A few weeks ago this easy bake cheesecake happened, and it was everything you could possibly want in a cheesecake: it was light, tangy, dairy-free, and yet, YET there were a few of you who informed me that actually, there was one more thing you wanted. You wanted it nut-free. Most particularly, cashew-free. So back to the drawing board it was until this new nut-free version happened.
I totally get this, because nuts can be a no-go for a lot of people (and I was one of them for years, so I get it). So I set to off to remove the nuttiness from an otherwise lovely baked cheesecake, and actually, I am sooooo glad you guys asked for this! Because even though I'm personally ok with cashews (and perhaps have been known to eat cashew butter straight from the food processor), this nut-free baked cheesecake turned out just lovely. I think I may actually like this one better than the original version, it's that good.
A dairy-free, gluten-free, oil-free, grain-free, refined sugar-free baked "cheesecake" seemed a tall order to begin with, and so removing the nuts from it too made it a bit of a challenge... although it was a challenge easily resolved with a few swaps. Cashews in the crust turned into pumpkin seeds (though sunflower seeds would work well too). Cashews in the filling got swapped out for sunflower seed butter... the result? YUM.
Sunflower seed butter can have a particularly strong flavor to it, but when cut with yogurt, it turns into pure cheesecakey magic.
I also added a few tablespoon apricot jam and LOVED the new flavor it added. You can't taste apricots, but you can taste a little something that makes it more special.
One last note: the cake pictured has a thicker crust than what the recipe calls for. I doubled the crust originally but felt it was too much crust for cheesecake. So I remade it again with a thinner crust and it was just perfect, but sadly I didn't get a chance to take new photos since that cake got served up to company before I got to that (they loved it btw :) ). So just note that the crust on your cake will be a bit thinner, but just as delicious.
Nut-Free & Dairy-Free Baked Cheesecake
A creamy, nut-free vegan baked cheesecake with a sunflower butter and yogurt base.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 55 minutes
- Yield: 6" cake
- Category: Cake
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Dessert
- 1½ cups raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas) or sunflower seeds
- 8 soft medjool dates, pitted
- 2 tbsp sunflower seed butter
- 1 cup dairy-free yogurt (I used an agave-sweetened one)
- ¾ cup sunflower seed butter
- 8 tbsp agave (or maple syrup, coconut syrup, etc.)
- juice of 1 lemon (I used a meyer lemon)
- 2 tbsp apricot jam (I used St. Dalfour's fruit-sweetened jam)
- 1 tbsp psyllium husk
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ½ tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly oil a tall 6" springform pan (base and sides) and set aside.
- Process all crust ingredients in a food processor into a fine sticky crumble. Transfer into the oiled pan press down to shape into a crust with your hands along the base and sides of the pan (Tip: make sure you "seal" the gap in the base when shaping the crust -- i.e. don't leave cracks in the crust, so that the filling doesn't leak out anywhere while baking). Set aside.
- Blend all filling ingredients into a smooth mixture in a power blender. Pour over the crust.
- Bake in a preheated oven for 40-45 mins until the top is nice and golden. Remove and cool on a wire rack completely (a few hours or overnight is best)(note the top will sink as it cools, which is normal). Remove from pan, slice and enjoy. Store leftovers in the fridge. Enjoy!
Tina Graber says
Is there a substitute for the apricot jam you'd recommend or ok to omit? Thank you.
Hi Tina. It just adds a bit more moisture and a deeper / more interesting flavor (but doesn't make the cake taste like apricots). You can try the recipe without it and just adjust the filling sweetness level (with a bit more agave) to your liking by tasting the filling batter. This is just my best guess, as I've not tried it without, but this is how I'd go about it. Would love to hear how it turns out for you if you give it a go.
Tina Graber says
Thank you! Avoiding the refined sugar and no time to make own jam,so will try with more honey (sweetner of choice)..Appreciate your quick response and thoughts! Thanks again!
Tina Graber says
Playing around and making needed modifications for me, but appreciate this as a foundation and your efforts. Thank you!
No worries at all. It's all about making the recipes work for you anyways at the end of the day :)
This cake is insane. I needed something WFPB friendly, (no oils and sugars) and without cashews and peanuts. This was one of the two creamy ones that I've found.
I did use a mixture of nut butters in the filling along with sunflower butter, and replaced the syrup with dates.
It is delicious beyond words considering the time needed to make it and ingredients needed, and the nutritional value is off the charts.
I'd love to make more cakes of yours, but I am afraid that none match this criteria (wfpb, no oil or sugar, cashews or peanuts) or am I wrong?
This was a definite hit and I see myself making it a family cake. Thank you!
Hi Maja, thanks so much for the lovely feedback and for sharing the swaps that worked for you.
