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Black Forest Cheesecake

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Be still my cherry-chocolate-loving heart! This raw, vegan, gluten-free Black Forest Cheesecake is so decadent and has the most incredible velvety mouth-feel with each bite. It’s a well-known fact that chocolate and cherries are a great combo, and this dessert is a great vehicle for showcasing this delightful pairing.

raw vegan gluten-free black forest cheesecake

I designed this recipe in 2015, and every time I make it, I am always pleasantly reminded as to why we love raw vegan cheesecakes. It was Bob’s birthday on February 5th and I secretly made this cheesecake for our celebration. If COVID had a face, I would smack a little sunshine into it (I need to work on my anger issues). No party, no gathering. But I did spend the day pampering him with homemade foods!

Once he had his first piece of cheesecake, I cut the remaining cheesecake into equal-sized slices. From there, I placed two slices of cheesecake in decorative containers, and then we motored on down the road to deliver them to our friends. If the party can’t come to us, we will take it to them! That might have been the most socially distanced party yet.

raw vegan gluten-free black forest cheesecake

Cheesecake Pans | Size Matters

A cheesecake pan is a two-piece, removable-bottom pan such as this (one) but most people are familiar with using a Springform pan that actually releases the cheesecake from the sides as well as the bottom.  This helps keep delicate crusts and cakes intact while removing them from the pan.

Blending | The Key to Achieve a Velvety Texture

One of the keys to creating delicious recipes in the kitchen is to have the right tools. Ask any mechanic, woodworker, seamstress, or painter. The quality of their work lies in their skills but also in their tools. The right tool will make a job easier and more enjoyable. Raw vegan recipes require certain tools because we aren’t using conventional ingredients nor are we cooking them to achieve certain textures. So we must be creative.

Why Do I Need a High Powdered Blender?

Decorating the Cheesecake

No matter how you decide to decorate your cheesecake, be assured that you can’t go wrong, even if you leave it plain. Every time I make it, I end up giving the cheesecake a new look, since I try to use whatever I have on hand. This time around, I found a small zip-lock bag of frozen raw white frosting in the freezer and fresh mint in the fridge. I winged on the fly, since I was working around Bob floating in and out of my studio and I didn’t want him to see it. I normally love adding fresh cherries on top to give a hint of what is waiting inside, but cherries are not in season in February. Regardless, it turned out well and tasted amazing! What more can we really ask for?

raw vegan gluten-free black forest cheesecake

Basic Cheesecake Ingredients & Possible Substitutions

Cashews | Soaked


Maple Syrup | Sweetener Options


Sunflower Lecithin Powder


Star Ingredient – Organic Cherries

Depending on when you come across this recipe, cherries may or may not be in season. If they are, by golly, take advantage of them! If they’re not, it is okay to use organic frozen cherries. I would even go as far as to say that I would prefer you to use frozen organic cherries over conventional fresh cherries. I have made this cheesecake with fresh and frozen cherries, and both versions came out perfect.

I hope you have a blessed and happy day. Please leave a comment below… I love hearing from you. blessings, amie sue

raw vegan gluten-free black forest cheesecake


Yields 9” Springform pan

Chocolate filling:
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 3 cups cashews, soaked 2+ hours
  • 3/4 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 3 Tbsp sunflower lecithin powder
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced organic cherries

Topping (optional)



  1. No one thinks about the aesthetics of the crust but visually it can change the appearance/feel of the cheesecake presentation. There are 3 main crust styles but learn more details about them (here).
  2. Prepare the Springform pan by wrapping the base with plastic wrap. Snap the ring on and set it aside.
  3. Place the raisins in a bowl and add enough warm water to cover.  This will plump them up and help them bind the crust together.  Set aside.
  4. In the food processor, fitted with the “S” blade, process the almonds into a coarse meal texture.
  5. Add coconut, cinnamon, and salt and process until everything is uniform in size.
  6. Drain and discard the soak water from the raisins, and hand-squeeze the excess water from them.
  7. Add the raisins, water, and vanilla to the food processor and process for 30-60 seconds or until the mixture sticks together when pinched.
  8. Press crust into a pie pan or Springform pan.
  9. Cut the cherries in half and place them on the bottom of the crust. Keep some aside to press into the cheesecake filling once you pour it in. Set aside.

Chocolate Filling:

  1. Drain and discard the soak water from the cashews.
  2. In a high-powered blender combine the water, maple syrup, vanilla, almond extract, cashews, cacao powder, and salt.
    • This batter is thick, so you will need to stop and scrape the sides of the carafe a couple of times.
    • Be careful that you don’t overheat the mixture during the blending process. If the carafe feels warm to the touch, turn it off and let it cool down a bit.
    • Rub some of the batter between your fingers to test for grittiness. If you detect any, keep blending until velvety smooth.
  3. With a vortex going, drizzle in the coconut oil and then lecithin, blending just long enough for everything to be well mixed.
  4. After all of the ingredients have thoroughly been blended reach in with a spatula and give it a good stir, some of the large bubbles will surface.
    • Next, place a towel on the countertop and tap the bottom of the blender carafe on it a good few times. This will bring more bubbles to the surface.
  5. Pour the batter into the pan and gently tap the pan on the counter to bring up any air bubbles.  Press the remaining cherries into the cheesecake filling.
  6. Cover and place in the freezer overnight.

