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Vanilla Bean and Blackberry Zebra Cheesecake

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Vanilla Bean and Blackberry Zebra Cheesecake displayed on a silver tray

~ raw, vegan, gluten-free ~

Did you know that food can actually become an art medium? If you don’t have the natural ability to paint like Bob Ross, sew a quilt like the little church ladies down the road, or perhaps you freeze when asked to draw a stick person… that’s ok.

Today, you will become an artist that uses raw ingredients as your art medium!  If I can do it… so can you.

Below I have provided step-by-step photos to help you along the way.   Be prepared to be amazed and to amaze those around you.  Please kneel before me as I take my spatula and hereby dub you a true artist! :)

This isn’t the first time that I have shared this technique with you,  I started making cheesecakes like these a few years ago. So, if you are a long time reader, it’s ok to still be awestruck. And for those of you who are new to the site and/or to this technique, it’s ok to jump up and down with excitement… we are all here to support you. :)   And this is much easier to do than it looks.

For some quick ingredients substitutions; you can change out the raw agave for any liquid sweetener of your choice.  Keep in mind that some are sweeter than others so you might need to make a few adjustments.  If you don’t have fresh blackberries, you can use frozen ones.  Be sure to thaw them before using them.  I used vanilla bean seeds in the vanilla filling.  I highly recommend it because of the rich flavor that it will impart but you can always replace it with 1 tsp of vanilla extract.  Enjoy!

a single slice of Vanilla Bean and Blackberry Zebra Cheesecake with fresh blackberriesIngredients: 9″ Springform pan


Base batter: yields 4 cups

Vanilla batter:

Blackberry batter:


  1. Assemble a Springform pan with the bottom facing up, the opposite way from how it comes assembled.  This will help you when removing the cheesecake from the pan, not having to fight with the lip.  Wrap the base with plastic wrap.  This will make it easier to remove the pie when done… unless you plan on serving the cake on the bottom of the pan.
  2. In the food processor, fitted with the “S” blade, combine the shredded coconut, walnuts, salt and process till the nuts resemble a small crumble.
    • Be careful that you don’t over-process the nuts and head towards making a nut butter.  Nothing wrong with that… just not our goal at the moment.
    • Adding the dry ingredients together first ensures that they will get well distributed so you don’t end up with concentrated pockets of flavors.
  3. Add the date paste and process until the batter sticks together.
    • Depending on your machine, you may need to stop the unit and scrape the sides down during this process.
    • Test the batter by pinching it between your fingers.  If it holds, it is ready.
  4. Distribute the crust evenly on the bottom of the pan, using even and gentle pressure.  If you press too hard it might really stick bad to the base of the pan, making it hard to remove slices.  You can either just make the crust on the bottom of the pan or you can also bring it up the sides.  It is up to you.
  5. Set aside while you make the cheesecake batter.

Batter / filling:

  1. Drain the soaked cashews and discard the soak water.  Place in a high-speed blender.
  2. In a high-powered blender combine the; cashews, almond milk, sweetener, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt.
    • Due to the volume and the creamy texture that we are going after, it is important to use a high-powered blender.  It could be too taxing on a lower-end model.
    • Blend until the filling is creamy smooth.   You shouldn’t detect any grit.  If you do, keep blending.
    • This process can take 2-4 minutes, depending on the strength of the blender.  Keep your hand cupped around the base of the blender carafe to feel for warmth.  If the batter is getting too warm.  Stop the machine and let it cool.  Then proceed once cooled.
    • You can use a different liquid sweetener if you are not comfortable with agave.  Just be aware of the different flavors and colors that the sweetener might impart in the cake.
  3. Once this is creamy and smooth, remove 2 cups of the filling.
  4. Vanilla batter:
    • Add to the 2 cups of batter, vanilla beans, and drizzle in the coconut oil.  Blend until creamy and add lecithin.  Pour into a medium bowl.  Rinse the blender container.
  5. Blackberry batter:
    • Add the remaining 2 cups of batter and combine with the blackberry syrup, coconut oil, and agave.  Blend until creamy then add the lecithin.  Pour in a separate medium-sized bowl.


