This recipe is really all about summer. Summer flavors in the form of seasonal strawberries and fresh basil, and summer laziness (should we call it easiness instead?). This cake doesn’t require the usual specialized equipment called for when making raw cheesecakes – namely, a high-speed blender for turning cashews into a thick creamy cheesecake base. All that’s involved is melting, stirring, pouring, chilling, eating. Basically, while going through the steps of soaking and puréeing ingredients for a classic raw vegan cheesecake is justified by the amazing end result, what this recipe offers is a streamlined version that requires less preparation (no soaking cashews the night before), no high-end equipment (any blender or food processor will do the trick), and is just as creamy and delicious.

Raw Strawberry and Basil Cheesecake [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

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Ingredients

For the Crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)
  • 4 tablespoons melted coconut oil

For the Strawberry Basil Filling:

  • 2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 5-7 basil leaves, depending on size and taste
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup coconut butter
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1 14.5-ounce can coconut cream (see notes)

For Serving (optional):

  1. Additional strawberries
  2. Additional basil
  3. Melted chocolate
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Preparation

  1. Lightly grease a 6-inch or 8-inch springform pan.
  2. To make the crust, combine the almond flour and salt in a bowl. Pour in melted coconut oil and maple syrup and stir well until a wet dough forms. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan and place in the fridge to set while preparing the filling.
  3. Start by pureeing strawberries, basil, and lemon juice in a food processor or blender until fairly smooth, small chunks of strawberries are fine. Set aside.
  4. In a saucepan over medium low heat, melt remaining filling ingredients just until they are able to be fully incorporated and there are no chunks of coconut butter remaining. Remove from heat and stir in strawberry purée. Pour over crust.
  5. Allow the cake to set fully before serving — a few hours in the fridge will do. Serve at room temperature for a creamier texture or chilled for a firmer cake.
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Notes

To get the cream from a can of coconut milk, refrigerate a can of full-fat coconut milk overnight. The cream will separate from the water. Pour off the water and scoop out the hard white cream for use here.

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