^That’s me, talking romantically to this cheesecake.
In case you didn’t know, being dairy-free is super hard. I found out quickly that Leon’s stomach couldn’t handle it when I ate dairy. And since I’m exclusively breastfeeding, I had to cut it out of my diet so he could get some relief.
And although we are mostly past this little issue (PRAISEEE), it made me realize that I eat dairy way too often. Plus I learned that tons of other breastfeeding moms have had to do the same thing for their babies.
That’s where my dairy-free cheesecake comes in!
See those drips? Mmm. Yes.
Anyway, no mama (or any human, for that matter) should have to head into Thanksgiving unable to have yummy treats.
So, my friends, I present to you the creamiest, dreamiest dairy-free cheesecake around. It also happens to be gluten-free and vegan. And its topped with a luscious sauce that was inspired by a Thanksgiving favorite – pecan pie.
Now, keep in mind that this is dairy-free.
That means it isn’t going to taste just like your favorite decadent cheesecake. But if you can’t have dairy, this is absolutely the next best thing. In case you don’t believe me, even the husband likes it. And he’s one of those who thinks gluten-free desserts are irresponsible and sad.
If that’s not proof that this thing is bomb, I don’t know what is.
I cut mine into pretty little pumpkins. I also cut out two small rounds and stacked them on top of each other for an extra thick cheesecake. You can do it however you like, and there are tips below in the recipe instructions to help you out.
But before you check it out, we should talk about mayonnaise.
Yes, mayonnaise. Because that’s my secret ingredient for this vegan cheesecake. I’m not vegan, but Just Mayo makes a vegan mayo that is SO. BOMB. It’s buttery and tangy and gives the cheesecake a perfect texture straight from the freezer. Shout out to my husband for suggesting I add it to the cheesecake.
Here are some of the ingredients and pieces of equipment I used to make this cheesecake perfect! You can click each image to order some for yourself. If you choose to order, I may receive a small commission. This helps me to keep the blog up & running. And I only suggest products that I love and use myself! Thank you for your support!
Dairy-free Cinnamon Pecan Cheesecake
- 1 cup pitted dates
- 1/2 cup pecans**
- 1/2 cup organic rolled oats (gluten-free)
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 2 cups soaked cashews***
- 1/2 cup canned coconut cream****
- 1/4 cup Just Mayo (vegan mayo)
- 1/2 cup honey (or maple syrup if strict vegan)
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1.5 cups pecans, roughly chopped
- 1 cup coconut sugar
- 2 tbsp non-gmo cornstarch
- 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp molasses
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 cup canned coconut milk****
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
For clean, straight edges, use a springform pan. Alternatively, this can be made in a pie pan or even in cupcake tins for mini cheesecakes! Cut out parchment paper to fit the bottom of your chosen dish.
If your dates are dried out (not sticky), soak them in warm water for 10 minutes before making the crust. Be sure to drain them and pat them dry.
Add the dates, pecans, rolled oats, and sea salt to a food processor with an s-blade. Chop until a ball forms. You should still see small pieces of the crust ingredients. Press the dough into an even layer in your lined dish. Set aside.
Place all cheesecake layer ingredients (EXCEPT FOR THE MAYO) in a high-speed blender. Blend until smooth. Then, add the mayo and blend until incorporated completely.
Pour the mixture over your crust. Use a silicone spatula to smooth out the top. Place in the freezer for 4-6 hours or overnight. (See topping instructions for alternative method).
You can either have a drippy topping (like in my photos) or make it like a separate layer on top of the cheesecake. This is a good option if you're using a pie pan or cupcake tin. Just pour the cooled topping over the cheesecake before freezing.
For the pour-over look (like the photos shown), allow your cheesecake to set in the freezer before preparing the topping.
Add the dry ingredients (coconut sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt) to a pan over medium heat and whisk together. Then add the coconut oil, coconut milk, and molasses. Whisk to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes, whisking often.
Once the mixture has thickened, remove it from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract and the pecans. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before pouring it over the cheesecake. Use a rubber spatula to create a smooth top and drippy sides. Garnish with extra pecans if desired.
Store the cheesecake in the freezer until ready to serve! It is perfectly gooey and delicious straight from the freezer. Happy Holidays!
*Total prep time does NOT include time needed to soak cashews and freeze the cheesecake!
**For the crust, you can choose to leave out the nuts and use 1 cup total of rolled oats. You may need to add a tablespoon or two of water to make the crust form a ball.
***Soak cashews in water overnight & drain. Alternatively, you can quick-soak them by pouring boiling water over them and allowing to soak for one hour before draining.
****Use full-fat canned coconut milk for this recipe. Thai Kitchen or Whole Foods brand are great for this because the milk will separate and have a thick cream on the top. Scoop out the thick cream to use in the cheesecake, and use the thinner milk for the topping.
Enjoy, friends! Thanks for stopping by. Don’t forget to tag us on Facebook & Instagram if you try out the recipe!