Serves 8 to 10
This Pumpkin Cheesecake was among our favorites in Vegan Pie In The Sky! All those autumnal spices with lots of pumpkin flavor and an irresistible pecan crunch topping. It’s so delicious, it makes you feel a little funny. And don’t worry about serving this to even the biggest tofuphobe, they will not complain one bit.
While there are perfectly adequate vegan cream cheeses available in supermarkets, we wanted to come up with a cheesecake formula made with pantry-friendly ingredients, for a few reasons.
One is consistency: different brands will produce different results.
For another, some vegan cream cheeses contain hydrogenated oils. We want to bake with accessible real foods.
Also: the cost. For one recipe, if you’re talking 3 tubs of cream cheese, when all is said and done you’ve just spent a good 25 bucks on a single cheesecake. Ouch! This way, even if you do spend 25 bucks, you have ingredients that will last you awhile and make lots and lots of cheesecakes.
And lastly, well, we just think it tastes better! We worked for months and months to develop the smoothest, creamiest and richest vegan cheesecake base possible. The ingredients we landed on were soaked cashews, coconut oil, banana and silken tofu. The end result is firm but creamy, easy to work with and a dessert that’s a little difficult to not steal bites of. That’s only a bad thing if you care that by the time the guests arrive there’s already a sliver missing.
A few recipe notes before embarking on your vegan cheesecake adventure!
~For the crust, vegan graham crackers can be hard to find. If you can’t find them, you can either make your own, or use gingersnaps. We baked a few of these with gingersnaps and they were amazing!
~Soak the cashews overnight to make quick work of the recipe. You can cover them with plastic wrap if you’re afraid that your kitty will get to them.
~Although this recipe is for a fancy marbled cheesecake, you can skip that step if you’re pressed for time or would just rather not do it. Just mix everything in the filling together instead of dividing the batter and swirling.
~You can use either water packed silken tofu or the vacuum packed kind (like Mori-Nu.) If using Mori-Nu, extra firm silken works best.
For the crust:
1 1/4 cups of finely ground graham crackers or gingersnaps
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons melted non-hydrogenated margarine, melted coconut oil, or canola oil
1 tablespoon plain soy or almond milk.
1/2 cup whole unroasted cashews soaked in water for 2 to 8 hours or until very soft
1/4 cup mashed banana (about half of 1 medium-sized banana)
1 12 to 14 oz package silken tofu, drained
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons coconut oil, at room temperature
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 3/4 cups canned pumpkin puree
3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon nonhydrogenated margarine *or* coconut oil
Pinch of salt
1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
Make the crust:
Preheat oven to 350F and lightly spray a 9 inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a mixing bowl, combine the crumbs and sugar. Drizzle in the oil or melted margarine.
Use a spoon to blend the mixture thoroughly to moisten the crumbs, then drizzle in the soy milk and stir again to form a crumbly dough.
Pour the crumbs into the pan. Press firmly into the bottom. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes until firm. Let the crust cool a bit before filling. Keep oven on 350 to bake the cheesecake.
Make the topping:
In a mixing bowl use a fork to mash together brown sugar, margarine, and salt until crumbly, then fold in the chopped nuts and stir to coat the mixture. Set aside until ready to use.
Make the filling:
Drain the cashews and place in a blender with the banana, tofu, sugar, brown sugar, coconut oil, cornstarch, lemon juice, vanilla, orange zest, and sea salt. Blend until completely smooth and no bits of cashew remain, a food processor or strong blender should be able to get the job done.
Set aside 1/2 cup of batter. To the remaining batter, add the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg and blend until smooth, then pour it into the crust. Randomly spoon dollops of the reserved batter onto the cheesecake. Poke the end of a chopstick into a batter blob and gently swirl to create a marble pattern; repeat with the remaining dollops.
Bake the cheesecake for 45 to 50 minutes. Remove cheesecake halfway through baking and sprinkle on the topping. Return to oven to continue baking. Cheesecake will be done when the top is lightly puffed and the edges of the cake are golden. Remove it from the oven and let cool on a rack for about 20 minutes, then transfer to the refrigerator to complete cooling, at least 3 hours or even better if overnight. To serve, slice the cake using a thin, sharp knife dipped in cold water.
I made this tonight and ate an 8th of it. Yikes! It had an amazing texture and the topping was super tasty. But mine tasted more like banana and less like pumpkin. : / Is there any way to leave the banana out (ie add 1/4 cup more pumpkin)? I like banana, but I like pumpkin much better. Thanks for sharing.
I made this for my daughter who has a dairy sensitivity. I found the orange zest to be a bit over powering. The texture was great though. I think next time I might omit the orange zest and add a bit more of the pumpkin pie seasonings. I also didn’t have a hazel nuts so I just finely ground pecans in in place of them and it was fine.
My first time making cheesecake EVER and I decided to make this one that is vegan to bring to a potluck. It was amazing and no one could tell. I decided to just mix everything together in the filling…it was delicious! My first recipe that I have tried from you and I can’t wait to try something else.
the coconut oil in the filling- it says at room temp, does that mean melted? or solid? thanks!
5 STARS – Great vegan cheesecake! My newly vegan girlfriend said this was the best thing I ever made and our seasoned vegan guests loooved it. As always, thank you Isa for the fantastic recipe! (p.s. we watched your video tutorials while the cheesecake was in the oven. You’re adorable 🙂
Looks fantastic 🙂 how necessary is the banana though? I’ve got at pretty nasty allergy! An odd one I know, what could I substitute it with?
Just add some extra pumpkin. Liiiike 1/4 cup.
