If you're a fellow chocolate cherry dessert fan then it doesn't get much better than black forest cake. Until it's combined with another classic dessert in the form of this vegan black forest cheesecake, that is!

Similar to these vegan black forest cupcakes, this easy no-bake chocolate cherry cheesecake is infused with Kirsch. It's then topped off with dairy-free coconut cream and fancy chocolate curls for a bit of wow-factor. This recipe is loosely based on my vegan chocolate orange cheesecake recipe.

Here’s what’s to love about this recipe

  • Easy to make
  • No-bake
  • Eggless and dairy-free
  • Nut-free 
  • Showstopper dessert
  • Easily adapted as kid-friendly (without alcohol)
  • Great made with frozen cherries making it suitable for any time of year
  • Perfect for special occasions (birthdays, Christmas and holidays, Mother's day, Valentine’s, etc)
cherry chocolate cheesecake with slice being taken out of it.Pin

Ingredients overview

  • Cherries: This recipe works best with frozen cherries, as they are cooked they release their juices which help to create a cherry sauce.
  • Dark chocolate: I highly recommend using a good quality dark chocolate for this no-bake cheesecake as the flavor will come through in the end result.  The more bitter the chocolate, the less sweet the end result. I usually go for 70% chocolate.
  • Vegan cream cheese: I use violife, but you can use any vegan-friendly cream cheese that’s available to you.
  • Silken tofu: This ingredient sits into this cheesecake secretly, you won’t even notice it’s there taste-wise. But it does add an amazingly silky smooth texture which is incredible for vegan cheesecakes.
  • Cocoa powder: For an additional kick of chocolate! You can use raw cacao powder which has a slightly more acidic flavor or Dutch-processed which will give a deep rich flavor.
  • Pure maple syrup: My go-to sweetener for vegan cheesecake recipes.
  • Lemon juice: This helps to give a slightly tangy flavor.
  • Kirsch: You can also use brandy or Amaretto here, or cherry juice for a non-alcoholic version.
  • Vanilla extract: The vanilla is used to balance out the flavors of the dessert as well as intensify the sweetness.
  • Vegan Oreos or similar cookies: The biscuit forms the base of the crust while the cream centers help to bind everything together. You can also use homemade oreo cookies.
  • Vegan butter: This helps to set the base as it solidifies when chilled. You'll need vegan block butter, not spreadable margarine. You can also use coconut oil in its place.
  • Sea salt: This helps to balance the sweetness of the crust. 
ingredients for making cherry chocolate cheesecake on a metal tray.Pin

How to make vegan black forest cheesecake (with step-by-step images)

(Full ingredient quantities and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post)

To make the crust, simply add the dry ingredients (cookies and salt) to your food processor and blend until they reach a crumb consistency. Then add in the vegan butter and blend again to combine. The mixture should stick together between your fingers, in a dough-like consistency.

Next press the dough into the base of a lined cake pan. It's important to line both the base and sides of the cake tin with parchment paper as we don't be freezing this cheesecake, which will make it easier to lift it out once set.

Step 2: Cherry chocolate cheesecake filling

This vegan cheesecake has a cherry chocolate filling. To get a slightly tart flavor, cherries are reduced down with Kirsch. Once ready they will be almost like a syrup consistency. This step is important as adding fresh fruit to cheesecake filling will mess up the consistency due to the water content.

The cherry mixture is then blended up with the remaining cheesecake filling ingredients (apart from the chocolate). So that's vegan cream cheese, silken tofu, maple syrup, lemon juice, and vanilla extract.

Once completely smooth, gently melt the chocolate over a double-boiler (bain-marie to sound fancy).

pouring melted chocolate into a blender with cherry cheesecake filling in it.Pin

Now just pour the filling into your lined cake pan and pop it into the fridge to set.

Step 3: Cherry topping

You can't have a chocolate cheesecake with cherries without a juicy cherry topping. First cook the cherries and water. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve and reserve the cherries for later.

Now make a paste of the cornflour (cornstarch), Kirsch, and maple syrup and whisk it well. This forms a cornstarch slurry which will help to prevent lumps in your cherry sauce. Add the cornstarch mixture to the strained cherry juice and cook it out for 5 minutes whilst whisking. The mixture will become thick and glossy - yum!

Lastly, stir in those reserved cherries and watch them plump back up as they soak up the juices from the thickened cherry sauce. Be sure to allow the cherry sauce to cool completely before topping the cheesecake. 

Decorating the cheesecake

How to make chocolate curls

I know I know, it looks intimidating. But honestly making chocolate curls from scratch is pretty easy. You just need a small lunch box or plastic container, a potato peeler, some parchment paper. I also recommend latex gloves for this particular task because the chocolate will melt with the warmth of your hands which can become a pretty messy job!

Simply melt the chocolate and pour it into a container lined with some parchment paper (this will make it easier to lift out the chocolate once set). Then use a potato peeler to curl the chocolate at a 45-degree angle away from you or towards you. 

Another method for making chocolate curls is to melt the chocolate onto a flat baking tray. Then scrape the chocolate using a chef’s knife at a 45-degree angle away from you.

slice of chocolate cheesecake with cherries, cream and chocolate shavings on top.Pin

Frequently asked questions

What is vegan black forest cheesecake made of?

This vegan black forest cheesecake is loosely based around and inspired by traditional black forest gateau, but it is by no means an authentic black forest cake. It consists of layers of chocolate cherry cheesecake, sour cherry sauce, coconut cream, and chocolate curls on a sweet cookie base.

Can you freeze black forest cheesecake?

Yes, if you plan on freezing this cheesecake I recommend doing so before garnishing it and making the cherry sauce and whipped cream before serving. 

