We love a good hybrid dessert around here, especially if there's vegan cheesecake involved! And this no-bake carrot cake cheesecake cake is the perfect combination of fresh carrot cake and decadent cheesecake. So you won't have to choose between the two, or even turn on the oven!
This vegan cheesecake incorporates all of the flavors of carrot cake that we love and know, from fresh carrot to warming spices and cream cheese frosting. However, unlike traditional baked carrot cake that's frosted with cream cheese, the base of this recipe is made using raw ingredients that create a sticky crust which is then topped with a tangy dairy-free cheesecake filling made using cashews and vegan cream cheese.
All in all, a healthier twist on traditional carrot cake without eggs or dairy!
What to expect from this recipe:
- Incredibly easy to make, and requires no baking.
- Uses wholesome plant-based ingredients.
- Smooth, tangy, creamy cheesecake filling.
- Naturally gluten-free, eggless, and dairy-free.
- The perfect vegan dessert for your Easter table.
Ingredients for the raw carrot cake base
The base of this no-bake carrot cake is incredibly wholesome and made using healthy plant-based whole food ingredients. In fact, you could also turn the base into some delicious healthy carrot cake bites if you'd like!
Toasted coconut flakes: You can also use desiccated coconut, although it won't give you that nutty buttery flavor that comes from toasted coconut.
Cashews: These are added to the base for texture. You could also use another type of nut here if preferred, pecans or walnuts would be great!
Dates: These provide sweetness, and flavor and also act as the binding agent to keep all the base ingredients together.
Grated carrots: You can't have a carrot cake without carrots! For the freshest result, make sure you grate the carrots just before adding them to the base.
Spices and orange zest: Cinnamon and ginger help to create that classic carrot cake flavor while orange zest adds freshness to the cake to bring the flavor to the next level.
Sea salt: The salt will help to balance the sweetness of the dessert. You can use flaky sea salt, kosher salt, or pink Himalayan salt, but avoid regular table salt.
Coconut flour: Keep this ingredient on hand as it's only added to the base if the mixture is a little on the wet side.
Ingredients for the cheesecake topping
To contrast the sticky sweet base, the cheesecake topping is tangy, smooth, and creamy!
- Cashews: When soaked for a minimum of 4 hours, they will soften. Once blended, this allows them to create a rich and creamy base for the cheesecake batter. Quick Tip: If you're in a hurry you can quick soak your cashews in boiling water for 30 minutes to an hour. You can find more tips on how to get the perfect filling in this guide to vegan cheesecakes.
- Vegan cream cheese: I use violife, but you can use any vegan cream cheese that’s available to you. If you're not able to get your hands on this you can use coconut cream in its place, just add an additional tablespoon of lemon juice along with it to get that tangy flavor!
- Pure maple syrup: Maple syrup sweetens and brings another layer of flavor to the dessert.
- Vegan greek style yogurt: This adds another layer of "cheesecake" flavor while adding lightness to the dessert. If you can't find Greek-style, you can use regular soy or coconut yogurt, or even vegan sour cream at a reduced amount (see the recipe notes at the bottom of this page for quantities).
- Vanilla extract: The vanilla plays a big role in the flavor of the cheesecake filling so don't skip it! You could also use vanilla bean paste for an even more intense vanilla flavor.
- Spices and lemon juice: Cinnamon and nutmeg add festive warming flavor to the cheesecake while lemon juice helps to enhance the flavors as well as give it that cheesecake tang.
- Coconut oil: This is an important ingredient for the filling as it plays the role of setting the dessert.
How to make a carrot cake cheesecake
(Full recipe and instructions are in the recipe card at the end of this page)
Step 1: No-bake carrot cake base
First add your dry ingredients (which in this case are toasted coconut, cashews, cinnamon, ginger, and sea salt) to a food processor and blitz them until they form an even light crumb consistency - this will ensure you don't have lumps of coconut or nuts in the finished cake.
Next add in the wet ingredients (dates, and orange zest) and blend for about a minute to form a dough. Followed by adding in the grated carrot, blend for another thirty seconds or so to combine all of the ingredients. Check the consistency at this stage, if the dough is very wet, add all of the coconut flour and blend to combine. Depending on how moist it is you can add less of the coconut flour.
