Secret Ingredient Strawberry Cheesecake [Non-Dairy & Paleo]

I know a lot of you have been eagerly awaiting this recipe and I don’t blame you… Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited about any of my previous creations.

Well, okay, maybe I have and I just don’t remember. Yeah! Now that I think of it, I probably have. Like when I made these decadent Sweet Potato Brownies, or maybe that Chocolate Truffle Cake

But this time, it’s different.

I mean, seriously guys, this cake is completely insane. It’s just like CHEESECAKE except it’s got no cheese in it. NO CHEESE!!! How crazy is that!? Totally crazy, I say. Demented, even!

But just you wait until you find out what exactly IS in it! It’ll blow your mind. Seriously.

Honestly, I was the first one surprised when it actually turned out. It was, after all, my first attempt at creating a non-dairy cheesecake, and for a first attempt, I sure went all out. I brought forth the heavy artillery…

Non-Dairy Paleo Cheesecake | thehealthyfoodie.com

If you know me, you know just how much I love cheesecake. Now, having decided to practically give up on dairy, it was only a matter of time before I tried my hand at making a non-dairy version of my favorite dessert in the whole wide world. In fact, I was only waiting for strawberries to be in season, for I really had my heart set on topping that baby with gorgeous bright red, plump and juicy strawberries.

To be honest, though, I totally expected this cake to be a complete disaster. A flop. A monumental waste of time and valuable ingredients. I was prepared to be extremely disappointed and perhaps even shed a tear or two.

Still. It was too big, too bold an idea for it to remain untested.

I almost wish that I could keep the secret ingredient a complete mystery and have you try the cake without knowing, but then how are you going to make the cake if you don’t know? What if the recipe read: …and now, add the secret ingredient! Right… that wouldn’t fly all that high.

So I guess that at some point, I’m gonna have to let you know…

At some point…

Non-Dairy Paleo Cheesecake | thehealthyfoodie.com

But not now…

First, we gotta make the crust. That part isn’t a mystery at all. In fact, I pretty much used the same recipe that I’d used for my Crème Brûlée Cheesecake, except this time, I didn’t blind-bake the crust.

To make it, simply add all the required ingredients to your food processor and process on pulse until the mixture has the texture of coarse sand.

Non-Dairy Paleo Cheesecake | thehealthyfoodie.com

You then want to transfer that mixture to a springform pan that you will have previously lined with parchment paper and press it firmly against the bottom and side of the pan.

Non-Dairy Paleo Cheesecake | thehealthyfoodie.com

Bring that crust up to about halfway up the side of the pan, like such. No need to be super fancy and take your ruler out, here. The crust looks much prettier when it’s unequal, I find. When you’re done with that, set the pan aside and start working on the filling.

Yikes! Looks like I’m gonna have to tell you what that secret ingredient is fairly soon…

I’m a bit scared, to be honest. I hope you guys won’t run off when you finally find out what it is!

Non-Dairy Paleo Cheesecake | thehealthyfoodie.com

Alright, so you haven’t forgotten to soak your cashews overnight, have you? I hope not!

And no, cashews aren’t the secret ingredient. In fact, they’re a pretty standard cheese replacement in a lot of non-dairy recipes. But I didn’t want to use all cashews, I felt it would require WAY too much nuts for my liking… I had to add something else!

But now, let’s rinse the cashew pieces under running cold water and add them, along with the coconut milk to the bowl of your food processor. Process this until real smooth and creamy, scraping the sides a few times, about 5 minutes total.

Non-Dairy Paleo Cheesecake | thehealthyfoodie.com

HA! Can you see that? There it is! It’s now time to add the secret ingredient. You know what that is, right? One of my ultimate favorite ingredients in the whole wide world, the super versatile, the almost magical, the wonder veggie: CAULIFLOWER!

Yes ma’am, you heard that one right. Grated cauliflower that’s been cooked and squeezed dry; the very same kind of cauliflower that I use to make Paleo Pizza Crusts, Tortillas and Creamy Fritters.

For realz. I’m not kidding. I told you I’d had a bold idea!

Alright now pick your jaw up off the floor, we have a cake to finish. In goes the cauliflower (yes, yes, cauliflower) and the processing resumes until the batter turns really smooth again, about 3-4 minutes.

Non-Dairy Paleo Cheesecake | thehealthyfoodie.com

Now add the honey, coconut oil, salt, cinnamon, apple cider vinegar and vanilla and then resume processing until well combined, about 30 seconds.

Non-Dairy Paleo Cheesecake | thehealthyfoodie.com

Throw in the lemon zest and juice and mix to combine.

See that little gizmo I’m using? If you don’t have one of these gadgets, you should definitely invest in one. I used to think they were totally useless, until I started using lemon and lime juice on a regular basis. This squeezes ALL the juice out of your fruits and keeps the pits out of your dish.

Plus, it keeps your hands nice and clean, too. A dream, I tell you. Totally worth the investment.

Non-Dairy Paleo Cheesecake | thehealthyfoodie.com

Now we need to add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for about 30 seconds between each addition.

I like to feed my eggs right through the feeding tube, that way I don’t have to stop the motor all the time. Just don’t go and drop a piece of egg shell in there, ‘cuz there’s no way you’ll ever be able to fish it out…

Lastly, you’ll want to add the tapioca flour and give your filling a final 30 second spin.

Non-Dairy Paleo Cheesecake | thehealthyfoodie.com

Pour the creamy filling over the reserved crust.

See? No lumps, no visible pieces of cauliflower. It’s all smooooooth and creamy, baby!

Non-Dairy Paleo Cheesecake | thehealthyfoodie.com

Place the cake over a piece of aluminum foil and fold it over the pan so the exterior is completely covered. Now place your cake in a rimmed roasting pan, then delicately pour some boiling water into the roasting pan so it goes to about 1/4 of the way up the side of the pan.

Your cake now has to go in the oven for a total of close to 2 hours.

Non-Dairy Paleo Cheesecake | thehealthyfoodie.com

See how this came out of the oven without a single crack? BONUS! A cheesecake that doesn’t crack. I’m certainly all for that!

And wait ’til you get to feel how nice and firm yet spongy this is! Unbelievable!

You might have to pick your jaw up off the floor once again…

Non-Dairy Paleo Cheesecake | thehealthyfoodie.com

Alright, let’s get busy working on the finishing touch, shall we?

