Need a delicious dairy-free dessert to show off at your next family gathering? Have we got a surprise for you then! This vegan caramel apple cheesecake is about to turn heads.
Raise your hand if you like cheesecake. Now keep it raised if dairy doesn't sit well with you! Still have your hand in the air? You've come to the right place.
The old saying "an apple a day" can easily be applied to cheesecake. How? Apples in the cheesecake. Brilliant, we know. This gluten-free and vegan cheesecake is so delicious, you'll have to make another one right after you and your friends devour it. How do we know? Personal experience.
We are huge cheesecake people, but honestly who isn't. We love experimenting with different flavors. Unlike our baked Oreo cheesecake, this one is even easier to make and requires less hands-on effort in the kitchen.
This might be our favorite dessert recipe to date.
🍲 Key ingredients
- Apples: you can go crazy with the apple variety you use in this cake. We personally use spartan since they make a great dessert apple. Why? Because they're perfectly tart, hold their flavor, and cook down easily. Plus, an apple a day keeps the... (you know). But really, a medium apple contains up to 20% of one's daily fiber needs? Pretty impressive.
- Cashews: in order to make a dairy-free dessert creamy, cashews are a must. Once soaked, they blend into a delicious base that's perfect for a cheesecake. Cashews are not only low in sugar, but they're rich in fiber, heart-healthy fats, and plant protein! You'll thank us each time your fork easily glides through the melt-in-your-mouth filling of this heavenly treat.
- Lemon juice: wondering how to achieve a tart cheesecake flavor without cream cheese? Lemon juice, baby! We love citrus in almost everything we make, and dessert is no different. Balancing flavor is a fine art and something we love experimenting with. Plus, adding lemon juice has been shown to help with digestion. Pucker up!
- Coconut butter: also known as coconut manna, this delicious nectar is easily made in 10 minutes and completely worth DIY'ing. It's cheaper and way more rewarding to make something yourself! Coconut butter combined with cashews will take the creaminess factor from a 9 to a perfect 10. Don't believe us? Try it for yourself!
The night before, you'll need to soak your raw cashews in some water. Alternatively, you can soak them in boiling water a few hours before starting the rest of this cheesecake.
For the crust, preheat your oven to 325 degrees F and add all dry ingredients to a food processor. Pulse everything until you achieve a fine meal, then mix in the pitted dates and coconut oil. The dough should be slightly crumbly, but still stick together between your fingers.
Transfer the crust into a springform pan and press it down with your fingers. Bake it at 325 degrees F for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are slightly browned. This adds a toasty flavor to compliment the caramelized apples.
In the meantime, melt the coconut butter and coconut oil. Add both of those, the drained cashews, and the rest of the filling ingredients to a high-speed blender. Mix until you have a smooth batter, scraping down the sides as necessary.
Spread the filling evenly over top the crust, then place that in the freezer while you prepare the rest of this cheesecake!
To prepare the apple layer, peel and dice your apples into small chunks. Then, add all ingredients (minus the apples) to a medium saucepan and bring to a low simmer. Next, stir in the diced apples and cook until the mixture is thickened and resembles pie filling.
Transfer the apple mixture to a container, and let it cool completely before layering it over the cheesecake. Once you are ready to serve it, spread the apples evenly over the cheesecake filling.
As an optional step, you can drizzle vegan caramel on top of everything, or spread it as a layer underneath the caramelized apples like us. While the drizzle is optional, we recommend it!
This vegan caramel apple cheesecake stores in the fridge for up to 4-5 days and in the freezer for 1 month. That is if you don't eat it all in one sitting!
💭 Budget tips
We think everyone should be able to eat better for less, so here are a few tricks to make this recipe even more affordable:
- Try making your own coconut butter (you'll save a fortune)
- Replace Medjool dates with a cheaper variety like Deglet Noor
- Replace the maple syrup with a cheaper liquid sweetener like agave
- Omit the optional caramel drizzle
🍴 Tasting notes
This cheesecake will blow away all your expectations when it comes to dairy-free desserts. It's:
If you try this cheesecake, please rate it and leave us a comment below! Want to stay up-to-date with new recipes? Subscribe to our newsletter or connect with Broke Bank Vegan on social media. Happy eating!
