the taste space

Better Than Nutella Cheesecake (Almost Raw Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake)

Posted in Desserts, Favourites by janet @ the taste space on March 20, 2013

Better Than Nutella Cheesecake (Almost Raw Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake)

Being known as a healthy eater has its drawbacks.

My meals have now become suspicious. Suspicious for healthy ingredients. What have I hidden in the meal this time?

Better Than Nutella Cheesecake (Almost Raw Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake)

Trust me, I cater to my audience. If baking for myself, I’d easily experiment with squash carob brownies, cauliflower chocolate cake, chocolate chip chickpea blondies or chocolate mint black bean cookies. I have even gambled with (oh so good) chocolate tofu mousse pie with my family for Easter.

But for the harshest critics, I go all out.

Thus when Rob’s family came over for a birthday celebration and I offered to supply dessert, I had to determine my plan of attack.

Almost Guiltless Chocolate Mousse Pie? I knew it was a winner, but I had no tofu.

Rob suggested my Carrot Cake Cupcakes since he really liked them, but I thought they might be a bit “out there”. Carrots for a birthday dessert? (Only mine..)

Experiment with a new recipe? I considered Terry’s Italian Cashewcotta Cheesecake or Ethiopian Chocolate Flourless Torte, but still had the issue of missing ingredients.

Then I worked backwards. What do I have in my pantry? Coconut oil, nuts and cocoa powder. Cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds. Sounded delicious already. I peered around the corner of the cabinet and pulled out hazelnut butter. Eureka! A raw chocolate hazelnut cheesecake.

Better Than Nutella Cheesecake (Almost Raw Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake)

I like raw desserts because I can sample the batter and can easily gauge how it will turn out. Licking the batter from the blender, I knew this was going to be good.  The next afternoon, I brought out the cheesecake to thaw. I cut a piece before everyone arrived. You know, for blogging photography purposes. But I sliced off a tiny sliver so I could do some tasting research, too.

I know I said my last raw cheesecake was utterly sinful, but how can a key lime pie compete with a chocolate cheesecake? A chocolate hazelnut cheesecake? It can’t. This my friends, was pure cocoa bliss.

Better than Nutella filling in a cheesecake form, on a cocoa-hazelnut-date crust. Decadent but not too rich and not too sweet. Perfect.

Better Than Nutella Cheesecake (Almost Raw Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake)

Trust me, I was very confident with this dessert.

Before I served it, I was pummeled with questions, though. “What IS this?” I was asked. Ingredients or the name of the dish? Ingredients, tell me. Nuts, coconut oil, cocoa powder, agave, dates… Avocados? I hate avocados.. No avocados…

Thank goodness it was a resounding success. Definitely my best dessert yet.

Better Than Nutella Cheesecake (Almost Raw Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake)

This is my submission to this month’s We Should Cocoa for fame, to this week’s Healthy Vegan Friday, to this week’s Weekend Wellness and to this week’s Raw Food Thursdays.

Better Than Nutella Cheesecake (Raw Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake)
Adapted from The Sweet Life

1 cup hazelnuts
1 cup dates, pitted
1/4 cup cocoa powder
pinch salt

2 cups raw cashews, soaked 4-6 hours and rinsed
5 tbsp agave nectar, or to taste
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp hazelnut butter (I recommend hazelnut butter because it can be difficult to puree hazelnuts into a smooth consistency)
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup cocoa powder

1. In a food processor fitted with its S-blade, place hazelnuts and pulse to chop until they are very finely ground. Add dates, cocoa powder and salt and pulse until a coarse meal. It should stick together when pressed. If your dates were dry, you may need to add some water. Scoop out crust mixture in a 9” spring-form pan (if you don’t have a spring-form pan, use a pie plate lined with saran wrap), and press firmly, making sure that the base is relatively even throughout. Set aside while you prepare the filling.

2. In the most powerful food processor / blender you own (a high-speed blender is best but a food processor could work, too), place the drained cashews, agave, water and salt.  (I had troubles with my blender as the mixture was thick so I took it out and blended the rest by hand).  Next, add the hazelnut butter, melted coconut oil and cocoa powder and blend until fully incorporated.

3. Spread filling overtop the crust and freeze for at least 2 hours. Allow to thaw an hour at room temperature or in the fridge for 4 hours, or overnight, prior to serving.

Serves 10-12.

*Note: This is almost raw because I used regular cocoa powder and my hazelnut butter was made from dry-roasted Turkish hazelnuts.

