Vegan Meyer Lemon Cheesecake

by autumn on March 8, 2013


There’s this line from my college thesis, the little collection of poems that helped me stumble out into the world with my first degree in creative writing, that I consider one of the few salvageable things in it. I’m horrible this way, doubling back and dismissing things I’ve written when they lose their luster. I know I’m not the first or only one to do this, but—geez—it’s no good. As soon as something isn’t shiny and new in my mind, my impulse is to burn it to the ground and make something shinier and newer. I’m getting better. Kelly and I talked about this on the podcast this week and I mentioned that I really feel like I’m getting more patient with my creative self as I approach 30. (God, I am SO PSYCHED to be 30, but that’s for another time.) So far, this has been my favorite part about getting older.

The line from my college poem is something like, (I cannot give you the exact line because I’ve successfully eliminated any paper trail and three hard drive crashes later, there isn’t electronic evidence. And, well, I feel absurd quoting myself, but here we go…) “we throw bread in the air and hope for birds.” I remember liking this line at the time, feeling that bit of tense energy that comes when you’ve written something that connects with something else somewhere and it is good. Now, I look at those words and admire just how emo they are. It’s real early-twenties vulnerability that I bet I wouldn’t be able to write now.


Here’s the best part: for the past year or so, I’ve been ears deep in giving myself to new creative things and if that isn’t just like throwing bread in the air and hoping for birds then I don’t know what is. This is why I’m shutting down this OMG I’M ALMOST 30 nonsense because rather than writing a cute metaphor for taking risks I’m getting better at actually doing it. I’m quite sure it took me longer than it takes most folks to muster the confidence to do this, but here I am.

I have a vegan cheesecake to share with you. It’s not at all related to getting shit done unless a non-dairy cheesecake represents a risk for you, in which case I suggest you buck up and put some cashews in a blender. I know that for some of you, no amount of adjectives will convince you that this treat is just as creamy, tangy, and rich as its dairy counterpart, but it is all of those things. I also like this recipe because, save for the meyer lemons, these are ingredients that I tend to have on hand.



adapted from My New Roots

Vegan Meyer Lemon Cheesecake
Author: Autumn Giles
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-6
  • 6 medjool dates, halved and at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup raw pecans
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight
  • juice of 2 meyer lemons
  • zest of 2 meyer lemons
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 1/3 cup liquid coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup agave
  1. Rub coconut oil on a 6-inch springform pan and set aside.
  2. In a food processor or mini-chopper combine the dates, pecans, and salt. Blend until uniform and the pecans look like a very coarse meal.
  3. Press the pecan/date mixture into the springform pan using your fingers to achieve a relatively even thickness. Set aside.
  4. Strain the cashews of their soaking liquid and rinse them well. Place them in a blender with the remaining ingredients.
  5. Blend on high until the mixture is very smooth. This took me about two minutes of blending and I had to stop and scrape the sides a few times.
  6. Pour the filling mixture onto the crust and smooth the surface. Cover with foil and place in the freezer until solid.
  7. When ready to serve remove from the freezer 30 minutes prior to serving and immediately remove the outer ring of the springform pan. Garnish with candied meyer lemons (see notes below) if desired.
  8. Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge.



  • If you prefer not to use agave or don’t need this to be vegan, replace the agave with honey or another liquid sweetener of your choice.
  • To pretty it up, I followed these instructions from Martha Stewart to candy a single meyer lemon for a garnish.
  • Before I had my 6-inch springform pan, which is now one of my most beloved, I made a version of this in a saran-wrap lined round pyrex and it worked ok. I left enough extra saran-wrap that I was able to use it to pull out the cake
  • This can be done in a normal (ie: $20) blender. No Vitamix here 🙁
  • I ordered my meyer lemons here.


Autumn Giles is the creator of Autumn Makes & Does and the co-host of the Alphabet Soup Podcast.

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Art & Lemons March 8, 2013 at 11:49 am

Oh wow. That cheesecake is a looker! After listening to you talk about meyer lemons and cheesecake making on the podcast, I couldn’t wait for a post and recipe. Plus you had me thinking about preserving lemons again. Cheers to risk taking and embracing 30 (as someone in that decade now, I can tell you it’s pretty fab!). Now about a lemon shipment, I need to get on that…


2 autumn March 8, 2013 at 6:43 pm

Thanks, Nikki! I go through intense phases with preserved lemons. I fall out of the habit of making them and then make another batch and can’t imagine my life without them. They’re truly one of my favorite ingredients though.


