No Refined Sugar, Gluten Free, & Paleo:
THIS, my friends, will become your new favorite. My Raw Vegan Blackberry Lavender Cheesecake is made of creamy cashew and coconut layers, using blackberries for the gorgeous color and a fruity kick, with just a few drops of lavender to take it to the next level.
Luckily, avoiding dairy doesn’t have to mean avoiding creamy, decadent desserts altogether. I’ve made some vegan cheesecakes in the past, but I was inspired to put a floral twist on this one in honor of my good friend’s baby shower, celebrating a little girl that will share this beautiful purple botanical’s name. Though I wanted to surprise her with this Vegan Blackberry Lavender Cheesecake at the baby shower next weekend, I couldn’t resist sharing it in time for Easter (Sorry Jaz!), since it’s the perfect cake to celebrate spring.
Sometimes eating flowery essences can be a bit overpowering, but I promise you this vegan cheesecake is the perfect blend of tangy blackberries, sweet vanilla, and a hint of soothing lavender. The smooth cashew and coconut cream filling on a chewy crust of dates and nuts is the perfect vehicle to bring these flavors directly to your taste buds. Yes, please!
This recipe does take a little planning ahead, since you need to soak the cashews for at least a few hours or overnight, and then you also need to let the layers set in the freezer. I suggest making it the day before you plan to eat it – I know, this takes a lot of self-control! But LOOK, it’s so worth it…
Consider it a little dietary practice of patience. My Grandma would be so proud! When my sister and I were kids she taught us patience by allowing us ONE bite of a snickers bar every day – patience or torture? I’m not sure, but I know her heart was in the right place <3 Mine was not, because I would sneak bites of my sisters so mine would last longer! Yep, my name is Ailsa… and I’m a sugar addict. This insatiable sweet tooth has led me to create healthier options, like this recipe right here.
Anyway, you can lick the spoon, and the blender, so you don’t have to deprive yourself of this amazing taste bomb while you wait for your Raw Vegan Blackberry Lavender Cheesecake to set. Let’s get down to the ingredients in this gem and how you can make the magic happen in your own kitchen.
Why You Should Eat It
Blackberries are a tart, slightly sweet way to add majestic purple color to this dish. That hue is thanks to their high antioxidant content – higher in these little guys than both blueberries and raspberries – plus their anthocyanins can benefit heart health, brain function, reduce the risk of cancer, and reduce the signs of aging. They are also high in Vitamin C while providing antiviral and antibacterial effects, so your immune system will thank you. They are low sugar but high in fiber so you get a little sweetness without a crash.
Lavender is one of the most common essential oils used for aromatherapy, but many people don’t realize you can consume it too, taking advantage of its unique herbal flavor. It’s been used for thousands of years for a huge range of ailments – like digestive complaints, anxiety, insomnia, migraines, and PMS, just to name a few. You may find yourself feeling pretty blissed out after eating this Raw Vegan Blackberry Lavender Cheesecake.
I’ve talked about cashews in some of my past recipes and I use them often as a dairy replacement, as they blend into a perfect creamy texture. They form the filling of this dessert and provide a wonderful vegan source of protein with a nice array of amino acids, which provide you with the building blocks for muscles and connective tissues. Cashews also contain a good amount of Vitamin K, which has recently been more highly recognized for its benefits of maintaining strong bones and regulating healthy blood clotting processes. When it comes to soaking any type of nut, this makes it more easily digestible and helps to make the nutrients in it more accessible to your beautiful body.
How You Can Make It
As I said before, you need to soak the cashews ahead of time – minimum of 3 hours. Once they’re fully soaked, pour them into a colander, rinse well with cold water, and set aside while you work on the crust. Another piece of prep is to line the bottom of your spring form pan with some parchment or wax paper. Just take the bottom of the pan and trace it onto the paper, then cut it out. Let your 1st-grade scissor skills shine!
The crust for this Raw Vegan Blackberry Lavender Cheesecake is easy and adaptable, you can use it in a variety of cakes, bars, and tarts. All you need to do is throw your almonds, walnuts, shredded coconut, 3 Tbsp. melted coconut oil, dates (make sure they’re pitted!), and sea salt in and pulse that baby until a fine crumb forms. You want to make sure the dates are fully broken down because they’ll help everything stick together.
Press the yummy crust mixture into the bottom of your lined pan, just use your hands to spread it evenly and firmly all along the sides. Set this aside to start on the filling.
Put your drained cashews, fresh lemon juice, 1/2 cup coconut nectar, vanilla extract, 1 Tbsp melted coconut oil, and 1/2 cup coconut cream in the blender and start it up on low. Slowly increase the speed to high, just stopping to scrape down the sides or push the mix further into the blade if needed. Keep blending until you have an incredibly smooth, luscious, vegan cheesecake filling. It could take a while depending on your blender, but be patient! Magical vegan cheesecake will be your reward. You want the end result to be pourable – if necessary add some full fat coconut milk 1 Tbsp at a time until it’s just runny enough to pour out of the blender.