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52 Responses

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  1. veganfoodpreparation said, on March 20, 2013 at 7:11 AM

    Can’t wait to try it.

  2. sprint2thetable said, on March 20, 2013 at 9:28 AM

    I would eat anything you made… the stranger, the better. Especially if it involves carrots. :) Ohhhh… what about nutella carrot cupcakes?!

  3. Choclette said, on March 20, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    Ooh my, that sounds like one delicious dessert. I have cashews and cashew nut butter and always have plenty of dates on hand. I’m thinking maybe I should try a cashew version. Thanks for submitting this to We Should Cocoa.

    • janet @ the taste space said, on March 20, 2013 at 11:03 AM

      A simpler cashew + cocoa version would work, too…. but if you like nutella, definitely also try one with the hazelnut butter. :)

  4. Gabby @ the veggie nook said, on March 20, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    This does sound pretty flippin amazing, I need to try this asap!

  5. Rob said, on March 20, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    This cake was amazing. I am excited to eat the leftovers. I’m going to have a piece tonight. It will be amazing.

  6. Ellen Lederman said, on March 20, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    It sounds absolutely wonderful—and if you say it’s your best dessert ever (better than the raspberry dreamcake?), I’m in! But…..hazelnut butter? Not even sold at our regular stores. Perhaps Whole Foods has it. What inquiring minds want to know is: you just happened to have hazelnut butter at home? We have peanut and almond butter, but you win the prize for the best stocked pantry! What else do you do with hazelnut butter? I am trying to kick the Sunday morning bagel (white flour—eek!) habit, with the accompanying nut butter and jam (did cocoa chia pudding and fruit this past Sunday), so I’m not sure what else I would use the HB in….

    • janet @ the taste space said, on March 20, 2013 at 6:36 PM

      Yes, my pantry is pretty epic. It spills over and out of the kitchen. ;) I don’t use hazelnut butter too often (although I love snacking on it directly from the jar with apples). Rob made my banana cocoa truffles with the hazelnut butter instead of the peanut butter and I’ve made a nutella spread with it too. Rob has suggested that this become my signature dish, so I may try to keep hazelnut butter in the pantry more often. Yup, it was that epic. In the league of the raspberry dreamcake but chocolate trumps fruit. Even Rob’s cousins thought it was nice – not too cloyingly sweet and surprised it was no-bake/raw since it was quite luscious but not over-the-top.

      I actually want to try the hazelnut meets raspberry treat you recommended next, but as mini-treats. Maybe a post-exam celebration. :)

      My breakfasts are pretty boring: steel cut oats + fruit + flax seed + protein powder + spices (cinnamon, cardamom, etc). I bet hazelnut butter would go well in there too. Although I find nut butters stirred in the oatmeal get lost. I’d probably top it and add a bit to each bite so I could taste it. :) I have a few empty nut butter jars waiting for some overnight oat action to finish off the last of the butters. HA! :)

      • Ellen Lederman said, on March 20, 2013 at 9:38 PM

        In complete agreement with you that chocolate trumps fruit, even though fruit is wonderful.

        Yes, try the hazelnut meets raspberry dessert—it’s perfect in small little ramekins as a mini-type dessert (is quite rich).

        Am going to e-mail you a pistachio cherry chocolate tart recipe.

  7. cameraphonevegan said, on March 20, 2013 at 10:17 PM

    sounds awesome! :)

  8. Joanne said, on March 21, 2013 at 8:06 AM

    My brother is always quite suspicious of my savory dishes…especially since I have been known to lie about what’s in them just to get him to try them! Lol. I would have no qualms about having a big slice of this cake though! Yum!

    • janet @ the taste space said, on March 21, 2013 at 9:00 AM

      At least my savoury dishes are open-book, but I think for the desserts they think something’s up. There’s fat here, but at least it was all healthy fat. ;)

  9. Colette | JFF! said, on March 21, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    I have to make this


  10. Genevieve said, on March 22, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    My family has learned to be suspicious of the treats I make too – I’m used to hearing things like “this doesn’t have tofu in it, does it?”, but it’s all in good fun! This cake definitely looks more sinful than it is…great texture on the filling! I’ve never tried using hazelnuts in my raw crusts before, I’ll have to try that next time!

