Perfect for a special occasion, this Blood Orange and Carrot Cheesecake is an indulgent, vegan baked cheesecake that's easy to make. Subtly flavoured with orange and carrot, this vegan cheesecake doesn't rely on store-bought vegan cream cheese, or using cashews. After cooking the carrots and juicing the oranges, you just toss everything in a blender and your cheesecake is ready to bake. Just like our super popular Vegan Baked Lemon Cheesecake, this cheesecake recipe is sweet and simple!
The flavour of the cheesecake is a subtle combination of orange and carrot, with sweetness and a rich and creamy mouthful courtesy of vegan white chocolate. If you can’t find vegan white chocolate chips, you can substitute cocoa butter (yes, it’s vegan!) and white sugar (whether it’s vegan will depend on the manufacturer). See the notes in the Recipe Card for the amounts.
This recipe doesn’t contain any vegan cream cheese or cashews. Instead, it uses a combination of almond flour, sunflower oil, tapioca starch, and cooked carrots to replace the body normally provided by the cream cheese or soaked cashews. Aquafaba (which is the liquid from canned or cooked beans, such as chickpeas) serves as the egg substitute.
About Blood Oranges
Blood oranges are a little bit sweeter than regular oranges with raspberry notes. The orange segments vary in colour, from pinky-orange to almost maroon.
The availability of blood oranges will depend on where you live in the world, as well as the time of year. In North America, they’re typically available from December into May. If you aren’t able to find blood oranges, look for the juiciest and freshest orange citrus you can find. You can even mix different kinds of citrus for a custom flavour, such as mixing oranges with tangelos.
If you can't find blood oranges, choose whatever citrus looks the juiciest and freshest.
If you’re in a pinch, you could also use purchased, unsweetened orange juice. The colour of your cheesecake will vary a bit, depending on the colour of the juice.
Visual Overview: Making Blood Orange and Carrot Cheesecake
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Add all of the crust ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until well-mixed and crumbly. Then spoon into a 7-inch springform pan distributing it evenly, and bake for 6-7 minutes at 350F.
Blend on high for one minute and scrape down the sides. Repeat for one or two more rounds of blending, until the mixture is thick and creamy.
Pour it into your prepared pan and pop it into the oven at 325F for about 40-45 minutes.about 40-45 minutes.
Turn the oven down to 325F. Bake until the edges are starting to brown and the middle of the cheesecake feels a bit springy to the touch. Since this recipe contains no eggs, there is no real harm in undercooking the cheesecake, but the filling will be softer if it’s undercooked.
These cheesecake really doesn’t need any garnishes, but for the photographs we drizzled ours with some No Cook Blood Orange Syrup that we made with the orange rinds.
Cooking Geekery for People Curious About Baked Vegan Cheesecakes Made with Aquafaba
This is the second vegan cheesecake recipe on not not nutritious. The first one we created, Vegan Baked Lemon Cheesecake, is a similar recipe in that it uses aquafaba, along with almond flour, oil, and tapioca flour. For that first recipe, we experimented with both whipped and unwhipped aquafaba, which you can read more about here. But spoiler alert: unwhipped aquafaba was the winner! In that recipe, we used chickpeas to help provide some of the body that would normally come from cream cheese, or their common vegan replacement, soaked and blended cashews. For this Blood Orange and Carrot Cheesecake recipe, we decided to try swapping out the chickpeas with cooked carrots. We had to do a little bit of tweaking to get the proportions right, but the result is a rich, creamy, indulgent baked cheesecake that’s made from 100% plants!
Tips: Plant-based Desserts
If you're new to plant-based cooking, the idea of making desserts -- that typically require eggs, butter, and sugar -- might seem overwhelming.
The good news is that for many recipes, aquafaba makes an excellent egg replacement. Aquafaba is an almost-free ingredient -- the easiest way to get it is to open a can of cooked beans, such as chickpeas. The liquid is the aquafaba and 3 tablespoons of it is equivalent to an egg.
In terms of replacing butter, there are now many commercial vegan butters or margarines that are plant-based. You can replace butter with margarine one to one.
Depending on the recipe, other oils can be used in butter's place - such as the sunflower oil in this recipe. You do have to be careful when replacing solid fats (such as butter) with liquid fats, and it might require some experimentation to get the proportions right.
Finally, some recipes replace some or all of the fat with pureed fruit. For example, this Pear Zucchini Bread replaces some of the traditional butter with pureed pears.
While white and brown sugar can be vegan -- depending on how their processed -- some plant-based eaters choose to replace these sugars with less refined options. Generally speaking, you can replace white sugar one to one with cane sugar, or coconut sugar, although the flavour, colour, and consistency of the end product may be somewhat altered.
Other dessert ideas:
Using up your chickpeas:
Blood Orange and Carrot Cheesecake (Vegan)
For the crust
- 3/4 cup pecans
- 3 tablespoons margarine
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
For the cheesecake filling
- 3/4 cup cooked carrots
- 1 cup blood orange juice
- 2 teaspoons orange rind
- 1 1/2 cup almond flour
- 9 tablespoons sunflower oil (or any neutral oil)
- 9 tablespoons aquafaba (see the Recipe Notes)
- 1 1/2 cup vegan white chocolate chips (or substitute cocoa butter and white sugar, see Recipe Notes)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch)
Make the crust:
- Put all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until well-combined and crumbly-looking.
- Press into a 7-inch springform pan, distributing evenly.
- Bake at 350F for about 7 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Make the filling
- Add all of the cheesecake ingredients to the blender. Blend on high for one minute and then scra
- Blend on high for one minute and then scrape down the sides.
- Repeat blending and scraping 1 or 2 more minutes, until the mixture is thick and creamy,
- Pour into the prepared pan.
- Bake at 325F for about 40-45 minutes, until it's slightly springy to the touch.
- Let cool before removing from the pan.