To all the tahini lovers out there, this one is especially for you. Along with my tahini chocolate chip cookies and tahini caramel millionaires shortbread, that is! Because tahini is a versatile and beautiful ingredient that deserves to be celebrated and it takes the limelight in every element of this plant-based tahini cheesecake!
An oaty coconut base topped with the silkiest creamiest sweet tahini cheesecake filling and topped with my 2-ingredient (yes 2 ingredients!) tahini maple caramel. The entire cake is topped with homemade sesame brittle which adds an amazing crunch!
So if you're ready to get started making this indulgent dessert, make sure you keep reading. I've included storage tips along with how I get the creamiest filling and best cheesecake crust in this blog post!
What to expect from this recipe
Easy to make: this cheesecake is incredibly easy to make. Most of the recipe requires you to use a blender/food processor which does all the work for you! The most difficult part of the recipe is making the sesame brittle, this can be temperamental but as long as you work quickly and use a candy thermometer to get the correct temperature it will work a breeze!
Can be adapted as gluten-free: if you want to make this recipe gluten-free, just swap regular rolled oats for gluten-free oats.
Perfect for tahini and sesame lovers: seriously! tahini is incorporated into every layer of this cake, from the base to the caramel to the sesame brittle.
Toasted coconut flakes: Coconut flakes give the crust of the cake a wonderful flavor and texture. You can also use raw coconut flakes or desiccated coconut if you prefer. However, I really love the rich flavor you get from toasted coconut.
Rolled oats: An oaty base is a perfect complement to the rich and creamy cheesecake. If you're gluten-free, swap these out for GF oats.
Sea salt: Adding a little bit of salt to the crust helps to balance the sweetness and intensify the flavor of the cake.
Medjool dates: Dates act as both the sweetener and binding agent for bringing all the base ingredients together.
Tahini: This rich and decadent sesame paste is the star of the show in this recipe. It's used in almost every element of the cake.
Cashews: When soaked for a minimum of 4 hours, these nuts begin to soften. Once blended, this allows them to create a rich and creamy base for the cheesecake filling.
Coconut milk: You'll use the full-fat canned variety to get a rich consistency. Reduced fat coconut milk and other plant milk will NOT work for this recipe. The fat content is vital for creating a stable emulsion that will keep your cake nice and set!
Pure maple syrup: Tahini and maple are a combination made in heaven. The flavors both enhance each other and creates "halva" taste. Maple syrup is used to sweeten the cheesecake layer and it's also one part of my 2 ingredient tahini caramel which is drizzled on top of the cake.
Soy or coconut yogurt: If you haven't yet tried adding plant-based yogurt to your vegan cheesecake recipes I promise you, it will change your life! That light, cultured flavor really adds a twang and airiness to the recipe.
Lemon juice: A dash of lemon is used to elevate that cheesecake flavor.
Vanilla bean paste: I don't skip this ingredient in many dessert recipes and with GOOD reason! It always helps to round off the flavors of a dessert.
Coconut oil: Coconut oil solidifies at around room temperature, and is great for helping cheesecakes to set and keep their shape.
Granulated sugar: If you're making the sesame brittle element of this recipe, you'll need to use granulated sugar to make the caramel base.
Sesame seeds: Of course, no sesame brittle would be complete without sesame seeds. You can also use black sesame seeds or peanuts to create the brittle.
How to get a perfect crust
So here's the thing, I often see recipes for crusts that require you to add all of the ingredients to the food processor at once, but personally, I prefer gradually adding ingredients to get the perfect crust. You see, all of these ingredients have different consistencies, volumes, fat, and water contents, meaning that they take different times to break down in your food processor.
So I always recommend you start by getting all of the dry ingredients to a fine crumb consistency and then adding in the wet ingredients. This will minimize the chunkiness of the crust, and give you a nice evenly mixed cheesecake crust.
How to get the creamiest cheesecake filling
It's no secret by now that cashews create a wonderful vegan alternative to conventional cheesecake fillings. But why do we sometimes not get that silky (and I mean smooth without the slightest spec of grit) filling?
Well, there are a few reasons for that. First, you need to make sure that your cashews have been soaked for a minimum of 4 hours. But I'll let you in on another secret, you can also soak them in boiled water for just an hour, as the heat will accelerate how quickly they soak in that moisture and soften! Now that your cashews have been soaked, you've already made the job twice as easy for your blender!
Sometimes people ask me if they need an expensive blender to get a creamy cheesecake filling, and while a good quality blender such as a Vitamix will be a reliable investment that will get you amazing results, fast. I recognize that not everyone wants or has the capabilities to dish out that much for a kitchen appliance.
For the first 2 years of recipe creating, I did not own an expensive blender, so I can vouch that blenders (although helpful) are not the main ingredient for getting a silky smooth finish. You need to have patience. All blenders are different, and some just take a little more time to do the job. So be patient with your blender, give it a little break between blitzing, and scrape down the edges with your spatula every now and then to give it a helping hand to get the creamy result.
- This cheesecake is best stored refrigerated in an airtight container. It will last in the fridge for 3-5 days.
- The sesame brittle should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature and added to the top of the cake before serving.
- You can also freeze it for up to 2-3 months, however, for the best quality results, I would recommend using it within the first month.
- If freezing, I recommend slicing the cake into portions and placing them into airtight containers or individually wrapping them in compostable cling wrap.
- Defrost the cake at room temperature for one hour before serving.
More vegan cheesecakes
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- 1 ½ cups (200 g) cashews, soaked *see notes
- 1 cup (240 g) canned coconut milk, *see notes
- ½ cup (120 g) tahini
- ½ cup (160 g) pure maple syrup
- ½ cup (40 g) soya or coconut yoghurt, plain or vanilla flavour
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla bean paste
- 4 tablespoons (56 g) coconut oil, solid
- Pinch sea salt
- To make the crust, add the coconut flakes, oats, and salt to your food processor and blitz to a fine crumb consistency.
- Add the dates and tahini and blend until the ingredients come together to form a dough.
- Line the base of a 7.5 or 8" cake tin (with a removable base) with some parchment paper.
- Press the crust into the base of the tin using your spatula. Set aside.
- For the filling, add all of the ingredients to a high-speed blender and blitz until smooth and creamy with no lumps.
- Pour the filling into the cake tin and gently tap the tin on your work surface to knock out any air bubbles.
- Transfer the cake to the freezer to set for 6 hours (or overnight if preferred).
- Once set, remove the cake from the tin whilst frozen and allow it to defrost at room temperature for about an hour.
- Meanwhile, prepare the sesame brittle. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat.
- Add the water, maple syrup, and sugar to a saucepan. Place the saucepan on a low heat for about 2 minutes, until the sugar has melted.
- Once the sugar has melted, add the sesame seeds and increase the heat to a medium. Stir to make sure everything is coated evenly. Place your candy thermometer into the caramel mixture and bring the heat up to 150°C (300°F).
- Once the caramel has reached temperature, quickly pour it out onto your lined baking sheet. Use a spatula to spread it out as thinly as possible, you'll need to work quickly as it will set very fast. Allow it to cool for at least 30 minutes. Cut the sesame brittle into chunks and set it aside.
- For the caramel, simply mix the tahini, maple syrup, and salt in a bowl, whisking until smooth and creamy.
- To garnish the cake, add some whipped coconut cream on top of the cake, followed by a drizzle of the caramel sauce, and top with sesame brittle shards.
- 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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