I think you're going to love this papaya cheesecake. After this delicious chocolate version happened last week, I felt like going for a fruity version as well. And since my favorite way to eat papaya is with a good dose of lime, this raw vegan papaya and lime cheesecake made a lot of sense.
It turned out delicious as expected -- citrusy, refreshing, creamy, and fruity. It was just the perfect thing to end a spicy Thai meal with. :)
While I've always had a lot of love for papaya, over the last year it's become more and more of a daily thing. In fact, between all the bananas and papayas on my kitchen counter on a given day, our kitchen often positively looks like a fruit stand... I mean, how can you not like a fruit that looks so cool when you cut it open?!
Raw "Baking" with Papaya
And in cheesecake form I found that papaya does the following:
- adds a beautiful pastel color to the cake
- adds a lovely creaminess and a hint of fruitiness
- forces your non-papaya eating friends to give this fruit a try ;)
Papaya Flavor in Cheesecake
Its flavor is quite subtle in a raw cake and gets easily overpowered by the zingy lime flavor, so I played it up with some diced dried papaya chunks -- they add a good dose of concentrated papaya flavor to the mix. Although this part is totally optional -- I also made a version of the cake without and it was still absolutely delicious as is (that cake is in the photo below). So up to you.
Decorating Cake with Papaya and Chocolate
I also gave this cake a light sprinkle of mini chocolate chips, which remind me of the inside of a papaya because I'm extra like that sometimes :). And because I love the papaya chocolate combo. If you choose not to use the dried papaya chunks, you can also just do a mix of chocolate chips and cacao nibs all around the edges instead.
Ways to Use up Leftover Papaya
If you're looking for something to do with the leftover papaya from this recipe, this banana & papaya ice cream is an easy way to use it up.
Last but not least, this recipe is for a tiny 5" cake tailored for a power blender with a narrow pitcher at the bottom, which can handle a smaller volume of ingredients really well (like an older tall profile Vitamix, which is what I use). If you're using a wide bottomed blender, you'll need to at least triple the recipe for best results. See the downloadable cake conversion guide to help you figure out which pan size to use.
A deliciously zingy and fruity raw vegan papaya and lime cheesecake. Gluten-free, grain-free, and refined sugar-free.
- ½ cup raw cashews
- 2 soft medjool dates, pitted
- ½ tbsp dark maple syrup*
- ½ tbsp coconut oil, liquefied
- ½ cup raw cashews, pre-soaked and strained**
- 120gr papaya, peeled and de-seeded***
- 3 tbsp dark maple syrup
- 3 tbsp coconut oil, liquefied
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- zest of ½ a lime
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ⅜ tsp salt
- a few tablespoon unsulphured diced dried papaya
- a few tablespoon mini vegan chocolate chips
1. Process all crust ingredients into a fine sticky crumble in a food processor. Transfer into a 5" springform pan and press down into a flat crust along the base. Freeze while working on the next step.
2. Make sure all filling ingredients are at room temperature before getting started***. Blend them all together into a completely smooth consistency in a power blender. Transfer this mixture into the prepared cake pan over the crust. Tap the pan down on the counter to smooth out the top, and even it out further with the back of a spoon as needed.
3. Sprinkle with desired toppings around the edges.
4. Freeze for 5-6 hours or overnight. Thaw out lightly on the counter for 10 minutes prior to serving, slice and serve.****
*Maple syrup isn’t considered a raw sweetener, so if you wish to keep this recipe more fully raw, use a raw sweetener of your choice, like raw agave, etc.
**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.
***Approx. 1 cup of large chunks of papaya (1" - 2" cubes).
***This is very important so that ingredients blend properly. If anything going into the blender is too cold it can make the mixture firm up prematurely. Conversely, you don’t want any of the ingredients to be hot either. Room temperature is just right.
****Storage notes: treat this cake like ice cream. Keep it cake frozen at all times until ready to eat, and freeze any leftovers. If left too long at room temperature it will begin to melt back into the consistency it was in the blender.