Raw Orange Chocolate “Cheesecake”

by Susan on December 10, 2009

Raw Orange Chocolate "Cheesecake"

What do you do when a blizzard cancels your raw food cooking class and you have cashews soaking for prep? Make a great raw recipe for cheesecake! I love the combination of orange and chocolate. A bag of beautiful, fragrant oranges was sitting on the counter. Time to have some fun. The texture came out beautiful, and the taste is divine. Another recipe that would be perfect for holiday entertaining. I used a little orange essential oil in this to really kick up the orange flavor. You might want to note that essential oils are not considered raw and you want to be sure you are using food grade oils for recipes. This is a really simple, quick yet impressive “cheesecake”.

Orange Chocolate Cheesecake


  • 1 C Almonds*
  • 1/4 C Cacao Powder
  • 3 Dates

Combine all ingredients in the food processor. Process until ground fine. Mixture should hold together when pressed. If it doesn’t, add water, 1 T at a time until texture is achieved. Set aside 1/4 C. Press remaining into bottom of 6″ spring form pan. Place in refrigerator.

*I always pre-soak all my almonds and dry them as soon as I get them.


  • 3 Oranges (make sure you have very good oranges)
  • 2/3 C Agave (or liquid sweetener of your choice)
  • 2 1/2 C Cashews (soaked at least 3 hours)
  • 3/4 C Coconut Butter
  • 1/2 t. Sweet Orange Essential Oil (optional as it is not raw but still very healthy)

Grate the zest off of all the oranges. You should have at least 3 T. Be careful to only get the orange part as the pith (the white) is bitter. Squeeze the juice out of all the oranges. You should have about 2/3 C. Place cashews, agave, coconut butter, zest, essential oil, and agave and orange juice in the food processor and process until very smooth. Pour over crust, sprinkle extra crust on top and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

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{ 119 comments… read them below or add one }

aurora December 10, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Did you use chocolate in powder form, or are they shavings?

Susan December 10, 2009 at 2:08 pm

I use cacao powder for this.

Abby December 10, 2009 at 2:14 pm

This is absolutely beautiful! A perfect dessert for the holidays- I can’t wait to try making it!

Lori December 10, 2009 at 2:16 pm

Wow. That is beautiful! Thank you for sharing such an amazing dessert! Can’t wait to make it! However, how the hell does yours come out so perfect?! Mine never do! haha!

VeggieGirl December 10, 2009 at 2:21 pm


elena December 10, 2009 at 2:34 pm

This looks delightful! Will have to try this weekend.

Miriam/The Winter Guest December 10, 2009 at 2:41 pm

This is perfect! I will definitely try this one!

Amanda@thegrainsofparadise.com December 10, 2009 at 3:08 pm

Whoa! This is just BEAUTIFUL! I just bought some oranges this morning at the local Kapalua fruit stand. I might have to try this one. Thanks for sharing!! Aloha

Veggie Girl is Living Rawesome December 10, 2009 at 4:14 pm

This is so beautiful. I love looking at you photos. You not only make gorgeous food, but the photos are over the top;-)

Nathalie Lussier December 10, 2009 at 4:54 pm

This looks incredible Susan! I love how you turned a not so pleasant situation into such a gift for us in terms of eyecandy. :) Yum yum!

Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet December 10, 2009 at 5:25 pm

This dessert is stunning!

Veggie Wedgie December 10, 2009 at 9:46 pm

Chocolate+Orange = Yummy in my tummy!

Stefania (formerly The Veg Next Door) December 11, 2009 at 7:11 am

That looks divine!

heidileon December 11, 2009 at 7:17 am

hi there,
I have a few questions (maybe bit stupid but I’m not very familiar with vegan food, but still want to give it a try; sounds delicious!)
1. almonds are skinned?
2. no agave around here so I will substitute it with honey (sorry!)
3.coconut butter. mmm, same same. no were to find it here (I live in China) so; another suggestion? Or do you have a recipe to make my own coconut butter? (there are plenty of coconuts around here!)

ok, that’s all. thanks

ps. just wanted to let you know I have printed out your food list and have it on my fridge all the time; although we’re not vegans we love healthy food :)

Susan December 11, 2009 at 8:44 am

The almonds are not skinned, honey will work but I would taste as agave is sweeter and I have not figured out how to replace the coconut butter or coconut oil with anything. Does anyone else have any suggestions? It is what helps the cheesecake set up. Can you mail order?

Pam December 11, 2009 at 9:24 am



Genevieve December 11, 2009 at 11:52 am

Looks amazing! I have to try it!
By the way, I love your blog. Great recipes and beautiful pictures!
Thank you for the inspiration!

