Cheesecakes are one of the few culinary delicacies that are actually easier to be made vegan than normal. With vegan cheesecakes there’s no fancy water baths or need to worry about the top cracking; it’s as simple as blending your custard ingredients in a food processor, putting them on top of some crust, and freezing until they’re set! That’s because most vegan cheesecakes are made raw, using cashews as the base, instead making a traditional custard using eggs and dairy. While I’ve wanted to make a “real” New York Style vegan cheesecake for years… I quite honestly don’t see the point anymore, because raw, cashew-based cheesecakes are rich, creamy, and dense, just like regular traditional cheesecake.
Instead of basing our entire batter off of cashews however, we like to invite some added tang to the party in the form of vegan sour cream – a tip I learned from the ever so trusted Alton Brown. That’s because the best cheesecakes aren’t just numbingly sweet and decadent, they’re also tangy, which livens up the tastebuds helping you savor every bite. We discuss what brands you should use in the notes section of this recipe, so take a peak at that before constructing your masterpiece.
For once there’s really not much food science or history to beheld here, so we’ll just take it straight to a quick overview! All in all, these cheesecake are:
- Easy and only require 30 minutes of prep!
- Creamy, snappy, and rich
- Tangy, buttery, and spiced with a Holiday twist
If you like what your tastebuds are tellin’ ya, leave behind a nice rating, share your thoughts with us in the comments, or show us your creations by tagging @noeggsorham on Instagram.
Anna Mae, Got Cheesecake by the Pound
Mini Chai-Spiced Cheesecakes with Graham Cracker Crust (vegan)
Sweet & tangy cashew & sour cream custard spiced with hints of cinnamon, ginger, pepper, nutmeg, and cardamom is layered on top of snappy graham cracker crust.
- 10 sheets (about 155 grams) graham crackers*
- 6 tbsps (84 grams) vegan butter, melted
- 2 tbsps cane sugar or coconut sugar
- 1 1/2 c cashews, soaked in water just off the boil for 30 minutes*
- 1 cup (240 grams) vegan sour cream (we used Follow Your Heart)*
- 1/2 c (168 grams) agave
- 1/3 c (69 grams) coconut oil, gently melted over very low heat
- 2 tbsps fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ginger powder
- 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- Pinch of cardamom
- Pinch of white pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 350° F. Add graham crackers to a food processor and blitz until they’re in small chunks. Add in the butter & sugar and continue processing until the graham crackers turn into a medium crumb with a few small chunks throughout.
- Place two tablespoons of crust mixture into regular-sized muffin tins – should fill up 11 tins – and use a spoon to evenly compact the mixture down. Bake in oven for 8 minutes.
- Lightly rinse out your food processor and add in all of the custard ingredients. Blend on high, scraping down the sides occasionally, until the mixture is completely smooth and no bits of cashews remain.
- If your food processor has a hard time smoothing out the batter, separate it into personal sized blender cups and blend again to achieve a completely smooth consistency.
- Fill up each muffin tin to the top with batter and smooth them out using a spoon or finger. Place in the freezer until set – about 6 hours – then carefully loosen them up by running a knife along the edge of the cheesecakes until they’re able to pop out.
- Transfer them to an airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 1 month. Enjoy while frozen or allow to thaw for 15 minutes for a softer consistency.
*Check your graham crackers for vegan-friendliness, as many brands contain honey. Nabisco Graham Crackers, which can be found at Target and other major markets, are vegan-friendly!
*If you have the time, you can also soak your cashews in cool water for 6 hours. Either way, the effect will be the same.
*Follow Your Heart’s sour cream has the most similar texture and flavor to real sour cream, but if you can’t find it, Tofutti has a sour cream that’s readily available. However, you may want to add an extra tablespoon of lemon juice, as their sour cream isn’t as tangy as normal sour cream. You can also use Cream Cheese by Miyoko’s in place of sour cream (as it’s perfectly tangy), but if you do, just add two tablespoons of coconut or soy milk to loosen up the batter.