As we come into the colder months, flavors that automatically spring to mind are things like pumpkin spice chocolate chip cookies and spiced chai loaf cake. The warming spices of chai combined with the creaminess of latte are a combination that brings the comfort and coziness that we so crave coming into Autumn.
Traditional masala chai is a black tea beverage typically made with milk, hot water, and aromatic spices and herbs. The creamy filling is inspired by Indian masala spices and combines a spice blend of some of those aromatic flavors used in traditional Indian masala, with creamy dairy-free coconut cashew-based filling, or in this case the "latte".
So what if you could have your cozy chai spices combined into a dessert? It doesn't get any better right?
This chai latte cheesecake has become a firm favorite over on Pinterest as well as being a much-requested recipe amongst my family and friends! And it's no wonder as it has a melt-in-the-mouth texture, and trust me, it's possible to stop eating it once you take the first bite! Made with a coffee-infused brownie base, chai spiced cheesecake filling, and creamy chocolate ganache. The different layers come together to create a delicious flavor experience. This is my favorite cashew-based cheesecake yet!
Coffee Brownie Base
For the base of the cheesecake, I used my basic brownie recipe which is made up mainly of walnuts, dates, and cacao powder. The first time I tested this recipe I kept the brownie base as my standard recipe, however, it felt like it was missing something. Coffee! Of course. So the next time that I tested the recipe I included some instant coffee in the base. This added to the "latte" effect and it really takes the flavor of this cheesecake up a notch.
Chai Cheesecake Filling
The cheesecake filling of this recipe is super creamy thanks to a combination of cashews, coconut milk, and plant-based yogurt. I use a soy-based yogurt that's flavored with specs of vanilla as I find it adds a wonderfully intense vanilla flavor to the dessert. Vanilla-flavored coconut yogurt also works really well, but you can also use plain soy or coconut yogurt if you prefer.
With flavors of vanilla and chai spices, this filling is to die for! The ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, and allspice make up the delicious "chai" flavor of this cheesecake.
The topping of this cheesecake is a really simple chocolate ganache made with coconut milk and chocolate. A dash of salt and vanilla bean paste makes the flavors of the cake sing. You can use any vegan-friendly chocolate you'd like for this part of the recipe. Whether that's a vegan "milk" chocolate or a dark 85%, they all work nicely.
As most chocolate will already have some sort of sweetener added to it, there is no need to add any additional maple syrup to the ganache. Combined with the sweet chai cheesecake filling, it's more than enough.
How To Make Chai Cheesecake
This recipe is really easy to make and is made of the three layers that we spoke about in the paragraph above. Before you dive in and get started on making this cheesecake, there are a couple of things that you'll need to prepare ahead of time.
Chill The Coconut Milk
For the cheesecake filling, this recipe calls for full-fat canned coconut milk or coconut cream. It's important to consider that for most raw or no-bake desserts, a high-fat content coconut product is needed in order to help the dish set properly and add a creamy consistency to the end result.
Canned coconut milk is made up of both water and fat - which emulsify at room temperature so in order to separate the fat from the liquid the cans need to be chilled.
You can keep a couple of cans to hand in the fridge for when you need them, but try to chill the coconut milk at least the night before you plan on making this recipe. Then scoop the thick coconut cream from the top of the cans, discarding the liquid or using it as a base for dishes such as curries.
Soak The Cashews
The cashews for the filing of this cheesecake need to be soaked ahead of time. This not only gives them a silkier, creamier mouthfeel, it also helps to make the blending process much easier on your kitchen equipment!
Place the cashews in a bowl and cover them with filtered water. Leave them to soak for about 4 hours, then rinse them clean and drain before use.
Note: If you're in a hurry - don't worry you can soak them in boiling water instead, then rinse and drain.
2. Brownie Base
Starting with the base, it's important to blend the dry ingredients first (walnuts, cacao powder, coffee, and salt) to get a nice even crumb consistency. Then add in the wet/sticky ingredients (dates and almond butter) and blend again until the mixture forms a dough. If the mixture doesn't appear to be a dough after a couple of minutes of blending, check the consistency between your fingers. Chances are it will stick together, which is exactly what you want.
