Vegan strawberry cheesecake (oil-free)
Vegan strawberry cheesecake (oil-free)
Another cheesecake? I hear you say…
I’ve been working on a perfect oil-free cheesecake recipe for so long that now, that I’ve finaly hit the jackpot, I was dying to try other flavours out. As strawberries are in season at the moment, I figured that strawberry cheesecake should be very well received.
Once again, it took a few trials to get the amount of agar agar spot on as strawberries have a surprising amount of water in them, it turns out, but I’ve done it. It’s smooth, creamy, fragrant and very strawberry 🙂 .
This time, I have gone for a fully fledged cake rather than cute individual cheesecakes. As you might have noticed, I like baking small and cute things. I don’t know why that is? I reckon some part of me secretly believes that having one small (teeny weeny) cheesecake is not as bad as having a slice of a big guy. I know it doesn’t make sense, but hey, I often don’t… 😉 so here is a big (ish) cheesecake for you.
- 20 dates / 170 g / 6 oz pitted and soaked in boiling water
- a few pinches of fine salt
- heaped 1 cup / 140 g almonds
- 1½ tbsp raw cacao powder (optional)
- 1 cup / 150 g raw cashews (soaked overnight)
- 600 g / 21 oz RIPE strawberries, de-stemmed (weigh after de-stemming)
- 5-6 tbsp / 75-90 ml maple syrup, adjust to taste
- 7½ level tsp agar agar flakes*
- ½ cup coconut cream, chilled (from a tin)
- ½ cup reduced aquafaba*
- chocolate shavings
- fresh strawberries
- Line the bottom of your spring form tin (mine was 16 cm / 6 ” across and 6.5 cm / 2.5 ” tall) with a circle of baking paper and cut out a long rectangle to line the sides with.
- Grind your almonds in a food processor until you get a coarse crumb. Take them out of the food processor and set aside.
- Drain your dates and chop them roughly. Put into a food processor and process into a paste. Add cacao powder and a bit of salt to taste and process some more.
- In a bowl, mix date paste with enough ground almonds to obtain a dough that isn’t too sticky yet still holds together well. I prefer doing it by hand to get a feel for exactly how many almonds I should be adding.
- Line the sides of the baking tin and then mould the base mixture to the bottom of your spring form tin. Press the mixture down well with your fingers so that there are no gaps / air-bubbles. Put a bit if baking paper on top of the base and weigh it down with something heavy (I used a round container of similar size, filled with sugar). Put into the fridge while you make your cheesecake mixture.
- Just before you are ready to start blending the cheesecake, put agar flakes, ½ cup of reduced aquafaba (or water if you don’t want to use aquafaba) and ½ cup of coconut cream into a small pot. Let the mixture come to the boil and simmer on low-medium heat, stirring frequently, until flakes almost dissolve and the mixture thickens (about 15 mins). From that point onwards, you’ll need to work fast as agar sets as soon as it cools down.
- Chuck maple syrup, de-stemmed strawberries and cashews (in this order) into the blender. Blend until smooth. Once smooth add activated agar mixture into a blender. Blend, scraping the sides of the blender from time to time if needed. Adjust the sweetness to taste. Blend until completely smooth.
- As soon as the cheesecake mixture is super smooth, take the spring form tin out of the fridge and pour the cheesecake mixture on top of the set base. Make sure you do it very quickly to get a smooth finish as, like I mentioned before, agar sets very quickly. Gently hit the filled spring form tin against your work surface a few times to get rid of air pockets/bubbles.
- You don’t need to put this cheesecake into the freezer as it will set beautifully at room temperature or in the fridge. Once set, decorate at will.
**Aquafaba – water from a can of low-sodium chickpeas or from cooking dry chickpeas at home, reduced on the stove to achieve thicker consistency.
I am not sure what you mean by vegan gelatine as to my mind it is the same as agar agar. I used to use flakes as that was the only type available where I lived at the time but I've switched to powder since and I find it much better. If you have agar powder, simply use a third (it's roughly 3 times more potent) so in this case 2.5 tsp and perhaps a touch more for good measure. Make sure to hydrate it in liquid for 10 minutes, bring to boil and then simmer for a minute or so. Hope this helps! Ania
I'm glad you enjoyed the taste of this cheesecake and I am sorry to hear that it didn't firm up. It sounds to me like your agar agar might be to blame, it should visibly thicken in the pot after simmering. You need to add hot mixture into the blender with the rest of ingredients as per instruction nr 2. Hope this helps! Ania
You'll need to calculate that based on what size tin you have. This recipe is for a 16 cm / 6" tin. Hope this helps! Ania
Looks beautiful, tastes amazing. Everyone wanted this cheesecake.
