Raw fig cheesecake

Raw fig cheesecake

I feel compelled to write this, not because I care (about fat) that much, but because I feel like people are being misled. Lied to, in a sense. And although it appears to be unintentional, I think you deserve the right to know.There’s this idea floating around the blogosphere that raw desserts are healthy. That you can eat them in large amounts and Hey! It’s alright, it’ll never go straight to your ass because good fats are healthy! I’m sorry friends, but this could not be further from the truth. Yes, good fats are better than bad fats, but that doesn’t make good fats healthy, in any sense. It just means good fats are better for you than bad fats.

Raw desserts are nutrient dense. Are they healthy in that respect? Sure. When you consider the amount of fat? Absolutely not. As far as your weight is concerned, fat is fat is fat. Obviously bad fats differ from good fats, but just because certain fats are deemed “good” doesn’t mean they can be eaten in excess. Just so we’re clear, raw desserts are not healthy, they’re just better for you than their baked counterparts (and even that is arguable). And they, like normal desserts, are meant to be consumed in moderation.

If you so desire, you can read all about good fats and bad fats here. This concludes my public service announcement for the day.

Raw fig cheesecakeRaw fig cheesecakeRaw fig cheesecake

Notes: This can be made in a larger spring form pan (or tart pan), if needed. You don’t have to add the beet juice; I only did because I wanted the cheesecake to be a pretty shade of pink. Blueberry juice would also be nice. If you don’t want to add any juice, add additional nut milk. Or lemon juice. If you can’t find dried figs for the crust, you can substitute 12-14 medjool dates. Same goes for the filling, but use 6-8 medjool dates. If you’re not using a high powered blender, it would probably be best to soak the calimyrna figs for upwards of 30 minutes. You may also need to add more liquid to the cashew mixture to get it to blend properly.


1/2 cup raw walnuts
1/2 cup raw pecans
1/2 cup raw almonds
20 dried mission figs

1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight
8-10 dried calimyrna figs
6 tbsp raw nut milk (or water)
2 tbsp red beet juice, optional
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
1 vanilla bean
, split and scraped

1/4 cup chopped raw nuts
4-6 fresh black figs

Line the bottom of a round 6″ spring form pan with parchment paper; set aside. In a food processor fitted with the S blade, blend the walnuts, pecans and almonds into a coarse meal. Add the mission figs and pulse until combined. Press mixture into the prepared pan then cover with plastic and freeze until ready to use.

Drain the soaking water from the cashews and transfer them to the container of a high speed blender, such as a Vitamix. Add the calimyrna figs, nut milk, beet juice, lemon juice and vanilla bean; blend until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. If you have a Vitamix, you’ll want to use the tamper. If you don’t have a Vitamix, you’ll likely have to give the mixture a good stir every 30 seconds or so. Once blended, pour the cashew mixture over the crust and freeze for at least 4 hours, or until solid.

When ready to serve, allow the cheesecake to thaw for 15 minutes, then top with chopped nuts and fresh figs.

Yield: 12-16 servings

  • windycityvegan October 18, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    I love you! Or more accurately, since I don’t know you and am not a creepy stalker, I love this post!

    You covered all of my peeves on this issue in your PSA, so I’m going to just say thank you. Also, since my fig tree is fruiting like mad right now, I’m going to make this cheesecake (and not eat the entire thing myself).

    • Ashlae October 18, 2012 at 3:31 PM

      Fig tree? Color me envious!

    • Celine October 18, 2012 at 5:13 PM

      What Monika said!

    • Celine October 18, 2012 at 5:13 PM

      (Except for the fig tree part because I don’t have a fig tree. And that’s really sad.)

    • cinefile November 6, 2012 at 2:57 PM

      Yup, what Monika (guessing that is windycityvegan) and Celine said!!

    • smalldoses November 6, 2012 at 2:59 PM

      I second what Celine said!

