Vegan Gingerbread Cheesecake
Are you already planning your holiday menu? During these uncertain times, it’s nice to have a little something to plan ahead for right? Because dessert is one thing that won’t go away.
This cheesecake is set to be a favourite amongst family and friends this year. You can store it in the fridge for up to five days, and freeze any cake you don’t use right away so that you have a sweet stash to hand over the holidays!
This cake is composed of a zingy dairy-free gingerbread cheesecake filling on top of a no-bake oaty pecan and cranberry base. This silky smooth cake is perfect as a festive dessert. Best served with homemade vegan gingerbread cookies.
WHAT’S IN THIS GINGERBREAD CHEESECAKE?
- Rolled oats: Oats add an amazing moreish wholesome flavour and consistency to the crust of the slices.
- Cashews: These versatile nuts make up the creamy base for the cheesecake filling.
- Coconut milk: Coconut milk helps to set the cake as well as giving a rich and creamy consistency. It is also the main ingredient of the coconut cream topping that’s used to decorate the cake.
- Ground ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg: These spices make up the gingerbread flavour of this cake. You can lessen the quantities if you prefer a more subtle flavour, as this recipe gives a flavoursome “gingerbread” taste.
- Soya or coconut yoghurt: You can opt for either plain or vanilla flavoured yoghurt depending on your taste. Soya or coconut yoghurt both work great and add a “cultured” taste and light consistency to the cheesecake filling.
- Lemon juice: A tough of fresh lemon juice adds a zing and helps to create that tangy “cheesecake” flavour for this cake.
- Coconut oil: This acts as the setting agent for the filling of the cheesecake. I have tried to make this recipe omitting the coconut oil and it doesn’t hold it’s shapes as well once defrosted, although it still tastes delicious!
- Sea salt: I always add a pinch of salt to desserts, as it helps to bring out the individual flavours of ingredients as well as marrying them together.
- Dried cranberries: These work as both a binding agent and sweetener for the crust.
- Maple syrup: A natural way of adding sweetness and flavour to the cheesecake base and coconut cream.
- Vanilla extract: This enhances and adds another layer of flavour to your cake. You can swap it out for half a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste or the seeds from half a vanilla pod if you have one to hand.
- Fresh pomegranate: Fresh pomegranate jewels add a Christmassy look to the cake, they almost look like little holly bushes with the contrasting mint leaves. You could also use fresh cranberries if you have them to hand.
- Fresh mint leaves: These add another touch of festivity to the cake, you could also use sprigs of rosemary instead, which look like little fir trees on top of the cake!
- Pecans: These nuts add crunch and texture to the slices.
LET’S MAKE THIS RECIPE
Start with the dry ingredients, you want to break them down to a flour consistency before adding in the wet ingredients which will give you a neater end result. Simply add the oats, pecans, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt to your food processor and blitz to a fine crumb consistency.
Next add the “wet” ingredients, namely the cranberries, maple syrup and water. Blend the ingredients together until they begin to stick together to form a dough like consistency, You’ll know it’s ready as the mixture will stick together when pressed between your fingers. Press the dough into the base of a 7″ springform cake pan with that’s been lined with parchment paper. Make sure you compact the dough into the base of the pan, you can use a spatula or flat bottomed glass to do this.
The filling of the cake is as simple as adding the ingredients to the blender and blitzing them until smooth. But before you get to that stage there’s a couple of things you’ll need to do to get you prepped in advance.
1. Chill the coconut milk:
This cheesecake recipe calls for full fat canned coconut milk or coconut cream. It’s important to consider that for most raw or no bake desserts, a high fat content coconut product is needed in order to help the dish to set properly and add a creamy consistency to the end result. Canned coconut milk is made up of both water and fat – which emulsify at room temperature so in order to separate the fat from the liquid the cans need to be chilled. You can keep a couple cans to hand in the fridge for when you need them, but try to chill the coconut milk at least the night before you plan on making this recipe. Then scoop the thick coconut cream from the top of the cans, discarding the liquid or using it as a base for dishes such as curries.
