Tart, sweet, decadent vegan strawberry cheesecake cupcakes get their pretty color from an all natural, secret ingredient.
I first made these vegan strawberry cheesecake cupcakes for Darrol Henry's birthday, and he demolished them! They're super simple to make, and there's no need to soak your cashews overnight.
They're quick, easy, and there's still no baking required. Hurrah!
Pretty in Pink, No Artificial Coloring Needed
Don't panic about that pretty pink color. No artificial colors needed to turn these sweet little cheesecake cupcakes pink.
I don't want to feed Darrol artificial coloring if I can, so I decided to experiment with a substitution to make a natural dye. And it worked!
The secret to the pretty, pink color of these cheesecake cupcakes is unsweetened cranberry juice.
Usually, I use lemon juice to give my cheesecake a tart edge, but cranberry gives a similar, nice tartness along with a splash of color. I'm pretty jazzed about it!
Making Your Cheesecake Cupcakes
A high speed blender is your friend with this recipe. You'll use it to chop the almonds and dates for your cheesecake crust, and you need it to blend up the cashew mixture for the rich, creamy vegan cheesecake part of this recipe.
You can make this recipe in a regular blender, you'll just need to allow a bit more time, especially for blending those cashews. The secret to rich cashew cream is to blend until your mixture is completely smooth.
If you've ever had cashew cream that was lumpy or grainy, it wasn't blended for long enough. So keep calm and blend on!
Vegan Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes
- 3 cups raw cashews - (Roasted cashews will not work here. They’ll yield a grainy cheesecake. YUCK!)
- 1 cup almonds
- ¼ cup pitted Medjool dates
- 1 cup vegan margarine - NOT melted
- ¾ cup unsweetened cranberry juice
- ⅓ cup agave nectar - OR maple syrup
- 1 cup fresh strawberries - chopped
- Quick-soak your cashews. Boil 2 cups of water, and pour enough of the hot water over the cashews to completely cover them. Let them soak for at least 10 minutes, then drain. This is a good time to make your crusts, so let’s do that!
Make the Crusts
- Blend up the almonds and transfer to a small bowl. You’re going for almond meal here, not almond butter. It should be a little bit rougher than cornmeal in texture. Some bigger chunks of almond are even okay.
- Blend the dates until they’re as smooth as you can get them, and add them to the almonds, then mix until you have a crumbly dough. I’ve found that the best way to do this is to just dig in with clean hands, and knead until they’re incorporated. The dough should be pretty crumbly and a little bit sticky. You’re going to feel at this point like there is no way this will work, but it will. Some excess moisture from the cheesecake layer will add moisture to these babies as they chill.
- Divide the almond-date mixture between 12 lined muffin tins, pressing very firmly into the bottom of the pan. When pressed, the mixture should fill each cup about ¼? full. If you end up with a little bit of leftover mixture, keep it! It’s great mixed into oatmeal or soy yogurt!
Make the Cheesecake Cupcakes
- Blend the soaked and drained cashews, Earth Balance, cranberry juice, and agave until you have a smooth mixture.
- Spoon about 1 heaping tablespoon of the cashew mixture into each muffin cup, then tap and gently shake the pan to even out the filling. At this point, your cups will be about ⅓ to ½ full.
- Top each cup with about a tablespoon of strawberry pieces, then top off with enough cashew mixture to fill the cups. Decorate each cheesecake with more strawberry pieces on top.
- Chill in the freezer for 90 minutes, until they’re totally firm, then transfer to a flat container with a lid. Store to the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve; they’ll keep for 2-3 days in the fridge.