I really, really wanted to call this a "turtles-inspired" cheesecake. That's exactly what I was in the mood for when I went to make it. Caramel, chocolate, pecans... all packaged into my favorite (to whip up) dessert.
But last minute, instead of adding a whole 'nuther layer of some kind of chocolate sauce on top I decided to just sprinkle it with some chocolate chips and call it a day. Somehow I felt like it was decadent enough as is.
So it's really more of a caramel pecan cheesecake. Yep another one, I know. But honestly who ever gets tired of anything caramel ? ... especially when the "caramel" part is super basic and doesn't require any cooking?
And while we're on that note... because I went with a no-cooking-involved route with the caramel I used dates to make a quick topping sauce. Dates don't freeze when blended, meaning the top layer is going to be soft even after the base of the cheesecake sets in the freezer. Which means you'll have a very lush caramel-y frosting to enjoy.
...and which also means this won't be the most graceful cake to serve, perhaps... But I have the perfect solution for that: eat it fast and you're good to go :)
No, really, what I'd suggest is not spreading the caramel all the way to the edges in the pan. Remove it out of the springform pan ring carefully, and if anything smudges by chance just run a clean butter knife around the top edge of the cake and it should fix that problem for you. I recommend slicing and serving pretty much straight out of the freezer -- just thaw a minute or two, slice and serve.
P.S. If you need help making a larger batch of this cake, see the cake multiplication download at the bottom of this page. Also, feel free to make this in a small parchment-lined square container instead if you don't have a suitable pan.Print
Raw Caramel Pecan Cheesecake
A rich "turtles-inspired" raw vegan cheesecake filled with caramel, chocolate, and pecans in a beautiful and easy to whip up dessert. Gluten-free and lush.
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 5" cake
- Category: Cake
- Method: Raw
- Cuisine: Dessert
- ½ cup pecans
- 1 soft medjool date, pitted
- ½ tbsp maple syrup
- ½ tbsp coconut oil
- ½ cup raw cashews, pre-soaked and strained*
- 6 tbsp maple syrup (room temp)
- 2 tbsp cacao powder
- 2 tbsp almond milk (room temp)
- 2 tbsp coconut oil, liquefied
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp almond extract
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup soft medjool dates, pitted
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp almond milk
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp carob powder (optional)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ⅛ tsp salt
- ¼ cup chopped pecans
- 2-3 tablespoon chocolate chips or chunks
- Process all crust ingredients in a food processor into a sticky crumbly mixture. Transfer into a 5" springform pan and press down into a flat even crust. Freeze while working on the next layer.
- Make sure all filling ingredients are at room temp. Blend everything in a high power blender into a smooth uniform consistency. Transfer the mixture into the prepared crust. Freeze for 30 mins (or an hour).
- To make the caramel sauce, make sure all ingredients are at room temp. Blend everything into a smooth consistency in a power blender. Carefully spoon this mixture over the top of the cake until it fills out evenly. Gently smooth out the top. Sprinkle with toppings and freeze for 5-6 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, thaw out for a few minutes, slice, and 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).
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.
Thanks so much for sharing your amazing recipes. I love your blog and find your cake size converter so helpful. My question is if I want to convert a 5 inch to an 8 inch instead of 9 how would I do this? Thanks 🙏
Hi Kelly, I'd multiply it by 4 for an 8" cake. Enjoy :)
Thanks so much this information was so helpful. I have made the cake and looks amazing. I can hardly wait for it to set. Congratulations on your fantastic blog. I will definitely be trying more of your recipes. 😊
Glad it helped. Bon appétit! :)
In case it's helpful, just so you understand the "why" behind this: the conversions go by volume. An average 5" springform pan holds about 1.5 cups of volume. An average 8" pan holds about 6 cups. So you need to multiply 1.5 cups by 4 to fill an 8" pan.
It gets tricky when first thinking about it because the jump between pan sizes might only be 1", but the volume jumps quite a lot in that 1" gap. So for example, a 5" pan holds 1.5 cups, while a 6" pan holds about 4 cups, etc. Once you get this concept, all you have to do is figure out the volume of the pan the recipe uses, and then look at the volume of the pan you'd like to use, and do the math. A site like this is a handy reference guide https://thebakingpan.com/baking-pan-sizes/ >> look at the springform section), although it doesn't have the sizes for the smallest pans (4" and 5", which are roughly 1 and 1.5 cups respectively).
I created the downloadable cheat sheet for the most common pan sizes, to eliminate the math step for most circumstances, but if there's ever a pan size outside of what's listed, hope the conversion logic makes more sense now!
J aimerai faire cette recette pour un moule de 9 pouces. Il faut bien mettre 750 gr de noix de cajou ? J’ai peur de me tromper car ça semble beaucoup 😊.
Pourriez-vous vous m aider s il vous plait ?
Une fan de France 💚
Hi Chorbette, you need to multiply this recipe by 6 to fill a 9" pan. It might seem like a lot, but if you think about the size of the cake / pan volume it makes sense. A 5" springform pan can only hold 1.5 cups by volume, while a 9" springform pan holds 9 cups by volume usually. So you're looking at a very tiny cake vs a very large cake. Hope it makes sense! :)
That's why I don't usually make such big cakes by the way. I find a 5" cake suitable for 4-6 small slices. And if I make this type of cake for an event I'd go with a 6" cake size which is suitable for a small crowd. I'd only make a 9 or 10" cake for very large events. A little goes a long way with these raw cakes!
Quick question - can cacao be substituted for something else due to allergy? For example for carob?
Hi Julia, yes absolutely. I think carob would work great here.
