In the new Food Network Canada series The Substitute Baker, celebrated Toronto-born holistic nutritionist Sarah Britton shows us just how easy it can be to adapt your favourite recipes to suit any occasion or special dietary needs.
For starters, she’s crafted this bold, gorgeous and positively mouth-watering plant-based cheesecake recipe that will make you look like a well-seasoned baker.
Healthy Raspberry Cashew Cheezecake
1 cup/150g toasted sunflower seeds (almonds, pecans or walnuts also work)
¼ cup/35g cacao nibs
1 cup/250g soft dates, pitted
2 Tbsp raw cacao powder
¼ tsp sea salt
2 cups/300g raw cashews, soaked overnight
3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Seeds of 1 whole vanilla bean (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
½ cup/125ml virgin coconut oil
½ cup/125ml raw honey
Pinch sea salt
1½ cups frozen raspberries (thaw slightly)
30g dark chocolate, melted
Handful of dried raspberries, crushed
1. Place seeds, cacao nibs, cacao powder and dates in a food processor with sea salt and pulse to chop until they are to your desired fineness (process a finer crust longer than a chunky one). Test the crust by spooning out a small amount of mixture and rolling it in your hands. If the ingredients hold together, your crust is perfect (if it’s too dry, add more dates, if it’s too wet, add more seeds).
2. Reserve ¼ cup of your crust to use as decorations later and transfer the remaining crust mixture to a lightly greased (with expeller-pressed coconut oil) and parchment-lined 7.5” (19cm) spring-form pan. Press the mixture firmly, making sure that the edges are well packed and that the base is relatively even throughout. Use a flat-bottomed drinking glass or bottle to help press the crust into the pan evenly. Use the reserved mixture to make balls of different sizes that you will use as decorations later. Store these in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
3. Warm coconut oil and honey in a small saucepan on low heat until liquid. Add vanilla and whisk to combine.
4. In the most powerful blender you own (I recommend a Vitamix), place all filling ingredients, except raspberries, and blend on high for 1-2 minutes or until very smooth.
5. Reserve ⅛ cup filling in a small bowl and set it aside. Pour about 2/3 (just eyeball it, you can’t make a mistake!) of the filling out onto the crust and smooth with a spatula. Tap the pan firmly against a hard surface to remove air bubbles. Add the raspberries to the remaining ⅓ of the filling and blend on high until smooth. Pour onto the first layer of filling and tap again to create a smooth surface. Dollop the reserved white filling onto the raspberry layer and swirl with a knife tip. Tap the pan once more to even out the filling, then place the cheezecake in the freezer until solid.
6. To serve, remove from the freezer 30 minutes prior to eating. Remove parchment from base of cake. Decorate with date and seed balls, drizzle with melted chocolate and sprinkle dried raspberries.
For more baking inspiration, try Our Most Crave-Worthy Carrot Cake Recipes in Every Form or These Banana Bread Recipes That Will Provide All the Comfort.