Summer has indeed come to an end. Everyone is heads down in school, the yard is empty, the roses have slowed down, the dog is lonely, and it’s getting darker earlier. But the blackberries are going strong.
The 2012 Seattle eternal summer brought quite a bounty of blackberries. All along the streets in my neighborhood the blackberries glisten with plumpness, ready to be gently rolled off their vines. My fingers turn purple from leaky berry juice, joined by a few accidental thorn punctures. And it’s all worth it. I’ve frozen two pie-loads of berries, I’m making blackberry syrup for pancakes, and there’s this raw blackberry cheesecake.
I’m enamored of how cashews and lemon make such an amazing couple. The trick is to soak the cashews and then process the white layer for a minute or two for a smooth, creamy filling that seriously rivals the traditional dairy-based cheesecake. Yes, completely dairy-free!
I soak the raw almonds that are part of the crust layer for this cake, but you don’t have to. And some nuts don’t need soaking, such as macadamia and Brazil nuts. Soaking removes much of the tannins from the skins, and activates the enzymes that make the nut easier to digest. If you’re not into raw crusts, you can use any kind of crust for this cake, it’s just traditionally made with a raw date and nut crust. Some folks add shredded coconut to the crust as well. So it’s up to you.
Regarding the berries, I have so many blackberries right now that I felt immense pressure to use them, but I normally prefer blueberries or strawberries in this recipe. And while I love the tie-dyed look that the berry layer creates as it bleeds into the white layer, I think I prefer the berries processed in with the white layer. Using blueberries or strawberries also relieves me of having to separate the seeds from the berry topping.
Raw Blackberry Cheesecake
- 1/2 cup raw almonds or macadamia nuts, brazil, hazelnuts, pecans, or walnuts, just to give you some options
- 1/2 cup Medjool dates
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups raw cashews soaked in water for at least 3 hours
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 1/3 cup lemon juice or lime juice
- 1/3 cup raw honey or pasteurized; up to you
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups blackberries or other berry; fresh or frozen
- 3 tablespoons raw honey or pasteurized, or to taste
- To make the crust layer, place the almonds, dates, and salt in a food processor and process until the dough sticks together. If you want a finer crust, keep processing a bit longer.
- In a baking pan, or spring form pan, press the crust evenly across the bottom of the pan.
- Place the crust in the refrigerator or freezer until you're ready to fill it.
- Place the white layer ingredients in a food processor (or high speed blender), and process until smooth and creamy.
- Place the white layer on top of the crust and smooth it out evenly using a spatula, or by shuffling the pan back and forth.
- Place the berry layer ingredients in the food processor or blender, and blend for a bit to break down the berries and blend the honey.
- Separate the blackberry seeds from the fruit puree using a fine mesh strainer, and then pour the berry layer on top of the white layer.
- Freeze until ready to use, or store in the refrigerator if you'll be using it soon.
- If you've frozen it, thaw for about 30 minutes at room temperature, or until you can cut a slice with a sharp knife. You can also thaw it for a few hours in the refrigerator.
Thanks so much for your amazing recipes! I was recently diagnosed with ibd and your recipes show food can be super delicious when healthy!
Do you have tips for making the crust less sticky and easier to remove from the pan?
Thanks and greetings from the Netherlands 🙂
Hello from the US 🙂 I use a spring form pan and place parchment paper on the bottom of the pan. With a spring form pan you can detach the bottom of the pan so no need to remove, but if you want to then parchment paper works well.
Love it that the recipe adjusts itself when you change the servings.
I’ll try this one tomorrow 😉
Greetings from Belgium.
Hello from the US! Yes, one of the reasons I switched to this format is the servings change and the measurement options (metric and US). 🙂
In what do you soak the cashews, plain water or I read you mentioned something about lemon juice. Thanks for clarifying.
wow, thanks for asking! soak in water, and I added this info to the recipe.
I have come back to recipe many times but only tried it today. It’s my mom’s birthday but she is on the other side of the globe enjoying it with my rest of the family. So I made this to perk myself up, it came out beautifully. Finally, I can have cake and not feel lousy afterwards. It really is very delicious and pretty easy. Thank you so much for sharing your hard worked recipes.
Is there a substitute for the coconut oil? I have alot of food intolerants and coconut is one of them.
you can use butter or palm shortening I imagine, I just haven’t tried either.
I was just wondering what food processor you use. I did manage to break down the cashews in a simple blender, but have a feeling it would taste better had I been able to blend them better.
I use a Cuisinart and I run it for a minute or so, at least. You can let it run in the blender for a while as well, although a high-speed blender is going to be much more effective. You can get it really creamy with the higher-end equipment, which you may not be seeing. But try running it for a long time to see if it will eventually get there.
Thanks – my food processor is up for replacement, so that’s why I was asking… I ran it for about 7 minutes in my blender, but still….
Great recipe! Thanks,
I just thought of another question: could cashew butter be used instead of grinding up the nuts?
yes, but it will be difficult to press into the crust and won’t have the same texture. It won’t be far off though.
Will a plain old black and decker food processor be powerful enough to make the filling? Or do you really need Vita mixer?
I use a NutriBullet. Alot cheaper than the Vitamix and does a great job.
thanks. hadn’t heard of it: http://www.nutribullet.com/
Hi Amy, I tried once to make a similar cake base in the nutribullet and it blew up. Do you have any tips??
Hi – Can you tell me where you found that beautiful white cake stand? It’s amazing!
I bought it on sale (should have bought 2!) a few years ago from a catalog store, but I can’t remember which one. Sorry!
Hi Erica! Where do you source your raw cashews? I checked your amazon store but no luck there. Thanks!
Hi Jill. I get raw cashews at Trader Joe’s or my local PCC or Whole Foods. The prices on Amazon are a bit high (and not even organic). I bet the places that sell nuts online will be a good source, such as Honeyville and Nutsonline.
Mine was so much flatter than yours even though I used an 8 inch pan. Tasted great though. the best part was trying to get my friends and family to guess what was in it. No one figured it out.
I love that it was a mystery. Mine is a bit flat as well but it may not show as much in the pictures.
Claire @ cinnamon and south
Thank you so much for sharing this recipe, I have been looking for a good raw cheesecake recipe for a while and I think I might have to give this one a go, it looks delicious!
It’s good. I ate half the cake in one day. My opinion of course.
This looks lovely! Sometimes when I use cashews in fillings and things, my fillings have a grayish tint. This cheesecake looks so white and pretty! I can’t wait to try it.
Same here, Jen. The coconut oil gives it a more distinct white coloring. It does look a bit beige when processed but as soon as it freezes, it appears white.
This looks lovely. I found a wild blackberry bush around back of my house last month and passed it up. Now I wish I would have picked them!
there’s always the freezer section, or next year. Honestly, blueberries are easier and look the same as blackberries.