Humor me here for a minute and let's play a matching game. When you think of a lemon dessert, what else goes with it? Poppyseed maybe? That's kinda where I immediately, almost mindlessly go. I made this little cake to celebrate a friend's birthday a while back, and I wanted to pair the beautiful, sweet tanginess of lemon with something other than the obvious (Not that I've got anything against the humble poppyseed, it's still lovely, but I was just wanting something a little more...exciting I guess).
So, what goes with lemon, ISN'T poppyseed, but is reminiscent of those delicate little sprinkles? What imparts teeny bursts of texture to your dessert but is fresher, and in my opinion more interesting than poppyseed....yep, CHIA :) Add some ginger for good measure, and you've got one simple, fresh, and absolutely delicious raw cheesecake on your hands.
I've been saving this recipe for a special occasion on the blog... What kind of special occasion? Um, I actually have no idea to be honest! It just turned out to be a special cake and I felt like it needed a good reason for sharing. But then yesterday I asked on Instagram what's one dessert people would bring with them to a desert island and I was surprised to hear so many people say lemon anything. I paused. I was expecting lots of chocolate and pb (and indeed that was a common answer), but lemon wasn't quite on my radar. And then I realized, you know what, it's been quite a while since a prominently lemon dessert has made an appearance around here. That felt like a special enough reason to share this cake straight away. ?
This cake may look fancy, but it's honestly a simple, no-fuss dessert. I love decorating my cakes naturally, using edible materials that enhance the flavors in the desserts. So really it's just an easy raw cashew cheesecake with a few slices of lemon on top, a couple of raw nuggets made from some of the crust mixture and a sprig of rosemary + a sprinkle of chia seeds on top... because they're cute :) All in all couldn't be any simpler, but so delicious.
I also used a hint of turmeric for color -- the tiniest pinch made the prettiest mellow yellow. My favorite yellow go-to these days. Why, oh, why did I ever use that artificial yellow food coloring in the past?! o.O
Meyer lemons are the star here because... well because I'll always take a meyer over a non-meyer (wouldn't you?). If you can't find meyer lemons just use a regular lemon; they'll work just fine. But meyer lemons make everything a tiny touch more special.
Last but not least, a few more quick tips: 1. make sure all ingredients are at room temp before starting. 2. I used my 5" springform pan for this. Triple for a 6" cake, or make a few tiny cakes in silicone cupcake pans. 3. If you need more tips on how to make raw cheesecakes like a pro, check out my book Unconventional Treats.Print
Raw Lemon Ginger Chia Cheesecake
A simple, refreshing lemon ginger chia raw cheesecake, made with cashews. Gluten-free and vegan.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 5" cake
- Category: Cake
- Method: Raw
- Cuisine: Dessert
- ¾ cups raw almonds
- 1 soft medjool date, pitted
- 1 tbsp coconut oil, softened
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- ¾ cup raw cashews, pre-soaked and strained*
- 5 tbsp fresh lemon juice (I used meyer lemons)
- zest of 1 lemon
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp coconut oil, liquefied
- 1 tsp ground ginger (spice)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ⅛ tsp turmeric (spice)
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- Some of the crust mixture for making balls. A few slices of lemon, a fresh rosemary sprig (thyme would work well too), a bit of chia seeds for sprinkling.
- Process all crust ingredients, except maple syrup, in a food processor until a sticky crumble is formed. Add maple syrup and process again to combine. Remove a tiny bit of the mixture and form into a few little balls with your hands, set aside. Transfer the rest of the crust mixture into a 5" springform pan and press to form a crust along the base and a bit up the edges all around. Place the pan in the freezer while working on the next step.
- Blend all filling ingredients, except chia seeds, in a power blender until completely smooth. Add in chia and either stir with a spoon or pulse very briefly to fold the seeds in without grinding them down (don't over-blend -- you want those seeds visible in the cake!). Pour this mixture into the pan over the crust. Smooth out the top (I let mine be a bit rustic). Top with a few slices of lemon, the balls, and sprinkle with chia.
- Freeze for 5 hours or overnight. Decorate with rosemary sprig before serving. I recommend allowing the cake to thaw out a bit prior to serving for a softer consistency. Keep leftovers frozen. Enjoy!
*To pre-soak nuts: place in a glass bowl, cover with water, and leave to soak for 4 hours (or overnight in the fridge). Then strain and discard the water. For a quick pre-soak, cover with boiled water and soak for 15 mins, then strain and discard water. (Note: this technique doesn't preserve the nutrition of the recipe as well as the traditional soaking technique above). Additional Note: the purpose of soaking the nuts is to re-hydrate them and plump them up for blending into a smooth, cheesecake-like consistency. Proper soaking techniques also maximize nutrition and digestibility. If you're interested in learning more about nut soaking and other dessert prep tips and tricks, I delve into these subjects in detail in my book Unconventional Treats.