I actually have lots of other recipes that might work for you. If you go to the recipes page here: https://www.unconventionalbaker.com/all-recipes/ -- at the very top click on all the tabs that apply to you (in this case "oil-free" + "peanut-free" + "cashew-free", etc.) to narrow down your options. Hope you find more yummy things to make -- happy baking! :)
Amazing recipes... Can you please specify weights for the ingredients as I'm using UK measurements and US cups are different. Thanks, Chris
Hey Chris. Thanks very much. Unfortunately I don't measure in weights usually so don't have those handy. But confirming I use US measuring cups and spoons as a standard.
Totally disasterous, are you sure its 3/4 cup of butter and not tablespoon? my attempt was a sloshy waste of time and money
Hi Lizzy, there's no butter in this recipe. Did you mean sunflower seed butter?
Viktorija Aleskeviciute says
This cheesecake looks amazing..
I m definitely trying it.
Do you use roasted or raw sunflower butter in this recipe?
Hi Viktorija. Thanks very much. I used roasted sunflower seed butter, but both should work fine.
Hazel Lammers says
Can I omit the psyllium husk? How does it alter the recipe?
Hi Hazel. The psyllium husk works as a thickener and binder in this. You can try using some milled chia seeds instead -- some of my readers said they tried that and it worked great for them.
Hi! This looks AMAZING and I want to make it tonight but I need to make a regular large-sized cheesecake to bring to a friend. Do you know if this recipe will work for a large sized spring form pan and if so, would it be a doubled or tripled recipe? Thanks in advance for your reply!!!!
I haven't tried making a larger version myself, but a few of my readers mentioned that it worked for them, so I think it's safe to try. Or alternatively you can just make two 6" pan cakes instead.
I'm assuming by "large pan" you mean a typical 9" -- if so, you'll need to double the recipe.
P.S. there's a cake multiplication guide just below the recipe you can download with tips on how to size recipes up or down that you might find helpful :)
If I used psyllium husk powder how much do I use?
Hi Sima. It should be 1 tsp powder. Enjoy!
I made this today and am in love! I did not have psyllium but used chia and it turned out delicious! I'm so happy to have found your site...I have multiple food allergies and sensitivities and was thrilled to find a nut-free version of cheesecake. I can't wait to try more of your recipes. Thank you! :)
Aw, that's awesome, Jen. So happy you liked it! :) Your comment made my day.
Thank you so much! I was hoping for a cashew free version.
Oh, good. Glad it works. Enjoy it! :)
Audrey this is great! Yummy
Aw, so happy you liked it! :) Thank you for sharing.
Vanessa Kraft says
What can I use instead of sunflower butter? I don't have any at home but I want to make this cake for tonight!
Hey Vanessa. Sunflower seed butter is the only nut-free alternative I can think of. I tried it with tahini once -- and while the texture held up well, the flavor wasn't quite right. Pumpkin seed butte comes to mind, but it has such a particular flavor that it would need to be balanced somehow, plus the color isn't great for presentation...). If you're ok with nut butters, you can make this with cashew butter (there's a version of that on the blog which is everyone's favorite), or someone made it with peanut butter and said it tasted great.
Does raw cheesecake work as well with mixed sunflower seeds instead of cashew nuts? I can't eat lots of nuts because of histamine intolerance. Almonds, coconut, seeds are fine to me.
It depends on the recipe. I make raw cheesecakes with sunflower seeds often, but the flavors need to be adjusted a little differently than with cashews. I have a few recipes in my book Unconventional Treats, and was going to share one with sunflower seeds on the blog soon (Stay tuned). So the short answer is: yes. The long answer: you'll need to adjust the flavors and sweetness some.
That said, I have a bunch of non-cashew cakes and cheesecakes on the blog in the recipes section, especially if you check out the nut-free section.
hello Audrey! I loooove this recipe but I have a question
Idk what psyllium husk is and where to get it... what is it for? can I skip it or is it essential?
Hi Alessandra. Psyllium husk acts as a thickener and a binder in the recipe. It's also a good source of fiber that's made out of the husks of a plant. You can find it online or in health food shops, and often the natural section of the grocery store. I find that buying a large package can be costly sometimes, so I just buy a few tbsp at a time from bulk shops as needed and it ends up very cheap that way. You can buy it regular or ground -- this recipe uses regular psyllium husk, but if you use ground you need to use less as it's more concentrated in powder form. I wouldn't skip it entirely in the recipe. If you can't find it anywhere, one of my readers used ground chia seeds instead and said it worked great for her, so you could give that a try.
Thank u girl! U are so nice :)
I want to make u compliments for the entire site and for this recipe.
Anyway, I found it! It was really easy tbh! I just did some research before buying it
I want to ask u another thing aboyt this recipe.
