Raw raspberry lemon dreamcake

If you’ve been around the A Dash of Compassion block, you’ll know I’m a fan of raw desserts of all kinds. This time, I think I’ve trumped myself.

Raw Raspberry Lemon Dreamcake | A Dash of Compassion

It all started with a request to bring dessert to my father-in-law’s birthday celebration at the family cottage last weekend. When I know I’m going to be with people who make it worth a four-hour car ride north of the city, I feel inspired to fill a cake pan with something very special.

Without a doubt, raw vegan cheesecake is the ultimate dessert for milestone celebrations. Of course, I love cashew-based cheesecakes as much as the next person. Cashews hold a wonderful balance of sweet and savoury flavours, as well as being creamy and white in colour, making a perfect imitation of a creamy white cheese. But since my hubby is allergic to that reliable off-white nut, I knew I had to revise my plan of attack.

Raw Raspberry Lemon Dreamcake | A Dash of Compassion

Early last year, you might remember my experiments to create a raw cheesecake sans cashews and coconut, which resulted in my cute, single-serving strawberry dreamcakes. That recipe made use of macadamia nuts, which are no doubt pricey but are like the Rolls-Royce of nuts in the world of raw desserts (taste one spoonful of my easy macadamia caramel and you’ll see).

Using a similar macnut base, my new family-approved raspberry lemon dreamcake is a real winner—the cream (cheese) of the crop, if you will. The crust, made up of ground almonds, coconut and date paste, adds a satisfying crunch. The “cheese,” comprised of fresh lemon juice, macadamia nuts, agave nectar and coconut oil, lends the creamiest, smoothest texture. And the topping, a simple swirl of raspberries and agave combined with the remaining 1/2 cup of filling, takes the presentation of this beloved dessert to a professional level.

Raw Raspberry Lemon Dreamcake | A Dash of Compassion

The fact that this so-called cheesecake is made almost entirely of nuts will completely fade from memory upon first bite, which literally melts in your mouth. Your friends and family will be utterly baffled, and when you mention it is made with raw, whole foods instead of artery-clogging cream cheese, you will become a healthy-cake magician.

Start spreading the word that vegans can make magic happen.

Also, did I mention how easy it is to make? Just put everything in a blender, pour it into a springform pan and then chill. I wish I had a better photo to show you of the swirl design on top. I’ve included directions on how to master the swirl in the recipe below, but also check out this video for a live demo.


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Raw raspberry lemon dreamcake

Yield: one 8-inch cake


For the crust:

  • 2 cups raw almonds
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup date paste
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

For the lemon filling:

  • 3 cups raw macadamia nuts
  • 1 cup homemade almond milk
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup raw agave nectar
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder (or vanilla extract)
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil, melted

For the raspberry swirl:

  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice


For the crust:

    1. Using a food processor, process the almonds and coconut to a coarse meal. Add the date paste, vanilla and salt and process until well combined.
    2. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan. Set aside.

For the filling:

    1. Using a high-speed blender, blend the macadamia nuts, almond milk, lemon juice, agave nectar and vanilla powder until smooth and creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the coconut oil and blend to combine.
    2. Reserve 3/4 cup of the filling and pour the rest into the springform pan with the crust. Gently tap the pan on the counter to remove any air bubbles.
For the swirl:
  1. Using a blender, briefly blend 1/2 cup of the reserved filling with the raspberries and lemon juice until smooth. (The remaining 1/4 cup of lemon filling can be used for touchups after swirling. You should also reserve a small portion of the raspberry mixture for touchups, too.)
  2. Starting in the middle of the cheesecake, pour the raspberry mixture in circles, moving outwards to evenly distribute around the top of the cheesecake.
  3. Now you are ready to swirl. A chopstick (or something similar) is the best tool for this purpose. Insert the chopstick just below the surface of the raspberry colour near the outer portion of the cake, and begin moving it around, swirling the fillings into each other. I usually make a figure eight motion to integrate the colours. It's important to know when to stop, as too much swirling will blend everything together and you will lose the contrast of colours. Use the reserved filling and raspberry mixture to touch up areas that have too much of one colour. Just pour a small drop of the mixture in that area and swirl lightly.
  4. Place the finished cheesecake in the freezer to set, about 2 hours, or until the middle of the cheesecake is firm to the touch. Decorate with fresh raspberries before serving, if desired.

