Apple Cranberry “Cheesecake”

by Susan on November 15, 2009

Cheesecake1Needing to come up with a menu for a raw food dessert class that I recently taught, I decided to whip up a “cheesecake” recipe. It was actually pretty easy. And taste? The class was blown away. The crust is almonds and dates, and the base of the “cheesecake” is cashews! Don’t worry, I added apples and dried cranberries for that hit of fruit. The result? A healthy, tasty dessert that will be completely at home on your Thanksgiving or Holiday table. The consensus of the class is that non-raw people would never guess that this is raw, vegan or healthy!

Don’t be intimidated by this one, one serving is equivalent to only eating 1/4 C cashews and 1/8 C of almonds! Cashews are a good source of protein, fiber and also potassium, B vitamin, foliate, magnesium, phosphorous, selenium and copper.

Apple Cranberry “Cheesecake”


  • 1 C Almonds
  • 4 Dates, soaked until soft with pit removed


  • 3 Apples, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1/4 C Agave (or liquid sweetener of your choice)
  • 1/2 t. Cinnamon
  • 1/3 C Dried Cranberries
  • 2 T Coconut Butter
  • 1/3 C Crust


  • 2 C Cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
  • 1 t. Lemon juice
  • 1/2 C Coconut Butter (softened in dehydrator)
  • 1/4 C Agave (or liquid sweetener of your choice)
  • 1 t. Vanilla
  • 1 t. Cinnamon
  • 1/4 t cloves
  • 1/4 t nutmeg

Read Through This Recipe Before Beginning

2 hours before: Combine apples, agave and cinnamon. Place on non-stick dehydrator sheet and dehydrate at 116 for 2 hours, stirring once during dehydration. Make crust: Place almonds in food processor. Process until finely ground. Add dates, process until well mixed. Set aside 1/3 cup of the crust. Press remaining into spring form pan. I used a 6″ for this recipe. You may have extra crust. Place in refrigerator. Make Filling: Combine all ingredients in food processor. Process until smooth. This will take a bit. Pat over crust and return to refrigerator. Finish Topping: Combine dehydrated apples, dried cranberries, coconut butter and 1/3 C crust. Press over top of cheesecake. Return to refrigerator and chill for 2 hours before serving. Slice with sharp knife. Serves 8.

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{ 101 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah November 10, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Wondering where one can buy coconut butter??

Susan November 10, 2010 at 12:37 pm It is under the ingredients category.

Tina November 22, 2010 at 9:40 pm

This sounds really good! I think I’ll give it a try for Thanksgiving! I’ll let you know how it turns out, and how the non-raw-foodies react. Should be interesting.

Susan November 22, 2010 at 9:44 pm

It is great. I make it a lot for classes. Always loved, and easy!

JD December 3, 2010 at 5:03 pm

I have made this three times this holiday season already!! It is great for a party table or football tailgating. The dollar store has so many plates to chose from and I can leave it at my hosts house that way too. So far, everyone loves it. And loves it even more when they find out how healthy it is. thanks for this and all your other ‘comfort’ recipes!! <3 <3

Marija Berto December 23, 2010 at 3:00 am

Thank you for all of the wonderful raw food recipes. I am vying to go raw especially with sweet treats.

I really dislike the taste of coconut. I can tolerate coconut oil or water, but flakes, butter, or any kind of dehydrated coconut makes me gag. Are there any other alternatives I can use to replace the coconut in this recipe and others?

Many thanks and best wishes in the New Year :)
Marija Berto

Susan December 23, 2010 at 8:39 am

Coconut butter is a key ingredient in this “cheesecake”. It is what allows the cheesecake to set up I don’t have a raw, vegan substitute. You could try oil instead of the butter but I haven’t made it that way yet.

Dsousa February 4, 2011 at 7:59 pm

This looks amazing! I have 2 questions though:

Can I use coconut oil instead of Coconut butter? Will it affect the taste?
How long do I have to wait for the filling to harden up before I add the toppings and crust?


Susan February 5, 2011 at 12:10 pm

You can but it won’t taste as good, and you can put the topping on right away. The filling is very thick.

Marisa February 16, 2011 at 11:14 pm

I’m not a big fan of cashews, can I substitute them for walnuts or something else? Please let me know. Thanks!

