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Prickly Pear Cheesecake (raw, vegan, gluten-free)

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Prickly Pear Cheesecake.  Never in a million would I have ever thought that I would be making a raw cheesecake with a cactus as the star ingredient!  How can a plant that is so vicious to the touch offer such a delicate sweet flavor?  The vibrant magenta color is very captivating and downright unbelievable.

The frosting that I made for this cheesecake can be found here.  It offers a wonderful balance to the light sweet flavor of the prickly pear.   If you have the ability to get your hands on some prickly pears, (well, please don’t literally put your hands on them) I so encourage you to give this recipe a try.

You will notice in the picture above that the cheesecake seems to have two different colors of pink going on.  The reason behind this is that the top layer of the cheesecake was exposed to air while it was chilling in the fridge.  To others it will look fancy and well planned but we can keep this our little secret. :)  When I made this cheesecake I made a mini sized one in a small Springform pan and then with the remaining batter I made small individualized cup servings.

My plan was to take them to the office to share with everyone and I find this is such a wonderful way in handing them out, rather than slicing up a large pie.  My husband also asked me to experiment with the crust by just crumbling it into the container, rather than pressing it in, and he liked the mouth-feel of the crust mixed into the batter.   I agreed, but for better visual effects I would normally press the crust into the bottom of the container.


Yields 9″ cheesecake

  • 3 cups cashews, soaked 2+ hours
  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 3/4 cup raw agave nectar
  • 1 cup fresh prickly pear juice (see below)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp liquid vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3 Tbsp lecithin, powder or liquid
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil, melted


  1. After soaking the cashews, drain and rinse.  Discard the soak water.
  2. In a high-powered blender combine the cashews, almond milk, agave, prickly pear juice, lemon juice, vanilla and salt.  Blend until it is completely smooth.  Stop the machine and rub some batter between your fingers.  If you feel any grit continue to blend.  This can take 1-5 minutes depending on the machine.
  3. While the blender is running and a vortex has been formed, drizzle in the coconut oil and then the lecithin, blending until everything is well incorporated.  If using powdered lecithin, it usually comes in granular form.  Grind this to a powder in a spice grinder before adding to the mixture so that it blends in smoothly.
  4. Pour the batter into the Springform pan or desired container(s).
  5. Place the cheesecake in the freezer to set for 1-2 hours or until the middle of the cake is firm to the touch.
  6. This cheesecake will keep for at least 4 days, maybe longer but I really don’t know because it is long gone by then.  Store in fridge, covered.

How to make prickly pear juice:

  • Remove needles from the pear but burning them off with a small hand torch.  This is very important!  The small needles on the fruit are very painful if they get under your skin.  So handle carefully.
  • After the needles are burnt off, cut the fruit in half and scoop out the seeds and flesh, placing them in the blender.
  • Blend the flesh and seeds in the blender for about 40 seconds.  Pour the mixture into a nut bag or a mesh screen to separate the seeds and pulp from the juice.  Discard seeds and pulp.

11 thoughts on “Prickly Pear Cheesecake (raw, vegan, gluten-free)

  1. Elena says:

    That looks like fun! And so delicious.

  2. Chris says:

    Yum! You’ve come up with yet another delicious creation, Amie Sue! This one is almost my new favorite, but that chocolate mousse with lemon frosting wins by a hair. ;)

  3. Rebecca says:

    This was rich and well-textured without being too sweet. Thanks Aime Sue!

  4. jerri k willis says:

    i got started with catus when my boyfriend told me that you could eat them and now i have been tring to get good recipes for cactus. we have a prickly pear cactus field across the street from us so i dont have to go very far to go to get them

    • amie-sue says:

      Oooh to have an abundance of such ingredients! I am new to testing out eating cati but not against it. :) Who knew something so beautiful would be surrounded in such a harsh exterior?!

  5. Sandra says:

    I just tried to make this cake for Thanksgiving. Is the batter supposed to be completely runny when you put it in the springfoam pan? Will it harden in the freezer?

    • amie-sue says:


      It should pour like a thick cream. Did you use the same ingredients as indicated? Did you soak and drain the nuts? amie sue

      • Sandra says:

        Ah I guess that’s where I went wrong. I omitted them due to a nut allergy. Any alternative suggestions??


        • amie-sue says:

          Hi Sandra… so you didn’t add the cashews or anything in its place? If thats the case, I see why the recipe failed. Do you eat a 100% raw or what does your diet look like (asking so I can suggest substitutions). Can you eat seeds? Keep me posted.

  6. Tasha says:

    What was used for the base in the spring form pan? This cheese cake looks amazing and I can’t wait to give it a go.

    • amie-sue says:

      I just used a basic crust recipe that I typically use with my cheesecake recipes. I can’t recall the exact one from that particular cake. If you need crust ideas just look at some of the cheesecake recipes and pick one that sounds good to you. Have a great day, amie sue

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