Bring 1 cup of strawberries and half a cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Let that boil vigorously for about 5 minutes, until the strawberries have relinquished pretty much all of their pretty red color to the water.

While the strawberries are boiling away, sprinkle some gelatin over half a cup of cold water and let it bloom for a few minutes.

"Non-Dairy

See how nice and red and syrupy that water got?

Non-Dairy Paleo Cheesecake | thehealthyfoodie.com

Strain the strawberry juice through a fine meshed strainer set right over the bloomed gelatin. Stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved, then stir in maple syrup, vanilla extract and salt.

Let this mixture cool until it gets thick and almost starts to set. You can place it in the fridge to speed up the process but make sure you check on it often.

Non-Dairy Paleo Cheesecake | thehealthyfoodie.com

While your strawberry jelly is setting, arrange the strawberries nicely over the top of your cake

Non-Dairy Paleo Cheesecake | thehealthyfoodie.com

Try and arrange them so the top gets completely covered and none of the strawberries go too far off the edge. It’s almost like making a puzzle! You need to choose the right size strawberry to fit the right spot!

Non-Dairy Paleo Cheesecake | thehealthyfoodie.com

As soon as your jelly is thick enough, apply it generously over the fresh strawberries with a pastry brush. If you find that it has set a little bit too much, you can give it a few seconds in the microwave to soften it up some, but make sure you don’t leave it in there for too long. Go 3-5 seconds at a time, no more.

Non-Dairy Paleo Cheesecake | thehealthyfoodie.com

Your cake then needs to make a final trip to the fridge until that strawberry jelly is completely set.

Patience my friend… you’ll get to taste it very soon.

Non-Dairy Paleo Cheesecake | thehealthyfoodie.com

After about an hour, you’ll finally get to slice through that beauty. Now is that gorgeous or what?

Non-Dairy Paleo Cheesecake | thehealthyfoodie.com

Take my word for it, this cake is simply UH-MA-ZING! I think I would even choose it over the real thing. The texture is so firm yet so creamy, and the taste is sweet yet salty and tangy at the same time, just like you’d expect a good cheesecake to be.

And no, you cannot taste the cauliflower, nor feel its presence in the least. I can guarantee that you would never ever guess it’s in there. You, or your guests, for that matter. Never. I swear.

Non-Dairy Paleo Cheesecake | thehealthyfoodie.com

Just look at how creamy this cake is. I’m like totally blown away. Frankly, it far exceeded my expectations. Well, considering I was half expecting that it would end up in the bin, let’s say my expectations weren’t hard to exceed.

But I just ended up loving it so much, now I’m wanting to make all kinds of different flavors, using this exact recipe as a foundation, INCLUDING the not so secret anymore ingredient, of course!

Until then, I just can’t wait to hear what you guys think!

Non-Dairy & Paleo Strawberry Cheesecake

Yield: Serves 12-16

NF based on 1 of 16 servings

Non-Dairy & Paleo Strawberry Cheesecake

INGREDIENTS

INSTRUCTIONS

    The crust
  1. Line the bottom of a 9” springform pan with parchment paper. To do that, remove the ring and cover the bottom with parchment paper. Fold the excess paper back under the plate and, while holding it in place with one hand, put the ring back in its position with the other hand. Bring the excess paper back from under the pan but do not cut it off.
  2. Grease the side of the pan with lard or ghee or any other healthy and heat resistant fat you prefer.
  3. Add all the ingredients of the crust to your food processor and process on pulse until the mixture has the texture of coarse sand. Press at the bottom and side of the pan. You want to bring the crust up to about halfway up the side of the pan.
  4. The filling
  5. Preheat the oven to 350F
  6. Use a box grater or the grater disc of your food processor to grate the cauliflower.
  7. Place the grated cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl and cover loosely with plastic film; microwave for about 4-6 minutes on high. Let the cauliflower cool for a few minutes until it can be handled safely and then squeeze it as dry as you possibly can. Set aside to cool.
  8. Bring 3-4 cups of water to a boil.
  9. Rinse the cashew pieces under running cold water and add them, along with the coconut milk to the bowl of your food processor. Process until real smooth and creamy, about 5 minutes.
  10. Add reserved cauliflower and resume processing until really smooth again, about 3-4 minutes.
  11. Add honey, coconut oil, salt, cinnamon, apple cider vinegar and vanilla and then resume processing until well combined, about 30 seconds.
  12. Throw in the lemon zest and juice and mix to combine; add eggs, one at a time, mixing for about 30 seconds between each addition.
  13. Finally, add tapioca starch and give your filling a final 30 second spin. Pour over the reserved crust.
  14. Place the cake over a piece of aluminum foil and fold it over the pan so the exterior is completely covered. Now place your cake in a rimmed roasting pan, then delicately pour some boiling water into the roasting pan so it goes to about 1/4 of the way up the side of the pan. Place that rig onto the middle rack of your oven and bake for 15 minutes then decrease the temperature to 250F and bake for another 90 minutes.
  15. Turn off the oven and crack the door open. Leave the cake in the oven, undisturbed, for about 1 hour, or until cool enough to be handled with your bare hands, and then slide it out of the oven.
  16. When the “cheesecake” is completely cooled, run a knife around the rim and refrigerate uncovered for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
  17. The garnish
  18. Sprinkle the gelatin over 1/2 cup of cold water and let it rest for a few minutes to allow the gelatin to soak up as much water as possible.
  19. Meanwhile, bring 1 cup of strawberries and half a cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Let that boil vigorously for about 5 minutes, until the strawberries have relinquished pretty much all their pretty red color to the water.
  20. Strain through a fine meshed sieve right over the bloomed gelatin, then stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Stir in maple syrup, vanilla extract and salt and let this mixture cool until it starts to set. You can place it in the fridge to speed up the process but make sure you check on it often.
  21. While your strawberry jelly is setting, arrange the strawberries over the top of your cake to completely cover it.
  22. Apply the strawberry jelly generously over the fresh strawberries with a pastry brush. If you find it has set a little bit too much, you can give it a few seconds in the microwave to soften it up, but make sure you don’t leave it in there for too long. Go 3-5 seconds at a time, no more.
  23. Place the cake in the fridge until the jelly is completely set, about an hour, then slice and serve.
http://thehealthyfoodie.com/non-dairy-paleo-strawberry-cheesecake/

Oh, and just because I dunno… I thought this cake was a very pretty subject, I got a bit carried away and took 2 million pictures, so I’m sharing a little more than usual.

