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.
- 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 tbsp 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!
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.
Note: this post contains an affiliate link to the 5″ springform pan I used to make this cake.