    • janet @ the taste space said, on March 22, 2013 at 2:35 PM

      I see nothing wrong with tofu in desserts! I think my next experiment is to merge this recipe with my tofu chocolate cake…. so a tofu nutella cake. YES!! I just need some chocolate and tofu now. :)

  11. Hannah said, on March 22, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    Key lime would still be my pick (or the carrot cupcakes), but I will admit that this looks wonderful! Raw desserts are such a good way to make people converts to healthy desserts :)

  12. Heather @Gluten-Free Cat said, on March 27, 2013 at 5:51 PM

    I love the thought process that went into creating this decadent treat! Working backwards…I usually start with “what’s in the pantry?” or “what is going to go bad next?” Ha! Thanks so much for sharing it with us at Raw Foods Thursdays. I’ll be highlighting it tomorrow!

  13. […] You can turn nuts into decadent desserts. Check out this Better Than Nutella Cheesecake by Janet of The Taste Space. Cashews, hazelnut butter, and cocoa powder, oh […]

  14. The Kitchenmaid said, on March 28, 2013 at 2:40 AM

    I love the line about loving to make raw desserts because you can taste them as you go! This is absolutely stunning, thanks so much for entering it in We Should Cocoa this month, Lucy

  15. […] tofu cheesecake on my recipe to-do list for a while. However, I usually get distracted by other dessert […]

  16. imancookingvegan said, on March 29, 2013 at 6:10 PM

    Reblogged this on imancookingvegan's Blog and commented:
    Defo want to try this out this weekend! Yummy!

  17. GourmetGetaways (@GourmetGetaway) said, on March 30, 2013 at 7:59 PM

    WOW!!! This looks so good!!! I can’t wait to try it. I have never made a dessert like this before.. LOL! that everyone is suspicious of what is hidden in your “desserts.”

    I have joined the blog hop too, only my dessert isn’t so healthy ;)

  18. Sophie33 said, on March 31, 2013 at 5:56 AM

    I absolutely love raw desserts especially cheesecakes & your chocolate hazelnut one looks very appetizing & fabulous even! :) MMMMMMMMMM!

  19. Abby @ The Frosted Vegan said, on May 3, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    I just made a pie very similar to this! That crust looks amazing!

  20. […] Better than Nutella Cheesecake from Janet @ the taste space  […]

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  22. Moi Contre Le Vie said, on May 10, 2013 at 9:29 AM

    This looks phenomenal, I can’t wait to make it. Raw desserts are always my favorite – Fun to make and SO GOOD. :)

  23. […] meals range from Ancho Lentil Taco Salad Wraps, to Indian-Spiced Chickpeas and Kale to decadent Better Than Nutella Cheesecakes. I currently live in Toronto but will be moving to Texas. I don’t know whether to be more […]

  24. Ruta said, on May 12, 2013 at 3:11 PM

    That sounds beyond amazing. As a Nutella addict, I will certainly be giving it a try!

  25. […]  2: Better Than Nutella Cheesecake (Almost Raw Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake) […]

  26. […] resto can leave me beguiled: how did they do that? This goes beyond salads. Silky smooth lasagnas, luscious chocolate hazelnut cakes and brownies. This does not taste remotely like raw foods. Then I immediately want to try to make […]

  27. […] when I saw Taste Space’s Better Than Nutella Cheesecake (Almost Raw Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake) it seemed like fate. A few little changes in the recipe due to ingredient availability and I ended […]

  28. […] inspiration for this cake comes from The Taste Space – Better than Nutella Cheesecake. If I had hazelnuts on hand I would have used them. I also sub’d almond butter for the […]

  29. Marija said, on October 1, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    This one is in my MUST TO DO list! :) probably will be perfect as my birthday cake in a couple of days :)

    • janet @ the taste space said, on October 1, 2013 at 6:37 PM

      It was a delightfully epic cake. Please let me know how you and your guests like it :)

      • Marija said, on October 3, 2013 at 4:54 AM

        It feels like heaven in my mouth :D I am still new in vegan-raw sweet cooking (I am not vegan in general, starting with sweets). It is definitely BEST raw dessert I have made until now!!!!! :)

      • janet @ the taste space said, on October 3, 2013 at 5:17 AM

        Booyah! Thank you for stopping back with your feedback. If you had to pick anywhere to start, raw desserts are fabulous and I agree, this was also my best dessert to date. So happy to hear you liked it as much as me. :)

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  33. Katie said, on February 24, 2015 at 10:23 AM

    I would love to make this for my birthday and was wondering if I could sub the agave for something else – I have maple syrup in mind. Do you think that would be ok?

    • janet @ the taste space said, on February 24, 2015 at 10:30 AM

      Yes, I think maple syrup would be fine. I think it should still hold together. Please let me know how it turns out. (and happy early birthday!)

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