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Deluxe Apricot and Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake (nut-free)

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Today’s recipe was presented to me as a challenge.  I received an email asking if I could create an apricot and chocolate cheesecake that was nut-free.  It came at the perfect time because were going to be celebrating my husband’s birthday with a few friends and I thought I could test share this wonderful dessert with them.  :)

I also welcomed this challenge because I have been working more and more towards creating recipes without nuts.  Nut allergies are becoming the new gluten!  Kind of scary actually.  But even I have to watch my intake of nuts so the timing was perfect.

When creating raw cheesecake desserts there are two main things to focus on, texture and firmness.  You want a creamy mouth-feel, and you want the cheesecake to stand up on its own.  So, with those two factors in mind, I got busy.  One other small issue was that fresh apricots are not season this time of year so I had to rely on dried apricots.  I used Turkish apricots and made sure that they didn’t have any ingredients other than apricot in them!  The trick was to soak them for a few hours to really soften them up so I could create a smooth puree.

The flavor of an apricot manages to uniquely combine peach-like-sweet with tang.  They are high in beta carotene and lycopene, and are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber.  A great “side effect” to my overall recipe.  Pairing apricot with chocolate, is about as incredible as it comes.  But then, I guess in reality, what doesn’t pair well with chocolate!?  Books have been written on the health benefits of raw cacao (chocolate) so I won’t even begin to try to share all of it with you but did you know that cacao is the highest whole food source of magnesium, which also happens to be the most deficient mineral in the diet of modern cultures?  Magnesium relaxes muscles, improves peristalsis in the bowels and relaxes the heart and cardiovascular system.

The third main ingredient that I used in this recipe is coconut and I used it in many forms.  Coconut oil, Young Thai Coconut flesh and coconut flakes!  You can read here for an inside snippet on the health properties to coconut if you wish.  The coconut flesh helps give a creamy texture to this cake and the oil, which hardens at 76 degrees or lower, gives us that firmness when chilled.

So, last night we shared this cheesecake with many of our friends and needless to say, no leftovers came home with us.  That is always a good sign.  As I watched people enjoy the cheesecake, savoring each bit, I felt good knowing that they were eating something that was so good for them and the sneaky part is, is that they  weren’t even aware of it.  As I shared with one gal the ingredient list, she sat back in awe.  She turned to me and said, “You mean I don’t have to feel guilty for eating this?”  Allthough that caused a chuckle to rise in my throat it also made me aware that we should never have to feel guilty about the foods we eat. That little comment once again confirmed that I am on the right track of creating and sharing these recipes with others… hoping one day they will take over the world!!!  Healthy food that is! hehe

Ingredients: yields 9″ Springform pan

Crust Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (248 g) organic coconut, unsweetened, shredded
  • 8 (90 g) moist medjool dates, pitted
  • 3 Tbsp (42 g) coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup (62 g) flax meal, (ground flax seeds)
  • 1/4 cup (20g) raw cacao powder
  • 2 tsp (2 g) ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp (2 g) sea salt
  • 3 Tbsp (64 g) raw agave nectar
  • 2 Tbsp (30 g) water

Filling Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (260 g) dried apricots
  • 2 cups hot water (soaking water for apriocots )
  • 2 cups (316g) Young Thai Coconut meat
  • 1/2 cup (168 g) raw agave nectar
  • 3 Tbsp (60 g ) lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp (2 g) sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups (254 g) raw coconut oil, warmed to liquid
  • 3 Tbsp (20 g ) lecithin powder
  • 5 Tbsp (1 oz) cacao powder
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla

Preparation:

Crust: 
  1. Prepare the Springform pan.  Wrap the base with plastic wrap and snap the base into the ring.  This will make it easier to remove when for slicing and serving.
  2. Combine the coconut, dates, oil, flax meal, cacao, cinnamon, salt, agave and water in the food processor, fitted the the “S” blade.  Pulse until the batter sticks together.
  3. Evenly sprinkle the crust batter over the base of the pan.  Then firmly and evenly press the crust down.  I used a large spatula to get really clean edges.  See photo below.
  4. Place the crust in the freezer while you create the filling.
Filling:
  1. Soak the dried apricots in 2 cups of hot water for 1+ hours.  The softer they are, the easier they will blend to a creamy texture.
  2. After the apricots are done soaking, place then in a high-powered blender along with the soak water.  Blend until creamy.
  3. Add the coconut meat, agave, lemon juice, and salt.  Blend till creamy.
  4. Drizzle in the melted coconut oil while the blender is running.  Make sure you have a vortex happening so it will draw the oil in which makes for an even mixture.  Once that is incorporated, add the lecithin and blend until combined.
  5. Pour all but 2 cups of the batter into the Springform pan.  Tap the pan on the counter top to bring any bubbles to the surface.  Do this on a towel to save your ears.
  6. Add the cacao and vanilla to the 2 remaining cups of batter that are still in the blender.   Process until well mixed.
  7. Pour 4-5 large puddles of the chocolate batter around the pan, on top of the other batter.
  8. Drag a skewer stick around and through the batter, drawing the colors into each other.  Be careful that you don’t dig in to deep and disrupt the crust.
  9. Place in the fridge for 4-6 hours to firm up or place in the freezer for 2-4 hours.  This cheesecake can be served chilled or frozen. To remove from the pan use warm knife (run it under the hot tap for a second) and run it around the inside of the loosened band.
  10. This cheesecake will last for 4 days in the fridge and up to 3 months in the freezer.
Tips:
  1. For clean cuts between slices, cut the cheesecake when frozen.  Also use a hot knife, wiping the blade inbetween each cut.  Also if you cut the cheesecake into smaller slivers it will help with portion control.  Those who are not used to raw desserts often dish up way to much not realizing how rich they are.
  2. This cheesecake can be served frozen or chilled.  I ran a test on one slice and it stayed firm well into the 4th hour of being on the table, of course half of it was missing by then. (haha)  The room tempature was roughly 68 (F) or 20 (c) (for my foreign friends).
  3. For decorations, if you feel the need… drizzle chocolate ganache over it and/or place edible flowers on top.
  4. Keep the cheesecake leftovers in the fridge or freezer.
In the photo above, I wanted to show you how the lecithin I used looks.  The pile on the right is granulated lecithin,
this is how you will get it from the store.  I then grind it in my Bullet or spice grinder to a finer powder, as shown on the left.
Tricks for making the crust:  First wrap the base with plastic wrap.  This helps when tranferring the pie
to a plate or cake stand.  Next, I use this large spatula to press the crust down firmly and evenly.  Then using
the rounded edges I clean up the edges of the crust so it is nice and smooth.  This may not seem like such a big deal
because we pour the batter over it but when you remove the ring and cut your slices, the evenness of the crust will show.
Swirled and ready to be frozen or chilled!
Before I let you go… I just wanted to share a little “blender cleaning trick” with you.
Below is what my blender looked like after making the chocolate ganache.  Lushious
tid-bits of frosting left in the corners!  We can’t have that!
To remedy this, just pour some nut milk into the blender and blend for about 20 seconds.
The end result… a scrumptious, rewarding glass of raw chocolate milk!