Hi Audrey, I was wondering if I had to substitute the dates for rice syrup + coconut oil, how many cups/ tbsp would I need for the crust and caramel sauce?
Hi Hang, Hmm.. I think the caramel here heavily relies on the thickness and texture of dates (in addition to their sweetness). So maybe what I would do if trying to avoid dates is to just drizzle the cake with a layer of a different type of caramel. For instance you can cook down rice syrup, a bit of coconut oil, a tiny bit of carob powder, and maybe a bit of coconut sugar or date sugar, and a pinch of salt to create a caramel sauce, or something like that -- it won't be as thick, but it'll be tasty :) I would just put the toppings on first and then drizzle with caramel. Another option to create a makeshift tasty caramel sauce is to mix peanut butter with some rice syrup and a tiny bit of carob and salt. Just some ideas to play around with.
If you just mix rice syrup with coconut oil, you'll end up with something like the "glaze" coating on these donuts: https://www.unconventionalbaker.com/no-bake-glazed-donut-holes/
Made this in a 6" pan by multiplying ingredients by 1.45. I was out of almond milk so used unsweetened soy milk. I did not use the carob but considered adding espresso powder. What do you think for next time? At first I thought it was too sweet but after sharing and having leftovers I concluded that it is perfect. Beautiful to serve to guests. Thanks!
Hi Karen, espresso powder sounds like an interesting option -- I love the flavor it lends to desserts. Thanks for sharing!
where can i find the cake multiplication download please?
Hi Sian, it's at the bottom of the post, just below the recipe itself.
Can I use normal dates? if so, should I soak them first? the same amount?
Thank you :-)
I suppose it depends on the kind of dates you are using :) Some are quite small and some varieties are large. Medjool dates are typically larger. In this case though, the caramel layer is measured by a 1/2 cup and not by number of dates -- so same amount either way. For the crust you can use 1-2 depending on how big your dates are.
And I'd definitely recommend soaking them first (and strain) so that they are a soft enough to blend into a creamy consistency. You lose a bit of sweetness when you soak and strain dates, so if it seems not sweet enough add a tiny touch of maple to the caramel layer and you'll be good to go. Enjoy!
Theres no words to describe your delicious and healthy blog. I made few of your desserts and...yummy yumm. Thanks a lot for sharing your passion with all of us.
I have a question also, why is vanilla/almond extract important? I cant find good quality of them so i just dont use them. What is yor opinion about it?
Thanks a lot ?
I think they are as they add a special taste to the recipe. For good quality vanilla, have you tried raw ground vanilla bean or scraping a fresh vanilla bean pod? That's my favorite kind of vanilla :) I buy mine from iherb.com often. They also have a nice organic almond extract you can try out.
The cake would work without the flavors too, but it will be a bit more "flat" if that makes sense.
Your blog is one of the best things that happened to my cooking, I feel so inspired by your amazing recipes! Thank you <3
Hi Janne. Thank you so much. I'm sorry for my delayed reply (I've been sick the last few weeks, so just catching up now ?). I'm glad you're getting inspired -- happy baking!
With each recipe I read (I'm new to your site), I just sigh and say INCREDIBLE!!! Boy are you talented.
Thank you for sharing.
Hi! We tried this and love it, but I need to avoid cocoa powder and carob this time - can I omit it and the consistency be ok, or is there something I can sub?
Thanks so much :)
Hey Chloe. The consistency will definitely still be ok, just the flavor would be a little different. One thing I would recommend is using less sweetener in the filling though. I normally use about 3 tbsp maple syrup for a plain-flavored cake of this size. The extra maple in there is to balance out the cocoa flavor. So adjust the sweetness to taste.
By the way, if you like this, there's a similar recipe on the blog that doesn't call for cocoa or carob if you felt like trying something else for a variation: https://www.unconventionalbaker.com/candied-pecan-cheesecake/
This is one rich cake!
I sized it up because the smallest pan I had was 8". Was a little scared because I was multiplying everything by 5! I used and entire 15oz jar of coconut oil and more than 2 cups of maple syrup and about 14oz of dates. Yikes, Also, because I was sizing up I didn't have enough pecans so i used pecans for the crust and walnuts for the topping.
I must say, as I made and tasted each layer I couldn't believe the goodness! The sized up measurements fit my 8" pan perfectly too. The finished product was as close to perfection as I've ever gotten with a cheesecake (especially a raw one) and my guests loved it.
This is definitely a special occasion cake and tiny slices are the way to go if you're on a diet.
Thank you for the detailed feedback, Phyllis. So happy you liked the cake.
Raw cakes are definitely rich and filling. That's why I usually only make small cakes (unless serving to larger company). The tiny cakes go a long way :)
This cake tastes amazing!!! Made it for the weekend. It was very hard to keep myself from eating it before time :D
Thank you so much for the beautiful feedback, Daria -- much appreciated :) I'm so happy you liked it.
Kari @ bite-sized thoughts says
What a stunning cheesecake. It would be perfect for a special occasion but definitely shouldn't be limited to such!
Thank you, Kari! :)
Recipes like this are why I stash half of my dates in a secret spot. It will be hard for me to resist eating that chewy crunchy top off before I server it.
Thank you. Johanne
Hehe. I can relate :) I have a secret date stash too, because otherwise they go waaaaay to fast ?
This cake looks so beautiful Audrey. And the recipe sounds amazing. I love all your photos :)
Thanks so much, Ela! :)
I have 5 lb pecans I need to use and I have been searching for inspiration all week. I made 2 variations of pecan butter last night. This beauty is next on the list. Have a great weekend Audrey!
Oh good :) Glad to be of help in the sweet tooth department any day ;)