There are very few raw desserts that are easier to make than the raw cheesecake, and I think they are just about one of the most impressive things you can make. This raw double chocolate orange cheesecake (or maybe even triple!) is ridiculously easy to make, as you simply blend the separate layers and stick it in the freezer to set; no messy sifting, whisking or baking here!
I have to admit something; I am a completely hopeless baker, which is really annoying because I love brownies, cakes and biscuits. I spend a LOT of time reading recipes and food blogs, and The Great British Bake Off is my guilty pleasure, so I start to believe that I too can bake. However, no matter how carefully I measure out ingredients, or how carefully I follow a recipe, as soon as there is an oven involved, as disaster occurs. This is probably one of the reasons I fell so in love with the raw food diet is that making things that resemble (and taste!) similar to recipes that are traditionally baked, or cooked, is SO much easier. This kind of ‘unbaking’ is much more intuitive, you taste as you go, and change the recipe to compliment the ingredients you have to hand. Emily from This Rawsome Vegan Life describes it perfectly, as she says you should see raw food recipes as ‘inspirational blueprints’.
This cheesecake is 4 layers of deliciousness (yes I am counting the chocolate on top as a layer because it is just so damn thick and scrumptious that it deserves to be counted as an individual layer!). There’s a super moist, nutty base, topped with rich chocolate cheesecake, and a light, zesty and refreshing orange cheesecake, smothered in a super rich chocolate orange sauce. I added some raw cacao truffles and some orange peel curls; which are incredibly easy to make, you simply twist a thin piece of peel into a curl, and it magically stays in place.
I have found my all-time favourite raw cheesecake base, and I am sticking it under every cheesecake possible at the moment, (like my raw raspberry cheesecake brownies!), because it is just like a really moist and fudgey raw brownie, and any excuse to add chocolate to a recipe I will grab with both hands!
I know you are probably wondering why there are random pomegranate seeds in there, and the simple answer is that I got too cocky with the decoration of this cake; I had visions of carob swirls and little pomegranate rubies dotted around the top of the cake. The reality was a huge, ugly mess, and so I decided to smother this cheesecake in a beautiful, thick layer of chocolate orange sauce, made with carob, to cover up my failed attempts to be artistic below! This turned out to be a very happy accident indeed, as the orange chocolate just adds an extra layer of awesome to an already rich and zesty cheesecake. One thing to note is that carob helps make this layer a bit more sticky and fudge like, as carob mixed with coconut oil does not set in the same way as cacao; if you use cacao powder this layer will be harder like raw chocolate.
I recommend using orange essential oils to give this cheesecake, and the chocolate sauce topping, a more decidedly orange flavour, and to turn the chocolate coating into magical melted chocolate orange. Double check what oils you buy, as many sold are ‘health and beauty grade’, and are therefore not fit for consumption. You must make sure the essential oil you use is certified ‘food’ grade so it is safe to eat. I personally used NHR Organic Orange Essential Oil (Citrus sinensis) to make this cheesecake, and would definitely recommend these lovely oils. They’re fabulous for aromatherapy too! They are not essential to add orange flavour to this cheesecake, and if you choose to omit this ingredient you could add some extra orange zest instead.
I have found that since I really immersed myself in a raw food lifestyle, I have stopped spending money on things I don’t need, and instead I spend pretty much all of my money on food, as nothing else gives me more pleasure, or makes me feel better.However I know that a raw cheesecake can seem very expensive to make, as they are filled with pricey ingredients like cacao, nuts and coconut oil. I am mindful of the fact that the price of the ingredients in some of my recipes can seem eye-watering, so I must explain why I list both carob and cacao in the recipe.