Can I make this cheesecake gluten-free?

Yes, simply swap the cookies in the crust for vegan, gluten-free cookies of your choice.

Is this cheesecake nut-free?

Yes, this cheesecake is nut-free. However, be sure to check the ingredients of separate ingredients, in particular the vegan cream cheese. I use violife, which is free from nuts.

Which is better, baked or no-bake cheesecake?

This is totally dependent on your own personal taste. My preference is for no-bake cheesecake recipes as they are usually much easier to make, but they do tend to be on the richer side. You can also check out my baked vegan cheesecake if that's more to your liking.

Substitutions

  • Kirsch: This can be substituted with cherry brandy, brandy or Amaretto depending on what you have to hand. If you want to make this cheesecake kid-friendly, simply swap out the alcohol for unsweetened cherry juice.
  • Vegan cream cheese: If you don't have access to vegan cream cheese you can use coconut cream in its place. I would suggest taste-testing the cheesecake mixture as you may want to add a little more sweetener, lemon juice, and/or salt to adjust to your taste. 
  • Coconut cream: For the topping, you can use an alternative plant-based cream such as soy oat, or rice whipping cream, but you need to make sure they are suitable for whipping.
chocolate cherry cheesecake on a white wooden surface with chocolate curls on top.Pin

More vegan black forest desserts

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Black Forest Cheesecake

5 from 14 votes
PREP TIME: 1 hr
COOK TIME: 30 mins
Chilling Time: 4 hrs
TOTAL TIME: 5 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 12
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Description

This easy vegan black forest cheesecake combines two classic desserts in one delicious showstopper of a cake. The recipe is nut-free and can easily be adapted as gluten-free if needed. Perfect for cherry chocolate dessert lovers!

Ingredients

Crust

  • 14 (140g) (0.5 oz) original oreos or oreo style cookies
  • 42 g (3 tablespoons) vegan butter
  • ¼ tsp (¼ teaspoon) sea salt

Filling

  • 250 g (8.82 oz) frozen sour cherries, or frozen sweet cherries
  • 350 g (12.35 oz) silken tofu
  • 200 g (7.05 oz) vegan cream cheese
  • 90 ml (6 tablespoons) Kirsch, or cherry brandy/brandy/Amaretto or cherry juice for alcohol free
  • 30 ml (2 tablespoons) pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon (1 teaspoon) lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon (1 teaspoon) vanilla extract
  • 300 g (10.58 oz) dark chocolate
  • 10 g (2 tablespoons) unsweetened cocoa powder, optional

Cherry topping

  • 400 g (14.11 oz) frozen sour cherries, or frozen sweet cherries
  • 60 ml (0.25 cup) water
  • 60 ml (0.25 cup) pure maple syrup
  • 60 ml (0.25 cup) Kirsch, or cherry brandy/brandy/Amaretto or cherry juice for alcohol free
  • 15 g (2 tbsp) cornstarch

Optional garnish

Instructions

Crust

  • Add the cookies and sea salt to your food processor and blitz for about 30 seconds until evenly finely ground. Add in the vegan butter and blend again until evenly combined and the mixture sticks together between your fingers. Line the bottom and sides of a 7" or 8" cake tin (with removable base) with some parchment paper. Press the cookie mixture into the base of the cake tin, and smooth it out with a spatula or flat bottomed glass, making sure it is compact. Set aside in the fridge.

Filling

  • Add the cherries and Kirsch to a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Continue to simmer gently for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the cooked cherries to a high-speed blender or food processor along with the silken tofu, vegan cream cheese, maple syrup, lemon juice, and vanilla extract, and blend until smooth and creamy. Melt the chocolate over a bain-marie (double boiler). Add the melted chocolate to the filling mixture and blend again until evenly mixed. Taste the mixture and if you want a deeper chocolate flavor add the cocoa powder and blend again.
  • Transfer the filling into the cake tin using a spatula to smooth it out. Place in the fridge to set for 3-4 hours (or overnight if preferred).

Cherry layer

  • Add the frozen cherries and water to a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Continue to simmer gently for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, set the cooked cherries aside, and add the liquid back to the pan.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, Kirsch, and cornstarch into a paste until smooth. Add the cornstarch paste to the saucepan with the cherry liquid and simmer for 5 minutes whilst whisking and stirring. The mixture will thicken. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes before stirring in the reserved cooked cherries. Cover and keep at room temperature until ready to top the cheesecake.

Assembly

  • To make the chocolate curls, melt the chocolate and pour it into a small plastic container lined with parchment paper. Freeze for 20-30 minutes, then remove the block of chocolate from the container and use a potato peeler to create chocolate curls in long movements while applying pressure. I recommend wearing latex gloves for this step as the heat from your hands will melt the chocolate. If the chocolate gets too soft, return it to the freezer for 10 minutes and repeat.
  • Once set, remove the cake from the tin. Spoon the cherry mixture on top of the cake and top with whipped coconut cream and chocolate curls.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge and consume within 3-4 days.

Notes

  • Kirsch: This can be substituted with cherry brandy, brandy or Amaretto depending on what you have to hand. If you want to make this cheesecake kid-friendly, simply swap out the alcohol for unsweetened cherry juice.
  • Vegan cream cheese: If you don’t have access to vegan cream cheese you can use coconut cream in its place. I would suggest taste-testing the cheesecake mixture as you may want to add a little more sweetener, lemon juice, and/or salt to adjust to your taste. 
  • Coconut cream: For the topping, you can use an alternative plant-based cream such as soy oat, or rice whipping cream, but you need to make sure they are suitable for whipping.

Nutrition

Calories: 481kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 150mg | Potassium: 451mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 178IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 5mg
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