Chocolate Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}

Chocolate Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}Did you know that you can make a spectacular chocolate cheesecake without ever opening a brick of cream cheese?Chocolate Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}It’s true—this Chocolate Cheesecake is cool, creamy, chocolaty, and completely vegan!Chocolate Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}It’s made primarily of softened cashews and coconut cream…Chocolate Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}…and melted chocolate, of course 🙂 Chocolate Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}

This cheesecake is grain-free, too. Where you might normally find a crunchy graham cracker crust under all that creamy filling, this crust is made of dates, almonds, and cocoa powder.Chocolate Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}Chocolate Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}Both the crust and the filling come together in the bowl of a food processor before being layered into springform pan and chilled until solid. No need to crank the oven for this no-bake cake!Chocolate Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}Once the cake is chilled all the way through, remove it from the springform and give it a drizzle of homemade chocolate shell.Chocolate Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}Chocolate Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}Chocolate Cheesecake slices like a dream. It definitely stands on its own, but I couldn’t resist plating each piece with a few fresh sweet cherries!Chocolate Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}You’ll love this smooth, creamy, chocolaty cheesecake! It’s easy to make, no-bake, vegan and grain-free—perfect for sharing with your favorite gluten-free vegans! Out of all the good things about this cake (and there are *a lot*), I think the number of people I can share it with is the very best one ❤ Chocolate Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}
Want more vegan, grain-free cheesecake? Try my Peachy Paleo Cheesecake!

Chocolate Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}
makes one 9-inch cheesecake

Filling:
1 cup raw cashews
1 14-ounce can coconut cream (not cream of coconut)
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon espresso granules (optional)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly

Crust:
15 Medjool dates, pitted
1 cup raw almonds
3 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder

Topping:
Homemade Chocolate Shell

The night before you want to make the cheesecake, place cashews in a small container with a lid. Cover with water. Refrigerate for 4-12 hours.

Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan with coconut oil.

Make the crust. Combine dates, almonds, and cocoa powder in the bowl of a food processor, and process until the almonds are broken down and the filling starts to form a ball. Mixture should hold together when pinched. Transfer crust mixture to prepared pan, and press it to the edges to form an even layer. Set aside.

Wash and dry the food processor, or wipe it out very well with a paper towel.

Make the filling. Drain soaked cashews and place them in the food processor. Add coconut cream, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, espresso granules, vanilla, and salt. Process until the mixture is smooth. Add melted chocolate and process again. With the food processor running, drizzle coconut oil through the feed tube. Continue processing until everything is smooth and fully combined.

Pour filling mixture over crust and smooth with an offset spatula. Refrigerate for 8 hours (or freeze for 2 hours).

Run a thin, flexible knife around the edge of the pan. Release the cheesecake from the springform pan, and allow it to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Drizzle with chocolate shell. Slice with a large, sharp chef’s knife, wiping the blade clean between cuts. Serve.

Leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for a few days.

Note:

If you cannot find coconut cream, use two 13.5-ounce cans of full-fat coconut milk. Chill them overnight and scoop off the coconut cream to use for the cake. Reserve the leftover liquid for another use.Chocolate Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}Chocolate Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}

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Cheesecake Blondies

Cheesecake BlondiesI have been debating for three days whether or not I should post these Cheesecake Blondies or use Independence Day as a “free pass” to take a rare blog day off.Cheesecake BlondiesCheesecake Blondies won out though, because they are the perfect treat to sink your teeth into while you watch the fireworks. Creamy cheesecake and chewy brown butter blondie in near-equal layers? Sign. me. up.Cheesecake BlondiesAnother great thing about these blondies? They are super easy to make and bake up in just 25 minutes!Cheesecake BlondiesThe most difficult part of making Cheesecake Blondies is waiting for them to chill. Those three hours can seem eternal, but they are completely necessary—nobody likes warm cheesecake.Cheesecake BlondiesOnce the chill time is up, slice up the blondies and revel in their cuteness. Chocolate chips have a way of making things more adorable, don’t they?Cheesecake BlondiesMake a batch of Cheesecake Blondies for your holiday cookout or pack a box into a cooler and take them on the go! You and your friends and family will love the combination of tangy cheesecake and sweet, brown buttery blondie ❤ Cheesecake BlondiesHappy Fourth of July!Cheesecake Blondies

Cheesecake Blondies
makes one 8- or 9-inch square pan, about 9-16 blondies

Blondie Batter:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips + more for scattering

Cheesecake:
8 ounces (1 brick) full-fat brick-style cream cheese, room temperature
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish with foil and grease lightly. Set aside.

