Vegan strawberry cheesecake (oil-free)

Vegan strawberry cheesecake (oil-free)

vegan oilfree strawberry cheesecake top down

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.

vegan oilfree strawberry cheesecake

vegan oilfree strawberry cheesecake half top down

vegan oilfree strawberry cheesecake a slice

vegan oilfree strawberry cheesecake slice out

makes
16 cm / 6"
PREP
30 min
COOKING
10 min
makes
16 cm / 6"
PREPARATION
30 min
COOKING
10 min
INGREDIENTS

CHEESECAKE BASE

  • 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)

CHEESECAKE

  • 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*

DECORATION (optional)

  • chocolate shavings
  • fresh strawberries
METHOD
  1. 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.

CHEESECAKE BASE

  1. Grind your almonds in a food processor until you get a coarse crumb. Take them out of the food processor and set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

CHEESECAKE MIXTURE

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

NOTES
*I have never used agar powder, but if that’s the only agar you have, conventional wisdom says that 3 tsp agar flakes equals 1 tsp agar powder, so for this recipe I would use 2½ tsp of agar powder.

**Aquafaba – water from a can of low-sodium chickpeas or from cooking dry chickpeas at home, reduced on the stove to achieve thicker consistency.

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NUTRITIONAL INFO
calories
187
9%
sugars
14 g
16%
fats
11 g
16%
saturates
3 g
16%
proteins
4 g
8%
carbs
21 g
8%
*per serving
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4.9
18 reviews, 137 comments
REVIEWS & QUESTIONS
Ela:
Hi, I followed the recipe to the dot and my cheesecake didn't set :( I activated agar by following the steps (I left it to cool for about 5 min as I was finalising the other steps, also I wasn't sure about pouring piping hot mixture into the strawberry/cashew mixture) and all the measurmets without a miss, any ideas what could have gone wrong? Anything I can do now with it?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Ela,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
Suzette:
Hi I would love to try this cheese cake it looks delicious :) I do not have agar agar flakes can I use anything else pls?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Suzette,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
Tessa:
Love this recipe! Today is the third time I’ve made it in the last few weeks because my boyfriend and I are OBSESSED!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much, Tessa! I'm delighted to hear that and thank you for taking the time to review. Ania
Miranda Lewis:
Hey, I have used arrowstarch instead of agar agar and I think maybe I didn't substitute enough and it's very liquidy. Will it firm up if I put it in the fridge overnight?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Miranda,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
Nancy:
Thank you for this recipe, I made this two days ago and it is delicious. I was struggling with the ratio of agar agar strings and grams and teaspoons. Finally after converting 7.5 teaspoons of agar flakes to 10 grams of agar agar strings the cake turned out to be firm, not really firm like yours in the picture. Your looks much nicer.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Nancy,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
Aroona ali:
Hi I would like to ask you is there a specific reason for the maple syrup, strawberries and cashew nuts in that order specified . I made the cheesecake and it was still a little runny. I have had to put it in the freezer; whereas you recipe does not state to freeze it.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi,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
disha:
Im planning to replace Strawberries with Mangoes and may be a little lemon juice/zest. Any thoughts on whether that would go well?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Yeah, that should work nicely I imagine. You may need to use less agar (as its amounts depends on acidity, the less acidic the fruit the less agar is needed) but that needs to be determined by trial and error. Hope that helps! Ania
disha:
Roughly how long does it take for the cake the set in the fridge?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi,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
Christina:
Hi is there any agar ingredient substitute? I’m at the grocery store and they don’t have it.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Christina,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
kate:
I was confused about why I would need to chill the coconut cream if I'm then just going to boil it in a pot, but you're saying to chill it if you're using coconut milk, so that you can separate out the cream, right? I am using a can of just the coconut cream. BTW I made this with limes, and it was good, except I added too much agar and it was rubbery. I'm going to have to try again. Also I make the crust with pecans instead of almonds. Delicious. I don't soak my dates...is that just for fresh dates? I use dried.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Kate,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