I’m sure you guys won’t mind a little food porn, will you?

Non-Dairy Paleo Cheesecake | thehealthyfoodie.com

Non-Dairy Paleo Cheesecake | thehealthyfoodie.com

Non-Dairy Paleo Cheesecake | thehealthyfoodie.com

Non-Dairy Paleo Cheesecake | thehealthyfoodie.com

Non-Dairy Paleo Cheesecake | thehealthyfoodie.com

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Comments

  1. says

    Love it!
    So, it’s practically a main meal which means I can have an extra serve as dessert?!
    Hidden veggies are the best. I love getting my kids to try to guess what’s in their food. Bet they’d never guess your secret ingredient.
    A stunning cake with Beautiful photos.

    • says

      Thank you, I appreciate your kind words! Honestly, I’d be ready to put money on that one… I don’t think anyone could ever guess by taste alone what went into the making of this cake. In fact, I’m not even sure that anyone would guess that it was non-dairy, if they weren’t told! 😉

      • Rita says

        Sonia! Wow! As soon as I get off my Zero Carb diet I am going to come to your site and see what I can get back into my body that isn’t harmful to it. I have 30 days to go. I have been on Zero Carb for 9 days and have lost 10 lbs. Your site is amazing!

  2. says

    wow it is shocking there is cauliflower in there! i would like to try it. that would be one healthy cheesecake!

  3. says

    Mind = blown.
    Seriously Sonia, you’re such a genius! This is a very creative idea that I’m dying to try! I loooove all kinds of cheesecake, but healthy ones win my heart every time! And this one is such a stunner – not even in a million of years would I tell this was healthy! Awesome job!!!
    Enjoy your Sunday! xxxx

  4. Jody says

    What is the baking temp? Directions say preheat to 250, bake for 15 then decrease to 250 for another 90. Did you mean preheat to 350? I have it in the oven right now and baked it for 15 at 250. What do I do??

    • says

      I definitely meant to say preheat oven to 350! Real sorry about that, Jody!!! Thanks for pointing it out. I say just carry on, keep baking the cake for another 90 minutes. It’ll still set, I’m not worried!

      Please let me know how it turned out!

  5. Becky says

    AWESOME!!! This looks amazing and I’ll be making it soon! One question though. My husband is diabetic and even though we eat Paleo, some recipes are still way too high in carbs for him. Do you have any recommendations for reducing the amount of sweetener in the recipe? Normally I start off by cutting the sweetener in half, in this case, the honey would be reduced to 1/2 cup but I’m not sure what I’d use to replace the 1/2 cup of liquid lost. Any ideas or do you think changing the sweetener level would effect the overall success of the recipe too much? We both love cheesecake and this looks so delicious that I reeeeally want to make it but I don’t want to torture him if he can’t have it. Oh, and a smaller serving won’t work. That would just be mean :-)

    • says

      I’m not sure that I would go as far as reducing the honey by half, Becky, but you could probably get away with cutting down to 3/4 of a cup… would 3/4 of a serving do the trick? 😉

      There’s also a lot of carbs in the strawberries and jelly. What you could do is top the cheesecake with sliced strawberries as opposed to whole, that way you would probably cut this down by half, too! Or you could also top your cheesecake with blueberries, instead!

      Hope this helps, and hope you (and hubby!) enjoy the cake! :)

  6. Jordan Leigh says

    I KNEW IT! GAH. The day you posted this on Instagram I said to myself “hmmm… I bet she went and used that dang cauliflower!” (Or rutabaga…. Don’t ask lol) man Sonia, you must really be starting to run off on me…

  7. says

    Wow Sonia you never cease to amaze me! Cauliflower? How do you even come up with these brilliant ideas of yours?? You’re a genius! I can’t wait to make this one, it doesn’t even look complicated! I’ll make a test with my BF and tell him it’s a “regular” cheesecake and I’ll report back haha.

    • says

      YAY! I so can’t wait to hear. So far, everyone who’s tasted this cake absolutely LOVED it. I am really looking forward to hearing what you and your BF have to say about it! :)

      And thank you so much for your kind words. Vous êtes trop aimable, ma chère. A real gem! :)

  8. Anit says

    Maybe I’m just not thinking because I’m tired, but…
    1) Is it 1 cup of ground hazelnuts for the crust, or measure 1 cup then grind?
    2) Similarly, for the cauliflower, should I cook 500g or should I have 500g of dry cauliflower after cooking and squeezing?

    I’m looking forward to trying this with my daughter. Sounds fantastic!

    • says

      It’s 1 cup hazelnuts, then grind, and 500g raw cauliflower, then cook and squeeze.

      Please do let me know how you liked the cake, Anit. I’d really love to hear your thoughts, as well as your daughter’s! :)

  9. says

    oh my wow! GORGEOUS. just GORGEOUS. I’m amazed at the ingenuity that went into making this cheesecake! I hope I have dinner party soon so I can make this beautiful cheesecake!

  10. Jody says

    I made this cheesecake and WOW!!! It is EVERY bit as fantastic as the photos look. My dairy-eating husband also approved. It’s light, creamy, and has the perfect mouth-feel of a cheesecake. As a cow’s milk-intolerant person, I am THRILLED to have a cheesecake back in my diet!!! This base is going to be the start of a whole new world of desserts for me.

    • says

      WOW thank you so much for this awesome feedback, Jody, this is like PURE GOLD to me! I am SO happy to hear that you feel exactly the same way I do about this cheesecake! You have seriously just made my day! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

      Hope you come up with many great “cheesy” creations of your own… and hey, feel free to share! 😉 😀

  11. Sally says

    This tastes AMAZING Sonia!! I made it yesterday and was very sceptical as most primal/paleo “Cheesecakes” taste way too cashew-ish and basically nothing like the real deal. To my surprise it tasted nothing like cashews, cauliflower or coconut milk….it just tastes like cheesecake! I’m completely baffled at how tasty this turned out, and am so grateful that you’ve shared this recipe.