Brown the butter. Place butter in a light-colored saucepan over medium heat. Let butter melt. Butter will bubble and crackle as the water content evaporates. Swirl the pan frequently for 5-7 minutes, keeping an eye on the color. When the solids are turning brown and the butter is nutty and fragrant, remove the pot from the heat and immediately pour the brown butter into a large mixing bowl.

Add brown sugar to the brown butter and stir to combine. Whisk in egg and vanilla. Use a silicone spatula to stir in flour and salt, scraping down the bowl as needed. Fold in chocolate chips. Spread batter into prepared pan. Set aside.

Make cheesecake. In a medium mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese until fluffy. Mix in sugar, followed by egg and vanilla. Pour on top of blondie batter and smooth to the edges of the pan. Scatter additional chocolate chips over the top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, tenting with foil at the 15 minute mark or if anything begins browning too quickly. Blondies are ready when the cheesecake just barely jiggles when the pan is jostled. Let cool in the pan on a rack until they reach room temperature. Refrigerate for 3 hours or until completely cold.

Use foil overhang to lift blondies out of the pan. Carefully peel off foil. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice bars, wiping the blade clean between cuts. Serve.

Leftover Cheesecake Blondies will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. For best storage, separate layers with wax paper.Cheesecake Blondies

Cheesecake Brownies {Grain-Free}

Cheesecake Brownies {Grain-Free}For a baking blogger, I sure haven’t baked much lately. It’s not because I haven’t wanted to–no, I always want to bake–but because I’ve been so crazy busy. Eliot was here, I went to Texas, my best friend from college was in town, I turned 32…I simply haven’t had the time!

Cheesecake Brownies {Grain-Free}My last three recipes haven’t required an oven at all. I’m not complaining though; I’ve been enjoying lots of Iced Matcha Lattes, Whole Wheat Pancakes, and Key Lime Pie Popsicles lately 😊

But enough about that. Today, let’s get back to baking.

Cheesecake Brownies {Grain-Free}Cheesecake Brownies are a classic for a reason–who can resist a fudgy brownie swirled with a layer of creamy cheesecake?! Add to that that this recipe is completely grain-free, thanks to my spin on Katharine Hepburn Brownies, and you’ve got a surefire crowdpleaser for all your cookouts this summer!Cheesecake Brownies {Grain-Free}

Cheesecake Brownies {Grain-Free}
makes one 9-inch square pan, about 16 brownies

Cheesecake:
8 ounces full-fat brick-style cream cheese
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large eggs
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Brownies:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup cocoa powder (natural or dutch process)
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Place oven racks in the top and bottom positions. Preheat oven to 325F. Line a 9-inch square pan with foil, leaving overhang on two sides. Grease foil with butter. Set aside.

Make cheesecake. In a medium mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese until fluffy. Mix in sugar, followed by egg and vanilla. Set aside.

In a double boiler or the microwave, melt butter and unsweetened chocolate together until smooth. Let cool slightly before transferring to a large mixing bowl.

Whisk in granulated and light brown sugars, followed by eggs and vanilla. Mix in cocoa powder and salt. Reserve 1/3 cup of batter in a small bowl.

Transfer the rest of the batter to the prepared pan and spread in an even layer. Drop spoonfuls of cheesecake over the top, followed by spoonfuls of the reserved brownie batter. Swirl with a small, thin knife. Tap full pan five times on the countertop to release air bubbles and distribute. Cover pan with foil. Bake on the top rack for 20 minutes. Uncover pan. Bake on the bottom rack for an additional 20-30 minutes, until cheesecake just barely jiggles when the pan is jostled.

Let brownies cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack. Refrigerate in the pan for four hours (or overnight). Use foil overhang to remove brownies to a cutting board. Peel off foil. Slice and serve.

