This no-bake Paleo and vegan cheesecake has a chewy, naturally sweet crust, topped with a thick creamy lemon layer and a sweet creamy strawberry layer. The cheesecake layers have a cashew base, come together quickly in a blender or food processor, and are then chilled to set. Gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free.
For the crust:
3/4 cup medjool dates pitted, softened*
3/4 cup pecans or walnuts
2/3 cup shredded coconut unsweetened
zest of one large lemon about 1 tbsp
For the lemon layer:
2 cups raw cashews soaked for 4 hours or overnight**, rinsed, and gently dried
1 cup coconut cream***
1/4 cup refined coconut oil solid but soft
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
3-4 tbsp lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
large pinch sea salt
For the strawberry layer:
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries excess water gently squeezed out
2 Tbsp coconut cream
1/3 cup soaked and gently dried raw cashews see note
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
Recipe Note: You can make this recipe in a 7" springform pan (what I used), or a 6" (for a very tall cake) or 8" (shorter cake)
You can also use a regular 8" baking dish lined on the bottom and sides with parchment paper. For the springform pan, I did not find it necessary to line with parchment paper (the cake released relatively easily after being frozen to set) but you can also line the springform pan if you wish, both on the bottom and all the way up the sides.
Make the crust first:
Add all the crust ingredients to a high speed blender or food processor, and process on high for 2 minutes until a crumbly/pasty mixture forms. Press in the bottom and just barely up the sides of your chosen cake pan (see above)
Clean out your food processor/blender to make the lemon layer. Add all ingredients and puree in food processor until smooth. This might take several minutes depending on your food processor, you will need to scrape the sides several times to get a nice, creamy, evenly blended puree. Once smooth, pour over crust and spread evenly, chill while you make the strawberry layer.
For the strawberry layer, once again add all the ingredients to your blender (no need to clean it out first since you're working with the same ingredients) and puree until you get a nice smooth consistency. Gently pour/spread over lemon layer evenly.
Cover tightly wth plastic wrap and chill in the freezer until solid. Before serving, move the cheesecake to the refrigerator to thaw for several hours. I personally found the consistency the best after being frozen, and then thawed overnight in the refrigerator - nice and creamy! You can also simply store it in the freezer and cut individual pieces to thaw as you wish. Enjoy!
cover with plastic wrap and freeze, serve cold, thawed for about 20 minutes and store leftovers in the freezer
*To soften your dates, soak them in very hot water for a few minutes (you can use the microwave), then drain well
**I like to soak my cashews in a large bowl filled with plenty of water (room temp) and then rinse and dry them well before adding to the recipe)
***You can use canned coconut cream, or simply the thick solid part of a can of chilled full-fat coconut milk