Skillethead and I wanted dessert, and decided to delve into what must be the waking nightmare of vegan daily life. Tofu cheesecake sounded like it might not be absolutely inedible, so we figured we’d give it a shot. There are a plethora of recipes out there with varying degrees of difficulty and an assortment of weird ass/expensive ingredients. What the fuck is tapioca starch? Some of them contain cream cheese and eggs, which seem kind of pointless (and are obviously not vegan. Just…healthier? I guess?). Some have vegan cream cheese, which…let me stab myself in the eye right now. A lot of them involve soaking cashews or almonds in water for hours or overnight and scraping the solids from cans of coconut milk (which honestly, might be delicious).
In the end, we decided to keep it simple and went with this recipe:
1 graham cracker crust, low fat
1 block soft tofu, drained
2/3 cup chocolate soy milk
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
NOTE: Mixture can be prepared the night before you plan to make it.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Soften tofu in large mixing bowl, combining in cocoa powder, vanilla extract and sugar. Once the added ingredients are combined, gradually stir in chocolate soy milk. Make sure all ingredients are well combined.
Pour mixture into graham cracker crust. Place in preheated oven for 25 to 35 minutes until the top of the cheese cake appears solid. Allow cheesecake to sit in fridge for 1 to 2 hours, before serving.
My prediction was that this would turn out probably ok, but wouldn’t really taste much like cheesecake. Skillethead was much less optimistic.
We forgot to time it, but the prep wasn’t too bad and the baking time was fairly accurate.
Ok, here goes:
Not sure what the fuck they mean by “soften tofu in large mixing bowl” – we put it in the trusty Hamilton Beach blender, which is miraculously still alive and kicking despite Skillethead’s multiple attempts to murder it.
One of our main concerns was whether these five ingredients would actually set up when baked.
B: Ok I want to make a proof of concept for this
S: A what?
B: A proof of concept. Like… make a little one in a cupcake tin or something to see if it works.
S. Oh. A tester.
B: Yeah. A tester. Whatever.
After about 15 minutes of confused calculations (we are both abysmal at math), we determined that the proportion of almond milk to tofu is actually 50/50. Yes, it took us 15 minutes to figure that out. The other ingredients probably don’t affect whether or not the thing will set up properly, so – ok, 1 tbsp of almond milk and 1 tbsp tofu. Blend.
We actually ended up having to smoosh the tofu for the tester with a spatula because the blender blades didn’t quite reach low enough to blend that small of an amount.
Bake in cupcake tin –
Something I learned from this experience: the “Zilla Pro Tip” I was going to include, that you should fill empty cups with water to get even baking/prevent the pan from warping, is apparently bullshit. That’s right folks, I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing. This should come as no surprise.
B: Looks like it set up fine. Proof of concept! Hi five!
S: You mean the tester turned out well? Yes. It did.
Then we made the crust:
B: IDGAF about this being low fat or vegan so we are making a traditional graham cracker crust
B: ::Angrily flipping through Joy of Cooking:: WTF. This isn’t under “crust,” “graham,” or “pie crust.” The Joy of Cooking sucks. WTF Irma?
B: Yeah, Irma Rombauer, the Joy of Cooking author.
S: Yeah, I know, I just love that you refer to her as Irma.
B: Whatever. Guess I’m using Better Homes & Gardens. I don’t know why I even bother with Joy.
Press crust into pan:
-2.5 tbsp cocoa powder because holy shit is is 4 tbsp a lot.
-Chocolate Almond milk instead of soy milk because for some reason that’s what the grocery store had. P.S. it’s frigging DELICIOUS. For real.
-7 oreos roughly chopped
Toss everything except the oreos in the blender, puree until smooth. Pour into a bowl and fold in oreos. Pour into crust.
B: Looks legit.
S: And now we wait.
This wasn’t set after 25 minutes, so we left it in for another 10. When we took it out it was MUCH darker than the picture, and the top had little crevices in it from where it split while baking, but otherwise looked ok. We refrigerated it overnight and then took it out of the springform pan.
It was definitely much thinner than the original picture seems to suggest…it was probably only about an inch and a half thick. Again, it’s also MUCH darker than the picture, and that was using just a little more than half the cocoa powder they suggest. Here they are side by side for comparison:
After fiddling around on their website for a bit, I’m preeeeetty damn sure that photo actually came from their chocolate mousse cheesecake recipe.
So…yeah, don’t expect it to turn out looking remotely like that.
Consistency was pretty good, color was a bit weird. It was easy to make; created a lot of dishes, though:
Flavor…it pretty much tasted like tofu with sugar and chocolate beaten into it. It wasn’t bad, but it definitely wasn’t cheesecake. It was more like a pudding pie. Wouldn’t make it again – I guess it’s worth maybe investigating the vegan cream cheese, if you’re into that. Or if you have a bunch of cash you feel like throwing at almonds and tapioca starch.
The crust (being by far the least healthy part of this whole endeavor) was, by all accounts, FUCKING AWESOME. Thanks, Better Homes and Gardens. Glad we couldn’t find the Joy of Cooking recipe, if it even exists. Fuck you Irma.