Cashew cheesecakes with lemon and wineberries

Like every year, around this time we have a wall in our garden covered with fruit-laden wineberry branches. I’m talking about the lovely Japanese sister of the raspberry and blackberry (Rubus phoenicolasus), which seems to feel perfectly at home in our Dutch climate. The berries growing from this plant are smaller than their siblings’, but they are so juicy, fresh and deep-flavoured that out of the three they’re by far my favourite.

Somehow, though, up till this summer it had never crossed my mind to use these berries in any other way than by just munching all of them right off their branches as soon as they were ripe and handing them out to anyone who wanted to taste them. So when my eldest girl suggested I’d do so, I first smacked my head and then took a happy dive straight into the kitchen. The result: these deliciously fruity, tart and creamy mini cheesecakes.


Unlike what their name suggests, there’s no cheese involved here: these no-bake individual cheesecakes are completely plant-based, which is something I’ve been wanting to try for some time now. For starters, out of sheer fascination: starting with nuts and fruits and ending up with something you can call “cheesecake” without blinking is intriguing enough on its own. Secondly, because I love cheesecake, especially the fresh no-bake versions. I love to indulge in it every now and then, and being able to whip up a quick and easy version without having to turn to full-fat dairy or gelling agents is both practical and makes me feel just that bit better about myself. And finally: plant-based cheesecake and wineberries just sounded like a perfect pair in my head – and they are!

Every time I turn soaked cashews into milk, cream or sauce I’m amazed by how smooth and creamy it becomes. Compared to other nuts, cashew cream has a quite neutral flavour, which blends perfectly with fruit juices. Lemon juice makes it tart and fresh and the addition of the berries just makes you want to sing. Wineberries don’t have that many seeds, so I just tip them in the blender as they are. If you can’t get hold of them, raspberries are equally delicious. Since they are more seedy, though, I prefer doubling the amount, rubbing the raspberries through a sieve and using only the juice.

So here we are: a simple almond, walnut and date base topped with layers of lemon and berry-flavoured cashew cream – briefly freeze it to set and you won’t believe the fresh and appealing treats coming out of the freezer when you open it again. I’ll be frank with you: since they’re not made with cheese, they don’t taste like cheese, despite what people tell you. In my opinion that doesn’t matter, though: they taste delicious and they’re a definite must-try, purely on their own merits. Now that I tried this version, I’m dreaming about flavour combinations with equally creamy, but more pronounced-tasting other nuts: chocolate and pecan cream fillings, white chocolate and macadamias… There’s a world to explore!

To be continued…

Cashew cheesecakes with lemon and wineberries – makes 8


for the base

  • 75 g almonds
  • 75 g walnuts
  • 7 Medjoul dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. rapeseed oil

for the filling

  • 200 g raw cashew nuts, soaked for 3 hours or overnight
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 75 ml agave syrup or maple syrup
  • 150 ml almond milk (shop-bought or homemade, for extra creaminess)
  • 4 tbsp. liquid coconut oil
  • 100 g wineberries, plus extra for decorating. If you can’t get hold of wineberries, 200 g fresh raspberries make a good alternative.
  • whipped coconut cream (optional, see tip below).



Lightly grease a 12-hole cupcake tin or silicone cupcake mould. If using a tin, line the holes with a strip of baking parchment for easy removal once the cakes have set.

To make the bases, tip the almonds in a food processor and grind into a meal. Add the walnuts, dates, sweetener and oil and whizz to a course paste. It should be crumbly, but hold together when you press it down. If it won’t hold together, add a drop of almond milk. Scoop 1-2 teaspoons of the base mixture into the cupcake tin holes, then press it down with the back of a spoon until firm. Keep the tin in the freezer while preparing the filling.

To make the filling, drain the cashew nuts, rinse them under running water, then tip into a blender. Add the lemon juice, sweetener, almond milk and coconut oil and blend until completely smooth. Pour half of the filling into a jug. Add the wineberries to the remaining mixture in the blender and whizz until pink and creamy. If you’re using raspberries instead, transfer the second half of the cashew mixture to a bowl. Tip the raspberries into a sieve over the bowl and rub them through using a wooden spoon. Discard the seeds and stir the raspberry juice through the cashew cream.

Take the cake tin out of the freezer. Depending on the desired effect, start with either the white or the pink cashew cream to top the date bases. Return to the freezer to set for 1 hour, then fill up the tin holes with the contrasting colour. Allow the cheesecakes to set in the freezer for another 1-2 hours.

Take the cakes out of the freezer about 10-15 minutes before serving – not much longer, though, or they’ll soften too much and start to turn lopsided, like mine were doing while I was taking their pictures… Serve with fresh berries and a dollop of whipped coconut cream (see tip below).

The cheesecakes will keep in the freezer for 1-2 weeks.



  • To make whipped coconut cream, chill a can of full-fat coconut milk, then scoop off the solid top layer. Whip until fluffy, then pipe onto the cheesecakes.
  • If you have any of the nuts and dates mixture left over, you can roll it into balls and keep them in the fridge as instant snacks.