Baked Vegan Tofu Cheesecake with Lemon & Poppy Seeds


This baked vegan tofu cheesecake is flavored with lemon and features a delicious poppy seed layer. A plant-based, gluten-free, oil-free, egg-free, refined sugar-free dessert for Easter or Mother’s Day.

a slice of Lemon Poppy Seed Vegan Tofu Cheesecake on a white plate

No one would think this Baked Vegan Lemon Tofu Cheesecake with Poppy Seeds is a Tofu Dessert! 

Guys, I bake a lot. I made my first cake when I was about 4 years old. Admittedly, it featured grapefruits and mustard and was absolutely horrid but you know where I am getting at with this, right! 

After 25 years of baking, it takes quite a bit for a cake recipe to truly knock my socks off. 

This vegan lemon poppy seed cheesecake tho??! OMG, where to begin? 

Maybe with the fact that there is nothing in this baked vegan cheesecake recipe that regular cheesecake recipes ask for. 

No cream cheese, no eggs, no sour cream. But somehow it ends up light, creamy and slightly tangy just like the real thing!

Magic, you ask? Yeah, kind of! 

The secret to making the perfect baked vegan cheesecake:

What makes this baked vegan cheesecake so creamy? Well, usually you’d rely on cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs.

This vegan lemon poppy seed cheesecake recipe is different as it uses a mix of silken tofu, coconut cream, and soaked cashews for the cheesecake filling.

Close-up of a slice of healthy vegan tofu cheesecake with homemade poppy seed filling

Which ingredients do I need for making vegan tofu cheesecake? 

  • cashew nuts 
  • tofu 
  • coconut cream 
  • stevia
  • nut milk
  • lemon 
  • poppy seeds
  • cornstarch

The gluten-free cheesecake crust is a simple mix of rolled oats, maple syrup, shredded coconut, and banana. I grind the coconut and rolled oats separately before I blend them with the rest of the ingredients. 

BAKED VEGAN LEMON POPPY SEED CHEESECAKE: 

As you might know,  I grew up in Germany where poppy seed cakes and desserts are super popular. The ultimate comfort food dessert – but man, rich af!

Because we don’t sprinkle with poppy seeds, we pour! We usually grind them up, mix them with sugar, butter, rum and milk and cook them into a thick black paste that tastes and smells like heaven in a pot! 

We use this homemade poppy seed filling for poppy seed twist bread or German poppy seed buns. 

Cakes and desserts with poppy seeds are super popular in Eastern Europe but less common in Canada and the US.

The first time I served my husband a slice of poppy seed cake, he told me it looks like a slice of an ashtray. And whether he could drive after eating that.

So yeah, European poppy seed desserts can look a wee bit scary but guys, poppy seeds are the bomb! They taste nutty – a bit like almonds, or even better – marzipan.

a slice of vegan lemon poppy seed tofu cheesecake on a white plate

Why this Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Cheesecake will be your new favorite springtime dessert: 

  • It’s creamy, light, airy, lemony and has that perfect tanginess you’d expect of a cheesecake.
  • This vegan tofu cheesecake is gluten-free, oil-free, dairy-free, egg-free, refined sugar-free and plant-based! 
  • The best part about this delightfully lemony tofu cheesecake? The yummy poppy seed layer which takes it to the next level.
  • I don’t have to tell you that lemon and poppy seeds are a killer combo, do I?

a fork sliding into a piece of healthy vegan tofu cheesecake with sugar-free poppy seed filling

Tips for making Baked Vegan Tofu Cheesecake: 

  • The cheesecake will be jiggly when you remove it from the oven. That’s ok, it will have to set first. 
  • Make sure to grind your poppy seeds as finely as possible. They will only cook into a nice and thick paste if they are ground up.
  • Let the baked tofu cheesecake come to room temperature, then chill it in the fridge. You can let it set in the freezer to speed things up a bit.

a slice of healthy vegan tofu cheesecake with one bite missing

Variations on this baked vegan tofu cheesecake recipe: 

  • The poppy seed layer is optional. I know that poppy seeds are not everybody’s cup of tea! However, if you love poppy seeds it’s a total must!
  • You can use jam, vegan coconut caramel or vegan lemon curd instead of the poppy seed layer.
  • If you are allergic to nuts, and therefore can’t eat cashews, I would recommend increasing the amount of coconut cream by half a cup. 

For more delicious vegan Easter recipes, make sure to check out my Vegan Carrot Cake Truffles or whip up this Vegan Lemon Tart. 

Did you make and love this easy recipe for vegan tofu cheesecake? Give it your review below! And make sure to share your creations by tagging me on Instagram!

a slice of vegan lemon poppy seed tofu cheesecake on a white plate
5 from 9 votes
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Lemon & Poppy Seed Vegan Tofu Cheesecake

This baked vegan tofu cheesecake is flavored with lemon and features a delicious poppy seed layer. A plant-based, gluten-free, oil-free, egg-free, refined sugar-free dessert for Easter or Mother's Day.