  12. says

    WOW – I am so glad I stumbled by your blog – this “cheesecake” sounds incredible!!! I have used navy beans to make some mini ones before, but this looks so much better – and you snuck cauliflower in!!! I am in awe – WOW – oh wait I said that already! Wow!

  13. Mandy says

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your cheesecake!!!! The aroma of the filling before it even went into the oven was amazing :-) Unfortunately I may have to eat most of it myself (Yum), as my son won’t even look at it and my daughter has a nut allergy – so I wondered how long it’ll keep in the fridge?

    • says

      I would say about a week, Mandy… maaaaaybe you could stretch that up to 10 days. You could always try freezing it without the strawberries. I suspect that would work very well.

      Glad you’re loving that cheesecake, btw, and thanks a bunch for taking the time to let me know. I greatly appreciate that. (Oh, and your son has no idea what he’s missing out on… Bah, more for you, I guess!) 😉

      • Mandy says

        I’ll try freezing it and see how it goes, and I couldn’t leave it in the fridge for a week, it’s all gone :-) All be it I did share a fair bit with friends :-)

  14. Joanna says

    This looks fabulous! I’ve have missed cheesecake so much…I can’t wait to try it.

    Two questions:

    1) We don’t own a microwave. What would be the next best method to cook the cauliflower?

    2) My husband doesn’t like most nuts. Do you think substituting raw macadamia nuts for the hazelnuts would work?

    • says

      You can steam the cauliflower instead of microwaving it, Joanna. That’s the method I used in this Cauliflower Fritter Recipe

      As for subbing macadamia for hazelnuts, I’m not sure… the fat content of macadamia is much higher than that of the hazelnuts… if you do try it, be really careful not to over process them, as they turn to butter fairly quickly, and maybe add an extra tablespoon of coconut flour to make up for the extra fat content.

      Let me know how things go if you end up making it! :)

  15. says

    I was surprised but at the same time not surprised..I have been making sushi for years using raw cauliflower instead of the usual rice and my teenage boys never knew it was cauliflower they were both amazed..Like you I love a good cheese cake..

  16. Naomi B says

    Hi Sonia,
    Thanks for this great recipe. I just finished slaving in the kitchen over It and it’s in the one now. I’m excited to taste it! I was wondering if you’ve ever tried freezing this cake? With no topping on it. Please let me know. Thanks!

  17. Katherine says

    I have just made the recipe and after the full time in the oven, it still is not set. I didn’t change anything. I also squuzed every ounce of water out of the cauliflower so don’t think it is an excess liquid problem. Does it set in the 6hrs in the fridge, or should I just keep it going in the oven?

    • says

      I’m real sorry to hear, Katherine. The cake should be completely set as it comes out of the oven… You’ve probably taken it out of there, by now, so hopefully it did set eventually for you! Please let me know what you did and how it turned out.

      • Katherine says

        I put it back in and kept on checking it. It set eventually. Took another hour on top of the original 2. I think that maybe I put too much water in the base of the pan that the cheesecake was surrounded by. The setting process seemed to speed up once all the water had evaporated. Will add the strawberry layer tomorrow then try the following day. Fingers crossed it tastes as good as it smells!

        • says

          That could very well explain it, as more water would take longer to come up in temperature. I’m real happy to hear that it eventually set, though, and I truly hope that you like the taste as much as you did the aroma! (it does smell good, doesn’t it?)

          Keep me posted! :)

  18. Donna says

    I’m so looking forward to trying this cheesecake. I just finished a cleanse and am hoping to implement new healthy ways of eating. Me and my hubby both have a sweet tooth so healthier options that tastes great too is priceless! Which makes me bring up a question. With all the sugar that goes into the cheesecake, can it be considered healthy? Gonna make it anyway, just wondering. ☺

    • says

      Well, Donna, a treat is a treat is a treat! Only they are not all created equal… this one contains nothing but healthy ingredients, so as long as one doesn’t overdo it, I would say that yes, it is a healthy treat indeed! :)

  19. says

    I’ve made lots of regular cheesecakes but I’ve gone dairy & sugar free so this is wonderful, if it really does taste like cheesecake. I’ve found that using a water-bath causes to make my crust soggy (even if I use 3 layers of foil) so I boil water and put in a roasting pan on a rack underneath the cheesecake pan to create steam. If I did this would I have to adjust the baking time? Also, would unfiltered apple cider vinegar work okay or would it make the texture weird?

  20. Inna says

    hi! Your recipe sounds amazing! Do you think there is any chance that subbing out eggs for chia seed eggs might work? My kiddo is allergic and I’m still breastfeeding. But in dying for some cheesecake!!

    • says

      To be honest, Inna, I have zero experience with chia seed eggs, so I wouldn’t be able to tell… Personally, I wouldn’t risk it, especially not with a recipe that calls for so many eggs, but perhaps someone who’s got a little bit more experience with them might be able to tell you otherwise.

  21. Harleigh says

    Sonia!
    I have to thank you for this recipe! I have made it twice – once exactly as written in the recipe and once subbing all of the cauliflower with pumpkin (cooked and dried just like the cauliflower) for a pumpkin cheesecake. O ma gawd, the best cheesecakes I have EVER eaten.
    So my question is this: Could I leave out the honey to make a savory baked cheese round (crustless) with herbs?

    • says

      What fantastic ideas, Harleigh! Love how you turned this into a pumpkin cheesecake, and I am absolutely certain that making this into a savory cheesecake would work just as well! Please, please do keep me posted as to what you did if you end up experimenting with this! 😀

  22. Rachel says

    Would this recipe work if I omit all the honey and replace it with a fruit as a sweetener, like applesauce, dates or banana?

  23. Amy says

    I have mine in the oven right now and it is still not set in the middle after 100 minutes plus 15. I did use a 10 inch round pottery pan from pampered chef because I did not have a 9 inch one and there was too much batter for an 8. 1/2 pan. I tried ! Ugh it’s late at night and its my bday tomorrow and I don’t know what to do. I can’t have regular traditional cake so I made this for my own bday-pretty sad, huh? My daughter did help me though. Should I just turn oven off and leave it in overnight? I want to go to bed! Confused and don’t know what to do!