Now that you have the base of your filling ready, scoop 2 ½ cups of it on top of your crust and spread around evenly, the back of a spoon works well for this. Lightly lift and drop the pan, to release air bubbles. Leave the rest of the cashew filling in the blender to make the blackberry lavender layer. Put the pan in the freezer to allow the first layer to set.
Now add your blackberries and lavender essential oil, along with 1 more Tbsp. melted coconut oil and the remaining 2 Tbsp coconut cream to help counteract the juiciness of the berries, along with 1 Tbsp coconut nectar to soften the taste of the lavender. Blend this all up until totally creamy. You may need to wait to pour it into the pan if your first layer isn’t firm yet, just test with your finger and if it presses in easily wait a bit longer before pouring on the purple layer. Once you add in the lavender filling and spread evenly, again gently lift and drop, then place the pan back in the freezer.
You can add toppings to it after about 20-30 minutes in the freezer and then pop it back in, this way they will kind of sink in and stick. Or, you can just top it right before serving, things might just roll around a bit.
For the photos of this Raw Vegan Blackberry Lavender Cheesecake, I used wax flowers, which are not edible, but they were the perfect color and they’re very durable (they will hold in the freezer) and easy to remove when you’re ready to eat. Some edible flowers you could use instead are pansies, calendula petals, or lavender flowers.
It’s nice to freeze the whole cake for at least 3 hours, or overnight, and then place in the fridge a 2-3 hours before you plan to serve it. This will keep it firm but not totally frozen. When you’re ready to mow down on this amazing Raw Vegan Blackberry Cheesecake, serve it up on something pretty and enjoy!
Raw Vegan Blackberry Lavender Cheesecake
Yield 10-12 slices
This decadent spring dessert is the perfect bite - a chewy crust and creamy filling, with tangy blackberries and soothing lavender. It's unique and beautiful, sure to make the people you love smile.
- 1 cup raw almonds
- 1 1/2 cups raw walnuts
- 1 1/2 cups medjool dates, pitted
- 3 Tbsp melted coconut oil
- 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
- 3 1/2 cups raw cashews - soaked, rinsed, and drained
- 2 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups fresh lemon juice (from about 5-6 lemons)
- 1/4 cup coconut water (liquid from can of coconut milk)
- 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp coconut nectar, divided
- 1/2 + 2 Tbsp coconut cream, divided (this is the solid portion in a full-fat can of coconut milk)*
- 2 Tbsp melted coconut oil, divided
- 2/3 cup fresh blackberries, plus more for garnish
- 6 drops edible lavender essential oil (not all of them are food grade)
- extra berries, sesame seeds, and flowers for garnish
- Soak cashews at least 3 hours or overnight, then drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.
- Line the bottom of a springform pan with parchment paper, trace the round bottom and cut out to avoid any paper from folding up onto the sides.
- Add all of your crust ingredients into a food processor and blend until well mixed into a fine crumb. It should be crumbly but sticky if you press it together. Using your hands press this mix into the bottom of the pan, making sure to spread it evenly and flat around the sides.
- To make the first layer of filling, add the cashews, vanilla extract, 1/2 cup of coconut nectar, lemon juice, 1 Tbsp melted coconut oil, and 1/2 cup of the coconut cream into the blender. Blend on low and slowly increase, continue blending until super smooth, you may need to scrape down the sides or push the mix into the blade a bit. Depending on your blender, this may take a while - just keep blending, scraping, mixing, and blending.
- Once smooth and creamy, scoop 2 1/2 cups of the filling onto the crust, spread evenly with the back of a spoon, then place in the freezer.
- To make the purple layer, add the blackberries, remaining 1 Tbsp each coconut oil and coconut nectar, 2 Tbsp coconut cream, and lavender essential oil into the blender with the rest of the cashew cream. Be careful with the lavender oil - you don't want too much!
- Blend well, increasing to high until everything is fully incorporated and no lumps of the berries remain. Check to see if your first layer is somewhat firm to the touch, you may need to wait another 20 minutes or so, and then pour the lavender layer over top. Again, use a spoon to spread evenly. Place back in the freezer.
- Freeze whole cake for a few hours or overnight, then you can place it in the refrigerator several hours before serving, so it can soften before slicing.
*The filling will be thick, but should be pourable enough to slide out of the blender with the help of a spoon. If you need to thin it out some more add another 1-2 Tbsp. of coconut water.
You can eat this relatively frozen if you want more of an ice cream cake texture, while placing it in the fridge prior to eating allows it to soften into more of a cheesecake texture.