Leftover Cheesecake Brownies will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Cheesecake Brownies {Grain-Free}

Red Velvet Cheesecake Bars

Red Velvet Cheesecake BarsWhile I was in Texas this past December, I held a pop-up sale in my parents’ dining room. When I set the date and began to plan the thing, I had grand ideas about what I would have available. The list of ideas included grapefruit bars and pie and Texas-shaped ginger cookies, but when it came down to it, I threw all those ideas out the window and took it easy on myself. The preparation was still intense, but making drop cookies and bars was far simpler than what I had originally planned.

There were Peanut Butter Blossoms, Malted Whoppers Cookies, and Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, but the first things to go were these Red Velvet Cheesecake Bars. Between their eye-catching color, classic chocolate-meets-vanilla flavor, and the swirls of cheesecake, their quick disappearance is easy to understand.

Red Velvet Cheesecake BarsMaking Red Velvet Cheesecake Bars may sound daunting to some, but they were actually the easiest recipe I made. I mean, there’s no softening of butter, no chilling of dough, no waiting for chocolate to harden. Nope. These bars are ridiculously easy to make, and come together in just a few minutes.

The red velvet base is a play off of my favorite blondie recipe. You’ll notice a few changes from the norm here, most noticeably that they’re bright red, but food coloring isn’t the only thing these bars have in common with their namesake cake: natural unsweetened cocoa is subbed for part of the usual all-purpose flour and a touch of vinegar gives the base that signature red velvet tang.

Red Velvet Cheesecake BarsThe batter comes together with just a whisk and a bowl, but you will need your mixer for the cheesecake. It’s the real star of the show here. I mean, red velvet is great and all, but I am all about that cheesecake layer. There’s nothing new here–cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and vanilla are beaten together before being swirled into the red velvet batter. Everything goes into the oven for about half an hour before taking a seemingly endless four hour chill. For all the ease of preparation here, there is a lot of patience required. I promise it’ll all be worth it once you bite into one of these bars.

Red Velvet Cheesecake BarsLook at that! There’s almost as much cheesecake as there is red velvet! Make a batch this weekend, or use a heart cookie cutter and make them part of your Valentine’s Day ❤ Red Velvet Cheesecake Bars

Red Velvet Cheesecake Bars
makes 24-32 bars

Cheesecake:
16 ounces (2 bricks) full-fat brick-style cream cheese
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Red Velvet Base:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon liquid red food coloring

Place oven racks in the top and bottom positions. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9×13-inch pan with foil and grease with butter. Set aside.

Make cheesecake. In a medium mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese until fluffy. Mix in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating until combined. Mix in vanilla. Set aside.

Make the red velvet. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, whisking completely after each addition. Whisk in white vinegar, vanilla, and food coloring. Use a silicone spatula to fold in flour mixture. Reserve 2/3 cup of the batter before spreading the rest in the prepared pan.

Pour cheesecake mixture over the red velvet batter. Drop spoonfuls of the reserved red velvet over the top and swirl in with a small, thin knife. Tap full pan on the counter five times to release any air bubbles. Tightly cover the pan with foil. Bake on the top rack of the oven for 15 minutes. Remove top foil and place pan on the bottom rack to bake for 15-20 more minutes. Bars are done when the cheesecake layer barely jiggles when the pan is jostled.

Allow bars to cool in the pan on a rack until they reach room temperature. Refrigerate for four hours, until cold. Place bars on a cutting board and remove foil. Use a large chef’s knife to slice them into bars (or a cookie cutter for fun shapes). Serve.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Bars will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Bars

Peachy Paleo Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}

Peachy Paleo Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}A few weeks ago, my boss asked me to cater a small engagement dinner for two of her friends. Normally, my job consists of grocery shopping and making dinner for her, her husband, and twin teenage boys, but every once in a while, she’ll ask me to pull out the big guns and cater a party. This wasn’t my first rodeo (I cater frequently for different people and organizations around Brooklyn), but this party had me a little nervous.

You see, the grooms-to-be are paleo. As in, they don’t eat grains, legumes, sugar, or dairy, among other things. I am used to having specific guidelines when I cook for others, but they’re usually something akin to “cut the salt” or “no nightshades,” not “cut out four food groups.”

