Hold the Cheese, Please: Vegan Cheesecake Recipe

The Jewish holiday of Shavuot provides the perfect opportunity for vegan bakers to show off their prowess.

Vegan cheesecake with fruit topping.
Shira Nussbaum

As a pastry chef, my mind works overtime when it comes to anything related to desserts. But for the holiday of Shavuot, which is traditionally celebrated with dairy dishes, including cheesecakes, my mind works even harder in order to come up with vegan dishes. This is the challenge I enjoy so much - making desserts with perfect flavor, and that nobody notices are vegan. This is why I particularly love Shavuot.

In this spirit, I met with Hebrew-language food blogger Shira Nussbaum to work on some vegan desserts, including this amazing cheesecake. No one will suspect it’s vegan. It has a mild flavor, it’s stable and you can decorate it however you like, whether with fruits, whipped cream or chocolate ganache. 

Ingredients:

3/4 cup cashews

300 grams tofutti (soy-based spread) 

80 grams sugar

300-gram can of coconut cream, refrigerated overnight so that solids separate out

1 tablespoon vanilla extract or paste

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

50 grams cornstarch

160 grams cookies (lotus, Oreo, or something gluten free)

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

1 soy-based pudding in the flavor of your choice

fresh fruit or other toppings

Directions:

1. Soak the cashews in water for an hour.

2. Strain out the water and blend the cashews, tofutti and sugar in a food   processor.

3. Add the coconut solids (this recipe does not use the coconut liquid),   vanilla, lemon and cornstarch, and blend until smooth. 

4. Meanwhile, blend the cookies until you have fine crumbs, and mix with the coconut oil. Press the crumbs into the bottom of a baking dish, and bake at 170 degrees Celsius (325 degrees Fahrenheit) for 10 minutes, until golden. 

5. Pour the cashew/tofutti blend into the crust and bake for 35 minutes, until golden. The cake should be stable around the edges and slightly wobbly in the center.

6. Cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate. 

Before serving, top with the soy-based pudding and decorate with fresh fruit.