• Sunday, September 27, 2020

best vegan cheesecake recipe

Cheesecake à la Hotel Costes
By , Founder
April 20, 2020

Galavante’s recipes are directly inspired by the places that we travel to around the world. Paris was my first love, before I ever even set foot in France. Throughout the past 25 years since visiting as an exchange student, I’ve settled into a comfortable routine of routing through Paris for a few days on my way back from Africa, where I build pop-up hotels throughout the continent for clients and spend a lot of time volunteering. I almost always stop by the Costes brothers’ L’Avenue and Hotel Costes, where I break my no-sweet diet and go for the cheesecake. When L’Avenue opened at Saks in NYC, I was still not a baker, so I’d walk the 45 minutes from my house, there and back, to justify eating my cheesecake.

This recipe was inspired by L’Avenue, and my craving for their crust. I’ve never been a big dessert person, but I like this cheesecake recipe because it integrates a touch of sea salt into the crust and cuts back on the sugar in the filling. Whereas most cheesecake recipes relegate the crust to the bottom only, this one gives you the option to envelop the cheesecake’s sides, or at least halfway up, with a thick graham cracker crust. The recipe can be made entirely vegan, which in fact, tastes just as good or better than the full-dairy version, but where I like to cheat a little bit is in the crust by using regular butter in lieu of a vegan version. As the French would say, “Fait comme chez toi”— make yourself at home and make this recipe your own. And anyone can make this, including those of us who are notoriously bad bakers.

Vegan Cheesecake


Serves up to 8

Cheesecake Filling

32 ounces plain vegan cream cheese, preferably Kite Hill brand
1 can coconut cream, 14-15 ounces
1 tablespoon vanilla
¾ cup sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 small Meyer lemon, juiced

*All ingredients for the cheesecake filling should be at room temperature for at least an hour prior to preparation.

Graham Cracker Crust

14 ounces (3 full sleeves) organic graham crackers
½ cup sugar
14 tablespoons melted vegan butter, reserving an additional 2 tablespoons to adjust the crust if needed
1 heaping teaspoon fleur de sel

Berry Sauce

2 cups fresh mixed berries
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons sugar, optional


1 cup fresh mixed berries for topping


Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

To begin, spray your springform pan lightly with a cooking oil. Line the bottom with parchment paper, and then cut out parchment to separately line the sides of the pan. This will make it much easier to pull out the cake when it’s done.

In a food processor on high speed, combine the graham crackers, sugar, and sea salt. Then, in a slow stream, add the butter, which should make the mixture firmly moist, but not runny. Mold the graham cracker crust mixture to your springform pan. To make the cheesecake authentic L’Avenue style, pack the crust all the way up the sides of the pan, so you use virtually the entire mixture. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes and cool for 5-7 minutes before adding the cheesecake filling. Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

While your crust is baking, use a hand mixer to gently combine the room temperature ingredients, starting with the cream cheese, to which you add the sugar, coconut cream (leaving the watery part in the can), vanilla, Meyer lemon juice, and cornstarch. 

Prep the berry mixture by placing 2 cups of the berries in a small saucepan with about ¼ cup water and optional sugar. Bring to a simmer so the berries burst. Once simmering, add in the cornstarch and stir for about 3 minutes. Then, remove from heat.

Tightly wrap the exterior of the springform in foil and place in a roasting pan. Pour the cheesecake batter into the springform pan. Add 2-3 cups of water to fill the pan (not the cake itself), submerging the cake in about 2 inches of water. Don’t skip the water bath — it’s the details that make this a creamy cheesecake, especially if using vegan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour, then turn off the heat and allow the bathing cheesecake to sit in the oven for another hour.

The cheesecake is cooked around the edge and jiggly in the center when done. Pull from the oven and rest it on the countertop until the pan is no longer hot. Place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.

About an hour before serving or guests arrive, remove the cheesecake from the springform pan carefully, first releasing the latch on the pan, then peeling away the side pieces of parchment paper. Move the cake to your presentation plate, gently removing the bottom parchment paper in the process. Spread the chilled berry sauce on top of the cheesecake, and garnish beautifully with the fresh mixed berries of your choice. The cake will keep on the countertop until you are ready to serve for dessert. Refrigerate any leftovers.

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