Vegan Cheeeeeessseecake

My deal with vegan food is this: I’m fine and dandy with it as long as it doesn’t start using faux ingredients to replace non-vegan ingredients. Tofutti and soy cheese, I’m looking at you. I know what cheddar should taste like, and lemme tell you, soy cheese – you pass about as much for cheddar as I do for a natural blonde. Those subsitutes are also wildly expensive, so there’s another knock against it for me.

But I found a vegan book (Vegan Cooking for Everyone by Leah Leneman) with some decent looking recipes, so I decided to give the cheesecake recipe a whirl, with my own tweaking, of course.
I can’t not tweak a recipe. Especially one that I seems kind of bland. The basic cheesecake recipe given in the book didn’t have a whole lot of flavor, and a whole lot of tofu. Tofu can taste pretty overwhelmingly beany, and personally, I need a LOT of extra flavor to get past tofu’s initial flavor. So I chucked in some blueberries to the filling and shredded coconut to the crust.

Modified Like Crazy Vegan Cheesecake Recipe:
1 C whole wheat flour (I used a mix of graham an irish red whole wheat)
2 T raw cane sugar (think Sugar in the Raw)
pinch salt
nutmeg to taste (I like a lot, the recipe called for a pinch of cinnamon)
1/4 C vegan margarine (I used butter flavored crisco)
1/3 C coconut flakes
1 T water

Mix all together, and work in the margarine. Add water last, mix to combine. Pat in a pie pan and bake 10 min at 350F.

1 1/4 C/10 oz firm tofu (I used the fresh stuff)
2 T veggie oil (I used a mix of half olive oil and walnut oil)
4 T raw cane sugar
Juice and rind of 1 lemon
1.5 T double strength vanilla extract
1/3 C almond meal (the recipe called for ground, but this is what I had on hand)
2/3 C frozen blueberries

Put tofu, oil, sugar, lemon and vanilla extract in a blender (hello Magic Bullet!) and blend until completely smooth. Stir in nuts, then stir in blueberries.
Spoon evenly into crust and bake 30 minutes at 350F.

Ok, confession time. I am not a huge fan of this recipe. It has lots of potential. The texture is great – smooth and creamy, and no cracking. But the taste. Ugh. It is still very, very, VERY heavily flavored with, you guessed it, tofu. The bites with blueberry were best, so I advise slathering the holy crap out of it with blueberry syrup or maple syrup. Or both. Ok, definitely both.

I think the lemon needs to be at least doubled. The lemon and vanilla flavors were completely lost, and the almond meal (maybe I should try the actual nuts ground a bit rougher) didn’t have any flavor at all. The lemon is a must for tanginess. Otherwise you’re left with what I’ve got, which is a total FAIL on the cheescake scale of things. Tofu pie, sure, but certainly nowhere near close to cheescake in terms of flavor. I’m thinking there would be a decent chance of this being a good highly flavored cheesecake, like perhaps key lime, or coconut. Next time I think I’ll try assaulting it with coconut extract, or lots of key lime juice.

I really loved the crust for this recipe – it was crumbly when I put it in the pan, but it was oh-so crisp and crunchy. A great texture and pretty good taste, except the Crisco left a bit of a greasy film all over your mouth. I am definitely going to use this again, only with butter instead of Crisco.

Or … you could just slather the cheesecake, syrups and all, with whipped cream. Heh heh. It completely negates all the healthful properties of this dessert (I have no many calories it has, but I am going with “significantly less” than real cheesecake since there’s no cream cheese in it. Delicious, delicious cream cheese), but the whipped cream at least gives a bit of a hint that you could convince yourself you’re eating cheesecake and helps cover the beany tofu taste.

Overall, I’ll try it again, just with a TON of other flavorings and extracts.

  1. Sarah said:

    I’ve made something similar but with peanut butter to mask the tofu-ness. Obviously that won’t do the trick if you’re not a fan of peanut butter cheesecake.

  2. Sarah, you are a genious! I adore peanutbutter!

  3. ellie said:

    I will eat this, even if its moldy.

  4. Grace said:

    impressive! i’m particularly fond of the hue. 🙂

  5. Sandy said:

    I made this recipe and it looked like and tasted like a real cheese cake. It was tangy and lemony and gorgeous. I stuck to the original recipe.

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