The reason I used cacao to make the cheesecake layer, was that it tastes much more similar to chocolate than carob, and I wanted to create a traditional tasting chocolate orange cheesecake. I will hold my hands up and tell you now that I used carob in the base and chocolate coating because it just looks so darn gorgeous; the rich, deep black colour is to-die for. This cake will taste absolutely fabulous whether you just use cacao, carob, or a mixture of the two like I did, so it is not necessary to buy both if you want to keep the cost down. The one saving grace is that these raw cheesecakes are so incredibly rich, as they are made almost exclusively with nuts and coconut oil, that you really do only need a really small slice to feel satisfied. They end up lasting a lot longer; I tend to keep cheesecakes in the freezer for up to a couple of months to snack on. Which can be dangerous considering I have been known on occasion to have a sneaky slice for breakfast when I am feeling far too lazy to go to the shop for food!
There are four good reasons you should make this cake; raw brownie base, velvety chocolate cheesecake, perfectly sweet and refreshingly creamy orange cheesecake, and a very generous helping of orange chocolate sauce that knocks the socks off a Terry’s Chocolate Orange. And did I mention how easy it was?!
Happy unbaking people, and as always, tag me on Instagram so I can see your recreations!
- ⅓ cup (45g) brazil nuts
- ⅓ cup (40g) walnuts
- 8-9 Medjool dates
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 3 Tbsp carob powder (or Cacao)
- 1-2 Tbsp water
- 1½ cups (200g) cashews (soaked overnight, or for at least 6 hours)
- 1tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)
- ½ cup (60g) cacao powder (or carob)
- ⅓ cup (70ml) liquid coconut oil
- ⅓ cup (70ml) maple syrup
- ⅓ cup (70ml) water
- 1 cup (150g) cashews (soaked overnight, or for at least 6 hours)
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)
- ½ cup (118ml) liquid coconut oil
- 2 Tbsp coconut butter
- Juice of two oranges
- Zest of two oranges
- 4 drops orange essential oil (optional)
- 2 large tablespoons of liquid coconut oil
- 3 large tablespoons of carob powder (or cacao)
- 3 Tbsp maple syrup
- 2-3 drops orange essential oil
- Place the nuts in a food processor and pulse until they are roughly chopped into small pieces.
- Add the dates and pulse until they are combined with the nuts.
- Pour in maple syrup and carob powder and pulse to combine.
- Add the water a pulse again until the mixture comes together in a dough like substance. I find mines rolls into a ball in the food processor.
- Pour the mixture into the cake tin, and press the brownie mixture into the bottom. If it is sticky, wet your fingers slightly and use them to press it down firmly.
- Place in the freezer to harden whilst you make the chocolate cheesecake layer.
- Soak your cashews overnight (or for at least 4-6 hours), and drain before placing them into a blender.
- Add all other ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy. You can add extra water a tablespoon at a time if you need to help things along.
- Pour the mixture over the top of the brownie layer and put it in the freezer for 20 minutes to firm up whilst you make the orange cheesecake. It is important that this layer be firm before you pour over the orange layer in order to get clear definition between the layers.
- Place the cashews, maple syrup, vanilla, coconut oil and orange juice into a blender and blend until smooth.
- Add in the coconut butter and orange zest and blend again until combined.
- Taste the mixture and add in the orange oil a drop at a time until you have reached your desired level of orange-ness. Blend again to combine.
- Pour the mixture over the top of the chocolate layer, and place the cheesecake into the freezer again to harden for approx. 3-4 hours until frozen solid.
- Melt the coconut oil over a Bain-Marie so you don't overheat the oil.
- Stir in the carob (or cacao) and maple syrup until combined. You want the mixture to be slightly thick and slightly viscous, a bit like melted chocolate, but slightly thicker. If it is not thick enough, add more carob.
- Taste the mixture, and add more maple syrup if you prefer a sweeter chocolate.
- Add the orange oil and stir to combine.
- Remove the cheesecake from the tin, and pour the chocolate mixture slowly over the top of the cheesecake. I allowed mine to drip naturally down the sides of the cake.
- Place in the freezer for 10 minutes to harden.
If you want to know more about the ingredients used in this recipe, please visit my ‘Raw Pantry’ page!