Vegan Caramel Apple Cheesecake
- 9-inch springform pan
- Food processor
- High-speed blender
- ¾ cup rolled oats ($0.14)
- ¾ cup almond flour ($0.74)
- ¼ cup coconut sugar ($0.16)
- ¼ tsp salt ($0.01)
- ½ tsp cinnamon ($0.02)
- ½ cup pecans ($0.72)
- 8 pitted Medjool dates ($1.15)
- 1 tbsp coconut oil ($0.12)
- 3 tbsp coconut butter ($0.57)
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted ($0.48)
- 1 ¾ cup raw cashews, soaked ($3.01)
- ⅓ cup maple syrup ($0.80)
- 3 tbsp lemon juice ($0.27)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract ($0.21)
Caramelized Apple Topping
- 4 cups diced apples ($1.21)
- ¼ cup water ($0.00)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice ($0.18)
- ⅓ + ⅛ cup coconut sugar ($0.29)
- 1 tbsp corn starch ($0.03)
- 1 tsp cinnamon ($0.04)
- ⅛ tsp nutmeg ($0.02)
- A pinch cloves ($0.02)
Caramel Drizzle optional
- ¼ cup coconut butter
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ½ tsp vanilla
- The night before, soak your raw cashews in water. Alternatively, you can soak them in boiling water for a few hours.
- Preheat your oven to 325°F, and grab about a springform pan. Add all dry ingredients to a food processor, and mix until you achieve a fine meal. Pit the dates and add them, along with coconut oil, to your food processor.
- Mix until the dates are incorporated. The dough should be slightly crumbly but stick together when squeezed between your fingers.
- Then, transfer the crust into the springform pan and press it down with your fingers. Bake it at 325°F for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are slightly browned.
- While the crust is baking, melt coconut butter and coconut oil. Add melted coconut butter, coconut oil, drained cashews, maple syrup, lemon juice, and vanilla to a high-speed blender. Mix until you have a smooth batter, scraping down the sides as necessary.
- Spread the filling evenly over top the crust, then place cheesecake in the freezer to set for at least 4-6 hours or overnight. If you leave it overnight, lightly cover the pan.
Caramelized Apple Topping
- To prepare the apple layer, peel and dice apples into small chunks. Then, add all ingredients (minus the apples) to a medium saucepan and bring to a very low simmer, about 4-5 minutes.
- Next, stir in the diced apples and cook until the mixture is thickened and resembles pie filling, about 9-10 minutes.
- Transfer the apple mixture to a container, and let it cool completely. Once you are ready to serve the cheesecake, spread caramelized apples evenly over the filling.
- To make optional caramel drizzle, melt coconut butter in a double boiler or the microwave in 10-second bursts. Then, combine it with room temperature maple syrup and vanilla in a mixing bowl.
- Transfer mixture to a squeeze bottle to drizzle on top of the apples, or spread it as a layer underneath the caramelized apples (like we ended up doing).
- 8 pitted Medjool dates = ~ ⅔ cup
- The total time to make this cheesecake includes 6 hours of freeze time.
- Optional ingredients are not reflected in the price or calories of this recipe.
♻️ Similar recipes
For more sweets & treats recipes, check out our:
- Simple peach cobbler, and enjoy it with a side of homemade vanilla nice cream.
- The best chewy oatmeal raisin cookies because they're full of spice and everything nice.
- Vegan baked Oreo cheesecake to try your hand at baking a vegan Oreo cheesecake. Need we say more?
- Perfect plum crisp for the ultimate flavor explosion!
We think spartan apples work best because they're one of the most common apples used in cooking. They retain their moisture and shape while providing a delicious tart flavor.
We designed this recipe with this particular crust in mind, so we haven't tried it with other versions. However, if you can get your hands on vegan graham crackers, that would make an excellent alternative.
If you can't find coconut butter, you can simply replace it with more coconut oil or a mix of coconut oil and full-fat coconut milk.