Homemade three-layer vegan berry cheesecake: the recipe

A lot of non-vegans are usually worried about missing out on foods they enjoy, “but what do you do about protein?”, “how do you eat enough to feel full?” and “I’ll miss the taste of (insert dish here)”. What non-vegans don’t realise is that not everyone was born vegan and there are a lot of dishes that we missed as well when we decided to make the switch.

This is something I can confidently say whenever I’m told non-vegans will miss out on this dish or that: being vegan and missing a non-vegan dish means that whatever you think you’ll be missing out on, another vegan will have also missed it and come up with a vegan version that tastes just the same, if not better.

So you think you’ll be missing out on cheesecake? There are plenty of great recipes out there that have long employed the use of our trusty friend to get you the right texture and flavour. I present to you, the cashew nut.

Soaked and blended, this nut is perfect to achieve that texture and flavour you miss from non-vegan cheeses. I’ve also previously shared another recipe that uses cashews to make a lovely herb and garlic vegan cheese (see here).

One of my favourite vegan chefs is The Buddhist Chef because he uses such simple methods to make the most amazing dishes. Maybe it’s also because fo the ‘Buddhist’ in the name of his blog that appeals to my inner self, but whatever the reason (whether it’s the Buddhist element or the veganism), it works for me. I’ve tried a few of Jean Phillipe’s recipes over time, but the recipe for his vegan cheesecake bites (see here) is a firm favourite.

Not only do I love cheesecake, it’s also so simple to make, but results in a beautiful presentation that is bound to impress vegans and non-vegans alike. Who doesn’t love cheesecake?

The recipe calls for graham crackers, but if you’re in the UK, you can get vegan digestive biscuits (I bought Tesco own brand Free From digestive biscuits that are suitable for vegans at the time of writing this). If you prefer to use vegan margarine, you can use this instead of the coconut oil needed in the base. The recipe also calls for strawberries, but I knew the guests I was making the cheesecake for would have preferred a mix of flavours, so I went with frozen mixed berries I already had in the freezer. For a professional touch, strain the berries so the top jelly layer is clear for the coulis. I’m not a big fan of creating too much food waste though and felt it gave it a more realistic touch. I was making two cheesecakes at the same time (multi-tasking at its finest! I just doubled the recipe and split the quantities between two tins), so I made one of them with the coulis strained and left the berries unstrained for the second cake.

Another tip I feel I should mention is that the cheesecake should remain in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. The reason I had to make 2 cheesecakes is because we had guests over for one and we were travelling with the other to visit family friends. Although we make sure to pack the chill bag with plenty of ice packs and chilled gel packs, it didn’t seem like it was enough and the coulis layer didn’t stay in jelly-form when we arrived at our destination. To make the coulis layer firm, add more agar agar powder to your jelly mix. The jar of agar agar I bought from Lakeland recommends 1g of agar agar powder to 100ml of liquid, so measure how much liquid you end up with once your coulis is cooked and add the correct amount of agar agar accordingly.

Now here’s the recipe for creating your own.

Vegan berry cheesecake

Ingredients
Serves 24 mini cheesecakes or one large cheesecake to serve 12

Biscuit base
150g Free From or vegan digestive biscuits
4 tbsp (60ml) coconut oil

Cheesecake layer
1 1/2 cup (375ml) cashews (soaked in 1L of hot water for an hour then drained)
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup maple syrup or agave nectar
2 tsp corn flour
1 1/2 tsp agar agar powder
1 can (398ml) coconut milk
Lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)

Berry coulis
4 cups (600g) frozen berries
3 tbsp (45ml) water
3 tbsp maple syrup or agave nectar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp agar agar powder

For the biscuit base:

1. Preheat oven to 350˚F (176˚C).

2. Lightly grease a 24 slot muffin tin, a non-stick muffin pan or grease and line a cake tin.

3. In a food processor or blender, pulse graham crackers until mixture has a fine texture. You can also crush graham crackers in a sealed plastic bag using a rolling pin. If you prefer a rougher texture (or want to have some fun with the manual effort of crushing it yourself with your hands), break up pieces of digestive biscuits by hand before using the side of a wooden spoon to crush it further.