Course Dessert
Cuisine German, Polish
Keyword cheesecake with poppy seeds, tofu cheesecake recipe, vegan cheesecake with tofu
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 400 kcal
Author Kiki Johnson

Ingredients

For the crust

  • 180 g rolled oats
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 130 g shredded coconut
  • 90 g maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

For the poppy seed filling

  • 125 g Poppy Seeds finely ground in a spice mill
  • 2 tbsp rum or more milk
  • 190 ml nut milk almond, cashew, hazelnut, coconut
  • 2 tbsps Stevia
  • 3/4 tbsps cornstarch

Cheesecake Filling

  • 700 g silk tofu 2 blocks / packs
  • 100 g cashew nuts soaked in cold water in the fridge over night
  • 1 lemon zest and 3 tbsp juice
  • 3 tbsp stevia
  • 100 g coconut cream
  • 40 g cornstarch
  • 4 tbsp nut milk
  • 2 tsps vanilla

Instructions

  1. Line a 20 cm /8-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Blitz coconut in your food processor until fine, repeat with the rolled oats. Add all other ingredients for the crust to your food processor and blend until the dough is crumbly and sticks together when pressed. Press the crust evenly into the bottom of your springform and about 2 1/2 in (6 1/2 cm) up the sides. Put it in the freezer to harden. 

  2. Grind your poppy seeds finely. I use a spice mill to get them extra fine. A small food processor would work too. Make a slurry by mixing the cornstarch with some nut milk. Now, simply add all other ingredients apart from the slurry to a saucepan and bring the mixture to a quick boil. Stir in the slurry and let the mix thicken. Turn off the heat and set the saucepan aside. Let the poppy seed filling cool for a few minutes and then pour the mixture into the springform onto the chilled crust. Put the pan back into the freezer.

  3. Preheat the oven to 175 C or 350 F. For the cheesecake layer simply combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender until very smooth and creamy. Pour the cheesecake cream on top of the set poppy seed layer.

  4. Bake for about 60-70 minutes. After the time is up, turn off the oven and let the cheesecake cool down to room temperature. Don't touch it while it is cooling. The middle of the cake will still appear super wobbly, but that's ok. Once the cheesecake has cooled slightly, put it in the fridge to set completely. It will firm up as it chills and can be sliced perfectly.

  5.  Store cake leftovers in the fridge. 

Recipe Notes

  • The cheesecake will be jiggly when you remove it from the oven. That's ok, it will have to set first. 
  • Make sure to grind your poppy seeds as finely as possible. They will only cook into a nice and thick paste if they are ground up.
  • Let the baked tofu cheesecake come to room temperature, then chill it in the fridge. You can let it set in the freezer to speed things up a bit.

 

This baked vegan tofu cheesecake is flavored with lemon and features a delicious poppy seed layer. A plant-based, gluten-free, oil-free, egg-free, refined sugar-free dessert for Easter or Mother's Day. #vegandesserts #sugarfree

27 Comments


  1. This looks beautiful – I love the layers! I haven’t ever made a tofu cheesecake before, but have heard that the texture is divine. I look forward to trying soon.


  2. I think the only way I would eat tofu is in a cheesecake dessert like yours. Looks so yummy and a perfect slice of heavenly dessert.


  3. I recently tried a tofu-based cheesecake and it was amazing! Love the sound of the poppy seed filling, I’ll have to try this.


  4. I would never in a million years have thought about putting tofu in a cheesecake!! How fascinating. I love trying new vegan recipes and this is a great one. Thanks for sharing, I look forward to trying it. YUM!!

    • Hi Adrianne! Oh then you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise! The lemon flavor masks the tofu perfectly,and the texture is perfect, just like the real thing! I don’t know what kind of magic is going on here, but it works!


  5. WOW this cake is absolutely stunning! I love those layers!

  6. Looks delicious! Is there something I could sub for the coconut cream in the filling and the coming in the crust (I can’t have coconut) ??

  7. Pingback: (English) Strawberry Raw Vegan Cheesecake Recipe | Cinnamon & Coriander

  8. This looks amazing!
    Can I make it in advance and freeze it, or will it destroy the texture after thawing?

    • Hi Sofie! It’s better from the fridge so I wouldn’t recommend freezing it ahead of time for a special occasion, but go ahead and freeze leftovers in single serve portions. The moisture content of the tofu means the cheesecake freezes solid, so allow an hour or two for it to thaw at room temperature

  9. Hi
    How long will this cake keep fresh for? How many days can I eat this cake before it goes off?


  10. Sehr schönes Rezept, jedoch mit Zucker! Stevia und Agavendicksaft gehören ebenfalls in diese Kategorie. Ich nehme gern Datteln. Auch Zucker :-))

  11. Hallo Kiki!
    Dein Kuchen sieht köstlich aus und ich möchte ihn unbedingt nachbacken für den Geburtstag meiner Schwester am Sonntag. Für gewöhnlich ersetze ich jeglichen Zucker durch Datteln oder Apfelmark. Das macht sich in einem Käsekuchen schlecht. Stevia ist aber gar nicht meins. Was könnte ich anstelle von Stevia nehmen? Ist Xucker eine Alternative? Wenn ja, in welchem Verhältnis austauschbar?


