Going to unashamedly toot my own horn here -- this raw vegan chocolate papaya cheesecake is everything you'd ever want in a cake like this! Deliciously rich and creamy, and so full of flavor -- this cake is sure to wow anyone who loves chocolate and cheesecakes.
I loved it so much that it instantly jumped straight up to my all time top 3 favorite raw cakes (the other two being this espresso and salted caramel cheesecake and this raw tiramisu). For someone who makes a lot of raw cakes, that says a lot! :)
Making a Crowd-Pleasing Vegan and Gluten-Free Cake
This cake is a wonderful cake to share with the omnivores in your life. I tested it out for ya ;) Brought it to a birthday party and this cake disappeared instantly, with unanimous compliments, and was finished way ahead of the regular beautiful-looking store-bought cake that someone else brought for the occasion.
I think it's the really lush and creamy texture and the rich and velvety chocolate flavor that does it here. This cake is defenitely more-ish, even for those not on a vegan, gluten-free, or refined sugar-free diet.
At the moment it's autumn here, and every dessert around me is pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin... and while I do love a good pumpkin cake myself, somehow this year I've just not been super inspired by to bake with so far -- sometimes the over-saturation of something has the opposite effect on me. So I thought, hey, in a sea of pumpkin, why not be a papaya! haha. Hence this cake.
Baking with Papaya and Chocolate
The papaya flavor is not super prominent here by the way, but it lends an underlying smoothness, lightness, and a hint of fruitiness to the overall flavor. And I love the "tiger stripes" color contrast between it and the chocolate.
And on this note, don't be intimidated by the stripes -- they're extremely easy to make as you'll see in step 4 of the recipe.
Note: be sure to let the cake thaw out enough to be creamy and velvety for maximum enjoyment :) I recommend letting the cake thaw for about 5 mins on the counter, then removing it from the springform pan, and then letting it thaw out for a further 10-15 minutes for best results (though this can take longer or shorter depending on how hot it is where you are).
P.S. And if you're looking for ideas on how to use up the rest of that papaya, this banana papaya nice cream is the way to go in my opinion!Print
Chocolate Papaya Cheesecake
A deliciously rich and creamy raw vegan chocolate and papaya cheesecake that is sure to wow! Gluten-free and refined sugar-free recipe.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 6" cake
- Category: Cake
- Method: Raw, No-Bake
- Cuisine: Vegan, Dessert
- ¾ cup cashews (raw or dry roasted, unsalted)
- 3 soft medjool dates, pitted
- 1 tbsp dark maple syrup*
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp raw cacao powder
Papaya Filling Layer:
- 1 cup cashews, pre-soaked and strained**
- 200 gr rough chopped, peeled, and de-seeded RIPE papaya (roughly between 1 ½ to 1 ⅔ cups)
- 6 tbsp dark maple syrup
- 5 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ½ tsp salt
Chocolate Cheesecake Filling:
- 1 cup of the papaya filling
- 1 tbsp dark maple syrup
- 2 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 2 tbsp unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- ⅛ tsp salt
- a few handfuls of cacao nibs and vegan dark chocolate chips
1. Process all ingredients into a fine moist sticky crumble in a food processor. Transfer to a 6″ springform pan and press down into an even crust along the base. Freeze while working on the next step.
2. For the filling, make sure all ingredients are at room temperature before getting started***. Blend all papaya cheesecake filling ingredients into a completely smooth and creamy mixture in a power blender. Remove all except for 1 cup of this mixture from the blender into a separate bowl and set aside.
3. Add all chocolate cheesecake layer ingredients to the 1 cup of papaya mixture in the blender and process until smooth.
4. Using separate spoons for each mixture, begin by spooning out a few tablespoon of the papaya mixture into the center of the prepared cheesecake crust in the pan. Then spoon a few tablespoon of the chocolate mixture into the center of the papaya mixture you just added to the pan. Then spoon a bit more papaya mixture into the pan, then chocolate, etc. alternating in this way until you run out of mixture. Don't worry if things aren't perfectly even as you go, the "tiger stripes" should still come out pretty in the end.
5. Once all the mixture is in, tap the pan on the counter a few times to smooth out and level the mixture in the pan. Then use a spoon or a skewer to lightly swirl just the very top of the mixture to blend the top of the cake just a little and create some pretty swirls. Be careful not to over-mix so as not to lose the "tiger stripes" underneath. Sprinkle chocolate chips and cacao nibs around the edges.
6. Freeze the cake for 5-6 hours or overnight to set. Thaw out for 5-10 mins on the counter before serving, slice and enjoy! Keep leftovers frozen.****
*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.
***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.
Keywords: raw vegan chocolate papaya cheesecake (refined sugar-free, gf)
Helen Whyman says
Hi Audrey, this cake looks lush! I was hoping to make it this weekend, but could not find papaya in the supermarket! will this recipe work with mango instead of papaya?
Many thanks, Helen.
Jana T. says
Oh my goodness, what did I just eat?! I can't put it down, help!! :D Thank you for this delicious recipe.
Aw, I feel you Jana -- this cake is one of my absolute favorites! :) Thanks for the lovely feedback.
Joshua Howard says
The recipe sounds delicious. What can I use to replace cashews?
Hi Joshua, unfortunately this recipe is centered around the cashews as the main ingredient. It would be tricky to sub them out without changing the flavor and texture significantly. I do however have lots of cashew-free recipe you might like instead on my recipes page: https://www.unconventionalbaker.com/all-recipes/ (just select the "cashew-free" tab at the top + whatever else you want, like "cake", "raw", etc.).
Thanks Jill, so glad you liked the cake! :)
Hello! This is a great recipe and I'll try it asap. Question... Can we add some agar agar to help the mix to set and refrigerate it instead of freezing it?
Hi Miguel, sorry I'm not sure as I haven't tried with this particular recipe. In my experience with making agar-based cakes in the past things can be hit or miss, so it would require experimenting and re-writing the recipe for that more specifically.