Vegan peanut butter & jam cheesecake
My friend made a peanut butter & jam cheesecake for Cake Club that was delicious. While the second rule of Cake Club is “It’s not a competition” he clearly won that night as his cake got eaten the fastest. In case you're wondering, the first rule of Cake Club is, disappointingly, “No cupcakes or muffins”.
I’ve veganised his recipe below. The full recipe is a proper clart on, so if you want a simple version, just go for “easy biscuit base” with “filling” and stick a few strawberries on top - you’ll be done in no time.
The genius of this cheesecake is to use jammie dodgers for the biscuit base. Jammie dodgers were a vegan staple until last year, when the factory that makes them added milk to the recipe. You can either make your own (recipe below), seek out the gluten free jammie dodgers that are also milk free, or use another kind of biscuit.
Easy biscuit base
200g vegan biscuits e.g. most digestives are milk and egg free
50g dairy free margarine
Take a loose-bottomed 8 inch tin and remove the base. Wrap the base with clingfilm and lightly grease the sides of the tin, then put the base back in.
Melt the margarine and crush the biscuits into crumbs. Mix the crumbs into the margarine, press firmly into the tin and chill while you make the filling.
Slightly more taxing biscuit base
175g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt
70g dairy free margarine
50g light brown sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
seedless raspberry jam
50g dairy free margarine
Mix the flour, salt and bicarbonate in a bowl. In a second bowl cream the sugar, 70g margarine, golden syrup and vanilla extract, then slowly add the flour mixture, stirring to combine until it comes together into a dough. You might need to add a few drops of water. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill for an hour.
Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees C and line a baking tray with parchment. Roll out the dough into a large oblong about 3mm thick. If you want to make little jammie dodgers as decorations, keep a little bit of the dough back and roll out some very small biscuits, cutting a shape out of the middle of half of the biscuits.
Bake for about 12 minutes until golden brown, then allow to cool. Break the oblong in half and sandwich the two halves together with jam. If you’ve made little biscuits, sandwich the pairs together with a little jam and dust with icing sugar.
Take a loose-bottomed 8 inch tin and remove the base. Wrap the base with clingfilm and lightly grease the sides, then put the base back into the tin.
Melt the 50g margarine and crush the large oblong biscuit into crumbs. Mix the crumbs into the margarine, press firmly into the tin and chill while you make the filling.
170g vegan cream cheese
300g pack of silken tofu, drained and pressed to yield about 200g
150g smooth peanut butter
100g icing sugar
1.5 tsp xanthan gum
Use silken rather than firm tofu and press out as much water as possible before use, otherwise the cheesecake won’t set very well.
Whisk the cream cheese for 30 seconds, then add the rest of the ingredients and whisk again. Place the mixture on top of the chilled biscuit base and smooth with a palette knife, then put the cheesecake in the fridge to chill.
Strawberry gelee (optional)
40g caster sugar
Wash and chop the strawberries and place them in a pan with the sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer for half an hour. Sieve the mixture - it should yield about 150g of strawberry puree. Put the puree in a clean pan and add 3 pinches of agar flakes. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 or 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Spread the gelee thinly across the top of the chilled cheesecake. Once this has set, slide the cheesecake up out of the tin and slide it off the clingfilmed base.
If you’ve made mini jammie dodgers, you can decorate the top of the cheesecake with them. If you need to transport the cheesecake (say, to Cake Club) it’s best to lie them down flat.
If you’d like to stand the biscuits on end, pipe frosting onto the cheesecake to hold them in place:
75g dairy free margarine
75g icing sugar
100g smooth peanut butter
handful of peanuts, crushed
Whisk the margarine for 30 seconds, then mix in the icing sugar with a few drops of water. Then whisk in the peanut butter until you have a smooth frosting that can be piped – you might need to add a few more drops of water.
Pipe little balls of frosting around the edge of the cheesecake and stand a mini jammie dodger on each one. Finally, decorate the top with crushed peanuts.
Keep the cheesecake in the fridge until it’s ready to be served.