Susan February 17, 2011 at 8:21 am

Cashews are the traditional nuts used for raw cheesecakes because of texture and also the mild taste. You tend to taste the spices not the cashews.

bruky April 8, 2011 at 3:26 pm

please let me know if there is any alternative to the coconut butter as I am allergic to coconut & this recipe looks HEAVEN!!!! (Can I try cocoa butter>>>)



Susan April 9, 2011 at 11:16 am

I don’t have a an alternative in this recipe without completely reworking it. :-)

Debera May 14, 2011 at 10:16 am

I make raw cheese cake with Cacao butter. It taste like heaven!! It is very firm. But I am not sure on the proportions. I want to try this one because the cacao butter is harder to get a hold of and it is really expensive. I can’t wait to try this one.

new2raw June 9, 2011 at 2:42 pm

the perfect dessert i love cheesecakes and baking but i am living a healthy lifestyle so wanted sugar and dairy free recipes, this looks and sounds amazing i great healthy dessert for holidays like xmas too, i love your site and its great to have healthy baking options

Victoria July 3, 2011 at 11:43 pm

I made this recently and it was a smashing success! Everyone was very surprised that it was a raw dessert.
Thank you so much for creating this!

Tricia July 17, 2011 at 3:10 pm

You’re dessert recipes look delicious!
I was wondering if it would be possible to substitute honey for agave syrup?

Susan July 17, 2011 at 3:12 pm

You can try but I haven’t made it that way so I don’t know. You can find good, healthy agave. Xagave is one of them. It is raw, organic and a very excellent product.

Ruby August 8, 2011 at 11:11 pm

Thank you so much for posting such wonderful recipes! You certainly don’t have to, and yet it benefits everyone who reads them! I’ve tried already a few recipes from this site and they are all absolutely delicious! I’m very grateful. This cheesecake looks so flipping good, I think I’ll make this tomorrow!

osei September 4, 2011 at 7:36 pm

I have been preparing raw, baked, and cooked vegan foods since 1978. I must tell you that your recipes are quite good. As a thickening agent to help the cashews, you may want to try some irish moss (sea moss). You can get it at most good fruit stands in NY or wherever Caribbean people live. Soak the seamoss (1- 2oz pack) overnight after washing the salt out and cleaning it thoroughly. Depending on the quality, thick is better; put the seamoss in to a small bowl and add water to barely cover it, place it in your dehydrator @115-145º for 2-4 hours or until it dissolves and thickens. Stir it every hour. Blend until it is all smooth and refrigerate. I gets really thick when it sets. Combine with cashews and coconut butter and set. A smoothe creamy filling is the result. Enjoy!

Morgan October 17, 2011 at 1:48 am

I made this today for a friends birthday cake and it was SOO GOOD. Probably the best thing I’ve ever made and it was incredibly easy. I didn’t use dried cranberries though because I didn’t want any processed sugar. I replaced Agave nectar with Stevia and put a little extra vanilla. It was so beautiful. Try it!

Nelda Elaine November 27, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Susan, what a beautiful cheesecake!!! I love it!!!! Easy to make……thank you for sharing your delectable recipes! Gracias! Nelda Elaine – Texas

Lynda December 8, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Neither cashews (ever) nor almonds in North America are raw. Google and you will see much on this.

Susan December 9, 2011 at 10:52 am

Actually you can find raw almonds in North America. Many coops will import they from Spain, and they are available on-line and also at farmer’s markets in places where they are grown. You can google unpasturized almonds and you will find quite a few places that carry truly raw almonds.

Navitis Naturals carries raw cashews. They use a low heat extraction process that preserves the enzymes.

Marie Tashkoff January 16, 2012 at 5:09 am

I’m sold on the appearance! I’m sold on the ingredients! Can’t wait to try it! :)

Sharon Porter January 17, 2012 at 3:29 pm

I tried this recipe. It is delicious, but I was wondering if the almonds are soaked and dehydrated first or just raw soaked almonds. My crust was not what I thought it should be.

Susan January 17, 2012 at 6:04 pm

For this recipe they are raw, soaked almonds You want to make sure you dry them well. If the crust is too moist for you, you can use dry nuts plus a little water. Cheers!

Wanda Carroll Fanning February 16, 2012 at 9:08 am

I made this cheese cake for valentines Day and invited everyone over to have some. This is amazing! I change the recipe a little used raw white cocoa butter instead of coconut butter, and I added 3 oranges and orange zest to. it making it orange apple cranberry. Thanks so much u have no idea how much the photos help me.
Humble indebted to u,

Wanda Carroll Fanning February 16, 2012 at 9:09 am

I made this cheese cake for valentines Day and invited everyone over to have some. This is amazing! I change the recipe a little used raw white cocoa butter instead of coconut butter, and I added 3 oranges and orange zest to. it making it orange apple cranberry. Thanks so much u have no idea how much the photos help me.
Humble indebted to u,

Kelsey March 11, 2012 at 11:53 pm

Amazing! Everyone loved it and no one knew it was healthy.