  1. Place in front of you; pie crust, both bowls of batter, with a 1/4 cup measuring cup in each bowl.  Sit down and relax through this process.
  2. Start with 1/4 cup of blackberry filling and place it in the center of the crust.  Don’t spread it out, just let it pour out of the measuring spoon.
  3. Next, scoop up 1/4 cup of the vanilla bean batter and pour it into the center of the berry filling that is in the pie crust.
  4. Now, alternate 1/4 cup at a time until all of both batters are gone.  Don’t tap the pan through the process, just let gravity do all the work.  Note: you will have excess blackberry filling, pour into single serving cups for extra dessert treats.
  5. If you want smaller rings just use 1 Tbsp amount of batter for each ring.
  6. Finally cover with plastic and place in the fridge overnight to firm or in the freezer for at least 6 hours.
  7. Remove and decorate.  This pie will keep for 3-5 days in the fridge or safely for 3 months in the freezer.  Keep well covered.

preparing the filling and crust


to create the zebra effect, alternate the different fillings


to create the zebra effect, alternate the different fillings by puddling them within each other


creating the zebra effect

creating the zebra effect one spoonful at a time


creating the zebra effect one spoonful at a time until the batter is used up


drag a skewer stick through the batter to create a swirl effect


the Raw Vanilla Bean and Blackberry Zebra Swirl Cheesecake is ready to be chilled

 Did you grow up watching Scooby-Do?  I did, yep, I am showing my age here
but then that won’t be the first time, nor the last… One thing that Scooby always
talked about was “Scooby snacks”.  If you know the cartoon, you can already
hear his voice in how he said it… well, whenever I made a cheesecake I always
make a few little cups just for Bob… Bobby snacks!

serving suggestions of the Raw Vanilla Bean and Blackberry Zebra Swirl Cheesecake


 Raw vegan Vanilla Bean and Blackberry Zebra Swirl Cheesecake ready to be served

Below, is another one that I made, the color was a bit more vibrant… goes to

show you how different batches of berries can really change things. :)

a top view of Raw vegan Vanilla Bean and Blackberry Zebra Swirl Cheesecake

removing a slice of a top view of my Raw vegan Vanilla Bean and Blackberry Zebra Swirl Cheesecake

31 thoughts on “Vanilla Bean and Blackberry Zebra Cheesecake

  1. Emma says:

    Wow, that looks amazing. I have made your chocolate & blackberry cheesecake a several times now, sometimes with strawberries and sometimes with raspberries. Can’t wait to try this one!

    Best wishes for a Happy New Year.

  2. glenda says:

    This is on my list to make. I am feeling very artistic now!
    Thank you for the recipes you send out, they are always a pleasure to read and make.

  3. Maureen says:

    WOW!!! Just WOW!!!

  4. terran says:

    I love your blog! Your desserts always look so pretty. You may not realize this but you give me ideas every time about how to create raw foods better. I will have to try this recipe. Thanks!

    • amie-sue says:

      That really touched me Terran. Thank you for sharing that, it’s a real encouragement to me. :) We are all here to support one another. Enjoy and many blessings into the new year! amie sue

  5. ben says:

    What a pretty sweet! Thank you as always, Amie-Sue, and may 2015 bring you and your family success and good luck in all departments.

  6. Anne says:

    Beautiful, as always. Please tell us how you get it out of the tart pan intact. I’ve never used one. Thanks.

    • amie-sue says:

      Thank you Anne. :) The bottom of the tart pan is removable. So once the cheesecake is set, you just push up on the base of the pan (gently) and it comes right out. They are much like a Springform pan in that way. I hope this helps. Happy New Year, amie sue

  7. kate says:

    Hi, when I click on the link to ‘Blackberry syrup’ it shows a little box that I have to enter my user name and password, and for the life of me didn’t even know i had one for nouveau raw. could you tell me simply what is in this sauce so I can make this lovely cake? many thanks, and happy new year. kate

    • amie-sue says:

      Good evening Kate… no password needed. I got it all fixed. :) I thought that I had released that recipe but I failed to… my bad. You can now see the recipe when you click on the link for it. Many blessings and have a wonderful new and exciting YEAR!! amie sue

  8. Salanda says:

    This looks great, my son (17yrs old) and I made the Blueberry Chocolate Ganache cake for Thanksgiving and it was a huge hit among family members. The only cake that was completely gone on the dessert table, asked if I had another cake in my moms frig!

