Baking without eggs, butter (or margarine) and sugar can sometimes be a real challenge. However, tofu makes a great substitute for heavy, set cream and tapioca flour binds the ingredients together the way eggs would. Sugar can be replaced with a fruit syrup, or sometimes just fruit pulp which in most cases would be sweet enough.
Before I became vegan, I made my usual baked cheesecake recipe fairly often and got used (of course) to that taste. However, when I re-wrote the recipe with healthier vegan alternatives, my family and I could not believe how exactly similar in taste and texture it was. The tofu creates the same slightly dry, crumbly baked result as the traditional version, but still with the same creamy mouth-feel, sweetness and lemon flavour. I now sometimes make use of the same basic recipe, but change it into a chocolate or even strawberry version. Have fun experimenting!
5 tbsp finely ground toasted, unsalted cashew nuts
1 tbsp whole meal spelt flour / oat flour / buckwheat flour
2 tsp vanilla-infused grape-seed oil / walnut oil
1 tsp light agave syrup
1 cup soy milk
2 tsp lemon juice / orange juice / apple cider vinegar
1 lemon, juice
2 cups firm tofu, drained and patted (very) dry, chopped
1 tbsp vanilla-infused grape-seed oil / walnut oil
6 tbsp light agave syrup
2 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp tapioca flour
20 ml corn starch
A cheesecake forms large cracks when the outside of the batter has firmed into a thin skin and the inner filling continues to expand with the heat. One can decrease this effect by placing a bowl of water on a lower shelf to create steam in the oven. The cracks can always be concealed by serving the cheesecake with slices of fruit on top. Or, simply don't worry about it - it still tastes delicious!
Laurinda Erasmus is a vegan chef and author of a vegan recipe book, called Benessere well-being: vegan & sugar-free eating for a healthy life-style, by Quinoa Publishing. The book has over 520 recipes, each with a colour photograph, taken by the author herself. The book won a gold medal at the Living Now Book Awards in New York, USA. She is passionate about the vast possibilities of creating plant-based meals, the increased wellness and energy through plant nutrition and making a smaller impact on our precious ecosystem. Through her book and vegan classes, she shows healthy and fun ways of how to bring more plant-based meals into one's diet. She also travels extensively, always collecting new recipes and re-writing them as vegan dishes. See her tips for vegan travellers and vegan travel recipes on her blogsite http://veganwellbeing.wordpress.com/. http://www.veganwellbeing.net/