Vegan German Cheesecake (Käsekuchen)

In Baking, Dessert, Recipes, Sweet by MurielLeave a Comment

Käsekuchen: German cheesecake, folks!

One of the most elusive culinary achievements in my vegan kitchen has been a baked cheesecake. I’d only ever tried a frozen cheesecake, which is super easy to make (using cashews) but very pricey and a different thing entirely. Having spent some time in Germany however, I figured I’d try my hand at veganising a local speciality. Käsekuchen, directly translated, is cheesecake. There are many versions of cheesecakes around the world – even South Africans have their version. The German version has a filling that’s made with quark, a German soft cheese made from sour milk, and a crust made with fresh, buttery dough.

This is a vegan adaptation of a recipe from The Domestic Rebel (which is a translation from a German magazine). Fortunately, vegan quark is an easy find in Berlin, so the main challenge was to replace the six eggs. One for the crust: easy, I used a flax egg (one tablespoon ground flaxseed with three tablespoons of water). Five for the filling, divided into yolks (for richness and binding) and whites (for lightness and leavening). One egg yolk is about a tablespoon in volume, but because there were five, I used a few different replacements to hedge my bets. (The more eggs in a recipe, the more complex their function, so I always diversify). Flax egg + soy flour + coconut oil (for the fat) was my solution. For the egg white replacement, I used aquafaba, of course.

And… it was a delicious success!

UPDATE: Since quark (let alone vegan quark) is not available outside Germany, I tried making this with homemade soy yoghurt instead. I placed the yoghurt in a few layers of cheesecloth (over a strainer) overnight, to remove some of the water. I then followed the same recipe, and it was perfect!

Vegan German Cheesecake (Käsekuchen)

One of the most elusive culinary achievements in my vegan kitchen has been a baked cheesecake. I’d only ever tried a frozen cheesecake, which is super easy to make (using cashews) but very pricey and a different thing entirely.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr 10 mins
Cooling Time3 hrs
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: German
Keyword: baked, birthday
Servings: 12 servings

Equipment

  • Stand-mixer (optional)
  • Egg-beater (optional)

Ingredients

For the crust

  • cup vegan butter (room temperature)
  • cup sugar
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp water)
  • 1 cup cake flour (wheat or spelt)

Fro the filling

  • ½ cup soy cream (or homemade cashew cream)
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter (room temperature)
  • cup sugar
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp water)
  • 1 tbsp soy flour (or chickpea flour)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
  • 800 g vegan quark (or vegan yoghurt, strained – see Notes)
  • 1 ½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 packet vanilla pudding powder (or 36 g cornstarch + extra vanilla)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup aquafaba
  • 1 pinch cream of tartar (or two drops vinegar)

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 180ºC.
  • Cut out a circle of baking paper to line the bottom of a 20 cm springform pan. Lightly grease the bottom of the pan with vegan butter, place the baking paper on the bottom, then grease the baking paper and the sides of the pan.

For the crust

  • In a medium bowl, mix the vegan butter, sugar, flax egg and flour.
  • Spread into the bottom of the pan and lightly up the sides of the pan, taking care to make it as even as possible.
  • Leave in the fridge until the filling is ready.

For the filling

  • Place the vegan butter and sugar in a bowl, and beat with a stand mixer or egg beater (or by hand) until creamy.
  • Now to create an egg yolk replacement. In a small bowl, combine your flax egg (1 tbsp ground flaxseed with 3 tbsp water) with the soy flour and melted coconut oil.
  • Add the soy cream and the flax egg mixture to the butter+sugar mixture, one tablespoon at a time, and beat after each addition.
  • Mix in the vegan quark, vanilla extract, lemon juice and lemon zest, and beat well. Add the vanilla pudding powder and mix.
  • In a separate, large bowl, add the aquafaba (which is replacing the egg whites) along with the cream of tartar (or use vinegar, see Notes), and beat with an egg beater for a couple of minutes until stiff.
  • Fold the aquafaba into the batter until mixed.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top.
  • Bake for 1 hour, until the edges have pulled away and the top is lightly golden.
  • Turn off the oven, open the oven door a crack and leave the cheecake for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool until it reaches room temperature, about 1 hour.
  • Refrigerate for 2 hours so that it can set.
  • Before serving, remove it from the fridge to get to room temperature again.
  • To get clean slices: take a sharp chef's knife and dip it in ¼a mug of hot water. Wipe it dry with a clean dish cloth, then carefully slice, and repeat.
  • Serve with berries and whipped (vegan) cream.

Notes

  • If you prefer to use cashew cream instead of soy cream, you can make it yourself by soaking ¼ cup cashews in ¼ cup hot water for 20 minutes, and then blending it until smooth.
  • If you don't have soy flour, you can use chickpea flour – it'll have a slightly stronger taste, but the small quantity shouldn't overwhelm the final flavour.
  • Soy yoghurt makes a good substitute for quark, but you must strain it in cheesecloth for several hours (or overnight) to remove some of the water. It should reduce by about 30%.
  • For the aquafaba: it's important to use an egg beater (or a stand mixer with an egg beater attachment). You can either add a pinch of cream of tarter (an acid) to the aquafaba before beating, or you can swill a teaspoon of white vinegar in the bowl and then discard the excess (leaving only a tiny amount on the bowl's surface), before adding the aquafaba. This will have the same effect as the cream of tartar.
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