I do not use butter or jam and here u can't really find those types of butter, I'm sure. Is it important for the recipe or can I skip both?
Can I use something else?
Hi Alessandra -- sorry for the double up :)
If you can't find sunbutter you can always make your own from toasted sunflower seeds (just put them in a food processor and process until they make a butter (About 10 minutes). You can also use another nut butter if you're not nut-free -- like cashew butter, peanut butter, etc. The jam you can skip.
Thank u so much girl! In the end I found them and tbh it was really easy, I had simply never heard of them.
BUT i still have some important questions!
Can I skip the jam and most importantly the butter? I'm sure I can't find it here and also I use none of them usually cause I really don't like them
Are they important for the recipe? Can I use something else? More yogurt? More mayple syrup? Almond Milk?
Tell me pls cause I would like to bakr this really soon!!
In the mean time I want to congratulate for the blog and for the recipe itself ♡
U are great girl!
Thank you so much! :)
You can do without the jam, but the sunflower seed butter is an essential part in this recipe -- without it you won't have the right flavor, texture & consistency. The jam adds a nice hint of flavor. The cake tastes nothing like sunflower seeds or jam in the end, just fyi :)
Maybe milk? Or is it too liquid?
It is too liquid. The cashew butter gives a thickness and creaminess, and also that cheesecake-y flavor. If you do just milk it would result in a watery goop in the middle. You can try using extra firm tofu -- I got some decent cakes with that in terms of texture, but they didn't have a correct "cheesecake" flavor (which is created by the mixture of sunbutter & yogurt in this particular recipe).
Kari @ bite-sized thoughts says
You are always up for a challenge :) I have no trouble with nuts but still think this looks delicious and a fun alternative to nut-based raw desserts!
I don't have a nut issue either, but I really enjoyed this one -- somehow the flavor of the strong flavor of the sunbutter mellowed out by the tangy yogurt was just delicious.
Looks AMAZING Audrey ... so intrigued by the sunflower butter ... a long time ago I used to make cheesecake with quark and eggs and this looks like it, but prettier, ha ha!
Trying it with soy yoghurt,
sending xoxo Tina
Awesome, Tina! Enjoy it. I loved it with the soy yogurt.
Sarah | Well and Full says
I know I've said this before, but you are the queen of vegan baking, girl!! This cheesecake looks absolutely perfect - so spot on. Nicely done!! :D
Thanks Sarah. I'm so happy with how this turned out. Melt-in-your-mouth "cheesy" deliciousness <3
Oh Audrey, this looks amazing and I want to do it right now!! Unfortunately, I still haven't been able to get sunflower seed butter. I almost bought psyllium husk once, but the notes on the back on its effects and for kids etc freaked me out of buying it! Can you get away with omitting the psyllium husk from the receipe?
Thanks Tina! :)
I think I have an answer to everything here :D
For sunbutter -- Mayvers makes it.
About the psyllium husk, that's strange -- I've only heard good things about it for kids up until now (like this and this) -- so long as you don't use too much, and so long as the child doesn't have a known psyllium sensitivity. The amount in this cake is fairly small, so I wouldn't be concerned. Apparently kids can have up to 9gr a day, which is 1 tbsp -- the amount in the whole cake.
You can try omitting it and substituting with a few tbsp starch -- I tried something similar in one of my trials and it was ok (can't remember the amount I used), but the psyllium worked much better without affecting the flavor.
Thank you Audrey, I'm going to have to check the psyllium husk out again and stop being chicken! ;) We do have a few Mayvers products but the sunflower seed butter is sadly discontinued. I will eventually find it and can't wait to try it. xx
Aw, so sad it's discontinued! :( I hope you find some eventually, or manage to make it yourself sometime ;)
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine says
Oooo a none raw treat! Sounds seedyly fabulous to me ;)
Thanks Rebecca :) It is seedy and delicious.
I'm holly700 on Ig and just commented on this pic on Insta about how incredible you are!
I have a long, complicated personal health history and am overqualified as one who knows about modern day sensitivities but my afflictions have brought much goodness into my life.
I have so very much to say about the amazingness of what you've been creating but suffice it for me to say for now that what you've produced is truly extraordinary.
With regards of abundant, karmic joy, Holly.
I really appreciate your words. Suffice it to say my baking comes from the same place, which is perhaps why it's enjoyed by others who have gone through the same.
I'm so happy you're finding things you can enjoy! Have fun baking :)
Dear Audrey, how you think, could I use coconut cream instead of butter (for creaminess)? Thank you!
Hi Martyna. Do you mean coconut cream in place of sunflower seed butter? (there's no butter in this recipe). If so, to be honest, I'm not sure as I haven't tried, but I suspect it's not weighty enough.