2. Soak the cashews
The cashews for the filing of this cheesecake need to be soaked ahead of time. This not only gives them a silkier, creamier mouth feel, it also helps to make the blending process much easier on your kitchen equipment! Place the cashews in a bowl and cover them with filtered water. Leave them to soak for about 4 hours, then rinse them clean and drain before use.
Note: If you’re in a hurry – don’t worry you can soak them in boiling water instead, then rinse and drain.
As mentioned above, the filling of this cake is really as simple as blending all the ingredients together. Important to note, is that it might take a little patience to get the desired consistency that is completely smooth and lump free. Most good quality blenders can get to the creamy stage in just 5 minutes or so, but if you have a lower end blender patience is key! Keep blending, even if it means allowing time in between blends for the machine to cool down. The consistency should be like silk, with no grit or lumps whatsoever.
Transfer the filling into the base of the cake tin. To get the “swirl” effect on the top, sit the cheesecake on a turntable and press the back of a spatula into the top of it, starting at the outer edges and working your way into the centre whilst spinning the turntable.
Place the cake in the freezer to set for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight. I like to make the cake the night before, freeze it overnight and then decorate the next morning. Once set, remove the cake from the tin whilst still frozen, if you wait for the cake to defrost first it will be difficult to remove it from the tin.
To make the cream topping, add the coconut milk, maple syrup and vanilla extract to a bowl and whisk well until combined. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle and place it in the fridge to firm up for 30 minutes to an hour. Pipe the coconut cream around the top of the cake .
You can decorate this cheesecake however you like but my favourites include:
- Homemade gingerbread cookies
- Fresh pomegranate or fresh cranberries
- Fresh mint leaves or fresh rosemary sprigs
This cake can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Alternatively freeze any unused cake and defrost as needed.
You can replace the cranberries with another dried fruit such as pitted medjool dates, raisins or sultanas.
The oats provide a delicious wholesome base for this recipe. If you’re avoiding gluten, simply opt for rolled oats that have been certified as gluten-free to avoid the possibility of cross-contamination.
WHY MAKE THIS RECIPE
- Plant-based and vegan-friendly
- A healthier festive treat
- Full of festive vibes
- No-bake and easy to make
- Minimal, wholesome ingredients
- Can be adapted as gluten-free
- Free from eggs, dairy and all other animal-derived additives
OTHER RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
Vegan Gingerbread Cheesecake (No-Bake)
- 1 cup rolled oats
- ½ cup pecans
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 ½ cups cashews *soaked, see notes
- 1 400ml can chilled coconut milk *see notes
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup soya or coconut yoghurt
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp coconut oil solid
- 2½ tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
COCONUT CREAM TOPPING
- 1 400ml can chilled coconut milk *see notes
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Fresh pomegranate
- Mint leaves
- To make the crust, add the oats, pecans, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt to your food processor and blitz to a fine crumb consistency.
- Add the cranberries, maple syrup and water and blend again until the mixture sticks together to form a dough consistency. Line the base of a 7" springform cake pan with parchment paper and press the dough into the base of the pan, compacting it with a spatula. Set aside.
- For the filling, add all of the ingredients to your high speed blender. Blend on high for a few minutes until the mixture is completely smooth and creamy, with no lumps or grit.
- Transfer the filling into the base of the cake tin. To get the "swirl" effect on the top, sit the cheesecake on a turntable and press the back of a spatula into the top of it, starting at the outer edges and working your way into the centre whilst spinning the turntable.
- Place the cake in the freezer to set for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight. Once set, remove the cake from the tin whilst still frozen.
- To make the cream topping, add the coconut milk, maple syrup and vanilla extract to a bowl and whisk well until combined. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle and place it in the fridge to firm up for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Pipe the coconut cream around the top of the cake and decorate with homemade gingerbread biscuits, fresh pomegranate and mint leaves.
- This cake can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Alternatively freeze any unused cake and defrost as needed.