3 Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar March 8, 2013 at 12:06 pm

I am in total love! This looks and sounds lovely!


4 autumn March 9, 2013 at 11:14 am

Thanks, Katrina! It’s an easy little treat to love.


5 kelly @ kellybakes March 8, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Look at you, Styley Mc Stylerton! This cheesecake is seriously gorgeous; your food and photo styling really makes the beautiful lemons pop. Fitting that you put in extra effort here when you’re talking about creativity and pushing yourself beyond what you’re comfortable with. I give you MAJOR kudos for doing all the things you do in terms of writing; you toss crumbs into the air and make it rain birds. I hoard my crumbs for fear that I will need them to eat some day… or that they’ll be too stale for even the most hungry bird. Vulnerability is wonderful, I just wish I was better at it in ways that count.


6 autumn March 8, 2013 at 6:47 pm

Haha! Thank you for noticing, Kelly. This is the mini cake-stand situation that I was telling you about 🙂 I’m certainly not a master of the whole vulnerability thing, but I do feel like I’m getting better! Which, yeah to that.


7 Shae March 8, 2013 at 3:12 pm

This is the kind of post that reminds me why I like to read good blogs. Thanks, Autumn.


8 autumn March 9, 2013 at 11:16 am

That means a lot, Shae. Thank you. Might this be something you could eat when you’re feeling a little better? Folks are telling me that it is SCD & GAPS friendly.


9 Karen Morss March 8, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Wonderful recipe! I recognize those lemons! I still have beautiful lemons order before they are all gone to make this fabulous cheesecake!


10 autumn March 8, 2013 at 6:31 pm

Thanks for stopping by, Karen and thanks for the gorgeous lemons. I am happy to hear that you still have some left because I’ve been sending folks your way!


11 Tamika March 8, 2013 at 3:48 pm

I love your writing, and your emo line. 30 is fabulous. so is 40. and 45! (46 I’m not so sure about).
I’m now eating the GaPS diet, celiac crash, and this wonderful recipe fits in perfectly.
thank you


12 autumn March 8, 2013 at 6:57 pm

Thanks, Tamika! I don’t know much about GAPS or SCD, but when I was typing this up I wondered if this might fit with those ways of eating too.


13 Eileen March 8, 2013 at 6:49 pm

This cheesecake sounds amazing! Definitely a great way to get as many amazing meyer lemons into one’s mouth as possible. And as another foodblogger with multiple creative writing degrees (ok, my undergrad only had a concentration available, but still), I salute you. 🙂


14 Tyler March 10, 2013 at 5:23 am

I have seen many recipes that use the whole soaked nut, blended thing… I have yet to try it but have been very tempted. Can someone enlighten me on their flavor? I would assume it has a faint taste of the type of nut… (it seems mostly cashews in the recipes I have seen).

Any input?


15 autumn March 10, 2013 at 11:15 am

Hi Tyler, my experience with cashews is that they both blend the easiest without using a high powered (ie vitamix or blendtec) blender and have the least residual nut taste. They’re pretty good at taking on whatever flavor you put with them, like the lemons in this case. That said, especially if it is your first time trying something like this, you may taste a slight cashew flavor, but I don’t find it off-putting at all.


16 Winnie March 10, 2013 at 3:14 pm

So intriguing and beautiful!


17 autumn March 11, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Thank you, Winnie!


18 tigress March 11, 2013 at 4:26 am

great post! love everything about it – and the cake looks divine! 🙂


19 autumn March 11, 2013 at 12:19 pm

hey tigress! Thank you.


20 Tricia April 17, 2013 at 12:46 am

I made this recipe for Easter and wanted to come back and comment on my experience with it. It was wonderful! Thank you so much! It was my first attempt at a vegan dessert and this worked beautifully. The taste was suburb, I was pleasantly (ecstaticly) surprised.


21 Suzanne October 2, 2013 at 1:42 pm

the taste of the lemon filling is amazing! this is the first vegan cheesecake I have made at home and it was better than any I have tried in restaurants. Hooray! So excited! Thank you so much 🙂


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