4. Add coconut oil and mix well. Press the mixture together until you get a crumble-like mix.

5. Press the biscuit base mixture to the bottom of the pan. If you’re using a muffin tray, spoon 1/2 tablespoon into each muffin cup. Make sure to gently press down with fingers.

6. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

For the cheesecake layer:

7. In a blender or food processor, combine the soaked and drained cashews, coconut milk, salt, vanilla extract, syrup, corn flour, agar agar powder and lemon juice and blend until very smooth.


The mixture should be smooth as a milkshake for a creamy texture

8. Pour mixture into a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

9. If using a cake tin, pour the cheesecake mixture over the biscuit base. If using muffin tins, divide filling evenly among muffin tins, up until 1/8 in (1/2 cm) from the edge. To keep the top smooth, quickly smooth it out with the flat side of a spatula. If it starts sticking to the spatula, dip it in boiling hot water before smoothing the cheesecake layer.

For the berry coulis layer:

10. Place frozen strawberries in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.

11. Pour mixture into a colander and gently extract juice by pressing down on strawberries with a spatula. For a smooth gelatinous layer, you can discard strawberries. For a more fruity textured top layer, skip this step.

12. In a bowl, combine water, maple syrup, lemon juice and agar-agar.

13. Pour into a saucepan, adding strawberry juice. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 1 minute. Cool down for 2 to 3 minutes. (do not let the mixture set).

14. Garnish mini cakes with strawberry jelly (or add the mixture to the top of your cheesecake layer) and refrigerate for an hour until filling has set.

15. Using a blunt knife, gently pry edges to loosen the mini cakes. They should pop right out! Otherwise, remove the cake from the cake tin and the baking paper when you’re ready to serve.


Voila!

How did your cheesecake turn out? Did you enjoy your cheesecake? Is there any adjustments you had to make to your own recipe? Have you tried the recipe with other fruits in the coulis? Let me know in the comments below!

Advertisements

Japanese fine dining: review of Tang’s gohan in Edinburgh

Japanese cuisine is well-known for their sushi, but if you’ve ever been to Japan or are a fan of Japanese food, you’ll know that soba noodles, miso soup, bento boxes, salt and edamame beans and so much more are also on the menu. Since I first arrived in Edinburgh in 2008, I used to pass by Tang’s and my friends would joke it was my family’s restaurant given the same maiden name before I got married.


Continue reading “Japanese fine dining: review of Tang’s gohan in Edinburgh”

What do apples have to do with sustainable luxury vegan fashion?

One pervading thought that still lingers in people’s minds about the lifestyle is that vegan fashion is a little behind when ‘luxury’ materials like leather, suede and exotic animal skins aren’t used. This is something innovative individuals who are environmentally conscious and animal lovers are quickly picking up on and filling the gap for. I will talk more about some of my favourite brands later, but walking through Harrods recently, I noticed how apart from Stella McCartney, there were no other designer brands that were vegan friendly and without paying through the nose for luxury fashion. happy genie is looking to bridge that gap in the market. Continue reading “What do apples have to do with sustainable luxury vegan fashion?”

Dining at Harmonium: review of Edinburgh’s first fully vegan restaurant

I speak about the extensive choice of restaurants and cafes available to vegans living in or visiting Glasgow. Maybe the vegan scene over in the biggest city of Scotland has been established for longer? There is no doubt in my mind though that Edinburgh is quickly catching up which makes vegans in the capital city (including me) very happy! There are many more places I’m still catching up on writing reviews for, but with meeting friends at places to eat that I haven’t had the chance to visit and even more new places popping up, it’s more of a catch up game to try and keep up with supply!

