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Caramel & Vanilla Cheesecake with Fresh Berries | Vegan, Gluten-Free & Paleo

This vegan caramel & vanilla cheesecake with fresh berries proves that good things come in small packages. Although just 5 inches in diameter, this vegan cheesecake packs a mighty punch of deliciousness. A simple raw almond and date crust is topped with a rich cashew-coconut cheesecake layer, and a heavenly 5-minute vegan caramel coats the entire surface. Fresh berries embellish the top, bringing balance and brightness to a dessert that might otherwise get a bit carried away with itself.
Prep Time1 hr 15 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, plant-based, Vegan
Servings: 6

Ingredients

For the Crust

  • 1/3 cup packed and pitted medjool dates
  • 1/3 cup raw almonds

For the Vanilla Cheesecake Filling

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours to soften
  • 1/4 cup pitted and packed medjool dates
  • 1/4 cup coconut butter
  • 1/2 cup full-fat canned coconut milk
  • Seeds from 1 vanilla bean

For the caramel Topping

  • 1/2 cup raw almond butter
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Toppings

  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup raspberries
  • 1/4 cup blackberries
  • Pepitas (optional)

Instructions

For the crust

  • Add the dates and raw almonds to a food processor. Process for 2-3 minutes until the crust begins to roll into a large ball.
  • Line the bottom of a 5-inch springform pan with parchment paper and grease sides with coconut oil. Scoop the date and almond mixture into the pan and press down with fingers. If the mixture is sticking to your hands, dip your fingertips in water to repel the dates. Pop in the freezer for 15 minutes or more to set.

For the Vanilla Cheesecake Filling

  • While the crust is setting, make the vanilla cheesecake layer by adding the soaked cashews, dates, coconut butter, coconut milk, and the vanilla bean flecks to a food processor. Process for 4-5 minutes, stopping to scrape the mixture down the sides as frequently as needed. Tip: if your dates aren't wet and soft, soak them in water for 30 minutes or more prior to making this layer.
  • Remove the springform pan from the freezer, and pour the "cheesecake" mixture on top of the crust. Spread evenly with the back of a spoon. Pop in the freezer for 30 minutes to set the cheesecake layer.

For the Caramel

  • Add the almond butter, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and sea salt to a sauce pan over medium-low heat. Whisk together for 3 minutes or until all ingredients melt together. Turn off the heat and let it cool until the cheesecake layer has set.
  • Fill the remainder of the springform pan with the caramel layer and return to freezer for 25-30 minutes to set.
  • Remove the cheesecake from the springform pan and place on a plate. Top the cheesecake with more caramel, if desired. Decorate the cheesecake with the berries and pepitas. Slice and serve.
  • Refrigerate leftovers.

Notes

Soak your raw cashews in warm water for at least 30 minutes prior to making the cheesecake layer.
For the coconut milk, scrape just the top layer of cream from the can.
The caramel recipe makes much more than you'll need to fill the remainder of the springform pan. I poured another heavy layer over the cheesecake in the photos to make it prettier to photograph, but you definitely don't have to add an extra layer of caramel. If you opt not to, pour the leftover caramel into an airtight mason jar and refrigerate for other sweet treats and desserts!