Raw Chocolate Cheesecake

Woo!  I am officially on spring break.  This means that yesterday, I totally overhauled and reorganized our kitchen cabinets that were really starting to drive me mad, and I also went on a big shopping trip to restock.  Nothing starts out a break better than a clean kitchen and a fully stocked fridge and pantry.  And then Alex took me to the liquor store to stock up on more wine.. we are set for a while, I’d say.

One thing I got yesterday while out shopping was lots and lots of zucchini.  Why?  That’s what the cheesecake part of this raw chocolate cheesecake is made of.  And oooh, is it good.  I was a bit nervous originally about the zucchini, but it creates such a smooth texture, and no zucchini taste is apparent (not that zucchini itself has that much flavor).  Add in the nutty, slightly salty crust, and you’ve got yourself the perfect chocolate dessert – one that is much, much better for you than, say, cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory (but just as tasty).

You don’t need very big slices to be satisfied with this cheesecake – the chocolate flavor is pretty intense – but at the same time, you could totally have a big slice and not feel bogged down at all.  It tastes rich and decadent, but it’s pretty light on your stomach.  Perfect in my book.

The original recipe used pecans in the crust, which I’m sure is delicious, but I ended up using walnuts, and I loved the flavor.  Since walnuts are a good bit cheaper than pecans, and I always have walnuts, it seemed like a good idea.  I wasn’t disappointed!  Feel free to use pecans, though.  Or almonds, even!  I also made the cheesecake in two 6-inch cake pans, so we wouldn’t feel overwhelmed by one huge cheesecake.  After tasting it, it wouldn’t have mattered either way, it was so good, but still.  They were cute in smaller sizes.

This would be great served with fresh berries, or even a caramel sauce.. oooh.  But then it wouldn’t be raw.. maybe a date caramel sauce? ;)

Have you ever tried a raw dessert?  Did you like it?

Raw Chocolate Cheesecake
adapted from Detoxinista
makes 2-6″ cake pans, or 1-8″ (for thicker crust/cheesecake)

For the crust:

    • 2 cups walnuts (or pecans)
    • 2 t almond oil (or coconut oil)
    • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
    • 1/4 t liquid stevia*
    • 1/8 t salt

Line the two 6″ cake pans (or one 8″ pan) with parchment paper.  In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the walnuts until in fine crumbs.  Add the rest of the ingredients, and pulse until a dough forms.  Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the lined pans, and then place in the freezer to set while you make the filling.

*can use 1/4 cup maple syrup in place of stevia

For the filling:

    • 2 cups cashews, raw
    • 1 cup zucchini, peeled and diced (about 1 medium zucchini)
    • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
    • 1/2 cup maple syrup
    • 1 T vanilla extract
    • 1/4 t salt
    • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

In the bowl of a food processor, grind the cashews into a fine powder.  Add in the zucchini, cocoa powder, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt, and process until smooth and creamy.  Add in the coconut oil, and pulse until fully combined.
Pour the filling into the chilled/set crusts, dividing the batter evenly between the two (or just one in the case of 8″ pan) pans.  Chill in the fridge for about 8 hours, until set, before serving.
Remove from the pans by turning out onto a plastic wrap lined plate, removing the parchment paper, and then flipping onto serving dish (and removing the plastic wrap).  Serve with fresh berries or plain.  Enjoy!
Keep any leftovers refrigerated in an airtight container.