    • bianca November 14, 2012 at 11:36 PM

      thank you !!!! i love your bit about fat is fat is fat.. some people just dont get it :) THIS LOOKS DELISH :D

  • Christine October 18, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    This looks divine!

  • Kittee Bee Berns October 18, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    so so so pretty.

  • Shannon October 18, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    I always try to explain this to everyone at work. I also hate when people ask me for sugar free desserts but then say they want it dripping in agave. It’s still a sugar!

  • Lauren (PB&G) October 18, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    This is absolutely amazing! I have 5 pounds of dried figs at home just waiting to be blended up into a cheesecake! Thanks for the recipe!

  • Lauren (PB&G) October 18, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    This is absolutely amazing! I have 5 pounds of dried figs at home just waiting to be blended up into a cheesecake! Thanks for the recipe!

  • Jeanine October 18, 2012 at 5:32 PM

    This is so beautiful! Love figs… and fat :)

  • moonsword October 18, 2012 at 7:01 PM

    Squealingly yumfu1! Many thanks for sharing…Cheers!

  • Eileen October 18, 2012 at 8:15 PM

    This cake looks amazing! I definitely wish I had a fig tree just for things like this. :) And for, you know, eating all the figs I desire.

  • adrienne yancey October 18, 2012 at 11:25 PM

    Almost too pretty to eat… almost. Love this post!

  • xvavaveganx October 18, 2012 at 11:36 PM

    Such a pretty cake! Love figs, yum! You are right about healthy fats, everything in moderation!! It’s funny because raw desserts are very calorie dense but I find them rich enough that you don’t need to eat a ton of it. Anyway, lovely cake!!

  • Richa October 18, 2012 at 11:55 PM

    hey gorgeous come by seattle tomorrow. Talking to the cake here ;)
    I dont think i can eat too much at a time anyway and i need some fat back on my skinny self! so please send me 2 helpings for my bday tomorrow!

  • Jacqui October 19, 2012 at 3:11 AM

    Oh, this is so gorgeous! Love the psa : )

  • Sarah October 19, 2012 at 6:24 AM

    Wow I am so so impressed with the quality of your work and photos. Bravo my dear. Plus, you’re freaking hilarious too! You do good :)

    - Sarah

  • Katie (The Muffin Myth) October 19, 2012 at 6:39 AM

    Hurrah! Well said. It drives me bonkers as well that people think anything raw / vegan / paleo / whole grain is automatically a health food. Yes, it’s a good alternative, but it’s still dessert, we still need to moderate! This cake is gorgeous, as are those photos. Thanks for the recipe, and the wise words with it :)

  • Jess October 19, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    Love the cake, love your words on raw desserts. There are too many tags out there associated automatically with ‘healthy’ when they often are far removed from being so. Cakes in moderation get the big thumbs up from me whether they are raw, gluten free or Paleo.

  • Lia Lee October 19, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    This looks absolutely divine! I really wish I had my food processor so I could make this! Sure, moderation should always be considered but raw, vegan, and seasonal?! This is something I think everyone should try this autumn!

  • Pupa October 19, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    looks stunning!

  • Julia | JuliasAlbum.com October 19, 2012 at 8:48 PM

    Beautiful photography! What an amazing color!

  • omgoshimvegan October 20, 2012 at 5:02 PM

    Fantastic post. This looks pretty amazing. I’m not usually a fan of raw desserts but I’d eat this. Gorgeous figs! Oh how I love them.

  • Kristy October 20, 2012 at 8:39 PM

    This is one of the most gorgeous posts with the most stunning photographs I’ve seen in a long while. And I love figs- I’m sure this is just to die for!

  • vegan.in.brighton October 21, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    So pretty!

  • Sonja / A Couple Cooks October 25, 2012 at 1:23 AM

    These are stunning photos — gorgeous! And, thank you for your public service announcement — agreed :)

  • karina hafnor October 26, 2012 at 6:39 AM

    For my part, it’s not the healthy fat that’s the bad guy in these raw cakes and dessert. It’s the large quantities of medjool dates and syrup and other dried fruits, which instantly goes to my hips and makes me crave even more sweet.