My wife tried this recipe last night, first thing this morning we both tried it and it is tasteful and very few ingredients, that’ s a keeper in our household from now on… Thanks for sharing…..
Has anyone had any luck making this ahead and freezing it? Would this work without changing the texture? Would you freeze before or after baking?
Question re: coconut oil: Is it essential to the recipe? Any chance I could leave it out of the filing or substitute another oil like canola or olive or a touch of earth balance or even a nut butter? Any suggestions you have would be so appreciated. Dying to make this for the upcoming holiday.
I made this recipe for the first time last week and it was yummy! I used gingersnaps to make the crust and the texture of the pie (cake?) was wonderful, like a light cheesecake. I will say I found the orange zest a bit overpowering and may tone that down the next time to allow the pumpkin to take more of the spotlight but overall lovely recipe I will definitely make again thank you Isa!
Can it be frozen?
I’m making this again for Thanksgiving. Absolutely delicious recipe. Thank you, Isa!!
Made this with chocolate shell drizzled on from Raw. Vegan. Not gross. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KmkhKYx0pYs
Is there any way you’d happen to know the carb count for a serving of this? Made it and my little one is diabetic, as we just found out Thursday, so just wondering if you’d happen to know 🙂 Thanks so much if ya do, and for the amazing recipe!
Hi, I was wondering if I can possible make this recipe with normal tofu and substituting the pumpkim for something similar, I know these are drastic changes to the original recipe but: I live in a regional area in Poland and it’s difficult for me to find products such as “silken Tofu”and pumpkin at this time of the year. My husband has recently gone vegan and I’d like to cook something special for him.
If anyone has a vegan recipe for a cheesecake, doesn’t necessarily has to be this one, even though this one looks great I would greatly appreciate some advice!!!! Thanks
This was amazing. Simply brilliant. I made it for my omni (extended) family and no one knew, cared, or otherwise. It had just the right amount of tang. I left out the nana and just used more pumpkin. I REALLY want to make a chocolate one! I’m thinking about using sweet potato as the base, leaving out the pp spices (except the cinnamon), soakin the cashews in a strong coffee, and adding cocoa powder. What do you think? I’d love your opinion/tips……freakin’ vegan goddess, you are!
I love this recipe. What could i use in place of pumpkin to adapt this as a blueberry cheesecake?
I see that you used sunflower seeds for a mac and cheese recipe. Do you think sunflower seeds would work for this also? Have you tested it out yet? ….cashew, peanut allergy. But we’re good with other nuts. Thank you, and great site!
can i use pumpkin pie mix (canned) instead of pumpkin puree??
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Has anyone tried making these as mini-cheescakes, in a muffin tin (with the little paper muffin cups)? I have a phobia of springform pans. Also I live at high altitude and little things are more forgiving. I have made the raw ones as minis many times and they are perfect.
Pretty sure this will be dinner. And lunch tomorrow.
Thank you Isa! I just made this for work and everyone loved it. One guy said it was in his top 5 cheesecakes ever. Then I told them it was vegan–they were stunned. It was awesome.
I don’t own a springform pan, so I did this in a standard muffin tin with the gingersnap crust and it turned out great! I baked for 20 minutes, then added the topping, and then about 15 minutes more. I just kept an eye on it. The crust was a little oily, but it didn’t stick to the muffin tin at all (bonus). I sat the mini cheesecakes on some parchment paper and brought them in to work. I had some extra filling and topping, so put that in little glass dishes and baked those too (in a water bath). They worked great for my GF co-worker.
Isa, you are truly a vegan Goddess extraordinaire! Thank you for posting a cheesecake recipe that doesn’t require expensive vegan cream cheese and hydrogenated oils. Love the pantry-friendly items used here.
This cheesecake looks divine! How long would it keep in the fridge? As in, would I be able to make it 3 days in advance? So excited to try it!
Someone brought this to a church lunch—oh myyyyy! My husband loved it so much, he went and got two more pieces! Wow!!!!! Soooo gooooooood!!!!
This really works and everyone loves it. A warning to UK cooks – my tablespoon was a bit bigger than intended in the recipe (I think) so the cheesecake leaked coconut oil into my oven. I can avoid this mess next time!
the tofu, does it matter if it is soft or firm?
Made this for a crowd of omnivores who absolutely loved it. Thank-you, thank-you for this amazing recipe! I made mine with fresh pumpkin purée and fresh ginger. I soaked the cashews overnight. I put a pan of water underneath it in the oven and there were no cracks. All agree that I have to make it again.
ooooooooo I just made one this afternoon, and it was more than I could have ever dreamed of, my first successful vegan cheesecake! Granted, I set the oven dial to a higher temperature (oven’s not been properly calibrated since I was in diapers), cooked longer than the recipe denotes, and let the cheesecake cool in the residual heat of the oven, and the center was still jiggly, and, as I unfortunately learned only after slicing, completely creamy and loose. But maybe an inch and a half from the edge was set VERY nicely.
Another mind-blowing recipe. My cheesecake turned out extremely fragrant, and for a while I couldn’t place the familiar taste, but I just realized that with the aromatic orange zest and undercooked filling, it was like this orange creamsicle semifreddo I made in high school. Unexpected realization, but a very pleasant one.
I just made this for Thanksgiving and it was incredible!! It set up perfectly after cooking for 50 minutes and was absolutely delicious. I used Mi-Del gluten free gingersnaps for the crust and they were great. Thank you for sharing this recipe with the world!
I made this last year for Thanksgiving for my vegan cousin and I. Everyone loved it topped with a bit of whipped coconut cream (my cousin and I had to get a bit protective of the only vegan dessert). My family is already asking if I am making it again this year.