Salted Caramel Cheesecake (dairy-free)

Salted Caramel Cheesecake (dairy-free)

  • Serves: 8 - 10
  • Prep Time: 00:30
  • Cooking Time: 00:12
  • * Plus extra time for chilling & setting
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This decadent Salted Caramel Cheesecake has a beautiful lemony smooth and creamy filling. It's topped with a delicious layer of pecans and salted caramel. My healthy dessert is perfect for those that need a dairy-free and gluten-free option. Your friends and family will love this dessert, they won't know that it's healthy for them because it tastes so indulgent.

Ingredients

* Please click on the green icon next to the ingredients listed below for extra details and helpful information.

  • BASE:
  • 5 Medjool date(s), pitted
  • 1 cup (105g) almond meal/flour
  • 1/2 cup (60g) pecans
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • CHEESECAKE FILLING:
  • 1 1/2 cups (200g) raw cashews, soaked in water for 1 - 2 hours, then rinse and drain
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) coconut cream, (a thick brand like Ayam)
  • Fine lemon zest, from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) lemon juice, (approx. 2 lge lemons)
  • 3 Tbsp honey (unprocessed)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract (organic)
  • A pinch of fine sea salt
  • 60g raw cacao butter, melted
  • SALTED CARAMEL TOPPING:
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans, plus 1 tsp ghee for toasting
  • 1 cup (250ml) coconut cream, (a thick brand)
  • 1/4 cup (60g) ghee, or grass-fed butter (coconut oil can also be used)
  • 1/3 cup honey (unprocessed)
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (organic)
  • TOPPINGS optional: a drizzle of 80% dark chocolate, and extra pecans

Directions

Line the base of a 20cm springform cake tin with baking paper. Place your sheet of baking paper over the base and clip the sides closed, leaving a little hanging out. Grease the sides with coconut oil and a little over the paper to allow the set cheesecake to slide off onto your serving plate easily.

Add the dates to a food processor and process until chopped into small pieces. Add the remaining base ingredients to the dates and process for 10 seconds or until the mixture comes together when squeezed between your fingers. Transfer to the prepared cake tin and spread the mixture evenly over the base, and press down using your hands. Place into the freezer to firm up.

Add the softened cashews, coconut cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, honey, coconut oil, vanilla and salt to a high-speed blender and blend on high for 20 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the jug, then add the melted cacao butter. Blend for a further 30 seconds until the filling mixture is silky and smooth with no bits of nuts.

Remove the base from the freezer and spoon the cheesecake filling evenly over the base and return to the freezer to set while you prepare the salted caramel topping.

Add a teaspoon of ghee (or coconut oil) to a medium-size saucepan on medium-low heat and add the pecans. Stir often for 1 - 2 minutes until lightly golden but watch carefully as the nuts can burn quite quickly. Remove to a small bowl and set aside.

Let the saucepan cool a little then add the coconut cream, ghee, honey and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil and then lower the heat to allow the caramel to gently simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often.

Turn off the heat and add the vanilla and the toasted pecans and stir. Allow the caramel mixture to cool to room temperature or once it's cooled down a little you can transfer it to the fridge to speed up the cooling.

Once the caramel is cool, remove the cake tin from the freezer and pour it evenly over the cheesecake filling. Place the cheesecake in the fridge for 3 hours (or overnight) for the caramel to set or add to the freezer to quicken the processor. The caramel topping will have a softer texture than the cheesecake filling.

To serve, run a blunt knife around the inside of the cake tin and gently release the spring sides. Slide off the baking paper and place onto your serving plate. Optional, place a few pecans into the centre of the cheesecake and melt 20 - 30gms of 80% dark chocolate and use a teaspoon dipped into the chocolate to drizzle over the top.

You can make the cheesecake several days ahead and store covered in the freezer. Serve thawed and straight from the fridge.

Medjool date(s)

I use Medjool dates in my recipes, I like the flavour and softness of these dates. A bonus, there are no preservatives used with these dates. They blend easy when adding to recipes and give a slight caramel flavour.