Decorating the Cheesecake

  1. I made a batch of raw ganache and poured it into a squeeze bottle.
  2. Turn the bottle upside down and gently squeeze the ganache around the edge of the cheesecake, letting some of it drip over the edge.
    • It’s great to do this when the cheesecake is frozen, because it helps the ganache lock into place.
  3. As a last-minute thought, I drizzled the ganache in a cross-cross figuration over the top of it.
  4. I placed the raw frosting in a piping bag with a star tip and made a cluster of “flowers” in the center. I dressed them up a bit and placed small dots of ganache on top of each “flower.”
  5. Upon serving, I tucked some fresh leaves around the “flowers.” It’s important to do this when serving and not ahead of time, because mint wilts very quickly. That’s it. Enjoy!

17 thoughts on “Black Forest Cheesecake

  1. dana says:

    can you give a link to purchase sunflower lecithin and is it organic? ty

  2. Michelle Gerberding says:

    What a lovely way to start the day. I will take the black forest creativity and beauty with me 2 day.
    this baby is going in my recipe compilation.
    I thought of you recently as I was browsing some art called Nouveau and I thought about you website. I’m reading I now know that it means new, so I guess your site is new raw. :-)

    • amie-sue says:

      Thank you Michelle. :) Yes, you are correct on the meaning of the site. My husband and I came up with it 8 years ago. :) Have a blessed day! amie sue

  3. Ariane says:

    You forgot a veryyy important ingredient to give the cherry flavor:almond extract!

  4. Beth says:

    Can anything else be used instead of the sunflower lecithin? I have all the other ingredients and want to make this tomorrow, but not enough time for me to get some….

    • amie-sue says:

      You can just omit it Beth. Be sure to freeze the cake right after making it so it will set up nice and firm. Enjoy and have fun with it. amie sue

  5. gollie says:

    Dear Amie-Sue,

    thank you for this lovely website and the inspiration you spread!
    I was wondering how you get your cakes so perfect :) I do use a springform but when I open the form usualy it does not give me a Clean border….the cake sticks to the pan a bit.
    I have tried to use a cake “ring” and it works with very small cakes but not so well with the 9 size. Do you recognise this problem?? Or am I clumsy :)

    • amie-sue says:

      I always freeze my cheesecakes, perhaps that’s the difference… other than that, I don’t do anything special. :) It’s always best to remove the ring of the pan, slowly, watching to make sure it isn’t creating any cracks as it releases. And your not clumsy ;) Have a great evening, amie sue

  6. Eilene Cohhn says:

    Can you use almond meal for the almonds

  7. Susana Cortes says:

    Hi, first I must confess I am not a vegan, I love to cook but I’m a lousy baker. Four years ago I was diagnosed with some kind of arthritis (not rheumatoid but a systemic one). Needless to say I started to open my eyes about the food we were eating. I looked everywhere for alternatives and to improve our diet I thought what better than to look into the vegans and vegetarians diets for ideas until I stopped on your site and oh my since I signed up I haven’t been able to log out. I have to thank you for all that I have learned from you. This cheesecake was such a success I’m planning on making all of them. I always considered myself a meat eater but my husband and I haven’t eaten meat for two weeks now and I don’t miss it at all. Thank you again for passing your knowledge.

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Susana,

      I can’t tell how wonderful it was to wake up this morning and read this comment. What a way to start my day. :) Thank you so much for sharing. It truly means a lot to me. A person doesn’t need to be raw or vegan to enjoy the wonderful dishes that can be created with raw ingredients.

      I am so sorry to hear about your diagnosis but thankful that it caused you to dig deeper and gain a better understanding of what we put in our bodies. So there’s the blessing in that. I hope that my recipes continue to inspire you! Please do keep in touch as your try the recipes. It’s always a joy to hear from you all.

      Many blessings to you and your loved ones, amie sue

  8. Lyn says:

    Howdy Amie Sue,
    All I can say is Bob must have been a very good guy this year !!! I can’t wait till I am not allergic to cashews, to try it, “watch a grown woman cry !! Till then into the three ring binder it goes!! Thank you for another wonderful recipe…… Lyn :]

    • amie-sue says:

      Bob is a good boy every year… in my book anyway. haha I hope your intolerance to cashews passes as well. Bob just did an allergy test and now he can’t have walnuts (which he didn’t much of anyway). Have a blessed day, amie sue

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