gluten free/ vegan

raw blackberry cashew cheesecake

I’ve recently fallen head-over-heels in awe with raw desserts. Have you ever been under this spell? I’ve been trying to rationalize my newfound excitement for unbaked treats, but I haven’t quite been able to put my finger on it… the magic is elusive.

Part of my wonderment can probably be explained by the unbelievable simplicity of raw desserts (most of them, anyway). The required ingredients are often whole foods (cashews, dates, blackberries) and, even when they aren’t (coconut oil, maple syrup), the latter don’t take center stage. Whole foods are able to shine in the spotlight.

This is by no means a dig at “processed” foods; I will never renounce my love for flour and oil and cheese, but I am also currently welcoming in this new, somewhat bizarre, way of approaching “dessert” with wide open arms.

Cashews are the cement of this cake; they are the perfect, fun-shaped package of creaminess + sweetness. In addition to the heaping cup of cashews, this “cheese” cake calls for a generous amount of ripe blackberries and gooey dates. Next, a little bit of coconut oil, fresh lemon juice, and vanilla extract for a more complex matrix of flavors.

Of course, a raw cake is essentially naked without a granola-esque crust of some kind (I’m not the only one that feels this way, right?). The chewy, caramely crust that carries this cake is brought together by the simplest ingredients, all of which you likely already have on hand: oats, nuts (whichever are sitting in your pantry!), shredded coconut, and dates (or another dried fruit of choice).

Ultimately, this cake is malleable and forgiving. Happen to be out of oats, but have another grain on hand? Simply swap out the former for the latter. No shredded coconut in the pantry? Add more nuts or seeds, or even a little bit of nut butter to make up for the creamy fat found in coconut. Making this cashew cake has left me spellbound by the capabilities of whole foods, and the myriad ways something as unassuming as a nut (a wee cashew!) can be transformed into a beautiful, fairy-esque cake (with the help of a handful of other ingredients, of course).

raw blackberry cashew cheesecake

Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • Crust:
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 heaped cup cashews and walnuts (or other nut mixture of choice)
  • 1/3 packed cup pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tbsp unrefined coconut oil, melted
  • 2-3 tsps maple syrup, or other liquid sweetener
  • Pinch salt
  • Filling:
  • 1 1/4 cups soaked raw cashews
  • 2/3 cup ripe blackberries
  • 1/2 packed cup pitted dates
  • 3 tbsps unrefined coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tbsps milk of choice (I use almond as it's light in flavor)
  • 2 tbsps freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

1

First, soak your cashews if you haven't already; you can either speed-soak them in hot water for 30 minutes to an hour, or soak them in room-temperature water overnight. Once done soaking, drain them and set aside.

2

To make the crust, add the nuts to a food processor and pulse a few times until a coarse meal forms. Add the oats, coconut, and pinch salt, pulsing 1-2 times until slightly more ground, but not until the oats resemble a fine flour. Scrape out the dry mixture and add the dates, blending along with the oil and maple syrup, until a thick, gooey mixture forms (make sure there aren't any inordinate chunks of date left). Add the dry ingredients back to the date mixture and blend to incorporate.

3

Line cake tin(s) with parchment paper before pressing the crust mixture into the bottom of the pans with your fingers. Set in the fridge to chill and slightly harden while you make the filling.

4

Add all of the filling ingredients to a high-speed blender or food processor, and blend on low-medium until a smooth, creamy mixture forms. There shouldn't be any noticeably large chunks of cashew or date left. Pour the filling into the prepared crusts and return to the fridge for ~3 hours, or until your finger doesn't leave an indent when lightly touched (preferably overnight if you can wait that long). You can speed up the process by putting it in the freezer, but if you forget about it for too long you will have to let it defrost at room temperature for a bit before slicing (the flavors also become blunted when the cake is too frozen!)

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