Peachy Paleo Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}I spent the days leading up to the party scouring the Internet for dinner party-worthy paleo recipes. I was apprehensive about choosing any of them–I am not paleo and don’t know many people who ascribe to that lifestyle, so I really felt like I was walking in blind. After much agonizing and many frantic late-night emails to my boss, I settled on this paleo Shrimp & Grits recipe (which is fantastic, by the way). One thing I didn’t have to worry about was dessert. I had seen a paleo cheesecake on Brown Eyed Baker several months before, and knew it would be perfect topped with ripe peaches. It was such a huge hit with the guests of honor that I knew I had to put it on here.

Peachy Paleo Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}This Peachy Paleo Cheesecake is vegan, grain-free, and refined sugar-free, but is definitely still dessert. It’s sweet and creamy, with a nutty cinnamon-spiced date crust, and a topping of sliced late-summer peaches and a drizzle of maple syrup. It may not be anything like traditional cheesecake, but it is really delicious.

Peachy Paleo Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}Let’s talk ingredients. As you may have gathered, this cheesecake contains no actual cheese. Here, the smooth and creamy filling comes from a combination of coconut cream, coconut oil, and cashews that have been soaked in water. When those three ingredients are combined in a food processor with some Grade B maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and a touch of salt, the result is ultra-velvety, coconut-scented magic.

Peachy Paleo Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}The filling gets poured over a simple three-ingredient crust. To make the crust, combine 13 dates, a cup of almonds, and four tablespoons of cinnamon* in the bowl of your food processor. Whirl everything until the almonds are completely broken down, and the mixture holds together when you pinch it between your fingers. Then press it into an even layer on the bottom of a springform pan and top it with the filling.

*Yes, I said four tablespoons of cinnamon. When I first made this recipe, I thought that had to be a typo, but it’s not. I promise that this crust is not overly-spiced.

Peachy Paleo Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}This cheesecake requires a long chill: eight hours in the refrigerator. It will seem absolutely endless. Lucky for you, I am the queen of impatience when it comes to waiting for my desserts to set up, so I found a little shortcut. The cake pictured was frozen for two hours after assembly, and looked and acted just like the paleo cheesecakes I’ve chilled in the refrigerator. Once your cheesecake is nice and cold, top it with sliced peaches (or any fruit you like) and drizzle it with a little more maple syrup!

This Peachy Paleo Cheesecake is delightfully smooth and creamy, with a crumbly crust and delicious fresh peaches. It’s absolutely delicious and guaranteed to be a hit with your paleo and non-paleo friends alike! Peaches will only be in season for a few more weeks, but I already have plans to try this recipe with sliced pears over the coming months.

Peachy Paleo Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}Let me know if you try this or any of my other recipes! I’m on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter @e2bakesbrooklyn 💗

Peachy Paleo Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}
adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
makes one 9-inch round cheesecake

Crust:
13 Medjool dates, pitted
1 cup raw almonds
4 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Filling:
2/3 cup raw cashews
1 14 ounce can coconut cream* (not cream of coconut)
1/3 cup Grade B maple syrup (or raw honey)
juice of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2/3 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled

Topping:
2 large peaches, thinly sliced
Grade B maple syrup (or raw honey), for drizzling

Place cashews in a small Tupperware. Cover with water. Refrigerate for 4-12 hours.

Place coconut cream in the refrigerator for 4-12 hours.

Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan with coconut oil.

Make the crust. Combine dates, almonds, and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor, and process until the almonds are broken down (about 15-20 seconds). Mixture will look dry, but should hold together when pinched. Pour crust mixture into prepared pan, and press it to the edges to form an even layer. Set aside.

Wash and dry the food processor, or wipe it out very well with a paper towel.

Make the filling. Drain cashews and place them in the food processor. Open coconut cream. Scoop the chilled cream from the top of the can, and discard the water accumulated in the bottom. Add coconut cream, maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt to the food processor. Process until the mixture is completely smooth. With the food processor running, drizzle coconut oil through the feed tube. Continue processing until everything is fully combined.

Pour filling mixture over crust. Refrigerate for 8 hours (or freeze for 2 hours). Release the cheesecake from the springform pan, and allow it to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Top with sliced peaches and a drizzle of maple syrup, and serve immediately.

Leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Note:

If you cannot find coconut cream, use two 13.5-ounce cans of full-fat coconut milk. Chill them and scoop off the coconut cream, as written in the recipe.

Peachy Paleo Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}