Valentine’s Day is a great way to brighten up an otherwise gloomy February. Even if you’re not into all the hearts and flowers, you’ve got to admit that, if nothing else, it’s a great excuse to eat chocolate!
At my house Valentine’s Day chocolate will take the form of this decadent, Chocolate Cherry Vegan Cheesecake. I especially like making this cheesecake with fresh cherries, but you can use strawberries or raspberries instead, if you prefer (or even red pepper jelly, if you dare!) This cheesecake is simple to make and has been scaled down to bake in a small 7-inch springform pan, making it ideal to serve after a romantic dinner for two. Don’t worry, there will still be a lot of leftovers — the cake is very rich and only a small piece at a time is needed to satisfy.
If you don’t have time to make this dessert, I’ve got you covered with a quick and easy dessert idea that is sophisticated and delicious enough to serve on Valentine’s Day …
Simply scoop dairy-free vanilla ice cream into pretty dessert dishes or barware such as martini or wine glasses. Drizzle with your favorite liqueur (I like Frangelico) and garnish with fresh sliced strawberries or a few raspberries or pitted fresh cherries. If you’re not a liqueur lover, just drizzle on some chocolate sauce or other dessert sauce and garnish with red berries.
Special Diet Notes: Chocolate Cherry Vegan Cheesecake
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, optionally gluten-free, vegan / plant-based, and vegetarian.
For nut-free chocolate cherry vegan cheesecake, you can omit the almonds, and make sure you use dairy-free products and cookies that are nut-safe for your needs.
For soy-free chocolate cherry vegan cheesecake, choose a dairy-free, soy-free margarine (such as Melt) and cream cheese alternative (such as Daiya) and be sure to select a soy-free milk beverage and cookies, too. All should be fairly accessible.
- 3 tablespoons dairy-free margarine (such as Earth Balance)
- 1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs (can use gluten-free cookie crumbs)
- ⅔ cup dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 (8-ounce) containers dairy-free cream cheese alternative, at room temperature
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¼ cup dairy-free milk beverage
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup fruit-sweetened cherry jam
- 6 fresh ripe cherries, pitted
- ¼ cup toasted sliced almonds
- Dairy-free chocolate curls (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 7-inch springform pan.
- Melt the margarine in a small saucepan.
- Place the cookie crumbs in the prepared springform pan and drizzle in as much of the melted margarine as needed to moisten the crumbs, mixing with a fork to combine. Press the crumb mixture into bottom and sides of pan.
- Melt the chocolate in a double-boiler or microwave and keep warm.
- In a food processor, combine the cream cheese alternative, sugar, milk beverage, and vanilla, and blend until smooth. Add the chocolate and blend until smooth.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared crust and spread it evenly.
- Bake until firm, about 40 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the cake remain in the oven for 10 minutes.
- Remove the cake from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate several hours to chill completely.
- When ready to serve, place the cherry jam in a small bowl and stir briskly until smooth. Spread the jam thinly over the top of the cheesecake.
- Arrange the fresh cherries on top around the outer edge and sprinkle the toasted almonds in the center. Top with chocolate curls, if using.