A good friend recently gave me a fun challenge. She asked if she could order a vegan white chocolate cheesecake from me… But, not just any cheesecake – it had to be one that tastes like a guilty treat, does not contain any cashews, and does not have any of those “classic healthy vegan ingredients” such as dates in its flavour.
I came up with a cake that ticks all the boxes and tastes heavenly, but is also:
- made from scratch, from real ingredients
- without refined sugar
- with a no-bake cream
- crazy delicious!
There was so much comfort food flavour in the end result, no matter how clean and simple the ingredient list is. To make the cream, I opted for the good old fresh tofu, but this time in a smooth no-bake cream that tasted as if there was real cheese in it.
I made this gluten-free vegan cheesecake in two versions – as a regular cake that can be cut into slices, and as a creamy dessert served in glasses or jars. I liked both options equally, and they both work great with this recipe, so I will explain how to make them both.
Ingredients for the gluten-free vegan cheesecake with no-bake cream
With these simple ingredients you will make a delicious, healthier vegan cheesecake with a real-deal flavour and texture that makes it seem as if it was bought in a cake shop. You will need:
- Firm tofu
- Lemon juice
- Soy yoghurt
- Cacao butter
- Agave syrup
- Nutritional yeast
- Oat flour
- Almond butter
- Coconut blossom sugar
- Coconut oil
- Himalayan salt
The amounts written in the recipe are enough to fill a 20 cm diameter cake mould, or to make eight desserts in glasses or jars.
Making GF cheesecake crust from scratch
To make the gluten-free cookie crust from scratch, we will use ground almonds, almond butter (you can make your own if you follow this nut butter recipe, or make sure to purchase one that is 100% almonds), oat flour, coconut blossom sugar and coconut oil. For an oil-free version you can substitute the coconut oil with more almond butter, but then keep in mind that the crust will taste more like almonds.
This cake crust will need to be baked in the oven for twenty minutes. Before adding the cream, it needs to be cooled down in order to remain crunchy and crumbly even after the cake has been cooled down in the fridge.
If you are making this vegan cheesecake in the form of a traditional cake, just let the crust cool down in a cake mould and then pour the cream on top. In case you decide to make cheesecake desserts in jars or glasses, it will be best to let the baked base cool down, and then crumble it inside of the jars before adding the cream on top.
For all the 100% no-bake cake fans out there – this base is completely okay to eat even without baking. The only thing you won’t get if you decide not to bake it is that amazing crunch. Other than that, it will still be perfectly tasty.
Making super cheesy cream without cheese
Tofu will be the main ingredient for the vegan cheesecake cream, so get a good quality one. It should be a firm or semi-firm variety; the recipe can work with the silken tofu too, but since this is a no-bake cream, I am not sure if it will thicken properly with these exact quantities.
If you are using silken tofu, I would advise you to make this cheesecake in the form of desserts in jars or glasses (like the ones in my pictures), rather than a cake that needs to be sliced. That way you will not have to worry about your cheese cream turning out too soft.
Traditional cake vs desserts in jars or glasses
I tried out both cake and dessert in a glass options and here are my conclusions:
- To make cheesecake desserts in glasses, you won’t need to be as careful with the cream as you will if you are making a classic cake. Almost any tofu and any kind of naturally fermented soy yoghurt will work. Also, you won’t mess up even if you put in a bit more liquid than you planned. The glass desserts are just more flexible and forgiving.
- If you are making a classic cake that you’ll slice, then it is better to make the cream more on a harder side. It does work with the soy yoghurt (I like how fluffy and gentle the cream is with it), BUT the final consistency of the cake will be more compact and easier to slice if you don’t use any soy yoghurt at all. That is the safest option, since this is not a baked cream and it does need to harden in the fridge.
- So: in case you are not sure if your tofu is firm enough, and would like to make a cake that can for sure be cut into really neat and tidy slices, you can leave out the soy yoghurt from your ingredient list. On the other hand, if your preference is to get a lighter, fluffier and a bit softer cream, then just follow the exact quantities that are written in the recipe below.
More vegan cheesecake recipes
If you like vegan cheesecakes, I’m sure you will enjoy these simple recipes for delicious cakes as well:
- 50 g ground almonds (1.8 oz)
- 70 g oat flour (2.5 oz)
- 60 g coconut blossom sugar (2.1 oz)
- 40 g almond butter (1.4 oz)
- 60 g coconut oil (2.1 oz)
- 1 pinch Himalayan salt
- 500 g firm or semi-firm tofu (17.6 oz)
- 100 ml water (3.4 fl oz)
- 100-150 g naturally fermented soy yoghurt* (3.5 - 5.3 oz)
- 150 ml light agave syrup (5 fl oz)
- 1 + ½ large lemon (juice + optionally zest)
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 pinch Himalayan salt
- 50 g cacao butter (1.8 oz)
- 60 g coconut oil* (2.1 oz)
- To make the gluten-free cake base, mix the ground almonds, oat flour, coconut blossom sugar and a pinch of salt in a bowl.
- Prepare a small double-boiler to melt 60 grams of coconut oil.
- Add the almond butter inside while it is still on the heat and whisk to combine.
- Pour the coconut oil and almond butter mixture into the bowl with dry ingredients and mix with a spatula to combine.
- Transfer the cookie crust batter into a 20 cm diameter cake mould and bake at 180 °C for twenty minutes.
- Let the baked base cool down for an hour at room temperature.
- In the meantime, you can make the vegan cheesecake cream: first, cut the tofu into cubes and put it in a pan with 100 ml water. Let it boil over a low heat for a minute or so.*
- Transfer the tofu cubes and water into a blender, and add cacao butter, coconut oil (no need to melt these two ingredients in advance, because the tofu will still be hot from cooking), lemon juice, agave syrup, soy yoghurt, salt, nutritional yeast and some lemon zest.
- Blend everything until you get a smooth cream.
- Transfer the cream into a bowl, and let it cool down a bit at room temperature (20 minutes if you are making a traditional cake, an hour if you are making desserts in glass jars).
- Whisk the cream gently to remove any possible bubbles that formed during blending.
- If you are making a cake in a mould, pour the vegan cheese cream over the baked base and put the cake in the fridge for at least eight hours to thicken.
- If you are making desserts in jars or glasses, first crumble the baked base into the glasses, then whisk the partially cooled cream and pour it over the base. Put the glass jars in the fridge and let the cream cool down for at least four hours.
- Keep the vegan cheesecake in the fridge. It will stay good for 5-7 days.
- Tofu is already a cooked foodstuff and you can eat it straight from the package, without boiling. I like to do this short boil though, because 1. it softens the tofu a bit and 2. I often use a tofu from a bigger package that I had already opened, so with a short boil I make sure that any possible microorganisms are gone - this will prolong the shelf life of the cake.
- The soy yoghurt will give this vegan cheese cream a nice, light and fluffy texture. However, depending on the particular soy yoghurt and tofu that you are using, it can happen that the cream turns out a bit thin. You will still be able to slice the cake once it cools down and the cream thickens, but if you want to make sure it turns out super neat, you can play it safe and leave out the soy yoghurt completely.
- If you are making the glass jar dessert version like the ones in my pictures from this article, then there is nothing to worry about - you can even add a bit more soy yoghurt because it will make the desserts extra creamy.
- If you would like to get a stronger white chocolate flavour note in this cheesecake cream, feel free to substitute the 60 grams of coconut oil with additional 50 grams of cacao butter. I personally find it a bit too strong if a cake has a lot of cacao butter, so I decided to use coconut oil as a lighter option.