I won’t lie. I’m fascinated by raw desserts. They are definitely one of my favorite things to make. Not only are they really easy to prepare, but I’m yet to make a raw dessert that wouldn’t turn out to be delicious. Like this raw lime cheesecake – creamy, slightly tart, and perfectly sweet.
I made this cheesecake for a friend’s surprise birthday party this past weekend and I’m so happy to report that it was all gone within 30 minutes. Raw desserts are the best kind of raw food you can show off to entice your non-raw friends. After all, desserts are most people’s (if not everyone’s) favorite course (food).
If you’ve never tried making raw lime cheesecake, try it. The main ingredients for all raw desserts are pretty much the same – nuts, seeds. fruit, maple syrup, raw honey, coconut oil, cacao powder, vanilla, and cinnamon. While it’s not much, the combinations are very versatile. I don’t know if you can recreate any dessert using only raw ingredients, but cheesecake definitely does have a healthy raw version. I’ve played with various flavors, but this raw lime cheesecake is one of my favorite.
Although you might not believe me when I say that this raw lime cheesecake tastes like the real thing, I assure you – it does! The texture is so rich and velvety that even a small slice is very satisfying.
Tips for Making Raw Lime Cheesecake
I feel like I talk about dates, especially Medjool dates, all the time. However, for this raw cheesecake, you don’t actually need Medjool dates. The dates in this recipe only serve as a binder for the crust. They don’t need to be pureed into a perfectly smooth paste, like in these truffles or fudge. Of course, Medjool dates are the best, but go with any dates you have on hand. As far as the nuts go, I used a mix of almonds and walnuts, but it really doesn’t matter what type of nuts you use. Pecans or hazelnuts are particularly delicious!
Vegan or not, cashew cream is beyond delicious. I use cashews for the majority of my raw vegan cheesecake recipes because they have a neutral (slightly sweet) flavor, a wonderfully smooth texture, and are naturally high in fat. Mixed together with come thick coconut cream, the cashews mimic the taste and the texture of a cheesecake very well. To help the cashew cream set and create the smooth cheesecake texture that melts in your mouth, using a little bit of coconut oil is essential. Coconut oil is the main reason you should keep this cheesecake in the fridge or the freezer because it melts at a room temperature.
To sweeten the cashew-coconut cream, I always opt for a liquid sweetener. Granulated sugar isn’t the best for raw creams because it doesn’t seamlessly mix in, leaving you with a gritty texture.
Finally, the flavor – strawberry, chocolate, vanilla, peanut butter, caramel … the sky is the limit. Just don’t omit the lemon juice regardless of the flavor you choose. Lime juice provides a tangy, tart flavor you expect from a good cheesecake.
For making the actual cheesecake, you’ll need to use a powerful machine (be it a high-speed blender or a food processor). I find that food processors work the best for crusts made from nuts while blenders excel at making smooth fillings. However, you could make the filling in a food processor as well. (I did and it worked perfectly fine). The best pan for making a cheesecake is a spring-loaded pan. It’s essentially a cake pan, which allows you to remove the sides of the pan while preserving the integrity of the cake’s edges.
For smoothing out the filling, I use offset spatulas. The size of the spatula I use depends on the size of the cake. The spatula should reach to about the center of the cake when held steady and comfortable. For the smoothing process itself, hold the spatula in the same place to an angle to the cake, tip at the center, and use the other hand to rotate the spring form pan. You could use a turnable, but it’s not necessary.
Tools You’ll Need
1. Food Processor (Breville Sous Chef) | 2. Blender (Vitamix Pro 750) | 3. Spring-Loaded Pan (9-Inch, Wilton, Coated Steel) | 4. Measuring Cup (4 Cups, Pyrex, Glass) | 5. Mesh Strainers (Set of 3, Cuisinart, Stainless Steel) | 6. Can Opener (Zyliss, Stainless Steel) | 7. Offset Spatula (6-Inch, ECYC, Stainless Steel) | 8. Measuring Spoons (Set of 6, 1Easylife, Stainless Steel) | 9. Measuring Cups (Set of 6, Bellemain, Stainless Steel)
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- 1/2 cup raw almonds
- 1/2 cup raw walnuts
- 1 cup Medjool dates, pitted
- 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
- 3 cups raw cashews, soaked*
- 1 cup coconut cream or full-fat coconut milk
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
- 2 limes, juice only
- 1 lemon, juice only
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Place the almonds into a food processor and pulse until they've broken down a bit. Add the walnuts and pulse until you reached your desired fineness. Add the dates and pulse until everything begins to stick together. The crust should hold together when you pinch it in between your fingers. If it doesn't, pulse a little bit more.
Lightly grease an 8.5-inch spring-loaded pan.
Add the crust mixture to the tin and press firmly down with your fingers or the bottom of a glass to really pack it down. Set in freezer to firm up while you make the filling.
Place all filling ingredients into the food processor or a blender and blend on high until smooth. If it doesn't come together, add a little bit more coconut milk. The cream should be smooth and quite thick.
Pour the cream on top of the crust layer, in the cake pan. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 5-6 hours or overnight.
Once set, remove the cheesecake from the spring-loaded pan. Serve frozen or let it thaw at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Store any leftover cheesecake in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
*Soak the cashews in cold water for at least 8 hours (or overnight) so they soften up and are easy to blend. To quick-soak cashews, pour boiling hot water over the cashews, soak for 1 hour uncovered, then drain and use as instructed. (Note: if you do the quick soak, the cheesecake will no longer be raw).
**Use a full-fat coconut milk and let the coconut water separate from the cream in the can. The easiest way to do that is to pop the can of coconut milk into the fridge over night. I use the brand Native Forest or Thai and it always separates really well. It will depend on the brand of coconut milk you buy. If your can doesn't separate, you can still use the unseparated milk. The filling just won’t be as thick.
***Prep time does not include freezing (5-6 hours).