I have to admit I’ve never been a huge cheesecake fan. Not meaning any disrespect to the cheesecake or to cheesecake fans out there because it can be a lovely thing when done well. For me part of the issue is that so much of the flavor often has the cream cheese as it’s focus which I find to be a little heavy and one note for what I crave in a dessert. A cheesecake with lots of surprise flavor surprise is always welcome and appreciated, though, which is one of many reasons why I love this non-dairy cheesecake. It has a no-bake orange and coconut carrot cake base and a creamy orange coconut vegan cream cheese topping that is flavor and texture loaded! I just love how the coconut and orange work together to cut through the vegan cream cheese, lifting and brightening the flavors, and how the cake base brings together all the best things from carrot cake to add another level of flavor and great textures. Plus since carrot cake and cream cheese are a classic duo they only make perfect sense together in a cheesecake, right? Another important factor for me in a cheesecake is convenience-I don’t usually want to go through an overly complicated and lengthy process of baking one. So it was very important to me to make this vegan cheesecake a no-bake recipe, and to make it without cashews, (which a lot of vegan cheesecake recipes call for) to avoid added prep time needed to soak them-not to mention the added expense from buying the amount of raw cashews needed to create a decent amount of filling. So I humbly present this Spring inspired no bake, non-dairy, and gluten free Carrot Cake Cheesecake in the hopes that it gives you some cheesecake options you may be looking for!
Makes: 1 6 inch mini cheesecake
Time: Approximately 20 minutes
Ingredients for Carrot Cake Base:
- 1/3 cup almond flour
- 1/4 shredded coconut, unsweetened or regular
- 1/4 cup roasted cashews
- 1 teaspoon reserved orange zest
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons of coconut sugar
- 3 softened pitted dates, chopped
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
- 1/3 cup raisins
- Zest of one orange, divided
Ingredients for Orange Coconut “Cream Cheese” Topping:
- 8 ounce vegan cream cheese
- 1/2 cup solidified coconut cream (scooped from one can refrigerated coconut milk that has chilled overnight-reserve liquid for another use.)
- 1/2 teaspoon pure coconut extract
- 1/4 teaspoon pure orange extract
- Remaining half of the orange zest
- 1 or 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1/3 cup regular or organic sugar (or you can try substituting 4 tablespoons agave orhoney but be careful and add a little after a time to make sure you don’t get the mixture too runny.
Instructions for Carrot Cake Base:
- Combine almond flour, coconut, shredded carrots, roasted cashews, chopped pitted dates, coconut sugar, coconut oil, and salt in a small food processor or grinder and mix on high a few seconds until ground fine and well combined. Stir in zest of half an orange.
- Place a circle of parchment paper cut slightly larger than the bottom of a 6 inch baking pan so the sides come part of the way up the pan. Grease sides exposed insides of pan with coconut oil.
- Press carrot cake base into the lined pan, pressing firmly down and slightly upward along the lines sides of pan.
Make Orange Coconut Cream Cheese Topping:
- In a small mixing bowl combine vegan cream cheese, solidified coconut cream, and sugar or agave. Beat with hand mixer until we’ll combined and creamy. Add pure extracts, remaining orange zest, and fresh orange juice. (Limit the amount of orange juice you are adding if you used agave and mixture looks a little runny so you don’t get it too thin.) Beat again on high speed until ingredients are well combined.
- Pour creamy mixture onto carrot cake base, smoothing the top. Refrigerate a few hours until mixture firms up. You can speed this up by placing the cheesecake in the freezer for an hour or two and the placing in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
- When ready to serve warm a small knife under warm water, then insert between the cheesecake and side of pan and run along the pan to help ensure the sides come out cleanly. Once sides are loosened release sides if using springform pan or if using a regular pan, carefully insert knife down the inside edge of the pan and down to the base to lift up the bottom. Lift out carefully and place on a plate.
- Add garnishes of choice to the top, if desired. I love using candied orange and or carrot slices and edible Spring flowers!
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