Choc-Orange Cheesecake

I’ve said to myself in the past that I’m never making cheesecake again, and invariably I do. And then I regret the decision. Today was different. Finally, I feel like I’ve mastered the vegan cheesecake. The creamy, thick, deliciousness of the centre that I thought was only possible with cream cheese. I’ve had some good vegan cheesecakes and I’ve had some mediocre ones. Mine have always been mediocre. Not smooth and creamy but gritty and nutty.

Well, today, all that changed. And it just so happened to be because of my new blender. My old blender was great for smoothies, but it has seen better days. We used it a lot. Every day. Smoothies were a daily occurrence. And every now and then I’d put some cashews in and make creme cheese. It was good for blending cashews, but not perfect. So, I bought a new blender. The best part? It’s easier to clean. Actually, maybe the best part now is that it makes good cheesecakes.

I’ve done a lot of riding and running lately and these last couple of days I just can’t seem to get full. Every time I go into the kitchen I end up in the pantry looking for something to eat. And finding something. Not always what I wanted to eat, but it was food. And it didn’t fill me up, because half an hour later I’d be back. Each time thinking I’ll get something really healthy that will really fill me up, but each time getting a snack that didn’t fill the hole in my belly. And boy, have I gone through some food.

Today, after I’d had my first lunch I went into the kitchen to find something for my second lunch. (I don’t normally eat two lunches, but I’m just so hungry). And today I felt like cake. Chocolate cake. Good old fashioned fat and sugar chocolate cake. I was going to make one and not even worry about the ingredients, but somehow I ended up making chocolate cheesecake. I’m not sure how it happened, but it did. Cheesecake. Chocolate and orange cheesecake. And it was so good. And now I want to make more cheesecake. Lime cheesecake, vanilla cheesecake, blueberry cheesecake. Does anyone have a birthday coming up?

This cheesecake was so good that I sent my daughter 3 text messages about it. The first was a picture, the second was the the name of the cheesecake and the third was a simple ‘You’re welcome!’ The problem was she only got the ‘you’re welcome’ text so it didn’t really work out. Never mind, the cheesecake did. And here it is …

What you need
1/2 cup pitted dates
1 1/2 cups raw almonds
3 tablespoons melted coconut oil

3 cups soaked cashews
3/4 cup orange juice
2/3 cup agave
1/4 cup cacao powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon orange extract
1/3 cup melted coconut oil

What to do
Put cashews into a bowl and cover with water. Set aside.

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor.
Line a springform pan with waxed paper.
Press the mixture into the sides and bottom of pan.
Freeze to set, at least one hour.

Drain cashews and put into blender. Add the freshly squeezed orange juice, agave, cacao powder, salt, orange extract and coconut oil. Blend on high until smooth and creamy.

Remove the crust from the freezer and pour cheesecake filling on top.

Place the cheesecake back in the freezer for at least 3 hours to set completely.
Once the cheesecake has set, remove it from the fridge/ freezer and top with grated chocolate and orange zest.

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