Shelby March 15, 2012 at 12:23 pm

I was wondering about the dehydrating process. I don’t have a dehydrater because I am new to raw foods. Can this be done in an oven??

Cathy March 23, 2012 at 11:51 pm

I have just made this and did not turn out the lovely cream as this one did. Mine looks more like a pale chocolate (i’m guessing from the nutmeg and cloves………did anyone else find this. It doesn’t matter as far as taste goes. I added some fresh mangosteens from the garden because they are very sweet and therefore complimentary to this dish. Thank you so much for showing me all the great things i can do without cooking. I am looking forward to trying some more of your delicious dishes……..actually I’m in the process of making the zucchini noodles with the italian sauce…… Pasta alla checca…….looking forward to dinner tonight!

Cathy March 24, 2012 at 1:29 am

oops …….update……just realised that i used twice as much cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves……may account for the colour. I had a sneak taste a few minutes ago and it is DELICIOUS !!!!!!

NINA DOMENICA April 12, 2012 at 10:57 am


Peggy Reinwald May 2, 2012 at 4:32 pm

I’d like to know if an oven can be used instead of a dehydrater. If so..would you know what temp and for how long? Thanks!

Susan May 2, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Since this is a raw food website, I do not test my recipes in the oven. You are welcome to experiment. Cheers!

Wanda Carroll Fanning May 16, 2012 at 9:47 pm

This is the most amazing raw cheese cake, I added cranberry and apple toppings to the cheese cake as I was brending in. It gave it more flavor and I used up the extra bets left over. I love your sight !

Bart June 10, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Looks very delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

Carly September 24, 2012 at 7:29 pm

“Although it’s fast becoming the preferred sweetener for health-conscious consumers and natural cooks, the truth is that agave is processed just like other sugars — and is no better for you than other sugars. And don’t be dazzled by the word “natural”; U.S. food regulators do not legally define the term, so it’s left up to manufacturers.”

Susan September 24, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Please feel free to read the about agave section on the FAQ page.

Irina November 5, 2012 at 2:23 pm

What is the difference between coconut butter and coconut oil?
I thought it is the same product.

Susan November 5, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Irina, thanks so much for asking. You can find the answer here:

Sheila November 16, 2012 at 10:37 am

Susan, This will be my Thanksgiving dessert. It looks incredible. Just purchased your Rawmazing cookbook. Can’t wait to start testing the yummy recipes. Raw cooking is still intimidating to me, but I’m taking it little by little. Haven’t purchased a dehydrator, but I’ll experiment with a low setting on my oven until I get the hang of it. Thanks so much!!

Angela White December 11, 2012 at 11:44 pm

Do you know what the nutritional information for this Cheese Cake?

Susan December 11, 2012 at 11:49 pm

If you need the nutritional information, you can find a nutritional recipe calculator on-line, enter the ingredients and then divide by the number of servings. Remember that servings are typically much smaller than a traditional dessert because the nutrients are so dense, you don’t require much to be satisfied.

Angela December 12, 2012 at 8:48 am

Thanks Susan for replying I did a nutritional calculator and some of the ingredients were not on the list, but what I could enter did have show high calorie and carbs, I still want to make it and like to try more or the recipes on the web site. Thank you again.

Sarah December 17, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Thank you for this awesome recipe :) I made it for my co-workers and they LOVED it. On a sad note, I broke my food processor making the filling…it just took all the energy it had left to make the filling then it gave up! This gives me a great excuse to get a new, high-powered processor! Happy Holidays!

Susan December 17, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Your food processor must have been on it’s last leg! Glad you liked the recipe. Cheers!

Flora July 10, 2013 at 10:48 pm

I’ve heard that it can be used as thickening agent raw tapioca starch or arrowroot starch. is it safe? is it digestible? Thank you

Rebecca November 27, 2013 at 3:48 am

Would it destroy the recipe to leave out the lemon juice? My mother is allergic to citrus but I am dying to make her a cheesecake for christmas! This sounds and looks amazing,so if anyone has tied it or has a replacement for the lemon I would love to hear.

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