    • says

      Gah, I’ve been making my own birthday cakes for I don’t know how long, Amy. I don’t think it’s all that sad! 😉

      I really don’t know what to say, I’m thinking perhaps the pan is to blame… The heat transfer wouldn’t be the same with metal vs ceramic. I think your daughter had a great idea, that’s probably what I would’ve done. Hopefully the cake will still turn out fine!

      And hey, Happy Birthday to you!!!! 😀

      • Amy says

        Well I left it in till 1230 took it out and then I woke Up at 4 o’clock and put it in the refrigerator. It is all done except for the very very center however that’s okay because it’s way too much for our family to eat it is still a fabulous cheesecake ( i have taken bites this morning-LOL but it is my bday so i am allowed)! I will make it again once I go buythe right kind of pan. thank you so much for this yummy recipe.-it is to die for! By the way I’m making a caramel sauce from Against All Grains to put on top. i am not crazy about strawberry cheesecake but ii love caramel! We will see how that works and I will let you know!

        • says

          Ooooooh, I love the idea of the caramel sauce! I need to try this myself, with my salted caramel sauce. That HAS to be so decadent! Thank you so much for the inspiration. And glad to hear that it turned out somewhat fine after all. Do keep me posted as to how things go if you give it another go in a different pan.

          Oh, and ps, ABSOLUTELY! You are so allowed having cake first thing in the morning on your birthday. 😀

  24. says

    I have just made this cheese cake and everything want really well, except after two hours it is still not set and it’s also turned a beige colour. Must be the cauliflower from cooking or what else. Please help because it is amazing, taste great and I want to make it for Christmas. Thank you!!

  25. Melissa says

    I have a mango tree and really miss mango cheesecake, so am just going to swap strawberries for mango! I love to put the mango in the cake though so was wondering could I use half a cup of honey and half a cup of pureed mango instead of a full cup of honey, or a whole cup of pureed mango?

    • says

      Honestly, I have no idea, Melissa. Personally, I don’t think the mango puree alone would be sweet enough, but perhaps half and half would work. Definitely, though, sliced mango or mango puree on top of the cake would be heavenly! Let me know how things go if you end up giving it a try!

  26. says

    Just made this and it turned out beautiful. The consistency was perfect and when I saw the secret ingredient I smiled. Thank you! The flavor is still too cashew-y for me, is there another nut I could use?

    • says

      Not sure, Stacey… there really isn’t another one that has the same properties. If it were me, I’d probably run a few tests with chestnuts…

      Glad to hear the cake turned out good, still. Thanks for taking the time to let me know!

  27. Lauren says

    Hi! :) I’m super keen to make this cheesecake for our Christmas get together. I also have another question though, and slightly unrelated to the recipe! haha. What type of camera do you own? I’ve been hunting around for a good camera for a while now and have had a fair bit of trouble choosing one that produces a nice image. Thanks!
    – Lauren

  28. says

    Thank you for this wonderful recipe. I am dairy-free and slowly weening my family there. I have been trying to find a cheesecake recipe and here it is!! Question for you though, our favorite is pumpkin cheesecake – do you think adding some puree pumpkin to the filling would change anything? Have you experimented with other fillings? Going to make your cheesecake this weekend! I can’t wait to try it!! Thank you

    • says

      Unfortunately, Courtney, I haven’t had the chance to experiment with other flavor combinations yet. I’m not sure about simply adding the pumpkin puree. I think what I would do is use it instead of the coconut milk and maybe add a quarter of a cup of melted ghee or coconut oil to make up for the lost fat and moisture. And then of course, I would add all sorts of pumpkin pie spices!

      I really hope the cake turns out for you. Please do keep me posted as to how things went if you end up making it.

    • Marlene says

      See Harleigh’s post on Nov 15th.
      I only just stumbled – very happily – upon this recipe and will definitely try both Sonia’s “original” and Harleigh’s variation on it…
      Good luck to you too

  29. Nellie Chappell says

    WOW!!! would Never Had Guessed the Secret Ingredient Can’t wait to make it
    My father used to use Chokoes as substitute for either Apples or Pears in His Pies as they take on the flavours of the spices and the texture of stewed fruit when used that way …

  30. Judith says

    Oh so yummy. I made this yesterday and left in the fridge overnight. The taste is really just like cheesecake, amazing. I think I either used too much of the secret ingredient, or maybe my lemon was too big , or it just needed to bake longer, because it was still a bit soft. I just sliced it and put in the freezer, and that will probably firm it up enough for me. I baked it an additional 30 minutes, and thought that would be enough. I am excited to try some experimentation of my own. Thanks for the incredibly creative recipe!

    • says

      Glad to hear you liked the cheesecake, Judith! I’m curious as to why it remained that soft, though. Did you actually weigh your cauliflower? I honestly doubt that the amount of juice in a lemon would make such an appreciable difference, especially not since you gave it a whole extra half hour of baking time…

      • Judith says

        No I did not weigh the cauliflower. I am used to using “cup” measurements and have never weighed ingredients before. Is that something that you usually do?
        I wondered how I would get an accurate amount using (1/2 a very large head) of cauliflower. I am so intrigued by this recipe that I will be trying it again. do you have a suggestion for the cauliflower other than by weight? Thank you for your response. I am so delighted with your recipes. I have made the “creamy vegetable soup” twice and love it. I am amazed every time I make mayonnaise using your immersions blender method, it works perfectly every time. Thanks you again for sharing your creativity!

        • says

          With certain recipes, especially in with baked goods, sometimes getting an accurate weight measurement is the best, if not the only way to go. A kitchen scale can be had for a handful of dollars nowadays, which makes it a very valuable investment. I know I could never be without mine! Also, in this particular case, you need to make sure that you squeeze that cauliflower really, really dry!

          Happy to hear you’re enjoying the mayo! Years after, I personally still enjoy watching every new batch come to life! And then I enjoy eating it even more, of course! :)

  31. Judith says

    Thank you for your advice, I ordered a kitchen scale yesterday, I am sure it will be very helpful. You are right it wasn’t expensive, I’m not sure why I have put off getting one before now. :) Thanks again!

  32. Susanna says

    Hi
    I’ve just had this cooking in the oven but it is still quite runny after 2 hours!!! Argh… All that work! I’ve done everything to the letter but not sure if this can be fixed. Is it possible to overcook it if I keep it in the oven??

