This year I decided to make a plant-based cheese cake with roasted almonds, vanilla and lemon for Finland’s independence day. I am not a great baker so cheese cake was the easiest choice! Getting more practice and confidence, one day I can hopefully claim to be a great baker hahah. If you’ve just started exploring cooking or baking this recipe is perfect and really easy.
Finland has been celebrating their independence from Russia since 1917. We would normally watch the independence parade and president’s annual ball on tv, spending time with the people you love the most. This year I invited few friends around to have some coffees and cake, was a really nice night – almost felt like being back in Finland.
Last year Aku Louhimies directed a film called the Unknown Soldier, if you would like to know more about Finnish history, it’s a great film to watch!
Check out the trailer here
For this recipe you will need a Springform Pan, food processor, greaseproof paper, sauce pan and ingredients listed below.
FOR THE BASE:
200g of Doves Farm Organic Wholewheat Digestive Biscuits (vegan)
50g vegan butter
150-200g of Almonds
2 tbsp of Maple Syrup
Pinch of Salt
1 tsp of Vanilla Extract
FOR THE FILLING:
350g of Soy Based Cream Cheese
50g of soft Almond Cheese
3/4 cup of Granulated Sugar
1 Vanilla Pod
2 Lemons and Lemon Zest
Almond milk (optional)
Half a tbsp of Clearspring AGAR flakes
FOR THE TOP, DECORATION:
Start by heating your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Roasting the almonds – Lay them on a baking tray on top of greaseproof paper and bake for 10min flipping over half way. While your almonds are roasting in the oven, blend your cookies in the food blender with melted vegan butter and set aside. When you take the almonds out of the oven you’ll have the most delicious smells in your kitchen! Add your almonds into the food processor and blend until smooth, this will take some time.. When I did it, the almonds were sticking into the sides so I needed to scrape the bowl and blend again, repeating few times. Once your almonds are looking pretty smooth, add the rest of the base ingredients into the mix.
Cover your springform pan with greaseproof paper and lay your cookie base mix into the bottom of your springform pan pressing firmly. Make sure the mix is spread evenly. Place the dish into your fridge for an hour to set.
Cut the vanilla pod open on a chopping board or I used a plate and scrape those vanilla seeds off. Best thing to do, is to mix these a bit sticky seeds with some granulated sugar. This way they are easier to use and mix with your dough or in this case with the cheese filling mix.
Clean your food processor and then add cream cheese, almond soft cheese, sugar, vanilla and lemon juice for the filling mix. Blend until smooth.
For setting the cake I used agar flakes that are great choice for vegans. Super easy to use and clearspring has good instructions in the packaging how to use it. Basically you add cold water into a saucepan, add the flakes into the water and wait to boil without stirring. Once this is starting to boil you can stir the mix.
Add your water & agar mix into your blender. You want to blend the cream cheese mix and agar as soon as possible so the flakes will stick into the filling.
Take your pan out of the fridge and add cheese cake filling evenly on top of the cookie mix. Place dish back to the fridge and let it set over night.
I used blueberries and the leftover vanilla pod for decorations.
Previously I would always use vanilla extract, but now experiencing the difference with vanilla pod, I don’t want to use anything else! The flavour is so strong, but smooth, just beautiful and it brings all the other flavours with it. Vanilla pod is usually a bit more pricy but worth it, I promise!