Medjool dates are an excellent source of dietary fiber, rich in potassium, copper, manganese, magnesium and vitamin B6.

almond meal/flour

The most favoured gluten/grain free flour substitute in my kitchen is almond meal. It is finely ground blanched almonds and is also known as almond flour. It has a slightly sweet flavour so you don’t have to add as much sweetener when baking with it. Almond meal/flour is rich in manganese which helps the body heal after injuries and also helps the body break down carbohydrates. Almond flour is also rich in magnesium, which can help control your blood sugar levels. It's rich in vitamin E and other antioxidants, which may help reduce the risk of serious health conditions like cancer, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. Almonds are also a good source of calcium.

All kinds of nuts can be ground down to make a meal and are excellent for raw cheesecake or pie bases. Nut meals/flours are best stored in airtight containers in the fridge or freezer to prevent them going rancid.

pecans

Pecans are a rich source of dietary fibre, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and thiamin. Nuts are a great protein snack. Eat them raw or activated and it's best to avoid store bought roasted nuts that have been cooked in canola, sunflower or similar vegetable oils.

cinnamon

I am sure you will notice as you read my recipes that cinnamon appears quite frequently. It lends itself to savoury and sweet dishes. I have used ground cinnamon in my recipes if not stated otherwise. The best cinnamon to use is Ceylon (Verum). It has huge health benefits in regulating blood sugar levels. Cinnamon has antifungal properties and candida (yeast overgrowth) cannot live in a cinnamon environment. Added to food it inhibits bacterial growth, making it a natural food preservative and these are just a few of the benefits.

sea salt

Organic unbleached, unrefined organic Celtic sea salt or pink Himalayan salt is my salt of choice as these contain healthy minerals and trace elements that our body needs. Regular table salt has been bleached, refined and processed leaving minimal health benefits. If you choose to use regular table salt in my recipes you will need to reduce the quantity or the end result will be to salty.

coconut oil

Coconut oil is one of the most nutritious fats to cook and bake with. Use organic extra-virgin coconut oil which is unrefined and unbleached from non GMO coconuts. Coconut oil has a high smoking point and it is slow to oxidize due to its high saturated fat content, thus, resistant to going rancid. Some studies suggest coconut oil helps with digestion, including irritable bowel, tummy bugs, candida and parasites due to this oil containing short term medium-chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs), which is a healthy form of saturated fat.

cashews

Cashews work well in a paleo lifestyle, as they are so versatile. They can be used to make dairy free milk, cashew butter, cashew cream or sour cream, dips and many more. Where possible, it is best to soak nuts before using to assist with digestion. Eat them raw but in moderation as they are quite high in omega 6. Stay away from store bought roasted nuts that have been cooked in canola, sunflower or similar vegetable oils.

coconut cream

I use this extensively throughout my recipes; from soups to dinners to desserts and cakes. I think it is the best dairy-free alternative. It gives so much flavour and creaminess to a wide variety of dishes. When purchasing in the can read your labels, even some organic brands contain gums and thickeners, choose full-fat not low-fat versions. I use Honest To Goodness organic cream 400ml and Ayam which isn't organic but has no additives or thickeners and is much creamier and thicker than other brands (that's why I love it), it comes in 400ml, 270ml and 140ml size cans.

lemon zest

Lemon zest is the finely grated yellow skin of the citrus fruit lemon. The lemon skin is where you will find the oil. To make lemon zest, use a fine zest grater so you can avoid the bitter white pith under the skin.

lemon juice

Use freshly squeezed lemon juice. Most store bought lemon juice containers preservatives.

honey (unprocessed)

Use unrefined or raw honey. It is the most common natural sweetener in my recipes. It's best to buy local unprocessed honey as it has wonderful health benefits and can help with allergies. Generally honey sold in supermarkets has been processed. Honey possesses antiseptic and antibacterial properties.