  33. Sameera says

    Hi there! I am trying to attempt to make your cheese cake. This might be a dumb question but is the full fat coconut milk you are talking about the really thick kind that you can scoop or the one that is more liquid and just pours out. TIA

      • Shelly Jones says

        The ingredients say coconut milk, but the link is to coconut cream. Which one should I use? My husband’s birthday is next Tuesday and he would love cheesecake but doesn’t think it’s possible. I am hoping to surprise him with your recipe! :)

        • says

          What you need to use, Shelly, is the full fat, canned coconut milk. I linked to the brand I use, who happen to refer to theirs as cream in English, and milk in French… as if coconut milks weren’t confusing enough as it is!

          So really… what you need to get is the canned, full fat variety. Hope this helps! :)

  34. Jody says

    Made this cheesecake again for NYE, and it was PERFECT again!!
    Tip: If your center isn’t setting, make sure you are weighing the cauliflower. My grocery store has all different sized heads so to take the guess work out of it, I use my kitchen scale.
    My biggest compliant from my guests when I made this the first time was too much coconut for people’s taste (NO complaints about it not being a dairy-laden cheesecake! They never knew!). So this time I replaced some of the shredded coconut with pecans in the crust. I just made sure the consistency looked right before pressing into the pan. I also pre-baked it a little to get the toasty flavor. DELISH!
    The second change I made was to skip the strawberries all together and top it with a bourbon caramel sauce from the Minimalist Baker http://minimalistbaker.com/4-ingredient-bourbon-caramel-sauce/ and made it dairy-free by using coconut cream. OMG it was GORGEOUS and so delicious. I wish I could attach a photo. THANK YOU for this fantastic recipe!!!

    • says

      Please, please post a picture to my Facebook page? I would LOVE to see your cake, Jody. Sounds soooooo yummy. Now I want caramel cheesecake! 😉

      And yes, you are totally right. I think that weighing the cauliflower is imperative with this recipe. In fact, I should probably only include that measurement.

  35. says

    I am a DJ but also the “sous chef” in my house. My wife and I are experimenting with new Paleo items almost daily right now. I found this cheesecake recipe and thought this couldn’t possibly taste the real thing. Because of my skepticism, I decided I would just make the filling as opposed making the whole thing and throw it all away. Well…I LOVE IT! The filling alone is awesome. I can’t wait to try the whole enchilada but it will have to be next time because I’m gonna eat all of this filling now!!!

    • says

      Haha! I hope the whole enchilada satisfies even more than the filling alone did! Make sure you update me and let me know what you think when you’re done eating all that delicious filling and decide to give the whole thing a go! 😀

  36. Shelly Jones says

    I forgot to soak the cashews last night D: What is the minimum amount of time I need to soak them? Do I then just rinse them and put in the food processor or do you dehydrate them first? This will be my first recipe using raw soaked nuts. We are new to paleo and it is my husband’s birthday.

  37. Shelly Jones says

    I read in the recipe again about rinsing and putting in the food processor, just need to know how long to soak. Also, do you soak the hazelnuts for the crust?

  38. Jenne says

    This recipe looks to fit the bill for my new diet of… Gluten free, cow dairy free, chicken egg free, lemon free…. The list does go on.

    Cashews, I am allergic, so can I substitute perhaps macadamia or another nut for similar results? I had tried almonds in another recipe and was unhappy with the results (I had the cashew version before knowing I was allergic).

    Duck eggs vs chicken eggs. They’re abit larger, so I’m thinking of reducing by 1 to make up for the size difference.

    Can I do lime instead of lemon, or is there another substitute?

    I’m all rather new to my food allergies, so just trying to figure it out.

    • says

      Not sure about the nuts, Jenne. Cashews have a unique, creamy texture to them and their fat content is much lower than that of the macadamia nuts. I’m thinking blanched almonds would be your best bet.

      I’ve never used duck eggs, so I wouldn’t know about their size. You could weigh them to be sure. A standard “large” chicken egg weighs 50g.

      As for doing lime juice instead of lemon, now that wouldn’t pose a problem, for sure!

      Let me know how the cake turns out if you end up trying it! :)

  39. Janet says

    Dear Sonia,
    I have tried this cake as me and my boyfriend are love paleo food. I have done everything little by little- word by word as you written it down expecting a surprisingly good cake as you described it. Well, I don’t mean to ruin by all means the lovely comments you are getting but clearly most of them only appreciate the idea but didn’t try the recipe. I might have still done something wrong but I highly doubt it. So I would like to share my experience with your recipe. The texture of it was perfect and at the beginning I truly believed I won’t taste the cauliflower as it completely disappeared in the mixture . Everything was fine until I started to bake it. It started to smell cauliflower and then i could taste it as well. All the exact amount of ingredients I used as you and it tasted horrible and yes cauliflowery. Sadly after all this I can’t really imagine to taste any better with any changes but I’m working on it.

    • says

      I don’t know what to tell you Janet. I’ve had many people taste this cake and they were all AMAZED with the taste and texture, all said that they would NEVER have guessed that there was cauliflower in there. Many people left raving reviews on here as well as on my social media pages, I’ve received several emails too and ALL said that the cake was AMAZING. The only negative comment it ever got, if you can call it that, was that it took longer to set or never completely set in the center.

      Quite frankly, I find your suggesting that most people who left favorable comments on the cake visibly hadn’t actually tried it and your stating that the cake tasted HORRIBLE to be a tad insulting.

      That said, I’m sorry to hear that your experience with this recipe didn’t go quite as planned and that the cake didn’t meet your expectations. I really wish I could help you pinpoint what went wrong…

    • Rochelle says

      hey there, just a thought… did you precook your cauliflower in the microwave then squeeze out the water? If not it would have had a cauliflower taste to it. I’m not into all these healthy recipes, I think most of them are nasty. lol… but i now have a no-dairy-at-all diet because of my nursing baby. I actually liked this recipe and so did those that I shared it with. My husband, who is forced to try my new recipes, loved it and said he liked it better than cheesecake. I don’t think it tasted just like cheesecake, but it did have a great flavor and structure to it. I really hope you try this again and that it works out cause it is a yummy cake.

    • Rita says

      Janet I read somewhere that if you cook your cauliflower too long it has a taste to it, might that be the problem? And there are so many here who have tasted it and loved it.