Recipe inspired by Sweet Gratitude.



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36 Responses to “Raw raspberry lemon dreamcake”

  1. Amber Shea @Almost Vegan — April 25, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

    Gorgeous!! It makes me think of pink lemonade. Mmm, I want a bite…

    • Nicole — April 26, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

      Thanks, Amber! Pink lemonade cheesecake is actually a great idea! :)

  2. Amy @ FragrantVanillaCake — April 25, 2012 @ 10:52 pm

    This sounds seriously amazing! I would have a hard time eating just a slice…so heavenly with the raspberry and lemon, and so perfect for the start of strawberry season!

    • Nicole — April 26, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

      Thanks, Amy. I always start craving fresh berries at this time of year.

  3. Sophie — April 27, 2012 @ 5:13 am

    A stunning & unbelievably beautiful raw cheesecake, yummy! :)
    I think that I will be making mini tartlets! Ooh yes! ;)

  4. Kris — April 27, 2012 @ 9:42 pm

    This looks divine! Just wondering, would it work if you substituted the macadamia nuts for the cashews at the exact same amounts? I have a huge stock of cashews and macadamia nuts can be so expensive but I’m sure worth it if you’re allergic to cashews. But since we’re not I was hoping I could use my cashews for this recipe.

    • Nicole — April 27, 2012 @ 10:04 pm

      Kris: Yes, cashews should work as a substitute. I would suggest soaking them overnight first, then drain and rinse before proceeding with the recipe. Let me know how it works out!

  5. Taylor — May 11, 2012 @ 12:14 pm

    Can you substitute chopped macademia nuts for the whole nuts?

    • Nicole — May 15, 2012 @ 9:32 pm

      Chopped macnuts should work. If you want to weigh them for accuracy, you need about 405 grams to make up 3 cups.

  6. eva @VegucatingMyKids — May 19, 2012 @ 12:29 pm

    hi there! i am new to your blog and i made this yesterday!

    i have been dying to make a raw vegan dessert for quite some time now, but with all the ‘from scratch cooking’ i do to make our basic meals, i never have any time left over to make desserts–and i have heard raw desserts are amazing….

    so when the husband (a carnivore) offered to make dinner last night–wild salmon (i am a plant based eater with a sprinkle of fish and a sprinkle of egg) and a salad last night–i took it as my cue to embark on my quest to make my first raw vegan cheesecake!….

    it was easy to make–and quite fun….one thing i did differently was puree all the raspberries and put it directly into the macadamia filling and blend it entirely….i did not have time to swirl it (as a mom, we really have to triage our time), although i will one day try!….so i ended up with a pink cheesecake and it was all i thought it would be and more!

    i am really excited because now i have a nutritious snack for the girls this weekend…i feel good about serving this because of all the nuts and good for you ingredients….and when my girls are hungry and exhausted from swimming, i will serve them a slice….

    and for that carnivore husband of mine who i love dearly, this dessert fits his requirements of low carb….

    thank you for the inspiration!

    • Nicole — May 22, 2012 @ 1:35 pm

      Thanks for your feedback, Eva! I’m so glad you were finally able to try making your first raw vegan cheesecake! They really are quite easy to pull together and can be stored in the freezer for several weeks. I hope more cheesecakes are in your future.

  7. tricia — June 1, 2012 @ 11:38 pm

    Wow! I’ve never really considered going Raw but I can hardly believe this recipe! I’m sharing it with my very non-vegan meal planning group- haha! Awesome job!

    • Nicole — June 2, 2012 @ 4:55 pm

      Thanks, Tricia! Hope you enjoy it.

  8. Allie — June 19, 2012 @ 3:01 pm

    This looks marvelous! Do you think the filling would work if I used key lime instead of lemon? one of my favorite treats is key lime pie and i’d love to make a healthier version!

    • Nicole — June 19, 2012 @ 3:52 pm

      I’m sure key lime will work just fine as a substitute for the lemon. Let me know how it turns out!

    • Allie — June 21, 2012 @ 2:16 pm

      Thanks! I’m looking forward to making it this week!
      I was wondering thought, how long do you think this would be stable outside of the freezer? I was thinking about bringing it to the office but if it would turn to soup by the time I got in, then I’ll just have to keep it at home for myself :)

    • Nicole — June 21, 2012 @ 2:38 pm

      That depends on a few variables. If it’s really hot outside and you have a long commute, than it might get pretty soft. But if you have a freezer available to you at work, you can place it back in the freezer until it firms up a bit and then enjoy it for an afternoon snack with your colleagues.