Gala December 11, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Gorgeous deco…wow!

carrie December 11, 2009 at 12:30 pm

If you live in china and you can get coconuts, I would try making a paste out of them. Take the flesh and blend with just enough of the water to make a paste. Refrigerate. Or, research how to make your own coconut butter… i’m sure there are documents on the web for this…

Also, Irish Moss, which is a sea vegetable, should be available to you. You can soak this in water for a few hours (maybe 2) and then rinse very, very, very well. Blend with other ingredients and it should help to set the cake.

Also, Soy Lecithin is also a thickening agent…

I hope this helps!!!

Susan December 11, 2009 at 12:34 pm

Good call on the Irish moss. I have never used so forget about it. It could work. Although I know that coconut butter is made from 100% raw coconuts, I have tried to find out the process on the web. It would be fun to see what it is.

Julia December 11, 2009 at 2:54 pm


The photo looks amazing. But where is the cheese in the cheesecake?

Susan December 11, 2009 at 2:57 pm

It is a “cheesecake” done the raw food, vegan way. So, no animal products are used. Only healthy, nutrient dense ingredients. Thus the quotes. ;-)

carol giambri December 11, 2009 at 7:23 pm

Raw cheesecakes rock. Thanks Susan for my drooling eyes and also recipe helps tons.

remember me when visiting Boulder for unite

mado December 12, 2009 at 9:37 am

orange + chocolate + raw = sinful, blissful heaven. now to find an excuse to serve this with brunch…..

Carole Hicks December 14, 2009 at 7:43 pm

When you say “good oranges” what do you mean? Naval? Valencia?

Susan December 14, 2009 at 7:51 pm

An orange that tastes really good. So many are dry and don’t have that great orange flavor.

polly raichert December 16, 2009 at 8:12 pm

Made this recipe this weekend and it was very good. Not all essential oils are food grade are they? I had some aura cacia but didnt use it becuz whole foods said it was not food grade ( although that makes me somewhat nervous about using it other ways). What kind did you use? Thanks

Diana@Spain in Iowa December 28, 2009 at 3:43 pm

Susan, am I ever excited to have found your blog. Your recipes are rawmazing! You’ve inspired me! Thank you and I look forward to following you :)

Marion December 29, 2009 at 5:41 pm


I may be a bit late, but I hope my question will Be answered.
Well, I don’t understand what is meant with “cashews, soaked”.
English is not my native language. I know cashews as white, somehow “curly-like” nuts.
Are these nuts meant ? If so, in what are they “soaked” ? Water ? Orange Juice ? Are the cashews grated or grounded ? I find it difficult to soak nuts of this size in anything ? Maybe it is really a language problem. And is it correct to use a 6 inch pan which means à Little less than 16 cm ? In Germany a standard cake pan is of 26 cm which is about 11 inches I think.
I hope someone reads this and can help me, although the original post here is already a few days old.
Seasonal greetings from Germany

Susan December 29, 2009 at 5:55 pm

You soak the cashews for a couple of hours in water to soften them up. The spring form pan used is small…only 6″ but the cheesecake is so dense that you still get 8 servings out of it. You then use the food processor to make the filling with the soaked nuts. I hope this helps…

Frugal Babe December 29, 2009 at 8:20 pm

This is amazing! Very easy to make, and tastes fantastic. Mine does not look quite as nice as yours, but it tastes amazing! Thanks for sharing

K&M December 30, 2009 at 4:53 pm

I just discovered your website (via gliving). It’s rAwmazing! I love the pictures… surely enough to whet anyone’s appetite for raw food and inspire me to make more raw food. Fabulous.

evw January 5, 2010 at 10:30 am

for heidileon’s comment re looking for coconut butter … yes, you can make your own by removing the fresh coconut meat from the hulls, taking care to save the coconut water. Cream the fresh coconut meat in a food processor or champion juicer (or similar equipment that will not create high temp while creaming; a standard blender has insufficient power and the blades are not sharp nor strong enough) and if necessary, use some of the coconut water to get cream consistency.

Susan January 5, 2010 at 10:42 am

Honestly, because of the consistency needed for this recipe, I would really want to try making the coconut butter before suggesting using it this way. Maybe I will do that this afternoon!

Christine January 5, 2010 at 1:59 pm

What brand/kind of sweet orange essential oil did you use? I can’t find one that is food grade.

