In this Baked Vegan Cheesecake, a gluten-free and paleo graham cracker-style crust encases a sweet and creamy vanilla cheesecake filling. Coconut yogurt and cashews create the perfect texture to mimic a classic cheesecake.
I’ve got a number of dairy-free and vegan cheesecakes on my site. We’ve got the Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with Chocolate Ganache, the Mint Chip Cheesecake, the Strawberry Orange Cheesecake, and the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecakes.
But – all of those cheesecakes? They’re no-bake cheesecakes. There’s nothing wrong with no-bake cheesecakes. In fact, they are awesome. Easy to make, no-fuss, and no need to turn on the oven. And while they are certainly reminiscent of traditional baked cheesecake, they don’t have quite the same texture. They also can’t sit outside of the fridge or freezer for too long, or they’ll melt.
So while the no-bake cheesecakes certainly have their place in my life…I thought there was some room for a new type of vegan cheesecake in my life:
Baked Vegan Cheesecake!
It’s lusciously creamy and has the perfect amount of tang, which replicates the cream cheese flavor from the more traditional dairy-filled cheesecakes. It’s not too fussy either when you’re comparing it to dairy-filled cheesecakes. This recipe doesn’t use a water bath and I didn’t have any issues with the cheesecake cracking.
But, let’s talk about the ingredients that go into the filling of this Baked Vegan Cheesecake, because each one is essential to baked cheesecake success.
What makes this Baked Vegan Cheesecake so delicious?
- Raw Cashews: much like in my no-bake vegan cheesecake recipes, cashews provide structure and stability for the cheesecake, while lending their sweet, mild flavor.
- Coconut Cream: this adds creaminess to the recipe.
- Thick Coconut Yogurt: this one is essential! The coconut yogurt adds a distinctive, cultured tang to the cheesecake and helps to mimic the flavor of cream cheese. I used Culina Yogurt. Homemade or another brand will also work, but make sure it’s a super thick yogurt with a nice tangy flavor.
- Maple Syrup: this is where the sweetness comes from!
- Lemon Juice: a classic flavor in traditional cheesecake, fresh lemon juice adds extra tang to the recipe.
- Arrowroot Starch: this helps to thicken the cheesecake and help it set to a smooth, creamy consistency.
- Vanilla Extract: a cheesecake necessity. Adds warmth and flavor.
- Sea Salt: because every recipe needs a little salt, even the sweet ones.
- Vanilla Bean Powder: ditto on the vanilla extract, but this also adds little vanilla bean flecks and helps amplify the flavor.
We blend the ingredients together until smooth and then pour the mixture over the pecan-coconut sugar crust, which tastes super similar to a graham cracker crust. We bake it until just barely set, and then it cools in the propped-open oven. After a chill in the refrigerator, it’s perfectly creamy and ready to be devoured!
I topped mine with fresh, macerated strawberries, but you could use any kind of fruit you prefer, or go for something a little more decadent, like chocolate or caramel. Any way you enjoy it, you’ll be in cheesecake heaven! Hope you love this Baked Vegan Cheesecakes – it’s a new staple.
Baked Vegan Cheesecake
For the crust
For the filling
- 1½ cup raw cashews soaked in water for 4 hours to soften, drain and rinse before using
- ¾ cup coconut cream
- 1 cup vegan coconut yogurt I like Culina Yogurt, but any that is thick and tangy will work!
- ⅓ cup (111g) pure maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice from the juice of one large lemon
- 3 tablespoons arrowroot starch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla bean powder
For the strawberry topping (optional)
- 1 cup fresh strawberries halved or quartered
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
For the crust
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease an 8-inch springform pan with coconut oil and place on a baking sheet.
In a food processor or high-powered blender, combine the pecans, almond flour, coconut sugar, cinnamon, and sea salt. Pulse slightly to break up the pecans. Stream in the melted coconut oil and then pulse again until the mixture is well moistened and sticks together when pressed between your fingertips. Scrape down the sides of the container or use the tamper as necessary.
Press the crust evenly along the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes or until firm to the touch. Let cool while you make the filling.
For the cheesecake filling
Reduce the oven temperature to 325º.
In a high-powered blender or a food processor (I use my Vitamix), blend the soaked cashews, coconut cream, coconut yogurt, maple syrup, fresh lemon juice, arrowroot starch, vanilla extract, sea salt, and vanilla bean powder. Scrape down the sides of the container or use the tamper as necessary to get a super smooth consistency. It will take about 3 to 5 minutes of blending to get it super smooth and creamy.
Taste the mixture and adjust to your tastes (add more maple syrup for sweetness, lemon juice for tanginess, or vanilla extract for more vanilla flavor). Pour the filling into the cooled crust and tap the pan hard on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles.
Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until mostly set. The cheesecake should jiggle slightly in the center when it's ready, but not be too wet and jiggly. Try not to disturb the cheesecake for the first 45 minutes.
When the cheesecake is just shy of set, turn off the oven, leaving the cheesecake inside. Leave the oven door open a few inches and let the cheesecake cool inside of the slightly ajar oven. Remove from the oven after about an hour.
Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour to chill all the way through.
For the strawberries & to serve
When you're about ready to serve, combine the strawberries and coconut sugar in a bowl. Let the strawberries macerate for about 10 minutes. Just before serving, top the cheesecake with the strawberries. It's also great served with coconut whipped cream or any other fruit that you prefer.
Store the cheesecake tightly wrapped in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.