I couldn’t be more excited to share this recipe with you guys! Introducing my first (of many) vegan (gluten/dairy-free) cheesecake! I’m not vegan, ,but my friend Glau from work is and she helped me make this AMAZING cheesecake last week that I am currently still eating every night for dessert. I’m pretty much a “follow the recipe” type of girl, but Glau just throws things together from recipe inspiration and knowledge, and her dishes turn out delicious. For this recipe, we just looked up other raw cheesecake recipes that were gluten and dairy free, and then just added our own ideas; it was so much fun! I’ve never had people to cook with me before…but ever since I started working at Living Kitchen, I get to be around all of these people who share the same passion that I do for eating/cooking clean and delicious foods. 

Sometimes it’s easy for me to get stressed about things like taking a photo of my food for my blog, or wanting every measurement and detail to be great so that I can later share it with you guys. But I’ve realized that this really takes the fun out of cooking; it causes stress for me and then I’m not able to enjoy the process of cooking, and the dish itself afterwards. This is something I really want to work on. I want to just cook for fun and not take photos after, enjoy a night with friends without all of the “social media” pressure, and simply just disconnect sometimes. Easier said than done right? But I want to make it happen, even if it’s just a few times a week; I really want to be in the present moment instead of worrying about these things that don’t even matter. That’s hard for me to say, having a blog and Instagram that I care a lot about. But at the same time, I think that it causes unnecessary stress sometimes, and for what reason? In the end, we should be worrying about building relationships and memories instead of how many likes our Instagram photo got. Sorry about my little rant there, this has been the common theme for me this week. 

Now back to the cheesecake! We decided to make a cookie crust out of Pamela’s Gluten/Dairy-Free Ginger Cookies, which are some of my most FAVORITE cookies because they are soft, and taste like gingerbread. The actual cheesecake part of the cake is made with sweet oranges and lemons, giving it this lovely sweetness with a hint of tart. We drizzled the cake with chocolate from an amazing company called Pacari that I discovered at the Fresh Expo last weekend. Their chocolate bars are raw, organic and only contain a few ingredients that are clean and delicious! We used the Lemon Verbana and Esmeraldas 60% Cacao Bars. I could eat entire bars of this stuff. SO GOOD. 

Citrus Cheesecake with Ginger Cookie Crust (Gluten/Dairy-Free)This cheesecake is really not that difficult to make, and requires no baking whatsoever! I do recommend getting a basic springform pan though, that way you can get the cake easily out of the pan without it sticking badly. I love how creative you can get with cheesecakes. We literally just went crazy on the top part, and it turned out so neat! Just by using leftovers from the cake,  we created this nice moon-shape from oranges and lemons dipped in the chocolate, and orange zest. Glau almost lost a finger to the old-school grater I have….but we made it through. 

Citrus Cheesecake with Ginger Cookie Crust (Gluten/Dairy-Free)

Citrus Cheesecake with Ginger Cookie Crust (Gluten/Dairy-Free)
 
This Citrus Cheesecake is perfect for a beginner to the cheesecake world! Made with a delicious cookie crust, citrus filling, and topped with a sweet chocolate drizzle....you will never go back to unhealthy cakes again.
Ingredients:
Crust-
  • 12 gluten/dairy-free soft baked ginger cookies (I used Pamela's brand)
  • 8 date rolls or dates (I used the date rolls from Earth Fare rolled in coconut)
  • 2 T. organic coconut oil, melted
Filling-
  • 2 C. raw cashews, soaked
  • ½ C. organic coconut milk (full-fat)
  • 3 T. organic maple syrup
  • juice from 1 large orange
  • juice from 2 lemons
  • 2 T. orange zest
  • 1 T. lemon zest
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Stevia (to taste)
Topping-
  • 6 raw/organic chocolate bars (I used Pacari's bars)
  • 2 T. organic coconut oil
  • 3-4 orange slices
  • 2-3 lemon slices
  • zest from 2 large oranges
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • xylitol (for sprinkling)
Instructions:
  1. Line a 9 in. springform pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a blender or food processor, crumble your cookies and date rolls. Add your melted coconut oil and blend until mixture is combined.
  3. Roll mixture into a ball and spread evenly on your parchment-lined pan. Place crust in the freezer for 25-30 minutes.
  4. For the filling, add all of the filling ingredients to a blender. Pulse/blend on high power until the mixture is fully combined with no lumps. Should be a thick but spreadable consistency.
  5. Once your crust is firm, pour your filling on top and place back in the freezer for 30 more minutes.
  6. For the topping, melt your chocolate and coconut oil in a double boiler or melting pot. If you don't have one of those, just do what we did: fill a small saucepan with about 2 inches of water. Place a ceramic plate on top of the pan and put your chocolate/coconut oil on top. Turn the stove on medium-high heat and let melt. Stir the mixture well. Turn heat to low once the chocolate has melted.
  7. Remove your cheesecake from the freezer after the 30 minutes is up. Drizzle with chocolate and add your toppings as desired. This is your cake, so get creative! We dipped the oranges in the chocolate and sprinkled some xylitol on top for a nice finish, but you can do whatever you like.
  8. Freeze the cake 20 more minutes before serving.
Notes
* This cake is better if stored in the freezer, so once you eat your slice (or two) for dessert, just store in the freezer until you want another piece.(Which will probably be the next night...) Enjoy!

Citrus Cheesecake with Ginger Cookie Crust (Gluten/Dairy-Free)Citrus Cheesecake with Ginger Cookie Crust (Gluten/Dairy-Free)If you get a chance to try this yummy recipe, make sure to tag me on Instagram @adancersplate or #embraceyourplate so that I can see your beautiful creations!