I had a request to make a raw vegan cheesecake using acai berries and I thought, why not? The fact that acai berries itself doesn’t have much taste except for its sourness which can be easily overcome by adding some sugar or fruits to sweeten it. But my cheesecake version, I thought it would be nice to marry carob together with the cashew cheese mixture so create a double-layered cheesecake. And here’s my take on it!
You can watch the one minute video I’ve created or read the step-by-step instructions to learn more about how I made it. The video link is embedded right below.
Acai Berry Cheesecake with Carob Mousse
Preparation time: 2.5 hours (including freezing time)
Type: Vegan-friendly, vegetarian-friendly
( You also make it gluten-free by replacing the biscuits with gluten-free crackers)
Tools: Blender, cake tin(6”), food processor
6 Digestive biscuits
3 tablespoons of nut butter
1/4 teaspoon of salt
3 tablespoons of cashew nut butter
5 tablespoons of Acai berry powder
150 ml of lemon juice
3 tablespoons of coconut oil
2 tablespoons of coconut milk
1 pinch of sea salt
100 ml of coconut water (optional)
1 packet of silken tofu (250grams)
2 tablespoons of roasted carob powder
1 tablespoons of carob syrup
I used Digestive biscuits because they are often used as the base layer for cheesecakes and I like that warm wheat taste it has. Although there aren’t any dairy products in the ingredient list, it might contain some milk products as the label suggested. If you are a strict vegan, you can replace these biscuits with vegan-friendly crackers or use nuts and dates to create the base.
I prefer a savoury base to complement with the sourish fillings and sweet mousse layer.
Mash up the biscuits into crumbs right in a Ziploc bag. You can crush it with your hands. Here I am using the tamper from my Optimum 9400 blender to break it down into smaller pieces.
Next, I like to line my cake pan with some wax or baking paper so that the cake base can come right off the pan smoothly without much mess.
In most cheesecake recipes, they use melted dairy butter to gel all the crumbs together but here I am using the almond nut butter by Nuts About Butter. Their ready-to-eat nut butter are flavoured with some honey and salt thus they are not entirely vegan. But I like the smooth consistency of it and the added honey and salt enhances the taste of the base layer. For vegans, they can use a pure nut butter instead to gel all the ingredients together.
Mix the nut butter with some salt well into the crumb mixture.
You know it is ready when the crumbs start to clump up together.
Then pressed it into the base of the cake pan and spread it out evenly with a spoon. Then pop right into the freezer to cool it while you prepare the filling.
For the fillings, some would use soaked raw cashews but I personally prefer to use cashew nut butter because it saves to much time. You don’t have to soak the cashews for hours to soften it.
It also requires lesser effort for the blender to blend it too. If your blender is not a heavy-duty blender, you might want to use nut butter instead. It’s a life-saver.
This nut butter I’m using is a mixture of almond and cashew but taste-wise, it actually tasted more like cashews. Likewise, if you are a vegan, use pure cashew nut butter instead.
Then mix in acai berry powder, lemon juice, coconut oil, coconut milk and a pinch of salt. The crux of the whole recipe is actually the fillings and it is super easy to mix because you will pretty much get that ‘cheesy taste’ even if you mess up with the proportions and ratios. What is essential to make this filling a success is really just three ingredients – cashews, lemon juice and coconut oil. When these 3 ingredients mix together, you have this wonderful ready-to-eat lemon cheesecake taste. It’s amazing. That is why one of the easiest raw desserts to make it raw cheesecake.
The lemon juice is added to give that sourish and refreshing taste and I find that the more you add, it make your filling taste more like cheese. So I would say go for it if you feel like adding more lemon juice to it.
As for the coconut oil, it is there to solidify the fillings when left to cooled. It also gives the filling that warm hints of milk taste when mixed with lemon juice. I am pretty sure there’s a beautiful chemical reaction going on when oil mixes with an acidic juice.
Most raw cheesecake recipes don’t include coconut milk but I just thought that adding some of it will give the filling a more creamy texture and it makes the filling melts much slower at room temperature. Raw desserts are usually served cold so that it remains solidified. I wouldn’t enjoy eating a melted raw cheesecake. It is not appetising at all for sure.
When the mixture is ready, pour it into the cake pan above the base and pop it into the freezer again.
Whoever is the first who thought of using silken tofu to create mousse is a genius! The silken tofu really makes the mousse so creamy and it can be used to make vegan whip cream too. I added roasted carob powder and carob syrup to sweeten the mousse layer.
Once ready, spread the mousse layer over the filling and pop it into the freezer again. Leave it in the freezer for about 2 hours.
It takes about 2 hours for the cheesecake to be ready so do be patient! Then serve it with some fruits and your favourite toppings like kiwi, red dragonfruit, coconut flakes or cocoa nibs.