Do you ever make a recipe and think to yourself, “Wow, that was really rewarding…”? It sounds silly, but sometimes being in the kitchen is almost meditative for me. Kneading dough, piping cake frosting, and apparently pouring mini cheesecakes into cupcake tins all do it for me. It feels good. And that feeling is made even better when the end result tastes extra amazing too.
I had been wanting to make a vegan key lime cheesecake for a really long time, ever since I first made peanut butter cup chocolate cheesecake a couple of years ago. That simple recipe inspired red velvet cheesecake, followed by s’mores cheesecake, and then white chocolate raspberry cheesecake—all no-bake and in cute mini form. They’re all such easy recipes and always big crowd-pleasers, particularly with non-vegans. Whenever I’m brainstorming new dessert recipes, I have to fight the urge to just endlessly riff on cheesecake recipes.
After making these key lime cheesecakes, I learned something new about Aaron that somehow never came up in the many years we’ve known each other: he hates key lime pie. Or so he says. Aaron loves cheesecake, and pie, and lime, but not key lime pie. I was initially bummed (but not too bummed) because that left 12 mini cheesecakes sitting in our freezer, and I was going to have to be responsible for eating all of them. So I pulled the wife card and said, “You might not like other people’s key lime pie, but you haven’t tried my version yet.” And then I basically forced him to take a bite (it’s a tough life for Aaron) and not to toot my own horn, but…I was right! Maybe Aaron doesn’t actually hate key lime pie anymore, or maybe this no-bake key lime cheesecake is just so epically delicious, it will convert even the most stubborn of key lime haters.
- 8 vegan graham crackers
- 5 tablespoons melted unrefined coconut oil
- 1¾ cups raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours, rinsed and drained
- ½ cup almond milk
- ⅓ cup pure maple syrup
- ¼ cup melted unrefined coconut oil
- zest of 1 lime + ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon matcha powder (optional, for color)
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- coconut whipped cream, store-bought or homemade*
- thinly sliced lime
- To make the crusts, add the graham crackers to a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add in the melted coconut oil and pulse a few more times to combine.
- Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners. Add 1 heaping tablespoon of crust mixture. Use a small glass to tightly pack it down into an even, flat layer. Repeat for the other tins. Set aside while you prepare the cheesecake filling.
- Add all of the filling ingredients to a high-speed blender. Process for 1-3 minutes, or until the texture is very smooth. If the mixture is too thick to blend, add a splash more almond milk at a time until it blends. Pour the filling evenly over the crusts (there should be about ¼ inch of the cupcake liners showing at the top). Freeze until firm (about 2 hours).
- For best and creamiest texture, allow the cheesecakes to soften slightly (about 10 minutes) before serving. Top with coconut whipped cream and lime slices and enjoy!
1 (14 ounce) can full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated for 24 hours
2 tablespoons organic powdered sugar
Open the can of coconut milk and scoop out the top layer of solid coconut cream into the bowl of a stand mixer. (side note: save the remaining coconut liquid for smoothies!) Mix the coconut cream and powdered sugar on low speed until combined, then crank it up to high speed for 1 more minute until light and fluffy.
Leftover coconut whipped cream can be stored in a container in the fridge for 5-7 days. The whipped cream will harden when cold, so mix it on high speed until it’s light and airy again before using.
If you're looking for vegan graham crackers, the Nabisco Original Grahams don't contain honey.
If you're making your own coconut whipped cream, use a full-fat, canned coconut milk. Be sure to stay away from coconut milks with stabilizers and gums because the cream won't separate from the liquid even when refrigerated. The Aroy-D brand tends to produce reliably good results.
Recipe adapted from my S'mores Cheesecake and White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake.