Do you ever have a recipe so delicious that you hesitate to share it? That’s how I feel about this recipe. This pumpkin cheesecake is so yummy that my husband requests it as his “Birthday Cake.” The thing about a vegan cheesecake is that it still has the rich flavors, but without that heavy feeling you often get after eating a cow milk-based cheesecake. I have served this to many non-vegan friends and they all agree that it tastes great. Vegan cheesecake has less overall calories, fat, and cholesterol than a cow milk-based cheesecake, so even if you’re not vegan, it might be worth giving it a try.
But you know me. Before the recipe, first a little about the name. Believe it or not, according to About.com, cheesecake was served during the first Olympic Games in 776 BC in Greece. In fact, according to Alan Davidson, author of the book Oxford Companion to Food, “cheesecake was mentioned in Marcus Porcius Cato’s De re Rustica around 200 BCE and that Cato described making his cheese libum (cake) with results very similar to modern cheesecake.” What do you know? Cheesecake must really be the food of the gods! Cheesecake is so beloved that there is even a Cheesecake Society on Facebook! Do you think they would open their doors to the vegan varieties?
Vegans today have many options to substitute dairy products. One of my favorite vegan substitutions for cream cheese is Tofutti’s Better than Cream Cheese. You can find this in the health food stores and more frequently of late even in the health food sections of grocery stores. I have tried other brands and I haven’t found any of them to match the taste and consistency of Tofutti. With that said, here’s my recipe for vegan pumpkin cheesecake. Enjoy!
Marly’s Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake
For the crust
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
½ cup pecans (1 3/4 oz), finely chopped
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup unsalted V margarine, melted and cooled
1 ½ cups canned solid-pack pumpkin (1 can)
½ cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons vegan soy creamer (or you can use soy or coconut milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur (optional) (I use rum)
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon salt
2 8 oz. packages vegan cream cheese, at room temperature
For the topping
2 cups vegan sour cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional) (again, I used rum)
Use a 9-inch springform pan, lock sides and grease pan.
Stir together crumbs, pecans, sugars, and margarine in a bowl until combined. Press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom and up about 1/2 inch on the side of pan. Chill crust, 1 hour.
Make filling and bake cheesecake:
Put oven rack in middle position and Preheat oven to 350°F.
Whisk together pumpkin, brown sugar, vegan cream, vanilla, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl until combined. Stir together granulated sugar, cornstarch, spices and salt in large bowl. Add cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer at high speed until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. If necessary, you might need to use an immersion blender to remove any lumps in the cream cheese. Reduce speed to medium, then add pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth.
Pour filling into crust, smoothing top. Then put springform pan in a shallow baking pan (in case springform leaks…it usually does). Bake until center is just set, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool 5 minutes. (Leave oven on.)
Make topping: Whisk together sour cream, sugar, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl, then spread on top of cheesecake and bake 5 minutes.
Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack, about 3 hours.
Chill, covered, until cold, at least 4 hours. Remove side of pan and bring to room temperature before serving.
Baked cheesecake can be chilled, covered, up to 2 days (if it lasts that long!)