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43 thoughts on “Deluxe Apricot and Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake (nut-free)

  1. Sarah says:

    AmieSue, this looks stunning (as usual!). Do you think the apricot could stand on it’s own without doing the chocolate swirl? Or maybe swapping out raspberry for the chocolate? Thoughts?
    ~ Sarah

    • amie-sue says:

      Hi Sarah,

      The cheesecake would be just fine as apricot alone. Just don’t add the cacao powder. To be honest I am not sure about the combining of apricot and raspberry, both are tart, but it might be worth trying. Just sure to taste test and see if more sweetener needs to be added. The colors would look amazing together. :) Have a great evening, amie sue

  2. Jesse Gabriel says:

    Oh wow Amie Sue.
    Da haben sie ja wieder gezaubert, die Torte ist ihnen großartig gelungen, sie sieht wunderschön aus!!!
    Ich habe bis jetzt noch nie eine roh Torte gemacht, da ich ja selber, gar nicht so viel süß mag, lieber würzig.
    Diese werde ich versuchen zum Geburtstag für meinen Bruder.

    Vielleicht ein Tipp für Sarah, sie könnte ja auch Bananen verwenden oder Birnen wie “Birne Helene”, kennen sie den Nachtisch der aus Birne und Schokolade gemacht wird.

    Danke Amie Sue, das sie jetzt auch Gramm Zahlen mit dazu geschrieben haben, dass macht es jetzt viel viel leichter, etwas nachzumachen! Dafür drücke ich sie.

    Ganz viele Grüße,
    Jesse

    • amie-sue says:

      Google Tranlate for Jesse…

      Oh wow Amie Sue.
      Since they have conjured up again, the cake they have succeeded magnificently, she looks beautiful!
      I have never yet made ​​a raw pie, since I myself, not so much like sweet, rather spicy.
      This I will try for my brother birthday.

      Maybe a tip for Sarah, she could also use bananas or pears as “Pear Helene”, they know the dessert that is made from pear and chocolate.

      Thanks Amie Sue, they have now also written gram numbers to the fact that it’s now much easier, something to imitate! I press her for it.

      Very best regards,
      Jesse
      ______________________________

      Thank you Jesse :) Hmm, a spicy cheesecake? hehe I hope you try it for your brother… I bet he would like it! Your tip for Sarah sounds great, thanks for sharing that. I know that it is helpful for me to do the gram numbers for you and others who use that system… it’s just hard for me to remember to do it! I am not in the habit of doing it but I will working at it! I appreciate your encouragement. :) Have a wonderful evening Jesse, amie sue

  3. Lae says:

    It looks awesome and truly yummy. It’s nice to know that not all raw food has to have nuts in it. Thanks for that. :)

    • amie-sue says:

      Good afternoon Lae…. it’s a challenge to create such gourmet desserts without nuts because of the textures that they provide… but I am working on making more nut-free recipes! Many blessings, amie sue

  4. Eva Leytes says:

    Dear Amy Sue,
    Wow..dessert without nuts! Love the ingredients combination. I should try making your another wonderful recipe. Thank you so much!!
    With Love,
    Eva

    • amie-sue says:

      Thank you Eva… I have a few nuts left in the house that I want to use up, then my kitchen is going nut-free for a bit. I want to create more nut-free recipes. I know that there is a demand for them. So keep checking in. :) Have a great evening, amie sue

  5. Carol says:

    Hi Amie Sue

    You never cease to Amaze me it looks outstanding. It will be my sons birthday cake in a few weeks, he will love it. You are awesome !!!!!
    God Bless :o)

    • amie-sue says:

      Oh gosh Carol! You are so sweet. hehe Making a grown girl blush behind the computer monitor. hehe I am very excited to hear how it goes for you and if you family enjoys it, so please keep me posted if you would. :) Many blessings, amie sue

  6. Jesse Gabriel says:

    Ich muss lachen, Google hat nicht so gut übersetzt, nein, ich mache genau diese Torte ohne etwas zu verändern. Sie ist perfekt, so wie sie ist!!!
    Ich selber esse lieber würzige Rezepte.
    Hoffe die Google Übersetzung ist diesmal besser.

    Liebe Grüße,
    Jesse Gabriel

    • amie-sue says:

      Google translate for Jesse…

      I have to laugh, Google has not translated so well, no, I’m doing exactly this cake without changing anything. She is perfect the way it is!
      I myself prefer to eat spicy recipes.
      Hope the Google translation is better this time.