    • amie-sue says:

      This is so wonderful to read Salanda. I am happy to hear that they family enjoyed the cake… and the fact that your son helped you make it. You are planting healthy “seeds” in his eating habits. :) Blessings and Happy New Year. amie sue

  9. Hila says:

    This cake looks amazing! Why do you line the base of the springform, in order to prevent scartches when you cut the cake?

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Hila, I always line the base of pans. It makes it easier to get the Springform bottom off of the bottom of the cakes I make. Have a great day, amie sue

  10. Julie says:

    You are blessed with a real talent, Amie Sue! Thank you for sharing it with others. For those allergic to almonds, what milk would you recommend as an alternate choice in this recipe?

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Julie. Happy 2015! I would first use cashew milk, then coconut milk. You could even use water and it wouldn’t greatly effect the over-all outcome. :) Have a wonderful day, amie sue

  11. Simona says:

    Hi! I’d like to replace the coconut oil in this recipe (and others) because I don’t particularly like the taste of coconut, what could I use as a substitute?

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Simona,

      To be honest we don’t really taste the coconut in these cheesecake recipes but I can that it can differ for others. Some coconut oils don’t have as much taste as others, so that might be worth investigating for yourself. Refined or expeller pressed coconut oils don’t have flavor or taste, FYI. You can omit the oil but the texture of the cakes will change some and not hold up as well to room temp. coconut oil adds a great mouth-feel, nutrients and helps to firm the cakes up. Have a great weekend, amie sue

  12. Nancy says:

    I’m planning on making this beautiful cake. Any recommendations on substituting the sunflower lecithin? I have coconut oil and psyllium husk powder.

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Nancy,

      Oh, I so hope that you enjoy making this zebra cheesecake. I find making the rings almost zen-like. :) You can omit the lecithin if you don’t add it. I use for several reasons, health benefits being one.

      Why I add sunflower lecithin.

      Sunflower lecithin is made up of essential fatty acids and B vitamins. It helps to support healthy function of the brain, nervous system and cell membranes. It also lubricates joints; helps break up cholesterol in the body.

      It comes in two forms, powder and liquid. I prefer the raw sunflower lecithin. It has a thick, dark and sticky consistency with a nutty-seedy rich aroma and surprising pleasant flavor. Setting aside all the nutritional benefits, it is a natural emulsifier that binds the fats from nuts with water creating a creamy consistency.

      Let me know how it goes! Blessings, amie sue

  13. Lenka says:

    Hi Amie-Sue,
    I LOVE your recipe ideas! You’re so creative and amazing! Thank you for sharing. This cake looks awesome! I have been trying to change my lifestyle to become fully raw and I kept failing due my sweet teeth… but after discovering your website, I think I can finally do it! :) Thank you!

    with best wishes,


    • amie-sue says:

      Thank you so much Lenka. Thrilled beyond belief that you are finding inspiration throughout my site. I hope you find many recipes to help keep your belly full, your body nourished and a smile on your lips. :) Keep in touch and have a wonderful day, amie sue

      • Lenka says:

        Thank you Amie. I have already tried your Key Lime Pie recipe – it was really delicious!! I must say that I had also a lot fun with opening young coconut for the first time – LOL!! Your website is very inspiring and I shared it with my friends and sister. Thank you again for sharing your ideas! :)
        many blessings to you and your family

        • amie-sue says:

          It is so nice to hear from you Lenka. Thank you for the kind words and thank you for sharing my site/passion with others. I hope it becomes contagious! hehe Please keep in touch and have a wonderful weekend, amie sue

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