I used a square 8 x 8" springform pan for this recipe, but you could also make a round cake and use a similar-sized circular pan instead. Regardless of which pan you're using, it's important to line the bottom of it with some parchment paper before adding the brownie base. This will prevent the base from sticking to the pan.
3. Chai Filling
For the filling, it's literally just a case of adding all the ingredients to your blender and blitzing until smooth and creamy. Be patient with this step, you don't want any lumps in the mixture, it should be silky smooth. So keep blending until you reach that texture!
If your blender or food processor is having trouble with getting the mixture to a silky smooth consistency, I'd recommend giving the equipment "breaks" in-between blends. Try blending for 3-5 minutes and then allowing the machine to rest for a few minutes before blending again.
4. Ganache Topping
To make the ganache, gently heat the coconut milk in a saucepan. Add the chocolate, salt, and vanilla bean paste and whisk well until everything has melted together.
Lastly, pour the ganache over the top of the cheesecake. Freeze for another 4 hours or overnight. Once set, remove the cake from the pan whilst still frozen. Cut into serving sizes and defrost for 1 hour before serving.
This cake stores well in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days. Alternatively, you can freeze any leftover cake and defrost it as needed.
Cutting The Cake
So here's the fun part! I've been experimenting with different cutting techniques as personally, I was getting a little bored with the standard cube cuts. The sky is really the limit here, as you can get as creative as you like with portion sizes and shapes. This cake would also be great if made in around a 9-inch springform pan if you prefer a more classic style.
Which cut do you prefer? Let me know in the comments if you made this and which style cut you opted for! Or even better, pop a picture of your finished dish in the comments section of this pin.
This recipe makes quite a large cake. It stores really well in the fridge for a few days in an airtight container, but you can also freeze sections and defrost them for about 30-40 minutes as needed. Always remember to store the cake in an airtight vessel, whether you're chilling or freezing it.
More Vegan Cakes
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- 1 ½ cups (194 g) cashews, soaked, *see notes
- 1 400ml can chilled coconut milk, *see notes
- ½ cup (118 ml) maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons (30 g) coconut oil, solid
- ⅓ cup (82 g) vanilla soya yoghurt, substitute with plain soya or coconut yoghurt
- 1 tablespoon (15 g) almond butter
- 1 teaspoon (5 g) vanilla bean paste
- 1 teaspoon (5 g) ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon (2.5 g) ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon (2.5 g) ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon (2.5 g) ground cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon (1.25 g) allspice
- To make the base, add the walnuts, cacao powder, coffee, and salt to your food processor. Blitz for a couple of minutes until the mixture reaches a crumb consistency.
- Add the dates and almond butter and continue to process for a few minutes until the mixture comes together to form a dough.
- Line the base of an 8x8" springform pan with parchment paper.
- Add the dough to the pan and use a spatula or flat bottomed glass to compact it into the base in an even layer. Set aside in the freezer.
- For the filling, add all of the ingredients to a high-speed blender and blitz for a few minutes until smooth and creamy.
- Pour the filling into the pan and gently tap the pan on your work surface to knock out any air bubbles. Freeze for 2 hours.
- To make the ganache, gently heat the coconut milk in a saucepan.
- Add the chocolate, salt, and vanilla bean paste and whisk well until everything has melted together.
- Pour the ganache over the top of the cheesecake.
- Freeze for another 4 hours or overnight.
- Once set, remove the cake from the pan whilst still frozen. Cut into serving sizes and defrost for 1 hour before serving.
- This cake stores well in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days or alternatively you can freeze any leftover cake and defrost as needed.
- Soaked cashews: Soak the cashews in water for 4 hours, rinse and drain.
- Chilled coconut milk: Refrigerate the tin of coconut milk overnight, then only use the thick cream from the top of the can
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