Line the bottom of a 7" cake tin with a removable base with some parchment paper. Press the dough into the base of the cake tin, and smooth it out with a spatula or flat bottomed glass. Place in the freezer while you prepare the filling.
Step 2: Cheesecake layer
For the carrot cheesecake filling, simply add all of the ingredients to a blender and blitz until they are smooth and creamy. Pour the cheesecake mixture into the cake tin on top of the raw carrot cake layer, and tap the tin on your work surface to remove any air bubbles. Place in the freezer for a minimum of 4 hours or until set.
Once set, remove the cake from the tin whilst still frozen. This helps to get a nice smooth finish to the sides of the cake pan, it also avoids having to use cooking spray or additional parchment to line the sides of the pan. You can use a blowtorch or a damp warm cloth to gently heat up the sides which will make it easier to remove the cake.
How to make candied carrot garnish
If you'd like to add some fancy carrot swirls as a festive decoration for your cake, I'd recommend using this method as it will make them easier to roll as well as tastier!
- Use a vegetable peeler to cut the carrots into long thin strips
- Make a simple sugar syrup of 1 part caster or granulated sugar to 2 parts water.
- Cook the carrots for a few minutes to soften them slightly.
- Place the carrots in an ice water bath to prevent them from cooking further.
- Roll them up and secure them on a toothpick while they dry
- Use them to garnish your cheesecake!
- Make vegan carrot cake cheesecake bars by making this recipe in an 8-inch square pan. Once set, use a sharp hot knife to slice the cake into individual bars.
- The base can be made into no-bake carrot cake bites. Simply roll the dough into balls and store it in an airtight container in the fridge.
- If you prefer baked cakes, try this vegan carrot cake.
This carrot cheesecake can be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 3-4 days. If you don't have an airtight container to fit the entire cake, place it on a plate and wrap it tightly with plastic wrap.
Alternatively, you can freeze any unused cake and defrost it at room temperature for an hour as needed. I'd recommend removing the carrot and mint garnish if freezing any leftover cake.
More vegan cakes
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- 1 ½ cups (195 g) cashews, soaked *see notes
- 7 oz (200 g) vegan cream cheese
- ½ cup (118 ml) pure maple syrup
- ¾ cup (185 g) vegan greek style yoghurt, or ½ cup regular soya yoghurt
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon (5 g) ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon (2.5 g) ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) lemon juice
- ¼ cup (55 g) coconut oil, solid
Carrot Garnish (Optional)
- 2 medium carrots, or 1 large
- ½ cup (100 g) caster sugar
- 1 cup (236 ml) water
- For the base, add the flaked coconut, cashews, cinnamon, ginger, and salt to your food processor and blitz for about 30 seconds until you have a pretty even crumb consistency.
- Add in the dates and orange zest and blend again for another minute until evenly combined. Add the grated carrots and blend for another 30 seconds or so. Check the consistency, if very wet, add all of the coconut flour and blend to combine. Depending on how moist it is you can add less of the coconut flour.
- Line the bottom of a 7.5 or 8" cake tin (with a removable base) with some parchment paper. Press the dough into the base of the cake tin, and smooth it out with a spatula or flat bottomed glass. Place in the freezer while you prepare the filling.
- For the filling, add all of the ingredients to a blender and blitz until smooth and creamy. Pour the filling into the cake tin and tap the tin on your work surface to remove any air bubbles. Place in the freezer for a minimum of 4 hours or until set.
- Once set, remove the cake from the tin whilst still frozen. You can use a blowtorch or a damp warm cloth to gently heat up the sides which will make it easier to remove the cake.
- Allow the cake to defrost at room temperature for 30-40 minutes before serving.
- To make the carrot garnish, thinly slice long strips of carrot using a vegetable peeler. Add the sugar and water to a saucepan and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and add in the carrot strips. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, then transfer the carrot strips to a cold water/ice bath for about a minute. Roll the carrots up and secure them with a cocktail stick until ready to use.
- Garnish with the carrots, chopped pecans, and some fresh mint if desired.
- Store this cake in an airtight container in the fridge and consume it within 3-4 days. Alternatively, you can freeze any unused cake and defrost as needed - I'd recommend removing the carrot and mint garnish if freezing any leftovers.
- Soaked cashews: Soak the cashews in water for 4 hours, rinse and drain.
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