If Christmas had a flavor all to itself, it would be this Vegan Cranberry Cheesecake!
Cranberry cheesecake is a recipe that I make every year during the cold winter season when cranberries are aplenty.
The seductive combination of tart and sweet cranberry compote spiked up with anise, cinnamon sticks, orange and vanilla
All marbled through the creamiest New York Style Cheesecake you will ever meet!
Somewhere along the line though, I started to modify the recipe and or the look and it.
And it has become sort of “a thing” that I have to change it slightly every year
Sometimes I use a cookie crust like in my original gingersnap crust from my 2016 version and other times I use a cake base like the cranberry sponge version of 2019
Here’s the original rendition of my very first vegan cranberry cheesecake from 2015!
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Notes for Success:
For the sponge cake base you will need a taller pan 7″ x 3″ is great, otherwise the standard 7″ x 2″ for a cookie crust is fine
Vegan lactic acid will give your cheesecake the authentic tang characteristic of all cheesecakes, but if you do not have that or do not want to buy it, apple cider vinegar will also work
Tofutti Vegan Cream Cheese is the only brand I will use for my BAKED recipes *not sponsored
I had not had success with any other brand in BAKED recipes; for some reason some other brands I’ve tried have broken down into an oily mess when baked.
Until more recently I tried Violife again and it works! ALthough I still prefer the Tofutti brand
When measuring cornstarch I cannot stress enough that a kitchen scale is the best way to go.
Cornstarch is a very difficult ingredient to measure consistently with a volume/spoons measure
So while I list both measures below I cannot stress enough how the grams measure with a scale is going to give you the best results.
Many times people have complained that their custard is like rubber and they don’t know why!
For the Crust:
- *Or use sponge cake as listed in the recipe below
- Graham Crackers or Gingersnap Cookies 1½ cups (140g)
- Vegan Butter melted 4 tablespoons (56g)
For the Cheesecake Batter:
- Vegan Cream Cheese 2-8oz packages (454g)
- Melted Vegan Butter 2 tablespoons (28g)
- Granulated Sugar ¾ cup (150g)
- Cornstarch 3 Tbs (24g)
- All Purpose Flour 2 Tablespoons (15g)
- Vanilla Extract 1 teaspoon (5ml)
- Plant Milk scant 1 cup - 7 fluid ounces (207ml)
- Vegan Lactic Acid 1½ teaspoons
- Or 1½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar
For the Cranberry Compote:
- 1 -16ounce Bag Cranberries (fresh or frozen) (454g)
- Granulated Sugar 1½ cup (300g)
- Cranberry Juice or White Wine 1 cup (237ml)
- Vanilla Extract 2 teaspoons
- Star Anise Pods 4
- Cinnamon 1 teaspoon
- Orange Zest and Juice from 1 large orange
- ½ Recipe Mocha Buttercream *optional for garnish
- ½ Recipe Cranberry Cake for the base *optional
- First decide what kind of crust you want to use for your cheesecake, if it is Cranberry Cake be sure to bake that ahead of time, but you will only need 1/2 recipe for 1 layer of cake
- Otherwise for traditional cookie crust ~ crush the cookies in a food processor to fine crumbs then add the melted vegan butter & process until it resembles wet sand
- Pres the crust into the greased & parchment lined 7" x 2" cake pan and refrigerate until needed
- If you are using the cake for the base, pace it into a greased & parchment lined cake pan that is 7" x 3"
- Next prepare the cranberry compote In a heavy bottom sauce pot, combine all the liquids with the sugar and spices and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Squeeze in the juice of the orange and the zest
- Add the cranberries and then return to a boil.
- Lower the temperature to a simmer for 15 -20 minutes, the sauce will begin to thicken and the berries will begin to pop.
- Discard the anise pods and add the vanilla extract, then with a stick blender (or carefully transfer to a regular blender) puree to desired consistency. I like to leave my chunky.
- Refrigerate to cool and it will thicken as it gets cold and you can prepare the rest of the cheesecake
- For the cheesecake combine all the ingredients together in a food processor and process smooth, scraping the sides and making sure that is is ultra smooth.
- Pour the batter into the prepared crust and then take approximately ¾ cup of the pureed cranberry compote and swirl through the batter *optional step if you prefer to use it all for the topping
- Bake in preheated 350°F oven in a water bath for 1 hour.
- After 1 hour turn the oven off and let it cool inside the oven for another hour.
- Cool on the counter the rest of the way, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours before un-molding.
- Prepare the optional mocha buttercream recipe for garnish and then use the remaining cranberry compote for the topping
Cranberry cheesecake must stay refrigerated and will stay fresh for up to 1 week