Happy Solstice, everybody. Today’s recipe is really all about summer. Summer flavours in the form of seasonal strawberries and fresh basil, and summer laziness (should we call it easiness instead?).
This cake doesn’t require the usual specialized equipment called for when making raw cheesecakes – namely, a high-speed blender for turning cashews into a thick creamy cheesecake base (you will need a blender for pureeing the strawberries and basil, but if my MIL’s 1970’s Osterizer can do it, yours can too). All that’s involved is melting, stirring, pouring, chilling, eating. Basically, while going through the steps of soaking and pureeing ingredients for a classic raw vegan cheesecake is justified by the amazing end result, what this recipe offers is a streamlined version that requires less preparation (no soaking cashews the night before), no high-end equipment (any blender or food processor will do the trick), and is just as creamy and delicious.
The magic ingredient that allows this cake to come together easily and without sharp blades is coconut butter, also called coconut manna. I first used it as a base for cheesecake in this Pistachio Rose Cake, and have tweaked the original proportions found in that recipe to get closer to the texture of cheesecake. If you’re worried about the cake tasting too coconutty, don’t fret, the flavour doesn’t really come through underneath the sweetness of the berries and the slight tang added by the lemon juice and basil. You should be able to find coconut butter at your local health food store (either sneakily placed with the coconut oil or alongside the nut butters) or you can pick some up on Amazon (this size of jar will give you enough to make this recipe twice over).
- 1 1/4 cups almond flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)
- 4 tbsp melted coconut oil
- 2 cups sliced strawberries
- 5-7 basil leaves, depending on size and taste
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 cup coconut butter (aka coconut manna)
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
- 1 can coconut cream (see note)
- additional strawberries
- additional basil
- melted chocolate
- Lightly grease a 6" or 8" springform pan.
- To make the crust, combine the almond flour and salt in a bowl. Pour in melted coconut oil and maple syrup and stir well until a wet dough forms. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan and place in the fridge to set while preparing the filling.
- Start by pureeing strawberries, basil, and lemon juice in a food processor or blender until fairly smooth, small chunks of strawberries are fine. Set aside.
- In a saucepan over medium low heat, melt remaining filling ingredients just until they are able to be fully incorporated and there are no chunks of coconut butter remaining. Remove from heat and stir in strawberry puree. Pour over crust.
- Allow the cake to set fully before serving - a few hours in the fridge will do. Serve at room temperature for a creamier texture or chilled for a firmer cake.
- To get the cream from a can of coconut milk, refrigerate a can of full-fat coconut milk overnight. The cream will separate from the water. Pour off the water and scoop out the hard white cream for use here.