Johanna Baig:
Thank you, i will update soon 🙏😊
Johanna Baig:
Im going’s to make this for my husbands 40th birthday! I don’t have anything to weigh the strawberries though. Can you please help? How many cups do you think? Thanks 🙏 I
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Johanna,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
Jeanne Johnson:
I only had agar powder. I used the amount that you suggested and the cheesecake didn't firm up. Later, I was making another recipe and read the agar powder label. It calls for 2Tbsp per cup of liquid when gelling acids. I'll definitely give it another go because the batter tasted great. We ate it with spoons
    Ania
    Ania:
    I am sorry to hear that, Jeanne, but this is just not possible. Agar powder is 3 times more powerful than agar flakes so if that's what you used your cheesecake should have gone rock solid and rubbery. It is not possible that it did not firm up. This is one of my most popular recipes and I have had plenty of people send me photos of the finished product on Instagram and none of them were unset so I am confident it works in the proportions I specified. What I suspect might have happened is that you did not activate your agar powder? Did you simmer it in liquid prior to adding to the cheesecake mixture? This is what activates agar and it is an essential step as far as I am aware. Please let me know. I am keen to get to the bottom of this so that your next attempt is exactly as it should be. Ania
Rachel Lampen:
Hi there, just wondering if this cheesecake can be stored in the freezer? Or would freezing and defrosting effect the agar what's firming effects? When not using agar agar and aquafaba...are there any other ingredients that can be used in raw cheesecakes in general?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Rachel,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
kate:
I'm confused...am I whipping the aquafaba into a cream and using that, or am I merely using the liquid before it's whipped?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Kate,No, it doesn't need whipping for this application, just add it as is. Hope that helps! Ania
Aoife:
Hey Ania, can you explain what reduced aquafaba is? Is there something that I need to do to the aquafaba I get from the can of chickpeas?? Thanks in advance :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Aoife,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
Renee Telfer:
Has anyone tried using frozen strawberries when fresh aren't available? Also how long will the cheesecake last in the fridge for - if I want to make in advance for an event. Have you tried doubling it - I would need a much bigger cheesecake - at least 12" - but still want the glorious height that this one has.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Renee,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
Betti:
Thanks for the quick answer. I'll let you know how it works out . :)
Betti:
Hi, thanks for the lovely recipe! I used raspberries and it is perfect!Do you think you can freeze this cake if you have some leftovers...? Part of the family prefers non-vegan desserts...😁
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Betti,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
Ellie:
What consistency is the cheesecake mixture before and after it sets up? I'd like to use this as a filling in between vanilla cake layers and I can't decide if I should let it set up before I put on the cake or use it right away as I've never attempted this recipe before.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Ellie,It's thick but still pourable - please refer to the video embedded in this page if you want more detail. Hope that helps! Ania
nancy:
Is the texture creamy like a cheesecake or more rubbery? Agar can be an odd texture sometimes
    Ania
    Ania:
    The texture is creamy provided the correct amount of agar agar is used. Rubbery texture stems from too much agar and too little or no fat in the recipe, which is sometimes desirable, I guess, if you are making gummy bears, for instance. Hope that helps! Ania
svetlana:
can I'm used coconut mil.no cream
    Ania
    Ania:
    I would not recommend it as it has less fat and might affect the texture of the cake. Ania
Rachel:
I've made this with peaches before (it was amazing!) but do you think it might work with bananas? I feel like it might be too dry, but I bet it would taste amazing. It works perfectly with agar powder, btw! Your substitution amount is spot on. :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Rachel,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
Marie:
Hi, Thanks for such a lovely recipe! I’m planning to make this today but I’m all out of chickpeas (and therefore aquafaba) - can I substitute more agar do you think?
    Ania
    Ania:
    That's no problem, Marie! Simply use water or plant milk instead. Hope that helps! Ania
mary:
what is aquafaba please
    Ania
    Ania:
    Here is a detailed explanation. Hope that helps! Ania
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