This Creamy Cashew Cheesecake recipe is a natural take on a vegan cheesecake that doesn't use space age ingredients like cheesecakes using store bought vegan cream cheeses often do. I tried to strike a good balance between unprocessed ingredients and high quality flavor. This cheesecake uses a cashew base enhanced with apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and just the right amount of sugar and vanilla extract to tie it all together.
Please note that it's important to include the xanthan or guar gum in the Creamy Cashew Cream Cheese recipe in order for this cheesecake to have the proper mouthfeel. Also please take into consideration that this recipe is a two day investment in order to obtain the flavors we're after: You have to soak the cashews overnight, let the Creamy Cashew Cream Cheese rest after it's puréed so complex flavor compounds are developed, make the Creamy Cashew Cheesecake and then allow it to cool slightly in the refrigerator.
3 cups Creamy Cashew Cream Cheese (3, 8oz recipe quantity) or my more involved Vegan Cashew Cream Cheese
1 ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs (about 9 ½ crackers)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup non-hydrogenated margarine, melted
1 Tablespoon brown rice syrup
¾ cup soy milk
1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice
¾ cup, + 1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
Break the graham crackers into small pieces and place them in a food processor or blender with the cinnamon. Pulse them until they are fine crumbs. Add the crumbs to a medium size mixing bowl.
In a small saucepan, whisk together the melted margarine and brown rice syrup on low heat until well combined.
Add the melted margarine to the bowl containing the graham cracker crumbs and thoroughly hand mix with a fork until they are evenly saturated.
If possible, turn an empty medium mixing bowl upside-down and place the spring form on top of it. This will allow you to compress the crumbs with greater force, without risking the spring form 'popping' and ejecting all of your crumbs. Being able to compress the crumbs more will make a better crust. Compress the crumbs into the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan using the flat bottom of a drinking glass.
Preheat oven to 325F (163C). In a small saucepan whisk together the non-dairy milk and lemon juice. Let sit for about 10 minutes so the non-dairy milk begins to curdle.
In a medium mixing bowl, beat the Creamy Cashew Cream Cheese until it's slightly fluffy. Set aside.
In another medium mixing bowl, mix together the soy milk and lemon juice mixture, sugar, nutritional yeast flakes, vanilla extract and salt. Add this mixture to the mixing bowl containing the Creamy Cashew Cream Cheese and beat several minutes until slightly fluffy.
Pour the mixture into the 9 inch spring form pan and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. It's important not to open the oven or else the cheesecake will cave in. Let the cheesecake cool overnight.
When the cheesecake has cooled, use a small knife to go around the edges carefully to free the remaining cheesecake from the spring form pan. Open up the spring form pan as far as you can and shake it slightly to get it to let go. Lift the spring form siding away. Place in the refrigerator.
Top it with your favorite high-quality preserves and enjoy!