  12. Hallo du Liebe!
    Dein Rezept hört sich so lecker an und ich mag es unbedingt ausprobieren. Ich frage mich nur gerade, was du mit Kokoscreme meinst. Könntest du mir damit vielleicht helfen? Das wäre super lieb! Daaaanke.
    Viele Grüße
    Katharina

    • Hallo liebe Katharine! Das ist der feste cremige Teil der sich bei einer gekühlten Dose Kokosmilch zuoberst ablagert! Es gibt mittlerweile Kokoscreme auch in Dosen zu kaufen aber nicht in jedem Supermarkt. Also einfach normale (keine light) Kokosmilchdosen kühlen, aufmachen, das dicke abschaben und dann hast du schon deine Kokoscreme! Viel Gelingen und eine virtuelle Umarmung


  13. Hi, this looks amazing!! Do you think I could make it with chia seeds instead of poppy seeds? Have you ever tried something like that? thank you….

    • Hi Xenia. Chia seeds gel when mixed with liquid so they would behave quite differently than ground poppy seeds. I have not tried it – I think it might be a bit risky as the chia seeds also don’t really add much flavor. If you decide to try it, please let me know how it turned out. Have a wonderful day

  14. hi Kiki,
    i tried your recipe and put some changes: used regular firm tofu instead of silken, added 1.5 tbsps of lemon juice (4.5 tbsps total), the lemon pulp, 5 drops of lemon flavouring, 4 more tbsps of almond milk and replaced stevia with sugar (0.5 cup and 1 cup).
    i baked the cake for 65 minutes, but it came out more golden than yours, and it wasn’t wobbly, maybe due to the firm tofu i used.
    it tastes amazing. tofu flavour is very well hindered by the lemon flavours, and it’s not too sweet.
    i should have cooked the poppyseed filling to thicken a bit more, and also process the tofu some more time.
    i wonder how original version tastes. maybe i’ll try sometime.
    thanks for the recipe and the inspiration.

  15. Hi Kiki, endlich ein Käsekuchenrezept, dass wie der Käsekuchen meiner Oma (polnischen Ursprungs) ausschaut. Leider kann ich hier in Mexico – speziell jetzt während des Lockdowns – keinen Mohn auftreiben, auch wenn ich den nur zu gern einsetzen würde. Ich bin auch mit Mohn-Streuselkuchen und Mohnstollen aufgewachsen – hmmm, lecker. Aber es wird wohl auch ohne die Mohnschicht gut schmecken.
    Wie könnte ich die Kokosflocken in der Teigkruste ersetzen? Gab letztens beim Einkaufen leider keine 🙁 Könnte ich Mandeln oder geriebene Mandeln statt der Kokosflocken verwenden?
    Stevia ist nicht so mein Fall. Ich werde den Ahornsirup in der Kruste mit eingeweichten Datteln ersetzen und das süße Einweichwasser plus ein paar extra Datteln mit dem Tofu mixen, um die Käsemischung zu süßen. Hat letztens in dem raw cheesecake den mein Freund gebacken hat auch super gesüßt. Sein Cheesecake mit nur Cashews als Füllung war auch lecker, aber mir zu reichhaltig und schwer. Deswegen versuchen wir jetzt mal Deine gebackene Variante mit Tofu. Ich kommentiere nochmal, wenn ich gebacken habe… Freue mich jetzt schon auf Käsekuchen 🙂


    • Hi Kiki, many thanks for the great recipe! As a German who also grew up with lots of poppy seed cake and Christmas Stollen (sweet loaf) with poppy seeds I loved to see this extra layer in the cheese cake. Being in Mexico at the moment I could not find poppy seeds and just made the cake without the poppy seed layer and it was still delicious.
      I changed a few things and it turned out deliciously.
      For the crust I replaced the shredded coconut with almond flour and the maple syrup with soaked dates and figs (in total maybe 100g) and I used a bit of the soaking water to make the crust less crumbly and more sweet. The amount of crust was too much for my 23 cm springform and I froze around a 1/3 for another smaller cake.
      In the cheesecake filling I replaced the stevia (not my thing) with around 50 g soaked dates and maybe 1/2 cup of coconut sugar and I used the rest of the soaking water and omitted the milk. Instead of cornflour I used tapioca flour and 1/2 teaspoon of agar agar powder because I was not sure how well the tapioca flour is setting the cake. However, next time I would do it only with the starch because I remember that I used to bake cheesecake (or „Quarktorte“ in German) with starch and it always solidifies after letting it cool down. Very soon I will be in Germany and will bake this cake for my Mum, who loves „Quarktorte“, and then, I will include the poppy seeds, of course. Cannot wait to make it again. Thank you again for the great recipe! I think this will be my go-to recipe for cheesecake now.

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