It was Mr.AP’s birthday recently. When I asked him what kind of cake he’d like  for the big day he quickly said lemon. Well, I have lots of cake recipes, but not one that would feature lemon. So I started pondering and came up with the idea of a raw lemon cheesecake. I made this vegan cheesecake before and I really liked it. So I sat down, researched a bit, and came up with my own version. Let me just say it was dreamy! Mr.AP was really happy!

Ingredients

Crust:
  • 160 g whole nuts (pecan, almond, walnut, hazelnut or a combination of these)
  • 93 g dates
  • 1/8 tsp salt
Cheesecake:
  • 450 g cashew nuts pre-soaked in cold water overnight
  • 100 ml maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 110 g melted coconut oil
For the coconut layer
  • 10 g unsweetened desiccated coconut flakes
For the lemony layer
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1,5 – 2 lemons
  • 3 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/3 tsp turmeric (acts as food coloring)

To make the crust:

In a food processor, pulse the nuts with the dates and salt until the nuts are in very small pieces and the dates make the mixture gooey. Check the stickiness of the mix with your hands. If it does not bind together well add a tsp of water and pulse the mixture again. Line an 18 cm cake springform. Pour in the mix and, with your hand, flatten it out across the base. Make sure it is evenly spread out.

For the cheesecake:

Soak the cashews overnight in cold water. Drain and rinse well. Put about half the cashews, maple syrup, lemon juice and vanilla extract into a food processor, and mix well. You might need to stop and scrape off the sides a coupe of times before it becomes creamy. Add about half of the coconut oil and mix until it is really smooth and creamy.  Pour out into a bowl. Repeat the process with the remaining cashews, maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla and coconut oil. Once creamy and smooth, pour back the mix from the bowl and blend everything one more time. Separate the mixture into two bowls. Pour about two thirds of the mixture into one (this is going to be the lemony layer) and pour about one third into the second (coconut layer).

To make the lemony layer:

Add the zest of the lemon, lemon juice and turmeric to the mixture and mix well. Taste it to make sure it is lemony enough for your taste. Note, that the tanginess of the lemon will be more subdued once the cake firms up in the fridge, so aim for a bit more than what you’d first think. Once you are satisfied, add the chia seeds and mix again. Spoon about half of the mixture on top of the base in the tin.

To make the coconut layer:

Add the desiccated coconut flakes to the third of the mixture and mix well. Spoon the mixture on top of the lemony mixture in the tin. Spread evenly. Spoon the remaining lemony mixture into the tin. Place the tin into the fridge and let rest for 4-6 hours or overnight  (or the freezer for 1-2 hours) to set completely and for the flavors to fully mature. The cake will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge. If you should have leftovers (which is very doubtful) slice it up and place it between layers of parchment paper and freezer it. It will keep for months and will be a delightful addition to any dinner or as a I really deserve it today snack!
Enjoy!

A couple of notes

  • There are many raw lemon cheesecake recipes on the internet that have a vibrant yellow color. As I learned from experience, that is Photoshop!
  • Turmeric will add a slight pastel yellow tint to the mix. If you add too much your cheesecake will taste like curry.
  • If you don’t have an 18 cm springform at hand, don’t rush out to get one. I made mine DIY and it turned out to be super functional! Want to know how? The post is coming up next week…
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