coconut oil

Coconut oil is one of the most nutritious fats to cook and bake with. Use organic extra-virgin coconut oil which is unrefined and unbleached from non GMO coconuts. Coconut oil has a high smoking point and it is slow to oxidize due to its high saturated fat content, thus, resistant to going rancid. Some studies suggest coconut oil helps with digestion, including irritable bowel, tummy bugs, candida and parasites due to this oil containing short term medium-chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs), which is a healthy form of saturated fat.

vanilla extract (organic)

Use an organic vanilla extract (not an essence) or vanilla powder. Vanilla makes a big difference to the flavour of a recipe, I recommend keeping to the quantities I have stated in a recipe. I prefer Madagascar pure vanilla extract manufactured by ‘Simply Organic’ and for powder, Vanillamax 100% pure, finely ground Madagascar vanilla beans produced by Bulletproof.

sea salt

Organic unbleached, unrefined organic Celtic sea salt or pink Himalayan salt is my salt of choice as these contain healthy minerals and trace elements that our body needs. Regular table salt has been bleached, refined and processed leaving minimal health benefits. If you choose to use regular table salt in my recipes you will need to reduce the quantity or the end result will be to salty.

cacao butter

Raw organic cacao butter is also know as chocolate butter. It is used to make chocolate, truffles and desserts. Raw cacao butter is made by cold pressing ground cacao to prevent the lost of vital nutrients and separates the thick and creamy butter from the fibrous powder. It sets firm and gives a rich chocolate flavour. Choose certified organic, cold pressed and non-gmo, my favourite brands are Lovingearth or Navitas Naturals. Cacao butter is high in antioxidants, healthy fats and is a good mood support.

pecans

Pecans are a rich source of dietary fibre, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and thiamin. Nuts are a great protein snack. Eat them raw or activated and it's best to avoid store bought roasted nuts that have been cooked in canola, sunflower or similar vegetable oils.

coconut cream

I use this extensively throughout my recipes; from soups to dinners to desserts and cakes. I think it is the best dairy-free alternative. It gives so much flavour and creaminess to a wide variety of dishes. When purchasing in the can read your labels, even some organic brands contain gums and thickeners, choose full-fat not low-fat versions. I use Honest To Goodness organic cream 400ml and Ayam which isn't organic but has no additives or thickeners and is much creamier and thicker than other brands (that's why I love it), it comes in 400ml, 270ml and 140ml size cans.

ghee

Ghee is clarified butter, it is pure butter fat that has had the milk solids removed. You can get the flavour of butter in your cooking without the dairy (please don't consume if you have an allergy to ghee). My favourite brand is Organic Valley Purity Farms which I purchase online from iherb. It is also very easy to make yourself.

honey (unprocessed)

Use unrefined or raw honey. It is the most common natural sweetener in my recipes. It's best to buy local unprocessed honey as it has wonderful health benefits and can help with allergies. Generally honey sold in supermarkets has been processed. Honey possesses antiseptic and antibacterial properties.

sea salt

Organic unbleached, unrefined organic Celtic sea salt or pink Himalayan salt is my salt of choice as these contain healthy minerals and trace elements that our body needs. Regular table salt has been bleached, refined and processed leaving minimal health benefits. If you choose to use regular table salt in my recipes you will need to reduce the quantity or the end result will be to salty.

vanilla extract (organic)

Use an organic vanilla extract (not an essence) or vanilla powder. Vanilla makes a big difference to the flavour of a recipe, I recommend keeping to the quantities I have stated in a recipe. I prefer Madagascar pure vanilla extract manufactured by ‘Simply Organic’ and for powder, Vanillamax 100% pure, finely ground Madagascar vanilla beans produced by Bulletproof.

dark chocolate

In some of my recipes I have used Paleo approved dark chocolate drops/chips, they are dairy, soy, and gluten-free (my favourite brands are, 'Absolute Organic' or 'Chef's Choice' certified organic 70% cacao, purchase online or from health food stores). I also used 70 - 85% organic dark chocolate blocks, they can be broken into pieces or melted for recipe. I also make my own chocolate from: cacao butter or coconut oil, raw cacao powder and sweetened with 100% maple syrup, pinch of sea salt and vanilla extract.