You’d never guess this luscious vegan cheesecake was dairy-free! Rich, creamy, and topped with a sweet and zippy mango lime topping, this one is about to become your new favorite dessert.
This was supposed to be my basic vegan cheesecake post. You know, just plain old cheesecake without anything fancy going on. Everyone needs a basic cheesecake recipe, even vegans. So I figured I’d whip up something simple and let you guys figure out what to do with it. I just couldn’t bring myself to do that though, because cheesecake is always more fun with stuff on it. Who eats a plain cheesecake?
In the end I figured I’d top the cheesecake as I pleased, and throw out there that the topping isn’t necessarily required, or that you could go and substitute your favorite topping. So that’s just what I’m doing.
But now I’m asking you nicely to please put mango lime topping on it. It was so good, and a refreshing change from the usual cherry (or whatever) cheesecake. I kind of ended up with this topping by accident, because nothing I thought I wanted to put on a cheesecake was in season.
I didn’t realize I wanted to put mangoes on a cheesecake — that was actually my husband’s idea, and it was a brilliant one. The mangoes available at my stores have been awesome lately, and lime goes perfectly with mango. This thing turned out delicious. My newly vegan brother ate about half of it and declared it one of his favorite things I’ve ever made.
Graham cracker crust is classic, so I made a vegan version. The challenge, depending on where you live, is probably finding vegan graham crackers. Look for ones that don’t contain honey.
If worse comes to worse, substitute some other type of vegan cookie with a similar texture to graham crackers. Gingersnaps work great!
You’ll want to turn your graham crackers to crumbs by mixing them up in the food processor. Then transfer the mixture to a bowl and mix with some coconut oil (or vegan butter) and sugar. Press it into a springform pan and bake.
I’ve experimented with this recipe by making in a 7-inch and 9-inch springform pan. Both worked, and the photos show how the cake will look in a 7-inch pan. A 9-inch pan will give you a much thinner cheesecake layer. The only difference in the process of making your cheesecake is that the one in the smaller pan needs 5 to 10 minutes of extra time in the oven.
The Vegan Cheesecake Batter
To bake, or not to bake, that is the question. No bake vegan cheesecakes are great, and I may have declared them the best at some point in the past, but now I’m taking it back.
Why? You’re a bit more limited in terms of ingredients with no-bake cheesecake, because you need it to set in the fridge. In my experience, this usually means the cheesecake batter is dominated by cashews and coconut oil (which gets solid when chilled). That’s great and all, but it results in an insanely dense, super rich cheesecake. I can usually only handle a sliver.
Baking removes moisture from your cheesecake, allowing it to set with a more varied ingredients list. In this particular cheesecake I’ve included silken tofu and coconut milk, for a super rich and creamy cheesecake base that’s not over-the-top heavy.
And yes, there are cashews in there too!
Start by blending the cashews in your food processor with a bit of coconut milk. You want to generate a smooth paste. Add some more coconut milk, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, cornstarch, salt, and silken tofu. Blend again.
What you end up with should have a consistency pretty similar to conventional cheesecake batter. Pour it into your crust and pop it back in the oven.
Bake until the cake is set in the center, then take it out of the oven and let it cool.
Diced mangoes, water, sugar, lime juice and zest, and a tiny bit of salt are all that go into the topping. You’ll just need to simmer everything in a saucepan until the mangoes are soft and the water has evaporated.
Once the cheesecake is set, spoon the topping on it and chill.
FAQ & Tips for Making Awesome Vegan Cheesecake
- Make sure the tofu you buy is silken. Silken tofu is softer and smoother than regular tofu, and perfect for blending up in creamy desserts like this.
- Some brands of silken tofu come in firm and soft varieties. If you have a choice, go for firm.
- Why does the sugar have to be organic? In the U.S. at least, most white sugar is processed using animal bones, so it’s not considered vegan. Organic sugar is processed differently.
- Should the coconut milk come from a carton or can? It should be canned. In fact, any time a recipe calls for full-fat coconut milk, go with canned. You may be able to substitute the kind from a carton (or even another type of non-dairy milk), but the cheesecake might not come out as rich tasting.
- Help! I forgot to soak my cashews! You can boil them for 20 minutes instead. I generally find they don’t blend up quite as smoothly if boiled, but it’ll work in a pinch.
- Can’t find mangoes or just want to try a different topping? Substitute a different fruit. Berries should work great!
Valentine’s day is right around the corner. Is there a special vegan in your life? Impress them with this sexy mango lime cheesecake!
Vegan Cheesecake with Mango Lime Topping
You'd never guess this luscious vegan cheesecake was dairy-free! Rich, creamy, and topped with a sweet and zippy mango lime topping, this one is about to become your new favorite dessert.
For the Graham Cracker Crust
- 2 cups vegan graham cracker crumbs*
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil (can substitute vegan butter)
- 1/4 cup organic granulated sugar
For the Cheesecake
- 1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water 4-8 hours and drained
- 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
- 1 cup silken tofu
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the Mango Lime Topping
- 2 cups diced mango (about 2 large mangoes)
- 1/4 cup organic granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 teaspoons lime zest
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
To Make the Graham Cracker Crust
Preheat the oven to 400º.
In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, coconut oil and sugar.
Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of a inch springform pan (anything between 7 and 9 inches works), working the mixture about an inch up the sides of the pan.
Bake until lightly browned, about 8-10 minutes.
Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and allow it to cool while you make the batter.
To Make the Vegan Cheesecake
Lower the oven temperature to 350º.
While crust cools, place the cashews into the bowl of a food processor fitted with an s-blade. Blend to a thick paste, drizzling in a bit of your coconut milk to help it along.
Add the remaining coconut milk to the bowl, along with the tofu, sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, vanilla, and salt.
Blend until the mixture is completely smooth.
Pour the mixture into the crust.
Bake until the cheesecake is set in the center (about 40 minutes if using a 7-inch pan, 50 minutes if using a 9-inch pan).
When the cheesecake has finished baking, transfer it to a cooling rack and allow it to cool.
To Prepare the Mango Lime Topping
While cheesecake bakes, place the mango, sugar, lime juice, water, zest and salt into a small saucepan and set it over medium heat.
Bring the mixture to a simmer. Lower the heat and allow it to cook, stirring occasionally, until the mango is soft and the liquid has become thick and syrupy.
Remove the pan from heat and allow the mixture to cool. It will continue to thicken up a bit as it does.
To Finish the Cheesecake
Once cheesecake and topping have cooled, spoon the topping over the cheesecake.
Refrigerate the cheesecake for at least one hour before serving.
You can make your own crumbs by crushing graham crackers in a food processor, or sticking them in a sturdy plastic bag and rolling them with a rolling pin. You'll need about 15 or 16 whole crackers.