Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Vanilla Coconut Cream "Cheesecake" (dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan)

Hello dear readers! I have a special treat for you today....literally! A dairy-free, grain-free "cheesecake" made from my Soured Coconut Cream recipe. This no-bake recipe is so simple to make and will delight your friends and family. I've tested it many different ways to get the perfect ratio of ingredients, in fact maybe too much, because now I want nothing to do with coconut milk!

The secret little ingredient in this recipe that helps hold it together and lighten it up is....agar powder! Agar is a gelatinous substance derived from red algae. When it is mixed with a liquid and heated it forms a gel. You can actually make vegan "jell-o" with it using fruit juice. I use this brand of agar powder. Make sure you don't use agar flakes, as the amount needed is different as well as the fact that they need to be soaked in a liquid before using them. You may be able to substitute grass-fed gelatin but I'm not sure on the amount. You would need more than a teaspoon for sure, maybe 1 tablespoon?

If you don't want to use the raspberry topping, try drizzling each slice with warm chocolate sauce and topping with fresh berries. You can use the Chocolate Ganache recipe here if you like.

Vanilla Coconut Cream “Cheesecake”

To make this probiotic-rich, decadent dairy-free dessert you first need to have a batch of Soured Coconut Cream made. You will also need a 9-inch springform pan. If you don’t have one you can try making it in a 10-inch deep dish pie plate. For the crust, I use Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds, if you don’t have any you can use plain raw pumpkin seeds or some type of nut, such as pecans. Be sure to add a pinch or two of salt to the crust though if you use these alternatives—the sprouted seeds are already salted.

2 cups sprouted pumpkin seeds
2 teaspoons cinnamon
10 soft medjool dates, pitted
1 tablespoon coconut oil

2 cups soured coconut cream
½ cup coconut cream
6 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon agar powder
1 teaspoon raw vanilla powder

1 to 1 ½ cups fresh raspberries (thaw if frozen)
4 soft medjool dates, pitted

To make the crust, first place the seeds and cinnamon into a food processor fitted with the “s” blade. Process until finely ground. Then add the dates and coconut oil. Process again until the dates are finely ground and fully incorporated into the seeds. The mixture should be sticky now. Firmly press mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch greased (with coconut oil) springform pan and set aside.

Place the 2 cups of soured coconut cream into a blender. In a small saucepan add the ½ cup of coconut cream, maple syrup, agar powder, and vanilla powder. Whisk together, then bring mixture to a gentle boil, reduce heat slightly and simmer for about 3 minutes. Turn blender on to low speed and slowly pour the hot mixture into the soured coconut cream until the two are blended together. Pour filling into crust. Tap the pan on the counter to release air bubbles. Let set on the counter for about an hour and then place into the refrigerator and chill until completely set, about two more hours.

To make the topping, place raspberries and dates into the food processor and process until blended together. The dates need to be soft and fresh for this to happen. Then pour on top of cheesecake and spread into a thin layer.

When ready to serve, release the latch on the pan, slice, and serve. Source:

Yield: about 16 small slices

Note: To obtain the 1/2 cup of coconut cream, first chill a can of full fat coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight. Then open it and scoop off the thick white cream from the top leaving the coconut water behind. It should be about a half of a cup, if there is a little extra just add it to the cheesecake. 

More No-Bake Treat Recipes:
Raw Caramel Dip
Cinnamon Sunflower Truffles
Watermelon Whole Fruit Popsicles

About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. This looks delightful! Perfect ingredients for our family. I cannot wait to try it!

  2. Thank you for sharing this awesome alternative :D

    Have you ever tried using the little cans coconut cream?

  3. So excited to see a dairy free cheesecake recipe that is also nut free!!! Sounds delicious!

  4. I just thought I'd mention that if you're sensitive to seaweed, don't use Agar.

  5. Do you think gelatin could be used in place of the agar?


  6. Gorgeous! I've been wanting to try either coconut milk "cheese" or a vegan cheesecake for a long time and always get scared off by the price of agar. Sometime soon, I need to just bite the bullet!

  7. Made this over the weekend for my husband and his sister and her husband who were visiting (they are omnivores). They all loved it, and my husband at first was suspicious that I had used dairy for the recipe. It was fantastic. I used dehydrated almond pulp with maple syrup and a little coconut oil for a "graham cracker" crust. Thanks, Kim...this is sooo good!

  8. Molly, I've found agar powder very cheap ($1.49 for nearly 1 oz) at local Asian markets. It's "Telephone Brand" and is no different quality, that I can tell, than the expensive stuff at Whole Foods.

  9. I bought an agar powder at an Asian market, and realized, only after I got home, that it is agar powder AND vanilla powder mixed. Obviously it doesn't give any hint about the ratios used, (other then the fact that vanilla powder is last) so I was wondering, has anyone else ran across this? And if so, did you just use 2 teaspoons (as the combined amount in the recipe would be) or...? Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated!

  10. This cake is worth every penny!
    I used caramelised buckinis as the base... Ran out of maple so used rice malt syrup ...
    Added kiwi fruit to the top because my sister decided her birthday was pink and green themed haha
    And let me tell you, my three and five year old nieces devoured it (not unusual, but symbolic none the less). This is THE ULTIMATE nut free, dairy free and almost raw cake.

  11. Do i have to use the agar powder?

  12. I was trying to figure out how to emulate a coconut-based (versus cashew-based or tofu-based) vegan cheesecake I bought at the store once, but I really appreciated finding this recipe! Now I don't have to guess at the ratios (which is a good thing, believe me haha).

    Have you tried using all coconut cream rather than 0.5 cups coconut cream and 2.0 cups of soured coconut cream? I imagine the soured coconut cream is for flavor (the tangy quality would cut the richness) and texture (because it's cooked first), was that the rationale?

    Can't wait to try it out!


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Thanks and Happy Cooking! ~Ali :)