Spring Into Summer With Tropical ‘Cheesecake’

Ironically, I, a person whose first book was a dessert cookbook, have two sons who don’t really care much for sweets—and they especially don’t really care much for cake.

In another twist of irony, I have one son who loves cheesecake and yet is vegan. It is with him in mind that I created this gluten-free vegan tropical “cheesecake.” Not only is he a vegan, he is gluten-free and off of refined sugar.

This is a no-bake dessert. I was trying to come up with some search-worthy title for it but No-Bake Gluten Free Refined Sugar Free Tropical Cheesecake-like Dessert is just way too long.

This dessert takes a little bit of time to prepare, but nothing is difficult and you can make it way ahead of time and just keep it in the freezer. Take it out of the freezer about 15 minutes before you want to serve it for the best flavor.

Recipe note: Macadamia nuts can be pricey, so cashews are a great substitution for the filling but, in that case, I would use almonds for the crust.

Gluten-Free Vegan Tropical “Cheesecake”

Serves 6-8


¾ c macadamia nuts
1 c medjool dates, pitted
½ c unsweetened coconut flakes
½ tsp kosher or fine sea salt


1 c unsweetened coconut flakes
1½ c macadamia nuts
¾ c full-fat coconut milk – shake can well before measuring
¼ c coconut oil
Zest of 1 lime, finely grated
Juice of 2 limes, use divided
½ cup coconut palm syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 c frozen mango chunks, no need to thaw


Cover the macadamia nuts with boiling water and let soak for one hour (or you can cover with cold water and let soak in the refrigerator overnight). Cover the dates with hot water and let soak for 10 minutes.

Combine the soaked macadamia nuts, dates, coconut and salt in a food processor and process until the mixture forms a dough. Press firmly into the bottom of a greased 9-inch spring-form pan. Put in freezer while preparing the filling.


Toast the coconut flakes in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown and fragrant, about four minutes. Let cool and set aside.

Cover the macadamia nuts with boiling water and let soak for one hour (or you can cover with cold water and let soak in the refrigerator overnight).

Combine the soaked nuts with the coconut milk, coconut oil, lime zest, juice of one lime, coconut palm syrup and vanilla. Process until very smooth. Pour the mixture on top of the crust.

Clean out the processor and combine the mango and juice of one lime. Process until smooth—it will take longer if the mango is still frozen. Dollop the mango on
top of the nut filling and, using a spoon or knife, swirl it into the nut filling.

Sprinkle the cooled toasted coconut over the top of the cake and freeze until firm, at least four hours.

Remove the cake from the freezer about 15 minutes before serving.

Carol Kicinski
Carol Kicinski is a chef and the editor of www.simplygluten-free.com.

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