Susan January 5, 2010 at 6:49 pm

There are quite a few of them out there. You need to google food grade essential oils.

carina January 6, 2010 at 10:52 am

i used much more dates than it says in the recipe, i think about 10 (or more) + added 1 tablespoon water to achieve the right consistence.

after grating the zest from the oranges it only made 1 tablespoon, not 3. to compense this lack and because i didn’t use the orange oil either i squeezed half a lemon and added it to the filling.

all in all the cake turned out fine! the next time i’ll use more lemon juice to get a more sourly taste!

thanks for the recipe and your whole great website! :)

Susan January 6, 2010 at 11:54 am

You used 10 dates?! In the crust? Wow!

Mike February 7, 2010 at 10:32 pm

Hi Susan,

I am IN LOVE with all your pictures. I just did a few changes to the recipe so to fit better my view of the sweetner – I used mapple syrup (you know – Canada = mapple syrup :) ). I have seen quite a few guys asking for a replacement of the coconut butter. Its been a while since I started looking for an answer to this question and so far I came to the point that Irish Moss is a good substitute and it is available in almost every food store around the world, however it will NOT be enough to keep the consistency. In order to achieve the perfect result I am suggesting 1 tsp of fine grounded husk flower plus the Irish Moss (in case you can find both). Using husk flower in the recipes is both health improving (cleansing toxins) and makes the cheese cake stay much longer in its shape outside of the fridge. The only “problem” someone can discover is that he have put too much husk as the gelling effect starts few minutes later. So give it a try with 1/2 tsp and if not enough, add a bit more.

Of course you can always find a good and reliable dealer online for coconut butter which is also very rich in good fats. Just wanted to share an idea of the substitution…

Susan February 7, 2010 at 10:46 pm

I never actually answered this but you can not make the kind of coconut butter needed for this recipe from fresh coconuts. You need it to be very solid at room temp so the cheesecake will set.

Diana@Spain in Iowa February 11, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Hi Susan, I’m planning on trying this recipe out for a Valentines dinner. Can coconut oil be substituted for the coconut butter? I’ve not heard of butter before.



Gloria February 12, 2010 at 1:32 pm

Hi Susan,
I actually have the same question as a lot of folks…about the coconut butter. Never bought it before, where can you purchase- whole foods? trader joe’s? is there a brand you recommend? just don’t want to talk right by it in the store, which is very likely. Thanks! I’m going to try and make it for a friend this weekend. She forwarded me the recipe.

Susan February 12, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Coconut butter is different that coconut oil. You can find a description of each of them here: http://www.rawmazing.com/articles/raw-food-all-about-young-coconuts/Coconuts. I would suggest trying to get the coconut butter because it has a richer flavor. We offer it in our store if you would like to buy it on line!!

Anne-Laure March 7, 2010 at 9:13 pm

We just tasted it, it is as delicious as it is beautiful. With such a treat you could convert anyone to raw!

Couldn’t find coconut butter and was afraid that with coconut oil, il would fall apart, but that was not the case. A recipe that keep its promises (it is not always the case…), that’s very satisfactory! I will certainly try others now. It’s worthy getting used to the cups and spoons measures which really confused me at start (I’m French and normally only rely on “grammes” and “millilitres”)!

Thank you very much for sharing your recipes through this beautiful blog.

Susan March 7, 2010 at 9:31 pm

Thanks so much. When texture is considered, coconut butter and coconut oil are interchangeable. The taste of coconut butter is much richer…

Helene March 23, 2010 at 2:07 am

Susan: Can I ask you HOW you made the top of the cheesecake so smoothe. Did you wet a spatula and go over it or what??? AND noticed the top of the cheesecake flips upward just a tad, and how did you get the crest on the bottom of the crust? I think I know the answers but would love to hear how to do those tricks exaclty?

Susan March 23, 2010 at 7:31 am

I didn’t to anything other than pour the filling into crust that I had patted into the spring form pan.

Lisa March 30, 2010 at 9:31 pm

I only have a 9″ spring form pan. Should I adjust the amount of ingredients to make up the difference? If not will it come up short on crust, and cheese filling just not as thick? Please advise!

Susan March 30, 2010 at 9:38 pm

You will have plenty of crust and the cheese cake will be much thinner. You can always increase the ingredients.

Belle April 11, 2010 at 4:43 pm

Hey! I just made this (doubled the recipe for a 10 inch springform pan) and it was a HUGE hit. We had no oranges so I used tangerines and threw in a lemon, and I also added a touch of cinnamon to the crust. Instead of putting the crust on top like in the picture, I made chocolate sauce out of raw cacao butter, raw cocoa powder and agave and swirled it into the top of the cheesecake with a toothpick. I also added several spoonfuls of soy lecithin to the filling to make things smoother. Gorgeous! thank you.

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