This year I haven’t baked much so far. I admit that I needed a little sugar break after I had finished my e-book on holiday baking. I didn’t really crave a lot of sweet stuff until I saw a picture of a marzipan cheesecake bownie cake. I saw it and wanted to have it on our dessert plates right that moment. But that’s the problem with pictures and with the internet, too. You can stare all you want, that cake is not going to appear in front of you. Plus, it wasn’t even vegan.
If you’re going to veganise a cheesecake, there are two methods, depending on what kind of cheesecake you’re making. If you are making a US-style cheesecake, vegan creamcheese is the substitute of choice because most Northern American cheesecakes are made with creamcheese. If you’re going for a German/Eastern European cheesecake, many people these days use drained soy yoghurt, because traditional cheesecake recipes call for curd cheese (quark), that is often drained. The recipe I was looking at was made with creamcheese and sour cream. I can get vegan versions of both these things, but I went with a mixture of drained yoghurt and cashews instead. It’s totally weird but whenever I use vegan substitutes for my recipes I feel like cheating. After going vegan I “grew up” making my own substitutes and now that most people can get them, I don’t need them anymore. And isn’t it funny that I consider creamcheese and sour cream substitutes but yoghurt and soy milk not? Yeah, it’s weird.
Anyway, I veganised the cake with ingredients I am most comfortable with when it comes to baking. By comfortable I mean these are ingredients I know good enough so I can make a new recipe from scratch. If I would have used creamcheese, I probably would have had more work and maybe I would have been forced to make some changes. Or maybe I wouldn’t have liked the taste? I don’t know and it doesn’t matter. These bars came out so wonderful. They have a moist crust and the filling is creamy with a hint of marzipan. They are best eaten on the day they were made, right after they have cooled down. If you store them in the fridge make sure to take them out one or two hours before serving.
Marzipan Cheesecake Brownie Bars (makes one 20 x 20 cm or 8 x 8 inch pan)
For the brownie crust:
120 g (4.2 oz or 1/2 cup) firm tofu
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 tablespoons non-dairy milk
100 g ( 1/2 cup) sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1/2 teaspoon ground vanilla
120 g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
170 g (6 oz chocolate or 1 cup chips) dark chocolate, melted
For the cheesecake filling:
500 g yoghurt, drained over night (see note)
175 g (6.2 oz or 1 1/4 cups) raw cashews
110 g (1/2 cup) melted margarine or refined coconut oil
120 ml (1/2 cup) non-dairy milk
125 g ( 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) sugar
150 g (5.3 oz) firm marzipan, finely chopped
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/4 teaspoon ground vanilla
Note: To drain the yoghurt place a sieve over a bowl and a large cheesecloth over the sieve. Pour in 500 g of yoghurt and let sit in the fridge over night. There probably won’t be much drained liquid in the bowl as the cloth will soak up almost everything. The next day, scrape the yoghurt into a bowl. It should have a creamy consistency similar to greek yoghurt or sour cream. Use immediately or cover and store in the fridge until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 20 x 20 cm (8 x 8 inch) square pan with parchment paper.
To make the crust, combine tofu, oil, milk, sugar, and vanilla in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Place flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl and mix well. Pour in tofu mixture and stir well. Fold in chocolate. Pour into the prepared pan and use a spatula to smooth down the batter.
To make the filling, combine yoghurt, cashews, margarine, milk, and sugar in a blender and process until smooth. Add the marzipan and blend again. This will probably take a while. Make sure your blender doesn’t get too hot. Once the marzipan is blended in mix in cornstarch and vanilla. Pour on top of the crust and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the filling is nicely browned. If it browns too quickly, place a piece of aluminium foil on top. Let cool before serving.
Tip: For decoration you can use chocolate shavings or cut out marzipan and powdered sugar.
This sounds delicious. However, as a previous commenter remarked, in Canada the non-dairy yoghurt is gelatinous and sometimes even grainy. Any good substitutes that do not contain cashews? I know it is basically the only way to get heavy creamy anything vegan, but I am deathly allergic to them.
Hi Shelby, good question! You could used blanched almonds instead of the cashews if they are okay for you. Macadamias should work, too. If the yoghurt is unstrainable, maybe you can use it as is or replace it with some Greek coconut yoghurt? I haven’t had that but I’ve seen pictures and it looks comparable to the strained version. You’d have to reduce the weight though. Instead of 500g use only 1/2 or 2/3 the amount. But as I said, I haven’t tried that. Let me know if you get to make this!
These look heavenly, Mihl! I know what you’re saying about cream cheese and sour cream being substitutes but not milk and yogurt. When I was “growing up” vegan, that’s pretty much all we had too. That and “Tofurella”, which was the only vegan cheese I could find around here. Now we’re spoiled for choice with all sorts of non-dairy products!
I love the pretty starry flowers/flowery stars on top of the bars <3
Das sieht wirklich unglaublich gut aus. Ich liebe ja Marzipan (nur zum riechen nicht zum schmecken) :)
Aber Cheesecake <3 Das ist ganz große Liebe.
Sieht super aus!
Liebe Grüße, Ella
Oh my! They are to die for! I totally hear you about feeling like cheating with substitutes. The one thing that bug me here in Canada though is the vegan yogurt. They are not like the ones I used to buy in the UK. I am sure the UK ones would drain well but the ones here have some much jellying agent, it has the most bizarre texture.
Woooow – das sieht absolut klasse aus und die Kombo Käsekuchen mit Marzipan stelle ich mir richtig gut vor!
Danke für die tolle Inspiration – der Kuchen landet auf meiner Nachbackliste ;)
I feel the same way about substitutes – often they seem full of processed stuff but if there is a made-from-scratch vegan cream cheese I often prefer it. I have tried vegan cheesecake a couple of times but should try it again. And I do think pairing cheesecake with brownie and marzipan sounds sublime.
Da geht es mir genauso wie Dir, ich nehme für den Käsekuchen auch am liebsten abgetropften Sojajoghurt, ich lasse ihn im Kaffefilter abtropfen, das klappt auch sehr gut. Seidentofu fand ich geschmacklich auch ganz gut, aber …… Tofu steht bei uns auch sehr selten auf dem Plan, mein Mann verweigert sich, so mache ich leckere Brownies mit Kürbismus. Das schöne am veganen Kochen, man kann so vielfältig experimentieren und es gibt kaum Grenzen. Liebe Grüße Marlies
Das mit dem Kaffeefilter hatte ich ganz vergessen, danke! Wir essen eigentlich viel Tofu, ich benutze ihn nur nicht so gerne für Kuchen. Den Brownieboden hat er aber sehr saftig gemacht. Und man hat ihn nicht geschmeckt. An den Kürbis würde ich mich wiederum nicht herantrauen:)
Wow! These look incredible! When I was younger and an omnivore, I despised all things cheesecake. And now that I’m vegan I love all things (vegan) cheesecake! I’ve had a thing of marzipan laying around and never knew what to do with it, so I think I have to make these.
ohyum!!!! so much!
These look beyond words-good. I cannot wait to make these. I’ve never seen a recipe with strained yogurt, and I’m excited to see the results.
I’m actually the same way about vegan cream cheese and sour cream, I prefer to at least start from plain nondairy yogurt and turn it into those things! Your bars look amazing!