  40. Carol says

    Hello,
    Can you suggest a replacement for the coconut oil? Even if is not paleo? I’m allergic to everything coconut.

    Thanks!

  41. Rochelle says

    I made this “cheesecake” yesterday! I have a 4 month old that is sensitive to milk. I nurse her, but I have have dairy she breaks out with horrible rashes that even bleed :( Anyways, cheesecake is my favorite so I thought I would make this. WONDERFUL! I don’t think it tastes like cheesecake, but it is good. My husband said it tastes like the pumpkin cheesecake that I make for the holidays. Overall, I would give this recipe a full rating. We shared with my friends who are also on food restrictions. Everyone loved it! Sorry I didn’t take any pictures… maybe next time since we will be doing this again!

    • says

      Wow, thank you so much for taking the time to leave this FANTASTIC feedback, Rochelle, you have no idea just how much I appreciate! You absolutely, positively, totally ROCK! Also, I’m real happy to hear that this recipe ended up being to your liking and to that of all who tried it. Please, do immortalize your creation next time you make it, I would LOVE to see it! 😀

  42. Gracie says

    Wow – this looks amazing! I can’t wait to try making it.
    Is there anything that I can use as a substitution for the tapioca flour?

  43. Debbie says

    I cannot tolerate coconut. Are there any substitutions you could recommend?? this looks amazing!!!

  44. Solomon says

    I love this cheesecake. I own a small cheesecake company here in Fort Bragg, CA. I’d been searching for a gluten/dairy free baked cheesecake. This one is absolutely perfect. The cauliflower ads an element of texture and creaminess that was delightful. The only thing I do that’s different from you is that I use a Kuhn Rikon push pan instead of a spring-form. I NEVER EVER have to worry about leaking. The pan is a bit pricey. But since I’ve switched to push-pans, I’ve not lost a single cheesecake to leaks. By the way, this cheesecake is delicious and all of my customers who require dairy-free thought that it still tasted very much like a standard cheesecake. Thank you for this one, Absolutely brilliant.

    • says

      Interesting pan… I’d never heard of it, and it looks pretty great indeed, but unfortunately I don’t think I make enough cheesecakes to justify the expense. Plus, I find that lining the pan with parchment paper works perfectly well! Thanks for the tip, though, I’ll keep it in mind.

      Oh, and thank you so much for the amazing feedback, I greatly, greatly appreciate you taking the time to write this. It really is music to my ears! 😀

  45. Emma says

    I pledge allegiance, to the cauliflower flag, and the one cheesecake for which it stands. One deliciousness, under Sonia, with slices of paleo justice for all.

    Wow.

    This tasted absolutely amazing! Even if I did have to scoop it off the floor. Ahem, let’s just say that my springform tin sprung a leak… 😮 I had to handle my precious into the oven and out of it again, but all was well. Thank you so much for confusing my family’s brain into thinking it was normal cheesecake! <3

    • says

      OMG, that is music to my ears! What amazing feedback. I oughta have it printed and framed, then hang it on a wall.

      Thank you so much for that, Emma, you totally rock and absolutely, positively made my day! 😀

  46. says

    Looks SO amazing!! Along with dairy I cannot tolerate eggs… I imagine there’s no substitution for that? Do you think an egg replacer could do the trick? Love the creativity & pictures in this post, keep up the good work!

    • says

      I’ve never worked with egg substitutes, so I really wouldn’t be able to help you with that Jaya. And the recipe calls for a lot of eggs, so I’m not sure I would risk it. Hopefully someone else who has a little more experience with egg replacement could offer some insight…

      Thanks for your kind words, that’s really nice of you to say! :)

  47. Edelyn says

    Sonia just wanted to say my daughter made this for a friend who is lactose intolerant but loves cheesecake. We were pleasantly surprised how it came out. To me it tastes almost caramel/dulce de leche like. I am assuming from a combo of the raw honey, coconut milk, and the cinammon. Bottom line is she loved it. My daughter did not have time to make the homemade crust but bought a pre-made graham cracker crust instead and it still came out just fine! I was happy my 17 year old daughter pulled it of on her own as I was working. She was so proud of herself to be able to give this food gift to a friend for her birthday! By the way her friends whole family loved it and she had extra to make a second cheesecake for us:) Thanks for a great recipe!

    • says

      Thank YOU Edelyn, for taking the time to share this amazing feedback! I’m so happy to hear that you all enjoyed the cake so much, and that your daughter was the one who made it on her own! That is like pure music to my ears. :)

  48. Rita says

    Ok going out today to get ingredients so I can make it for my husband. NOT going to tell him it isn’t real cheesecake. He gets an upset stomach every time he eats cheesecake – just loves it. It could be the dairy in it or the fruit. Will find out. I can’t try it since I am on the Zero Carb diet, but just figured out I can make these recipes for Him so he can eat healthy.

      • Rita says

        Ok! I did practically everything wrong on this recipe – and would you believe it it turned out great. The only thing I substituted was Celery Root for the Cauliflower same gram amount (I do that for anything that says cauliflower, haven’t tried doing for pizza. Probably wouldn’t work). My husband thought it was great.
        I used my useless blender to puree the cashews and celery root (separately), took forever.
        I beat the eggs too long, too much air, made the cake get done sooner, put it in the fridge to moisten up the hot cake with the frigid air. I turned the frig to colder to compensate. It would take too long to list all I did wrong, but in spite of this it was wonderful!
        You are a magician Sonia!

        • Rita says

          erm…even though I am in the middle of Zero Carb diet I took a piece to test before giving it to my husband. Yummmmm.

        • says

          HAHAHA! Thank you so much Rita! I think you’re the magician for having this cake turn out despite all the “substitutions”! And celery root, really? OMG, to say I am intrigued would be an understatement. Now I NEED to try it for myself! :)

          So tell me… what did hubby think of the cake?

          • rita says

            He thought it was great. Neither one of us are really what you would call sweet eater’s, but every now and then we like something sweet. This is pretty healthy.

            Yes, fiddle around with the celery root, I used it gram for gram the same as the cauliflower. I did not have to squeeze it dry. I got the idea of using celery root from Mellissa at: ibreatheimhungry.com. She used it for hashbrowns, so good! It is very hard to peel and you have to make sure you cut most of that fibrous material off at both ends. I then fished out a few that made it into the batter.