      Best wishes,
      Jesse Gabriel
      _____________________________

      LOL Jesse… well Google does its best for us… I tend to always understand what you are trying to say in the end. Besides, we get a good chuckle out of it and we can use more laughter in our lives. right? hehe

  7. Nina says:

    Hi Ami Sue,

    this looks amazing and I am going to make it for my sister in law this Friday – she has allergies to nuts so most desserts I make she cannot eat. Thanks!
    I do have a question in regards to the young Thai coconut meat; could avocado or something else be used as a replacement, and if so in what quantities? I can’t seem to be able to get hold of any young coconut meat (I live in the UK).

    best wishes

    Nina

    • amie-sue says:

      Hi Nina… you can try adding 2 cups mashed avocado or perhaps coconut butter but I haven’t tried them so I can be certain of the outcome. My goal here was to make a nut-free cheesecake…This was my first attempt. Other testings need to be done. :)

  8. Sher says:

    If I am in a time crunch and do not have the coconuts can I replace them with something else? Just wanted to surprise a client with a birthday treat and don’t have time to make it to a store.

    • amie-sue says:

      Hi Sher, You can try avocado or coconut butter but I have tested either…. or if nuts are not an issue, use 2 cups soaked cashew. Good luck!

  9. Ceitllyn says:

    Thank you so much for the nut-free version of cheesecake!! I have been reading a lot of research on Agave and how it impacts the liver because of its processing. I am assuming (maybe) that raw honey would work just as well? I am really thankful I found your site. Thanks for all your work

    • amie-sue says:

      Good evening Ceitilyn. :) Thank you for sharing that tie-bit of into… for those who are watching out for their liver, this is good to take note of! Raw honey should be just fine, just be sure to taste test before you pour the batter into the pan. Honey has a different level of sweetness so you may need to use less or more. Enjoy and let me know if you try it! Blessings, amie sue

  10. Marienka Homshaw says:

    I made this cake today. First raw cake I have made. I had a few hiccups. For example, once I blended the apricots the mixture was very thick so first I had a hard time combining the oil, then an even harder time with the lecithin. I didn’t know lecithin thickens it and sets it. So meanwhile with all the blending the mixture got quite hot, so I transferred it to a bowl and used a hand blender by which time it was pretty well set and I couldn’t do any chocolate swirls but rather a chocolate layer on top. When I put it in the freezer I didn’t put anything over the top of it and it got freezer burn. So the results weren’t that great. Pretty though.

    • amie-sue says:

      Yikes, sorry that you went through all that. Don’t give up on trying raw cakes… might take a little practice but they are well worth it. :)

  11. nicole says:

    I am just wondering in the crust it calls for raw agave, and in the filling it calls for agave nectar, are these the same thing?

    • amie-sue says:

      Hi Nicole, yes they are the same thing. I will fix that to prevent further confusion for others. Thank you, amie sue

  12. Carol says:

    Hi Amie Sue ** 10 Stars**
    I did a trial run before my son’s birthday. I made it in a 10 inch spring pan. It wasn’t swirly and really pretty like yours. I didn’t make 3 dollops and then swirl. I forgot that part.
    It is Fantastic!!!!! My son had a piece and I told him there was no dairy in it. He took another bite and the taste buds were in overdrive but he couldn’t figure out the main ingredient. He was amazed when I told him the list of ingredients.
    Well 2 pieces later it was a big hit.
    We all loved it. Thank you Amie Sue for your Awesome recipes.
    God Bless Carol :o)

    • amie-sue says:

      OH my gosh, you made my day by sharing this with me!!!! I just read it to my husband and we were both clapping and excited. What a blessing. :) Your amazing! Have a blessed evening, amie sue

  13. Carmen says:

    Hello, i was wondering what you used to slice the cheesecake so perfect ?
    Aloha

