So… I know I promised I would get personal & share a little bit about our March Break holiday… but it’s Easter week! And am getting all sorts of e-mails asking for healthy dessert ideas. So how about we make deal… I’ll throw in a new raw cheesecake AND a glorious bundt recipe your way? Deal. I thought so. I [pinky promise] I will circle back to the vacation post when the Easter madness has died down next week. I love this holiday and what it represents. So I whipped up a brand new cheesecake recipe to celebrate accordingly. Strawberries & chocolate, anyone?
Also- you may have noticed I haven’t been posting as often. Well, I have a brand new website design! I would love to hear your feedback on the new site, as this was done with all your feedback to make it more user-friendly in mind. Countless hours were spent on this revamp over the past few days; drinking hot green tea & binging on dark 70% plus chocolate late, late into the night. Hey, at least I got my antioxidants in.
Let’s talk cake now. What’s not to love? Let’s start with a crunchy, (naturally sweetened with dates) crust that’s pretty much composed of nuts. We do a 1:1 ratio of dates to nuts of your choice. I’ve tried it with both; raw almonds and raw cashews with equally delicious results. I personally prefer almonds, and if possible- roasted. But then it wouldn’t be considered “raw” cheesecake anymore. Just trying to be politically correct with my dessert, you know?
What’s different from this raw cheesecake when compared to the other healthy cheesecake recipes on my site, you may ask? Well, this one has a winning chocolate crust. Aside from being composed of dates, almonds, & coconut oil- this one has raw cacao in both powder form and cacao nibs! To sweeten the raw cacao we add a little bit more dates than usual. But the result is fantastic; chocolaty, crunchy and still refined sugar free.
Easter evokes many happy childhood memories for me. My father’s boisterous, funny, & loud family all gathered around a very long, long, long table for Sunday lunch. It was the biggest family celebration next to Christmas for our clan. Roasted leg of lamb, soup, potatoes, saffron rice, salads, turkey & all the trimmings. Desserts for days. Ten cousins running around giddily. Four sons and their wives. And of course, my grandmother. Our usually stern matriarch was supervising the festivities with unending enthusiasm, urging everybody to sit down while getting the food perfectly aligned. We had no egg hunts; my grandmother thought they were “nonsense” and a “distraction”. I do however, hold egg hunts for my kids. I think they’re lovely and I don’t think small kids fully understand yet why we’re gathered to celebrate. These family gatherings lasted for the better part of 4-5 hours. Oh yes. We sometimes stayed for dinner. I am hosting Easter for my husband’s family this Saturday. I have two nephews and one niece and they’re in for the Easter Egg Hunt, too.
So here we go… give this super easy 3-tier raw cheesecake a try! It literally takes me 20-25 mins to prep and then I leave it in the freezer overnight or for at least 4-5 hours. The crust is inspired by my raw oreo cookies. The chocolate in the crust is the perfect compliment to the rest of the “very strawberry” cake. The middle filling is creamy and cheesecake-like. The top layer is pure strawberry madness. You will love!
Strawberry Oreo Raw Cheesecake
For the Crust
- 1 cup of raw almonds
- 1.5 (1 + 1/2) tbsp almond butter (or peanut butter)
- about 8-10 pitted dates
- a handful of raw cacao nibs or dark chocolate chips
- 2 tbsp of raw cacao or cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp of dry oats, granola or flax * if using oats, make sure they’re gluten free!
- 1 tbsp of coconut oil
For the Middle Layer (Filling)
- 2 cups of fresh, ripe strawberries
- 1/3 cup of agave syrup OR 1/2 cup of raw honey
- 1 cup of mascarpone or ricotta cheese OR for vegan options: a 12 oz container of “Tofutti: Better than Cream Cheese”. You could also make your own dairy-free cashew cream cheese (please refer to “Amazing Raw Oreos” post on this site.)
- 1 cup of dairy-free coconut yogurt, I used vanilla flavored
- Juice of 1 small lemon
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
For the Top Layer (Strawberry Glaze)
- 1 cup of strawberries
- 2 tbsp of agave syrup or pure maple syrup
- a squeeze of fresh lemon juice (brings out the flavors)
- 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract
- Blend all the crust ingredients in your food processor until sticky and well mixed and press the paste onto a spring pan, or removable bottom tart pan using clean hands. That way, you can remove the cake for serving without damaging the sides. Place in the freezer to set while you make the middle layer.
- For the Filling: Blend the strawberries, agave (or honey), vanilla extract & the juice of 1 lemon in a food processor on “High” until a thick berry syrup is visible. In a separate bowl, mix the mascarpone OR tofutti with the coconut yogurt together with a whisk until a uniform mix is obtained. Add the blended berries to the bowl mixture and continue to stir with a whisk until evenly blended with the coconut yogurt & mascarpone (or Tofutti). I mix it all by hand and it turns into a lovely blush/pink color. Pour onto the spring pan that was in the freezer, and stick it back into the freezer. I cover with aluminum foil to avoid frost from forming on the top.
- For the top layer glaze/wait at least 40 mins before adding this (so you give the middle layer a chance to set). To prepare: blend all ingredients until you’ve got another syrup-like mix. Pour on top of the middle filling, and stick the spring pan back into the freezer for it to set for at least 4-5 hours or overnight for best results.
- Defrost 20 minutes prior to serving to allow it to soften up a bit. It will start melting if out of the freezer for too long. It stays well in the freezer, covered with foil for up to 2 weeks.