Vegan Caramel Apple Cheesecake

Posted On October 9, 2019

I made a visit to a local apple orchard a few weekends back, and I still had some apples on hand, so I decided that I had to make something really delicious with them.  Pie sounded good, but you know what sounded even better?  A cheesecake with the elements of apple pie included.  A caramel apple cheesecake!  I had made one years ago, back when I was completely raw vegan, and it was really good, but I have been wanting to make a non-raw version for a while now.  Not that it wasn’t delicious, but I know not everyone wants to crack open Thai coconuts to make a cheesecake, and I felt that having cooked apples included in it and a crunchy streusel on top would make it even better.

For my cheesecakes I usually make a crust involving oats and dates, and although it tastes good, I just want it a bit more crispy sometimes so I decided to try something new with this one. Plus, I figured the topping could double as a crust, because they would both have oats and I wanted them both crunchy.  So I made sort of a granola to solve the non-crunchy crust problem and it worked perfect!  I just used a mixture similar to what I use in my oil free granola recipe and it was super delicious even before it was turned into crust and topping.

For the filling, I used my classic vanilla cheesecake filling, including an ingredient some may find odd, but it really works here.  Chickpeas!  I use them in place of raw cashews in my cheesecakes because then the cheesecake isn’t as heavy (but still rich tasting), and they are a lot cheaper.  Don’t worry you can not taste them at all, since they are a pretty neutral flavor they blend right in with everything else.  My taste testers were shocked to find out that they were in there since it tasted just like traditional cheesecake filling. I cooked the apples on the stove with a bit of maple sugar and spices and they were flavorful and delicious even before I assembled the cake.

Lets not forget the caramel though. I made a gooey date caramel to swirl into the cake and drizzle on top and it was hard to stop tasting.  I could not wait to try the finished cake!  Sadly I had to wait until the next day to try it since I was making it after work at night.  But it was well worth the wait!  It was rich and creamy, the mellow vanilla cheesecake perfect with the sweet tart apples and crunchy cinnamony crust and crumble on top!  Plus the gooey date caramel of course!   Soooo good! If you have apples on hand, you know what to make!

Vegan Caramel Apple Cheesecake
Makes one 6 inch cake

Crust and topping:

  • 1 1/2 cups organic rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup almond butter, divided
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup soft, pitted medjool dates (if they are not soft, soak them in filtered water first, then drain very well before using.)

 

Apples:

  • 4 medium tart sweet organic apples (such as honeycrisp), diced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch

 

Caramel:

  • 1 1/4 cups soft, pitted medjool dates (of not soft, soak in filtered water 30 minutes and drain before using)
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup filtered water (or as needed
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

 

Filling:

  • 1 cup full fat coconut cream (I used the thick part of a can of Thai Kitchen organic full fat coconut milk*)
  • 3/4 cup cooked chickpeas*
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp coconut butter (NOT OIL), warmed to liquid

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees, and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, combine the oats, 3 Tbsp almond butter, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg and sea salt, and scrunch together with your hands until it is all coated. Spread out on the prepared pan, and bake for about 20-25 minutes until it is starting to brown and crunchy.  Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
  3. Line the bottom of a 6 inch spring form pan with parchment paper.
  4. To make the crust, place 1 cup of the oats, the dates and 1 Tbsp almond butter in a food processor, and process until crumbs and starting to hold together. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan and set aside in the freezer.
  5. To make the apples, combine the apples, maple syrup, and cinnamon in a pot and cook over medium heat until the apples have softened, about 15 minutes.  Mix together the lemon juice and cornstarch and cook until the sauce around the apples thickens.  Let cool.
  6. To make the caramel, blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth (adding a little more water a very small amount at a time if needed to create a thick but pour-able consistency.
  7. To make the filling, combine all ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  8. To assemble the cheesecake, pour half the filling over the crust, then drop some of the caramel by the Tbsp over it, and swirl with a knife.  Scatter half the apple mixture over that, then pour the remaining filling over them.  Drop some more of the caramel on top of the cake and swirl with a knife (being careful not to go too deep so you don’t disturb the apple layer in the middle).
  9. Place cheesecake in the freezer until it is set for about 4 hours (or overnight in the refrigerator if you are not in a hurry).
  10. Remove from the freezer and un-mold.
  11. Scatter the remaining apples over the top, then top off with even more of the oat mixture.  Drizzle more caramel over the top and serve!

This cake keeps for 1 week in a container in the refrigerator.

*I use chickpeas in this, and no you can not taste them, they simply give it a nice smooth texture.  If you prefer cashews though, soaked cashews will work in place of them if you do not care for the chickpeas.

*I use Thai Kitchen full fat coconut milk.  If you are using a different brand, just make sure it is the thick type, 2/3 of the can at least should be very thick.

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