      If you make the cake the night before (or even a few days before) and keep it in your freezer, it will likely need to sit out for about 15 minutes until it’s soft enough to cut anyway. So if you have a short commute, than I think you’ll be okay :)

      Hope that helps.

    • Allie — June 25, 2012 @ 11:56 am

      Thank you for your help!! Here’s how it turned out, I hope I did your recipe justice :)


  9. Anne — September 17, 2012 @ 12:34 am

    Yes, I do believe you are correct when you said you out did yourself. That looks beyond delicious! I’m going to have to make this for the next vegan get together we have. I’m going to WOW everyone! :)
    Thank you!

    • Nicole — September 17, 2012 @ 8:38 am

      Thank you, Anne! I hope you enjoy the recipe. It is the perfect dessert for company!

  10. clare gray — October 7, 2012 @ 1:03 am

    Nicole, I love this, thank you for sharing such a delicious recipe.

    I have been wanting to make a bake vegan New York Style cheesecake- I was wondering about using this filling and baking it- What do you think? Alot of the vegan new york style cheese cake recipes I have come across tend to use vegan margarines and cream cheeses- I much prefer using natural, unrefined ingredients.

    Thanks for your help :-)

    • Nicole — October 11, 2012 @ 1:38 pm

      I wouldn’t suggest baking this! I don’t think the texture will not turn out very well. I hope you will like it just as it is — it is creamy and rich and delicious all on its own!

  11. Melissa — October 22, 2012 @ 3:08 pm

    I’m sure I missed it, but how do we store this after it sets for 2 hours in the freezer? In the fridge?

    • Nicole — October 22, 2012 @ 4:05 pm

      Store it in the freezer (it will last for at least a few weeks) and take it out about 20 minutes before serving. Hope you enjoy it!

  12. Sherry — October 24, 2012 @ 7:56 pm

    Can this cake be frozen until it is time to eat? …a month or so?

    • Nicole — October 24, 2012 @ 8:16 pm

      Yes! Just be sure to keep it in the pan and wrap it up tightly with plastic wrap and tin foil. I’d suggest transferring it to the fridge about an hour before serving so it can soften up a bit. Hope you enjoy it, Sherry!

  13. Kristina — August 16, 2013 @ 8:41 pm

    This cake is my first raw desert experience. I like it because there is no baking involved (that I hate). I made this cake for my girlfriends but I didn’t realized that it’s a lot! I took just 4 small pieces with me and it was enough :) I asked them to guess what is inside and obviously they didn’t know and were very surprised that it’s mostly nuts. How fascinating!
    Cake is delicious but pricey. I realized it too late :)However, now I have tons of desert in my freezer waiting to be eaten. Thanks, Nicole! Come to Ottawa to eat that cake :)

  14. Zara — May 17, 2014 @ 12:17 am

    hello! i was wondering if you had to soak the macadamies before hand?

    • Nicole — May 17, 2014 @ 6:29 pm

      Hi Zara! No need to soak the macadamia nuts :)

  15. Tasch — July 31, 2014 @ 8:13 am

    Just finished making the cake and it’s in the freezer. Not sure if you realize, but the coconut oil has been left out of the directions. And me being a novice to ‘cooking’, I left it out of the cake – Whoops ;) Is the cake going to taste, set ok? Or should I take it out and add the coconut oil? I am hoping for a delicious taste sensation :)
    Thanks Nicole

    • Nicole — July 31, 2014 @ 8:54 am

      I’m so sorry, Tasch! I didn’t even notice it was missing from the instructions, but it is essential for the cake to set properly. For sure take it out and reblend the filling with the coconut oil. Unfortunately that’s going to ruin the swirl on top if you did one. Sorry! I’m going to fix that right away.

    • Tasch — August 3, 2014 @ 1:11 am

      UPDATE: I left the cake in the freezer. Took it out for 20 minutes before eating. It was still lovely :) I would imagine adding coconut oil would make it creamier and maybe defuse the lemon a little more. Other than that, the cheesecake was still lovely and still set ok. Thanks for a delicious recipe Nicole!

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