Friday, September 7, 2012

blueberry swirl cheesecake {vegan}


You guys are in for a treat.

A real {good} treat.

Rarely do I ever make a recipe twice.

But when I come up with something good the first time, I am bound and determined to make it even better the second (and third and fourth and fifth) time.

Take for instance my lemon raspberry cheesecake.

I nailed it the first time - creating a super lemony, smooth, rich, cashew-based cheesecake.

And then I tweaked it and made it better (with the changes still needing to be blogged at some point).

So when my very beautiful friend, Debbie, mentioned that she would like a cheesecake for her birthday, I flipped back through my notebook of handwritten recipes, stopped on the recipe for cheesecake, and didn't refer to it again.

And I am glad I didn't, because this is the result.


Dare I say, an even better cashew-based, vegan, cheesecake?

While it looked pretty, and the presentation was fit enough for a birthday celebration of epic proportions, the true test was yet to come.

How would the changes I made to the original recipe that I never followed reflect in the taste and the texture?

Apparently changes are good.

I served Debbie her birthday cheesecake, that she so graciously let me blow the candles out as everyone sang me happy birthday (we celebrated our 29th years 3 days apart), as well as Nic, Ben, Sam, and myself, and each piece was inhaled or savored - depending on your cheesecake eating style (I savor, Nic inhales).

And because we are all polite people, we waited a good 10 minutes before we all hovered over the remaining half, HALF, of the cheesecake that was left and chipped away at it, one bite at a time, directly from the pie plate.

Yep. That was a mighty fine cheesecake.

Blueberry Swirl "Cheesecake"
An ultra creamy, smooth, cashew based cheesecake with a blueberry swirl that will fool even the most diehard cheesecake fan in your life. Make sure you invite enough people to share this with, otherwise you might just eat the entire thing yourself, one bite at a time, without realizing it.


For the crust::

  • 8 ounces of graham crackers or vanilla crackers (I used honey graham crackers the first time and loved it, and these vanilla cookies the second time and loved it)
  • 2-3 tablespoons coconut oil

For the filling::
  • 2 cups soaked cashews, rinsed thoroughly (soak overnight, measure after soaking)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3/8 cup agave or maple syrup (I used syrup the first time and blue agave the second time - both were delicious)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream (from the top of a chilled can of full fat coconut milk) 
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon agar powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (from the aforementioned can of coconut milk - stir remaining coconut cream and water together before measuring)

For the blueberry swirl::
  • 1.5 cups blueberries 
  • 1/2 tablespoon chia seeds


Prepare the blueberries::

  • In a small saucepan over low heat, cook the blueberries until they begin to burst, mashing them with a fork as you stir.
  • Remove from heat, stir in chia seeds, and set aside to cool and thicken.
  • Once cooled, place in blender and blend until smooth.

Prepare the crust::
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350*
  • Put the cookies/crackers in a food processor and add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Process into fine crumbs.
  • Take a spoonful of the crumbs and press together between your fingers, if they do not stick together at all, add another tablespoon of oil. (Don't add too much here, 3 tablespoons should be plenty to hold the crust together).
  • Press the crumbs into a lightly greased pie plate.
  • Bake until the crust just begins to brown, 8-10 minutes.
  • Remove, set aside and let cool.

Prepare the filling::
  • Add the cashews, lemon, agave or maple syrup, vanilla, coconut cream, coconut oil and salt to a blender. 
  • Blend until very smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender as you go. Depending on your blender, this could be quick or take 5 minutes. You want to make sure to get it as smooth as possible for the best texture.
  • In a small saucepan, heat the 1/2 cup coconut milk until bubbly. 
  • Whisk in the agar powder, stirring constantly.
  • Cook for another minute.
  • With the blender running, add the thickened coconut milk and blend until well combined and smooth.
Prepare the cheesecake::
  • Add the filling to the crust, smoothing out the top. 
  • Dot the blueberry topping across the top of the cheesecake, creating "puddles" (or circles??) of about 1 tablespoon (you may not use all of the blueberries).
  • Using a butter knife, create the marbling affect by swirling the knife throughout the cheesecake. 
  • Place cheesecake in fridge to cool.

Enjoy the cheesecake::
  • With good friends and plenty of forks.


So it might seem like a lot of steps, but this actually comes together quite quickly. It is the waiting for it to cool that is killer.


I like the addition of the agar powder. I think that it really helps to create the seriously luxurious texture that makes this version one of my favorites to date.


The blueberry swirl on top just kills me - I love the elegance that it creates. And you could easily do this with other fruit using the same method. Raspberries, cherries, and blackberries all sound divine.

My next version though...that one is going to have a chocolate cookie base (think Oreos) and a peanut butter swirl. Or maybe a Nutella swirl...

The possibilities are seriously endless.


And are bound to be good to the last bite.


  1. Replies
    1. Come on down and i'll make up a whole pie for ya!

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. This looks amazing! I can almost taste those blueberries... I need to try a gluten free version of this

    1. Thanks, Aimee!

      Let me know if you do try a gluten free version!

  3. This looks so good! I love your blog :) Always wondered what it would be like to live in a small town... (I'm from NY)

    1. Thanks, Ashley!

      I always wondered what it would be like to live in a small town too - I grew up in Minneapolis! When my husband and I moved here, I told him we'd give it one year and move back to MPLS. More than 6 years we still are! I don't know if it is true for any small town, but the community where I live is extremely amazing, involved, progressive, makes even thinking about leaving hard...

  4. That sounds and looks so good. I could eat cheesecake for breakfast...!!!

    1. Thanks! Before I became vegan-ish, I would make cheesecake for every family gathering and everyone loved it. Needless to say, when I stopped bringing them, I heard complaints...lots of them. I can't wait to try this one out on some of my harshest critics!

  5. I made this last night, but with a raspberry swirl instead of blueberry. I didn't have agar powder so I used arrowroot powder instead as I know it can be a substitute. I used twice as much arrowroot powder and the cheesecake has been in the fridge over 12 hours and it still doesn't seem "set". How long should this take? Did I do something wrong? I notice even your lemon raspberry cheesecake looks thick and well set and you didn't use any thickeners in the recipe for the filling.

    1. I am not sure what is going on with your cake, Alyson. I have never had a problem with this recipe - so maybe it is the sub you did for he agar agar?