I have such strong childhood memories of my mom making her strawberry cheesecake as a dessert for her dinner parties. It was a recipe she got from her sister and I can literally taste it in my mouth as I type this! Obviously it was loaded with dairy and sugar so its off the menu for Mila and I. But when you have a craving for cheesecake, or you want a showstopper dessert for a dinner party or Christmas feast, then a raw, vegan cheesecake is what you are looking for! It has the same “wow” factor when you look at it and the same melt-in-your mouth, creamy taste – without the dairy! In fact, its nutrient-dense and could be served as a complete meal on its own 🙂
These cheesecakes are so versatile in terms of flavour – you can choose any of your favourite fruit for the main flavour. My first-ever vegan cheesecake was a blueberry one – for my sister-in-law soon after she had been diagnosed with cancer and was following a sugar-free, dairy-free and gluten-free diet. That one was followed by an orange and chocolate layered one for our Christmas dessert (made with raw cacao – oh so good!)
Mangoes are in season now in South Africa and Mila and I can’t seem to get enough of them! So this year, we are having a Mango Cheesecake.
And, since this cheesecake is kept in the freezer – you can make it today and have it ready and waiting for Christmas Day!
FOR THE BASE:
FOR THE FILLING:
Decorated with dehydrated mango strips and desiccated coconut.
You can replace the mango with strawberries, cherries, raspberries, peaches or blueberries.
The turmeric in the above recipe is used as food colouring to add to the yellow colour – so if you are using a different fruit as the main flavour, you can omit the turmeric.
If you are making strawberry or raspberry cheesecake, you may want to add 1 ½ teaspoons of beetroot juice as red food colouring.
I must say, I do eye out the candy cake decorations in the shops and wish I could sprinkle them on my cupcakes. They really are so pretty and the little ones love them! But I have found some natural alternatives, which work well too.
If you are baking in berry season, then there is no easier way to add some colour and décor to your cupcakes and cakes. Simply pop a berry into the centre of your cupcake! Try one of these colourful berries: raspberries; blueberries; gooseberries; strawberries.
Miniature date balls are another way to add ball shaped decorations to your cupcakes. Although fairly time consuming to make, they can be made a day or three in advance. If you are using chocolate icing, roll the date balls in desiccated coconut so that there is a colour contrast. If you are using vanilla icing, dust them in raw cacao powder.
Apples are a very useful fruit for decorating – you can easily cut shapes out of apple slices and the apple flesh absorbs colours from fresh fruit juices – so you can create different coloured shapes.
Simply peel the apples, slice and soak in some lemon water to prevent discolouration. If you are going to dye the apple, simply add lemon juice to your fruit juice dyes.
Dry the apple slices on kitchen towel and then using cookie cutters or special fondant icing shaping tools, cut out the shapes.
You can also cut shapes out of slices of peaches, nectarines, pineapples and plums – basically any fruit that has a big enough surface area once sliced.
The Choc-Nut Fudge from Mila’s Meals: The Beginning & The Basics can also be used to create fun shapes for cupcakes with a vanilla or light coloured icing. Simply make a thin layer of fudge on a baking sheet, and once it has set, cut out your shapes.
Create wispy strands by finely shredding or grating carrots, spinach, beetroot or fresh coconut flesh.
Grated coconut strands can be dyed different colours using vegetable juices such as beetroot, pomegranate, cranberry, blueberry, spinach and carrot.
Desiccated coconut, sesame seeds and ground nuts work well on chocolate or any dark coloured icing.
Chia seeds, poppy seeds and raisins work well on vanilla or light coloured icing.”
Don’t forget about edible flowers! They come in a variety of colours and have natural “wow” factor!
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