My mother keeps asking to translate the recipe for her.
I'm sorry to hear and I am not quite sure as to why. I assume that you used the correct amount of the correct type if agar agar (flakes are 3 times less potent than powder as I explained in the recipe notes). Could it be that your agar wasn't fresh? Have you used it in other recipes with success? Did it turn into a jelly after you activated it? One way to fix it would be to warm the mixture up again lightly and set it again with a new portion of activated agar. If the previous one did not work at all then the cheesecake should not be rubbery at the end. Hope this helps! x Ania
Agar agar is a plant-based (made of seaweed) equivalent of gelatine and it's pretty key here. You could use vege-gel by Dr Oetker (or something similar) but I haven't tried so I don't know how much will be needed to achieve the same consistency. Ania
I don't think it will, if I am honest - I guess depends how much you've used, but generally arrowroot isn't anywhere near as strong as agar agar and has different properties. It is a thickener (like tapioca, cornstarch) and not such much a setting agent. Ania
Thank you, I'm delighted that you enjoyed the end result! I'm glad you managed to convert agar powder/flakes into 'agar strings' (I have never heard of or seen 'agar strings', tbh) well. It sounds like you got just the perfect end as this is the kind of dessert that is at its best when it's just barely set and creamy. I've had to add some extra agar when I made it for the photos as otherwise it is really hard to photograph without making a massive mess and the slices looking terrible so please don't worry sounds like your texture is spot on, really! x Ania
I put them in this order so that the blender has enough liquid ingredients at the bottom to be able to blend the cashews extra silky smooth. You don't mention agar agar, have you not used it? That's the ingredient necessary to make it set. Hope that helps! Ania
It should set fairly quickly, up to an hour I would say although I always leave it alone for several hours to be sure. Ania
I don't so, I'm afraid. You could add coconut oil instead to make sure it firms up, but I am not sure how much. My guess is 50 g at least. Hope that helps! Ania
Yes, precisely, I say to chill coconut milk to separate the cream. I suppose you don't have to do that when you have a can of cream, but I must say that I have found them a bit inconsistent when it comes to fat content and I personally prefer to obtain it from a full fat coconut milk. Yes, calibrating the amount of agar is crucial and as I am sure you already know sour ingredients render agar less effective so it's a bit of a trial and error if you add things like lime juice to the mixture. I am sure you will nail it, maybe try on a few small muffin size cheesecake first to reduce waste. No, I found that soaking dry dates is useful as most of the ones brought in shops are quite dry and not sticky enough to hold the mixture together but if yours aren't then lucky you! x Ania
This is what I found online (link). I hope it worked out for you and that your husband will enjoy his b'day treat. x Ania
I have not tried freezing this cake, but I don't see why it would not work - agar agar won't be affected, I am pretty sure of that. Not sure I understand your second question? If you mean: how do I keep this cheesecake completely raw? The answer is you would need to use coconut oil or cacao butter or else it would not set. Hope that makes sense. Ania
No, it doesn't need whipping for this application, just add it as is. Hope that helps! Ania
Thanks in advance :)
Reduced, in a cooking context, simply means cooked without a lid, on a low-medium heat, until excess water evaporates. Here are more details. Hope that helps! Ania
Frozen straws should be fine but I would thaw them first, just to make sure you don't introduce heaps of surplus water. It will last 2-3 in the fridge for sure (in a sealed container as otherwise it will dry out), but maybe more - not sure, never kept it that long. As for your last question, I don't know but you can calculate the volume of both tins and it will give you an idea whether doubling the recipe is sufficient. You'll probably need to do it in two batches as I think the blender might struggle with this much at once. Hope that helps and maybe one of my readers has tried some of these things and they will reply also! Ania
Do you think you can freeze this cake if you have some leftovers...? Part of the family prefers non-vegan desserts...😁
Thank you, I am really pleased to hear that you and some ;) of your family enjoyed it! I have not tried freezing it, but I don't see why it would not work. Ania
It's thick but still pourable - please refer to the video embedded in this page if you want more detail. Hope that helps! Ania
That's great to hear, thank you so much. Great idea to make it with peaches, I bet it was delicious. As for your question, I tend to agree, bananas will not provide enough moisture but that's remedied fairly easily - add enough almond (or other) plant milk to the blender until you get a creamy mixture similar in consistency to the peach one you've made before. Hope that helps! x