    But a fig cake? Can’t resist that.

  • Elenore October 28, 2012 at 7:11 AM

    Darling, so great that you write about this! There are so many misunderstandings going on in the Raw world for sure!

    Huge hug and virtual smooches;)

  • JacPfef October 29, 2012 at 6:11 AM

    ugh yes, such a common belief that “healthy” is directly related to weight loss. so not so.

    more importantly, THAT LOOKS AMAZING!! like, seriously, gorgeous. well done.

  • Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes October 31, 2012 at 12:03 AM

    Absolutely beautiful- the beet juice look slike it it totally worth the effort, the color is amazing!

  • Fox AndBear November 2, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    amazing recipe !

  • Russell van Kraayenburg November 4, 2012 at 12:12 AM

    I think I’ve just fallen for your blog! I love the way this cheesecake looks and I adore all your shots and styling.

  • Vanessa November 4, 2012 at 8:05 PM

    I love figs. I love nuts. I love healthy(ish) desserts. I’m sold! Beautiful as always.

  • Anonymous November 11, 2012 at 12:28 AM

    i have 2 fig trees in my yard and i have to say although i love cheesecake very much not so sure the figs would ever make it into/onto it lol i love them as well

  • Alanna December 15, 2012 at 8:52 AM

    Love! Always looking for more ways to use my favorite fruit, this looks absolutely exquisite. Greatly enjoyed the public service announcement – I quite agree!

  • Paula February 7, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    Thank you !

    I just discovered raw cakes and kept wondering how healthy-living-people can promote cakes which crust and top and often the filling consisits mostly of nuts=fat. Not that I don’t like nuts. ;-)

  • thenutritionguruandthechef April 3, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    Lovely looking cake! It’s so true, raw foods have exploded onto the net as ‘healthy’ foods that people believe they can eat 15 slices of that won’t go to their hips.

  • Coffee & Covet April 25, 2013 at 4:52 AM

    What a lovely and yummolicious looking raw cake. So sad I live in the tropics and figs cost a bomb here. Will try making this with mango or pineapple or strawberries.

  • Coffee & Covet April 25, 2013 at 4:52 AM

    What a lovely and yummolicious looking raw cake. So sad I live in the tropics and figs cost a bomb here. Will try making this with mango or pineapple or strawberries.

  • Jenn April 26, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    This looks beautiful. I definitely plan on making it soon. However, my friend is allergic to cashews… is there an alternative nut that you would suggest i.e. more of the walnuts or more pecans etc.

    • Ashlae April 26, 2013 at 6:53 PM

      Unfortunately there aren’t any nuts that get as creamy as cashews.. but! You could soak blanched almonds for 8 hours (24 would be best) and use them in place of the cashews. Good luck!

  • Clementine May 31, 2013 at 1:24 AM

    Would there be any alteration to the recipe if one were to use fresh figs rather than dried figs for the crust?

    Thanks so much!

    • Ashlae August 22, 2013 at 9:17 AM

      You need to use dried fruit for the crust as it helps the base stick together.

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  • Rebecca W. July 5, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    Hi Ashlae, does this have to be served just out of the freezer or will it hold up refrigerated? Thanks!

    • Ashlae August 22, 2013 at 9:16 AM

      It will hold up in the fridge but may be a bit on the soft side.

  • Olivia August 22, 2013 at 2:44 AM

    This is the most beautiful dessert I’ve ever seen. I saw a similar version on another site (which is actually where I discovered your post) that used maple syrup and all I wanted to do was scream, “maple syrup is not raw!!!!!!!” Thanks for doing your research and big thanks for the PSA.

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    This is absolutely stunning! I adore figs!

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    I just found your site through this recipe and I’m so glad I did! You’re recipes are amazing and your site is freakin’ adorable. Bookmarking now :)

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