If you’ve been to Glasgow, you’ll know that there are several established vegan pub restaurants like Mono, Stereo and Flying Duck to name a few. Now the company behind those establishments have recognised a demand for vegan restaurants in Edinburgh and earlier in the summer opened Harmonium in Leith. Continue reading “Dining at Harmonium: review of Edinburgh’s first fully vegan restaurant”

The Tartan Carrot fundraiser event for Lotus Animal Sanctuary

Hope everyone had a great weekend! I’ve had a pretty busy week eating lots and exploring new (and visiting old) vegan eateries and enjoying every morsel, so expect lots more restaurant reviews appearing on here soon! In the meantime, you may remember I wrote about the intentions to build an animal sanctuary for all animals, including those who are rescued from slaughter (see my previous post here). It seems like so long ago the amazing people at The Tartan Carrot set this date for the big fundraiser to build Lotus Animal sanctuary in central Scotland – and here it is just over 2 weeks away! Continue reading “The Tartan Carrot fundraiser event for Lotus Animal Sanctuary”

A vegan cinema experience: watching ‘IT’ at the Odeon, Fort Kinnaird

There are a lot of times when we don’t think about how much animal products feature in our daily lives until we come across it. I remember the first time after going vegan when my OH and I decided to go and watch a film at the cinema…and I realised most of their chocolates and sweets would probably not be suitable for vegans. I ended up bringing a bag of my own sweets as back up. Turns out most of the chocolates and sweets weren’t suitable for vegans, but don’t let that put you down. I was invited to the Odeon at Fort Kinnaird last week for the launch of the remake of Stephen King’s ‘IT’ and I was very pleased to find that there are snacks that vegans can eat!


Continue reading “A vegan cinema experience: watching ‘IT’ at the Odeon, Fort Kinnaird”

Vegan afternoon tea for 5: review of Casa Angelina

Every day it becomes easier and easier to eat out as a vegan as more cafes and restaurants are recognising the need for vegan options. Even non-vegan establishments are experimenting the local scene and offering options to cater to the rising vegan population worldwide. I even heard that Brew Lab was offering vegan chocolate cake! One of the things I wasn’t sure of was whether it was possible for vegans to still enjoy afternoon tea. I read in a Facebook group I participate in that there are cafes that offer vegan afternoon tea in other towns/cities, say Bristol.

I didn’t have to look any further when Vegan Edinburgh suggested going to Casa Angelina (you can read their own review of their experience here), to say I was ecstatic I didn’t have to give up this luxury is an understatement.


Continue reading “Vegan afternoon tea for 5: review of Casa Angelina”

Not Your typical SugarDaddy’s: gluten-free bakery in Edinburgh

Having a dietary requirement can sometimes make eating out seem difficult. More often than not, restaurants and cafés are happy to accommodate customers with dietary requirements as long as you give them plenty of notice. What about if you have a dietary requirement or two and know that something you can’t eat is a primary ingredient? What if you’re gluten-intolerant or coeliac and/or vegan and don’t know where to go for celebration cakes or cupcakes, just because?

SugarDaddy’s has you covered!


Continue reading “Not Your typical SugarDaddy’s: gluten-free bakery in Edinburgh”

The Craft Scotland Summer Show 2017 is here!

If you’re like me and like to support local businesses and like unique pieces of jewellery and crafts, hearing the story behind the designs and how the makers created the piece, you’re in the right place. The Craft Scotland Summer Show is back for the 70th Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Designed as a calming escape from the hustle and bustle of the Edinburgh Festival, 33 of Scotland’s most talented makers and designers have been given the opportunity to contribute to the Craft Scotland Summer Show. Continue reading “The Craft Scotland Summer Show 2017 is here!”

Dinner and a movie: review of Filmhouse Cafe

There is an impression of Edinburgh as a vegan-unfriendly city, but a recent article (here) will attest to the fact that this is entirely untrue. As a the capital city of Scotland, there are a lot of hidden gems that are yet to be discovered. Restaurants and cafes that aren’t vegan can be seen to offer (and clearly mark) vegan friendly options on their menus. The Filmhouse is no exception.


Continue reading “Dinner and a movie: review of Filmhouse Cafe”