Spring is coming, people – I can really feel it this time. Every morning, the birds sing a little bit louder outside my window and while the weather has been a little on the wet side lately, April showers are supposed to bring May flowers, right?
While you’re waiting for the flowers to bloom, why not sit back with a piece of this Earl Grey Lemon Cheesecake. It’s so light and flavourful that each bite will remind you of all the things we love about Spring. And if it doesn’t leave you with visions of Spring dancing in your head, well at least you got to eat some pretty amazing cheesecake!
It combines the subtle flavour of my favourite tea with a light, bright, refreshing burst of tart but sweet lemons. Plus, did I mention that this cheesecake is not only vegan and gluten-free, but also raw! I know, I know, it’s pretty amazing!
If you’re anything like me, the idea of making raw desserts can seem pretty intimidating at first. Don’t be scared though, I promise that this is going to be the easiest cheesecake ever to make. Remember? I’m the queen of easy!
Raw cashews are the base of this cheesecake but if you don’t tell anyone, I promise they’ll never even know. Soaking them is key – pop them in some water and place them in the fridge the night before. Don’t worry though, if you forget, or really have a craving for cheesecake, you can use boiling water and soak for 20-30 minutes in a pinch.
The crust for this delicious Earl Grey Lemon Cheesecake comes together with just two ingredients: dates and almonds. Toss them into your food processor and blend for about 2-3 minutes, until a soft, chunky dough forms. Pour this dough into your cake pan and press it in there nice and firm with your fingers. The firmer the crust, the better here. As you can see from the shot below, I left my crust a little on the chunkier side which provides a nice, crunchy texture to the crust when the cake is all said and done – it’s perfect for letting you enjoy the soft creaminess of the cheesecake while still giving you a crunchy fix with the crust.
Freshly squeezed lemons and zest are the secret behind this Earl Grey Lemon Cheesecake. Oh, and the Earl Grey tea leaves, of course. I happened to have some loose tea leaves in my kitchen that my beautiful sister gave me for Christmas, but if all you have is bagged Earl Grey, just cut open the bag and voila! Tea leaves!
After you’ve set up your crust, add all the remaining ingredients except the tea leaves and blueberries to your high-speed blender. We use a Vitamix at home and it’s perfect for this! Blend on high until a smooth, creamy batter forms. The coconut oil really lends itself to providing the rich, creamy texture of this cheesecake while the fresh, tangy lemon juice masks the flavour of the cashews, tricking everyone into thinking this cheesecake is made with dairy. I won’t tell if you don’t?
Once you’ve made your creamy, delicious, smooth, rich, tangy, sweet…oh sorry, got carried away there. Once you have your batter, you’re going to pour half of it over your prepared crust. Why half? Well we’re going to make magic with the other half. What’s my trick you may ask? Tea Leaves, my friend!
Add your tea leaves to the remainder of the batter and blend on high for another minute. This will allow the delicious flavour and aroma of the Earl Grey tea to fully penetrate your batter. Now don’t worry, the flavour here is not overbearing by any means. But if you love the scent of bergamot as much as I do, then this cheesecake is going to be right up your alley.
Pour your Earl Grey Tea infused batter very gently over the first layer, being mindful not to mix the two. The result will give you a beautiful dual layer effect when you cut into your finished cheesecake. Not only is this Earl Grey Lemon Cheesecake delicious, it looks gorgeous too!
Top the whole thing off with a ring of blueberries. Heck, you could probably cover the whole thing with them if you really wanted to get crazy. Have a big ‘ole blueberry party up in there, I’m sure the cheesecake won’t mind. Plus, blueberries, lemon and earl grey tea are only the perfect trifecta of flavours and ain’t nobody gonna mess around with that trio 😉
Finally, the hardest part: the waiting game. Pop your cheesecake into the freezer for 2-3 hours and try not to die from anticipation in the meantime. To take your mind off the creamy, dreamy, decadent dessert you have waiting for you in for freezer, why not go for a walk? Run some errands? Clean your house? Okay, okay, what I really meant was binge watch The Mindy Project for the third time.
If you really want to make some friends, share this delicious vegan, gluten-free and raw recipe with your friends and family. But maybe don’t tell them right away that it’s healthy. They’ll probably think that it’s so bad for you that they’ll just have a slice and leave more cheesecake for you. Ya, that sounds like a great plan!
As always, make sure you take some gorgeous pictures of your creations and tag them #glutenfreeveganpantry. I just adore seeing your take on my recipes and it’s a serious ego boost. If you’re not already, follow along with my shenanigans on Instagram, Facebook, Google+ and Twitter where I share sneak peeks of upcoming recipes, glimpses into my daily life, and the odd puppy photo from time to time.
Lots of Love & Happy Eats,
- 1 cup almonds
- 1¼ cup Medjool dates
- 1½ cup raw cashews, soaked (4-6 hours is best or use boiling water and soak for 20 minutes)
- ½ cup coconut cream
- ½ cup agave nectar
- ¼ cup virgin coconut oil, melted
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 3 tsp early grey tea leaves
- ¾ cup blueberries
- Add dates and almonds to food processor and process on high for 1-2 minutes until a chunky, sticky "dough" forms. Using your fingers, you should be able to press together some of the crust and have it stay together. If your crust is too dry, add more dates. If too sticky, add more almonds. I left mine a bit on the chunky side as I like the extra crunch but if you want yours more smooth, just process a bit longer to make the crust finer.
- Transfer your crust to your desired baking dish. I used an 8" spring form pan but you could make mini cheesecakes in muffin tins if you wish.
- Using your fingers or the back of a spoon, firmly press crust into the bottom of your baking dish, ensuring that it is packed evenly around the entire dish.
- In a high-speed blender, add cashews, lemon juice, agave nectar, coconut cream, coconut oil and lemon zest. Blend on high until filling is very smooth and creamy, about 2-3 minutes.
- Pour half of the batter over your prepared crust. Ensure that the batter is evenly distributed over the pie crust, tapping the dish a few times to get rid of any bubbles.
- To the remaining batter, add the earl grey tea leaves and blend for another minute. Scrape down sides if needed to ensure evenly blended.
- Gently pour the earl grey infused batter over the lemon batter, being careful not to mix the layers. Again, make sure this new layer of batter is evenly distributed across the baking dish, tapping a few times on the counter to get rid of any bubbles.
- Garnish your cheesecake with blueberries, placing them in a ring around the perimeter of your cake. Gently press the berries into the cheesecake so that half of each berry is in the batter.
- Place cake in freezer for at least 2 hours to set.
- To serve, allow to soften on counter for about 20-30 minutes.