Thursday: What’s Baking?

I am officially craving sugar! It has finally hit me like a ton of bricks and I am losing my mind! My favourite is peanut M and M’s, but I don’t mind a few Lindt chocolate balls, or a handful of Ferrero Rochers either! I love the chocolate that is a hard exterior, but flows when you crack the shell. Luckily, I can do without candy, minus the Skittles, which has always been a childhood favourite. Allow me to take a trip down memory lane, as I remember the love I had for the double-flavoured nerds in the box that you would empty into your mouth, that crunch like rock candy. What about Fun Dips powdered candy with the edible sticks? Or, Popeye candy sticks that we used to pretend to smoke like cigarettes?

Okay, I know I’ve gone overboard, but the sugar craving is real! I’ve been researching naturally sweetened baked goods, and have come up with another recipe I’d like for us to try:

Slices of the best baked vegan gluten-free cheesecake

Easy Baked Cheesecake (Vegan + GF)

Ingredients

FILLING

  • 1 cup raw cashews*
  • 1 cup coconut cream*
  • 8 ounces vegan cream cheese* (Trader Joe’s brand, or Toffuti)
  • 1 Tbsp arrowroot or cornstarch
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup (plus more to taste)
  • 1 Tbsp melted coconut oil (for extra creaminess)
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1-2 Tbsp lemon juice (plus more to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt

CRUST

  • 3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats*
  • 3/4 cup raw almonds*
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp coconut sugar (plus more to taste)
  • 4 Tbsp coconut oil (melted)

Instructions

  • Add raw cashews to a mixing bowl and cover with boiling hot water. Let rest for 1 hour (uncovered). Then drain thoroughly.
  • In the meantime, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and line a standard loaf pan (or 8×8 inch baking dish // adjust number/size of pan if altering batch size) with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Add oats, almonds, sea salt, and coconut sugar to a high speed blender and mix on high until a fine meal is achieved.
  • Remove lid and add melted coconut oil, starting with 4 Tbsp (60 g // amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) and adding more if it’s too dry. Pulse/mix on low until a loose dough is formed, scraping down sides as needed. You should be able to squeeze the mixture between two fingers and form a dough instead of it crumbling. If too dry, add a bit more melted coconut oil.
  • Transfer mixture to parchment-lined loaf pan and spread evenly to distribute. Then place parchment paper on top and use a flat-bottomed object, like a drinking glass, to press down firmly until it’s evenly distributed and well packed. Let it come up the sides a little, otherwise it can be too thick on the bottom.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, then increase heat to 375 F (190 C) and bake for 5-10 minutes more, or until the edges are golden brown and there is some browning on the surface. Remove from oven to cool slightly, then reduce oven heat to 325 degrees F (162 C).
  • Once cashews are soaked and drained, add to a high speed blender with coconut cream, vegan cream cheese, arrowroot starch, vanilla, maple syrup, coconut oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sea salt. Blend on high until very creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed.
  • Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more lemon juice for acidity, lemon zest for tartness, salt for flavor balance, and maple syrup for sweetness.
  • Pour filling over the pre-baked crust and spread into an even layer. Tap on counter to remove air bubbles.
  • Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the edges look very slightly dry and the center appears only slightly “jiggly” but not liquidy. When you shake it, it will have some give to it, but it shouldn’t all look liquid – only the center should jiggle.
  • Let rest for 10 minutes at room temperature, then transfer to refrigerator to let cool completely (uncovered). Once cooled, cover (waiting until cool will prevent condensation) and continue refrigerating for a total of 5-6 hours, preferably overnight.
  • To serve, lift out of pan with parchment paper and cut into bars or triangles. (I carefully cut off the very end pieces because they weren’t as creamy as the center pieces.)
  • Enjoy as is or with coconut whipped cream and fresh berries. Store leftovers in the refrigerator, covered, up to 3-4 days, though best within the first 2 days.

Notes

*If you can’t have cashews, the next best thing I can recommend is subbing either macadamia nuts,or upping the amount of coconut cream to 1 1/2 cups and supplementing with 3/4 cup extra firm silken tofu (amounts as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size). I have not tested the recipe this way, however, and cannot guarantee the results.
*My favorite coconut cream is Trader Joe’s brand. I highly recommend coconut cream over full-fat coconut milk. But if you can’t find coconut cream, buy a couple of cans of full-fat coconut milk and scoop off the top cream.
*I would not recommend trying to substitute the vegan cream cheese for anything else. It’s essential to get that creamy, cheesy texture in this recipe.
*For all other substitution questions (including oats and almonds), see our Recipe FAQ.

Nutrition (1 of 8 servings)

Serving: 1 slices Calories: 534 Carbohydrates: 37.4 g Protein: 8.6 g Fat: 41 g Saturated Fat: 22.3 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 230 mg Potassium: 381 mg Fiber: 3.5 g Sugar: 21.9 g

*Recipe taken from minimalistbaker.com

I’d like to point out that the cheesecake is both vegan and gluten-free, which are both a plus. This cake is also the better option for diabetics (always in moderation). The excitement is mounting to give this cake a try, as I am on my way to a severe sugar crash and burn! I will most definitely need the better dessert option as a pick-me-up. Let’s hope this works out for all of us, and that it becomes your better option as well. Pictures will be posted this weekend on my “At Home”segment on Sunday. Until then, take good care of yourselves, and enjoy the night. Happy Thursday everyone!


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