This vegan peanut butter caramel chocolate cheesecake (read: vegan pb twix cheesecake) walks a fine line between rich and outrageously decadent. There are four layers to this dreamy dessert: 1) buttery coconut oil shortbread crust, 2) tangy, cashew cheesecake filling, 3) sweet 5-minute peanut butter caramel, and 4) a crisp chocolate drizzle + chip layer. In light of its richness, this vegan, gluten-free cheesecake is an ideal dessert to share with loved ones—a special occasion sort of thing, if you will.
As a self-proclaimed dessert aficionado, my sweet teeth aren’t easily wowed or impressed.
And yet, every now and then, a dessert comes along that makes me a bit weak in the knees. A real show-stopper.
These typically aren’t the types of desserts I’d indulge in everyday. No, no. They’re more the special occasion types. The desserts you take to a party and share with loved ones, because 1) they’re rich and 2) they’re such crowd pleasers that they leave people wondering, “Are you SURE this is vegan?”
In my three-plus years of being vegan, I’ve learned there are many favorite questions that non-vegans love to ask…
Where do you get your protein?
Why’d you go vegan?
How do you get enough calories?
How do you live without bacon?
Isn’t it expensive to be vegan?
Isn’t it harder/more time-intensive to make vegan meals?
And while I sometimes grow tired of answering these well-intentioned yet slightly irksome questions, there’s one question I never tire of:
Are you SURE this is vegan?
I’ll answer that one on 24/7 repeat.
Because the best compliment is a case of mistaken food identity. And questioning whether a dish is truly vegan or not is just another way of saying, “This tastes too damn good to be vegan.”
Well, SURPRISE! It’s vegan.
And guess what? This vegan peanut butter caramel chocolate cheesecake has received many mistaken-food-identity compliments.
It’s so decadent and indulgent that it incites bouts of confusion from vegans and non-vegans alike.
But cross my heart, this twix-like cheesecake is 100% vegan.
There are four layers to its dreaminess:
1) A buttery coconut oil shortbread crust.
2) A tangy, naturally sweetened cashew + coconut cheesecake filling.
3) A peanut butter version of this long-beloved 5-minute vegan caramel.
4) A crisp chocolate drizzle + chocolate chip layer.
Trust me when I say you’ll want to make this one to share with loved ones.
It’s one of the richest dessert recipes I’ve ever shared (a sliver goes a long way); it’s a little on the pricier side ($10–$15 to make), yet much more affordable than buying a store-bought vegan cheesecake of the same size; and it’s sure to wow a crowd.
Please, bookmark this page so you can make this vegan peanut butter caramel chocolate cheesecake for any upcoming fall-themed events and gatherings.
And then sit back, relax, and wait for the “Are you SURE this is vegan?” questions to pour in.
Vegan Peanut Butter Caramel Chocolate Cheesecake
- 1 1/2 cups oat flour*
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut flour
- 1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups full-fat canned coconut milk, chilled (see notes)**
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 8 hours***
- 3/4 cup pitted and packed medjool dates, soaked in water for at least 8 hours***
- 3–4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, to taste (depending on desired level of tanginess)
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Peanut Butter Caramel Layer
- 1 recipe 5-Minute Vegan Caramel (substitute peanut butter for the almond butter)
- 3/4 cup mini non-dairy chocolate chips, divided
For the Shortbread Crust
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line the bottom of a 8-inch springform pan (double-check your pan size—a 9-inch springform pan won't work for this recipe) with parchment paper (I like to pop out the bottom of the pan, place a piece of parchment paper over it, and use kitchen shears to cut out a circle). Lightly grease the sides of the pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the oat flour, coconut flour, and sea salt. Add the coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla, and stir well to combine. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes to thicken, stirring once or twice. You should have a soft, slightly spongy dough.
- Scoop the dough into the lined pan, and use your fingers to press and spread it into an even layer. Use a fork to poke several holes across the surface to prevent bubbling.
- Bake for 12–14 minutes, or until the edges are just barely turning golden and the crust feels softly set but not yet crisp. Let cool completely.
For the Cheesecake Filling
- Meanwhile, combine all filling ingredients in a food processor and process until completely smooth, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. You'll need to process for about 5 minutes to get it to a smooth, creamy consistency.
- Once the crust has cooled, pour the cheesecake filling over it and gently drop the pan on a firm surface several times to smooth the surface.
- Clear out a flat space in your freezer and place the pan on a baking sheet for easy transport. Freeze for 2 hours, or until the cheesecake layer has set.
For the Peanut Butter Caramel Layer
- Once the cheesecake layer is almost completely set, prepare the peanut butter caramel. (Be sure to substitute peanut butter for the almond butter in the recipe.)
- Once the caramel is ready, pour as much over the cheesecake layer as desired (anywhere from 1/2 to the full batch) and tilt the pan back-and-forth to create a smooth, even layer. (Note: For the photos, I used a full batch of caramel. Any leftover caramel can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.)
- Return the pan to the freezer for at least 20 minutes, or until the caramel layer has set.
- For the Chocolate Layer
- Melt 1/2 cup of the mini chocolate chips in a double boiler or bain marie.
- Drizzle and splatter the melted chocolate across the surface of the caramel layer, and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips.
- Return to the freezer for at least 10 minutes, or until the chocolate layer has set.
- Run a sharp knife around the edge of the springform pan to release the cheesecake.
- If your chocolate layer is thick like mine (as opposed to a delicate drizzle), I recommend using a warm knife to slice the cheesecake. Simply run a very sharp knife under hot water, wipe dry, and then slice.
- Store the cheesecake in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Serve leftovers chilled straight from the refrigerator.