Creamy Vegan Cheesecake is an elegant dessert that will always please a crowd, but it's also casual enough for an after-dinner weeknight dessert. So, whether you're vegan or not, this rich vanilla cheesecake is not to be missed.
12ouncesgraham crackersor 340g, use digestive biscuits if you can't find Graham crackers - I used digestive biscuits
4tablespoonsbrown sugaradd another tbsp if you prefer a much sweeter crust
8tablespoonsvegan butteror 112g, melted (salted or unsalted is fine)
pinch of sea saltif using unsalted butter
For the Filling
32ouncesvegan cream cheeseI used 4 8-ounces blocks (32 ounces/907g total)
1 ¼cupsbrown sugar(250g)
1 ⅓cupsfull fat coconut creamonly the white part from the can (⅓ of this is stirred together with the cornstarch)
3tablespoonsfresh lemon juice
For the Crust
Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/180C.
In a food processor, process the graham crackers/digestive biscuits and the sugar until you have fine crumbs. Add the butter while pulsing, bit by bit, for about 10 1-second pulses.
Transfer the crumb mixture to a sprayed/ buttered 9-inch springform pan and press evenly into the bottom. If desired, you could also line the pan with parchment paper but it is not necessary. Pack the crumbs into the base of the springform pan, and also slightly up the sides.
Bake for 10 minutes, until fragrant and golden brown. Remove from the oven, and cool on a wire rack to room temperature. Once cooled, wrap in aluminum foil, ensuring that the foil goes all the way up the sides and around the pan (this is for the water bath).
For the Filling
Change the temperature to 325°Fahrenheit/165°Celsius.
In a bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese to break it up and soften it slightly, about 10 seconds. With the machine running, add the sugar mixture in a slow stream; and beat until combined, creamy and smooth – about 3 minutes on low. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
In a small separate bowl, mix that ⅓ cup of the coconut cream with the cornstarch, stirring completely until the cornstarch is dissolved.
Add that cornstarch mix and the remaining 1 cup coconut cream into the mixer, incorporating for about 15 seconds each. Scrape the bowl after each addition.
Add the lemon juice, vanilla and salt and mix to combine.
Give the bowl a final scrape and pour the mixture into the prepared springform pan. Place the foil wrapped pan into a roasting pan or really any oven safe pan large enough to fit it. Pour boiling hot water in the pan and at least half way on the sides of the pan.
Place gently into the oven on the middle rack. Bake until the center jiggles slightly, the sides start to puff, and the surface is no longer shiny, about 70 to 75 minutes and no longer. Turn off the oven and prop the door of the oven open with a potholder or wooden spoon to allow some heat to escape. Allow the cake to cool in the oven for about an hour.
Transfer the springform pan to a wire rack and run a small paring knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake. Let it sit at room temperature for anywhere between 1-3 hours to cool completely. After that, place the cheesecake in the fridge to set for at least 6 hours (overnight is even better!).
Top with your favorite toppings, slice and enjoy! Place the cheesecake into an airtight container in your fridge to store properly! You could also wrap foil around it, or a reusable wrap/seal.
How to Get the Coconut Cream: You'll need 2 cans of full fat coconut milk in the fridge to extract the coconut cream (if you can find coconut cream itself, that’s even better!).
How to Extract the Coconut Cream: Leave the cans in the fridge for overnight, or at least 12 hours (don’t shake them), then open and scoop off the thick white coconut cream part only.
What to Do with the Leftover Coconut Water and Cream: You can use the coconut water in smoothies or drink it! If you have extra leftover coconut cream, you can add it to smoothies, curries, to a pasta sauce, and anything you want an extra creamy addition!
Let ALL Ingredients Come to Room Temp: Bring all ingredients to room temperature, including the separated coconut cream already scooped out of the can. This will mean it’ll probably get thin again but that’s okay since it’s already separated from the coconut water, and that’s all we really wanted. Bringing the ingredients to room temperature also helps to mitigate developing cracks.
A Cream Substitution to Keep in Mind: You can sub ½ cup of the coconut cream for vegan yogurt. (Instead of asking you to buy a whole host of ingredients, I figured it would make more sense to just grab two cans of coconut milk.)
If You're Using Digestive Biscuits: Break them up a little bit before putting them in your food processor to help it blend.
Refrigerate the Cheesecake After Cooling: If you try to serve it immediately, it will be too soft, and probably will not hold. Chilling it in the fridge (overnight, if possible) will help the cake set and firm up a little.
What to do if your cheesecake crust cracks: Cracks happen. When we tested this, and tested, and tested, ours didn't (as you can see in the photos!). But sometimes you forget to bring the cheesecake to room temperature, or over beat, or your oven is wonky. Cracks aren't that big of a deal for a still beautiful, and still delicious homemade cheesecake. But here's where to do if it does. You can try to use a hot knife (dipped in boiling water for 15 seconds then wiped clean) and gently spread the top over to try and cover the crack. OR, Cover it with a sauce (such as a cooled fruit sauce or my Caramel Sauce), or with sliced fruit.