    • amie-sue says:

      Carmen… a large straight edged knife… and in between each cut, I wipe the blade clean. Sometime if the item is really sticky or frozen hard, I dip the blade in hot water, wipe clean and cut! Have a blessed day, amie sue

  14. constance says:

    i made this awhile back and it is amazing in fact so far i have made several each one perfect every time
    thankyou again for your hard work and generous spirit

  15. Oh my! this looks so creamy, luscious, divine and delicious! i like it how you made this nut free! this recipe arrived in my inbox at the perfect moment too because i was looking for a few nut free recipes… haha! i really want to make this ASAP! i really love all your recipes! you are so creative and thanks for sharing your rawmazing recipes with us! i can’t wait to try! i like it how you take a few photos in your recipe posts. it’s very helpful, so thank you!
    check out my blog! http://rawveganliving.blogspot.com/ =)

    • amie-sue says:

      Thank you Miliany. I will surely take a look at your blog. Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful week. amie sue

      • Salanda says:

        I see you used powder lecithin (soy)…can I use sunflower lecithin which comes in a liquid form? We have soy allergies. Excited to try this my sister in law has nut allergies and never gets to try my raw cheesecakes.

        • amie-sue says:

          Yes Salanda, I use the Sunflower lecithin too, which is fine to use. Use the same measurement amount. Have a great day, amie sue

  16. Vicki says:

    Well Aimee-Sue making this cheese cake was an adventure in its self.. there I was ingriendents a t the ready.. the crust goes well and is popped into the fridge. apricots soaked.. and purred things are going swimmly until… I open up my Thai coconut… I should have been prepared with all the info you gave about them.. but I bought one fat one that looked like it might have about two cups of flesh in it… how ever it had next to nothing in it. by the time I made this discovery the stores were all closed. So I held my breath and took the plunge added all the rest of the ingriendents and stuck it the fridge over night .

    of course by this morning the filling had hardened and I had to mix the coconut in by hand.. then becuse the filling was so thick my chocolate portion wasnt swirling in so it became a top layer.

    However the ganache turned out perfectly and with that drizzled on top I am hoping it covers a mulitude of sins. we will see what the ladies say at lunch today.

    thanks again for all the great recipes.

    • Vicki says:

      Just wanted to let you know the girls all loved it dispite my best efforts to ruin it it turned out very good

    • amie-sue says:

      Wow that turned into quite the ordeal. I have been in those same situations though but I applaud you for moving forward and making the best of it. And see… your girls ended up loving it in the end. :) You have much to be proud of! Young Thai coconuts are a gamble that can lead to much frustration or celebration. I am sorry that you had to deal with the frustration part of it. Just as a suggestion… I tend to buy a case of them at a time (9) and I get a discount by doing so. Then I bring them home and process them. I measure out 2 cups of flesh per freezer container and freeze the water in 1 1/2 freezer mason jars. That way, I always have some on hand when inspiration hits me and I know ahead of time that I have enough on hand.

      Thank you though Vicki for sharing your experience with me…us. I hope you try it again in time. :) amie sue

  17. Yulia says:

    I’ve made this cake with fresh apricots when we had them in season this year, turned out super!

  18. agne says:

    hi, do you think i could use coconut yougurt instead of coconut meat?

    • amie-sue says:

      Hmm, good question Agne. I am not sure how it will hold up. If it is nice a thick it ought to work. I am sorry but it will be something to experiment with. Good luck and keep me posted. amie sue :)

  19. Maxi says:

    Hi, this cheesecake looks great! I’m considering transitioning to the raw diet after finishing my elimination diet and wanted to make this for my bday. With the apricots, do you use sulfurized or non-sulfurized? Thanks a bunch!
    Maxi

    • amie-sue says:

      Well happy early birthday Maxi :) When using dried fruits, I always aim to use non-sulfurized. Good luck and keep me posted if you give it a try! amie sue

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