            I also made a cookie crust made from detoxinista.com site (grain-free shortbread cookies). Baked one big cookie, cooled it, then crumbled it into a bowl with a little more honey and butter and spread it in the cheesecake pan. This would make a wonderful chocolate crust.

            Anyway I bet if you fiddled with the celery root you would come up with something fantastic!

  49. Kim says

    I’m in the middle of this recipe. It is looking and tasting amazing as I go along, but there should be a warning: THIS RECIPE TAKES HOURS OF PREP!!! Seriously, I’m out of time and will have to put the filling & crust in the fridge to bake later!!

    • says

      Sorry to hear you ran out of time to finish the cake Kim. I agree that it does require a little bit of prep time, although I think that about an hour should do the trick, not including baking time, of course… I hope that your cake turned out in the end, even though you had to let the batter sit overnight (which I really don’t think should be a problem.)

  50. maria says

    Hi! would definitely try to bake this gorgeous cake, but have a few questions.. Sorry if you already had to answer them, i couldnt read all comments (too impatient to start baking):
    1. Crust: can i add other nuts, for example pecans or walnuts along with hazelnuts? if yes then what proportion would be right?
    2. Grassfed gelatin: i have difficulties finding gelatine in the place i live (believe it or not!) and would like to know if there is anything at all to replace it…
    3. The springform pan: I’m a total beginner in baking so i don’t have all forms and shapes of pans for baking.. just yet Would like to know if a pie pan would do? its same size but a bit shallow comparing to your pan..

    thanks a ton!

  51. Valerie says

    Hi.
    I was soo interested in making this cheesecake for father’s day, but i didnt realize it needs to sit in the fridge for at least 6 hours after baking and i started late. Can it be less time? Why does it need to go in the fridge for that long.

    I really want to eat it already lol.

  52. Rebecca says

    Thank you so much for this recipe!! It is the only dairy free cheesecake recipe I have found (and believe me, I’ve looked for hours) that sounded worth the time to make. I have it in the oven as we ‘speak’! I’m dairy and gluten free, and I am taking it to a family 4th of July party that also includes two Paleo’s and three diabetics. I won’t be able to taste it before presenting it, but I really am not worried. I’ll let you know how it went over! Thanks again!

  53. Tiffany says

    I really want to try this but I’m not a fan of coconut flakes. Is there a replacement for that in the crust? Another kind of nut?

  54. Becky says

    WOW this looks so good! I’ve been hoping for a recipe like this for a long time! I can’t wait to try making it except for one thing: is there a substitute for tapioca flour other than arrowroot flour? I’m not strict paleo so if just regular all-purpose flour could work than that would be the best! Or maybe more coconut flour?

    Thank you for developing this amazing recipe!

  55. C says

    Hi I have a really quick question. I am in the store and I cannot find Ceylon cinnamon is there a substitute? I really want to make this.

  56. C says

    Hi again I know I am asked nah a lot of questions but do I have to use raw cashew or can I use roasted because raw cashews are like totally way too expensive!

    • says

      Not sure I would do it, really… firstly, most roasted cashews have been roasted in oil, and I’m not sure how well that would work for soaking, and secondly, it would definitely change the flavor some. But seriously, I don’t understand why raw cashews should be more expensive than the roasted ones. Have you tried looking for cashew pieces instead? Those are usually super affordable!

  57. C says

    Hi Sonia I promise this will be my last comment and questions. Ok so I made the cheesecake finally and everyone liked it but it did not taste as I had expected but I think the reason is because I change some things about the recipe so I have my last set of questions for you.
    1. When you soak the cashews are you supposed to chop them into pieces and then soak them or are whole ones okay. If there is no difference or if you never tried which way do you do it?
    2. If I did not use tapioca flour will it change the taste? Same if I did not use Ceylon cinnamon. Also same for blackstrap molasses versus just regular molasses.
    Sorry for the questions I just really want to impress my family with a paleo dessert that is healthy and tastes like a dairy cheesecake.

    • says

      Oh yay, I’m happy to hear that the cake was a success after all! But what was it about the flavor that wasn’t quite like you expected?

      To answer your questions, it doesn’t really matter whether you chop the cashews since you reduce them to a puree eventually… so as long as you soak them long enough, it’s all the same, really. I prefer to use pieces only because they are much cheaper.

      Not using tapioca flour will not affect the flavor, as this stuff is pretty flavorless. What did you end up using? Same goes for cinnamon. Celyon vs standard doesn’t change the taste all that much, although Ceylon cinnamon is a bit milder and sweeter than the other variety. As for the molasses, again, not a major game changer. Blackstrap has a stronger, more intense flavor than the fancy variety, but using the latter wouldn’t completely modify the flavor profile of the final product.

      • C says

        The cheesecake was good but it didn’t taste like cheesecake. It tasted more like pumpkin pie.

        And as a substitute to tapioca flour I ended up using a rice blend which has tapioca starch in it and some other starches.

  58. Becky says

    Thank you so much for this recipe, Sonia! I can’t imagine how much work it took to develop…I’m exhausted after making it just once! But it was totally worth it.
    My family was really surprised to hear that it was dairy-free, and didn’t guess that there was cauliflower even after knowing that there was no cream cheese. My brother even said that it was a “very cheesy cheesecake.”
    The texture was definitely my favorite part. It was so creamy but just firm enough.
    I think next time I’ll skip the glaze for the strawberries…it’s just too hard too wait an extra hour and a half!

    • says

      Hahaha! But that glaze is soooooo good! I could never pass on it… :)

      Thank you very much for your awesome feedback, Becky. That is pure music to my ear. Honestly. I am so super happy to hear that you and yours enjoyed this cheesecake. Testimonials such as yours are what make all that time spent coming up with new recipes worth the while. You are a real gem! :)

  59. Sameera says

    I loved this recipe!! I turned it into a turtle cheesecake for my birthday, (linked a picture for you on my Instagram) and it was a huge hit! Both of my parents, who don’t eat paleo, loved it and had no idea what the secret ingredient was!! Thank you :)

    • says

      TURTLE CHEESECAKE??? OH MY YUMMY! Please tag me on that picture? I don’t remember seeing it in my feed, and I’d LOVE to see it!

      And thank you so very much for taking the time to leave this awesome feedback. It’s always such lovely music to my ears! :)

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