt
- 800 g semi-firm tofu (280 oz)
- 1 + 1/2 large lemon - juice and zest
- 1 tsp light miso paste
- 2 pinches Himalayan salt
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 125 ml agave nectar (4.2 fl. oz)
- 20 g white spelt flour (0.7 oz / 2 tbsp)
- 10 g tapioca starch (0.35 oz / 2 tbsp)
- 300 g fresh plums (10.6 oz)
- 125 ml water (4.2 fl. oz)
- 50 g fresh elderberries (1.7 oz)
- 50 ml agave nectar or maple syrup (1.7 fl. oz)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 4 g agar powder (around 1 tsp / 0.14 oz)
- Mix the ground almonds, oat flour and coconut sugar in a bowl.
- Melt the coconut oil over a double boiler, add the almond butter and whisk to combine.
- Pour the liquid mixture into the bowl with dry ingredients and mix to combine.
- Transfer the batter into a cake mould* and bake on 180 °C for 20 minutes.
- Let the crust cool down and harden a bit* while you prepare the cream.
- To make the "cheese" cream, put all the tofu, juice and zest of 1 and 1/2 lemon, miso paste, salt, nutritional yeast, agave, spelt flour and tapioca starch into a blender and blend well to combine.
- Pour the cream over the crust and bake on 160 °C for 50 minutes.
- Let the cake cool down to the room temperature, and then place it in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight.
- To make the plum and elderberry jelly, blend the fruits with 125 ml water, some lemon juice and agave nectar in a blender to combine.
- Pour it into a saucepan and cook over a low heat for about 5 minutes, with constant stirring.
- Add the agar powder*, whisk in the pan to dissolve completely and let it boil on the lowest heat for up to a minute (continue stirring with a whisk while it cooks).
- Pour the liquid jelly on top of the cheesecake and put the cake back in the fridge to set. Fifteen to twenty minutes should be enough if the cake was already cold.
* I used a 22 cm diameter circular cake mould, which is about 8.7 inch
* after the baked crust is taken out of the oven, it will feel soft to touch (you should actually avoid touching it at this point, so you can just take my word for it:) - for that reason I like to leave it to cool down and harden a bit for the best result. If you have enough time, you can even make the crust an hour or two in advance before making the cream (this is how I usually do it).
* in this recipe I like to use agave nectar to keep the cream light in colour, but other sweetener of choice (such as maple syrup or coconut sugar) will work well too. The non-carbohydrate sweeteners such as xylitol can be OK as well, but I prefer the real sugars in this recipe, as tofu does have a bit of a flavour that actually gets neutralised a bit with a combination of agave and lemon juice.
* for a gluten-free version, replace the spelt flour in the cream with the same amount of fine rice flour
* this recipe does not require a high speed blender, because all the ingredients are naturally soft and easy to blend. Even a simple food processor will work just fine.
* I used around a teaspoon of agar powder in this recipe, which equals a tablespoon of agar flakes