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Chestnut Mocha (Coffee) Dairy Free Vegan Cheesecake

I have no idea how I've travelled this food blog journey without yet making a coffee flavoured dessert. Every day after lunch I have my regular daily cup of coffee - nothing fancy as I don't own a coffee machine but I totally enjoy that moment of blissful idleness. It's the chasm between the morning's mania and the impending afternoon chaos. It's a small fissure of freedom but that's what coffee o'clock denotes to me.

Chestnut Mocha (Coffee) Dairy Free Vegan Cheesecake
 
I deliberated at length between labelling this a Coffee versus Mocha cheesecake as, although it contains cocoa powder and is super creamy in texture, I didn't want to elicit connotations of a sickly sweet Starbucks-style mocha. Nonetheless it is an indisputable mix of coffee and cocoa flavours.

Chestnuts provide the creamy cheesecake texture, together with coconut cream.


Advantages of using cooked chestnuts instead of the standard cashew nuts used in typical dairy-free vegan cheesecakes are:
(a) they don't require soaking;
(b) they are lower in calories and fat (for those who care about these things); and
(c) most importantly, my daughter who is allergic to most tree nuts is not allergic to chestnuts!

There is an option to include maple syrup in the cheesecake top though I find the sweetness in the crust mixture from the dates, makes the whole thing ample sweet enough. If omitting the maple syrup you may need to add a few tablespoons of extra coconut milk to thin down the texture.

I decorated this with bliss balls made from the crust mix, dried mulberries, cacao nibs, a home made carob chocolate heart, dried rose buds and a piece of my Guilt Free Chocolate


Chestnut Mocha (Coffee) Dairy Free Vegan Cheesecake
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Refined Sugar-free

Makes 1 small 5" diameter cake


Ingredients:
Crust:
3/4 cup (120g) raw unsalted almonds
1/2 cup (75g) soft pitted dates (pre-soak 5mins if needed and drain)
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder or raw cacao
1/2 tbsp coconut oil
pinch sea salt
1 tbsp cacao nibs (I use this one -  use code IMPAL10 for 10% discount)

Top Layer:
1 cup (180g) cooked and peeled chestnuts
3 tbsp (40g) coconut oil
4 tbsp (80g) coconut cream (solid part from can of coconut milk)
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp maple syrup (or to taste; see comment above)
2-3 tbsp coconut milk (or more if not using maple syrup)

Coffee Mocha Swirl:
1 shot strong coffee (50ml liquid), cooled
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder or raw cacao

Optional decoration: Bliss balls, cacao nibs, dried edible flowers, dried mulberries, home made chocolates, or any other variety of fruits, nuts, etc


Instructions:
1. Process all Crust ingredients in a food processor until mixture clumps together to form a rough dough. Add a splash of water if needed.
2. Press most of the mixture firmly and evenly into base of a springform 5" cake tin and place in freezer to set. Use remaining mix to roll bliss balls for decorating and set aside.
3. In a clean high powered blender, blend all Top Layer ingredients until smooth, adding a splash of extra coconut milk if needed.
4. In a small bowl whisk together Coffee Mocha Swirl ingredients, then add approx 1/4 of the top layer mix and whisk to combine.
5. Spoon half the top layer onto the prepared crust, spoon dollops of coffee mocha mix randomly on top interspersed with remaining top layer mix.
6. Swirl with tip of a knife or a toothpick then gently tap base of cake tin on a firm countertop to remove any air pockets and smooth surface.
7. Decorate as preferred with reserved bliss balls etc before returning to freezer for 1-2 hours or until set but not frozen solid.
8. Slice and serve.
9. Store refrigerated or slice and freeze in portions for ease of defrosting.




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