This no-bake chocolate mini cake combines a rich and creamy chocolate-cashew filling with a slightly crunchy, wholesome nut (or seed) based crust—naturally sweetened and made with no dairy, eggs, or gluten!
Rich and Creamy No-Bake Chocolate Mini Cake Recipe
As much as I love a big slice of regular cake (like gluten-free chocolate zucchini cake or PB & chocolate cake), sometimes the occasion calls for something a little smaller (and cuter!). This is where options like this no-bake chocolate mini cake shine! This tiny cake recipe makes up a single 4-inch cake, perfect for sharing at small gatherings, on Valentine’s Day, or as a small birthday cake!
Along with the size, this small cake isn’t a regular cake either. Instead, it’s a culmination of a vegan mousse cake, chocolate pie, and no-bake cheesecake. It combines a slightly crunchy, hearty nut (or seed) based crust with a velvety, smooth, almost mousse-like filling (but smoother, like a chocolate cheesecake)!
This mini chocolate cheesecake also manages to be wonderfully creamy while 100% free from dairy, eggs, gluten, refined sugars. In fact, it’s surprisingly healthy, containing wholesome ingredients like nuts, unsweetened cocoa powder, coconut milk, and natural sweetener.
This combination of ingredients makes for a chocolate mousse cake that’s loaded with heart-healthy fats and a rich source of several vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants! However, it’s not particularly a low-calorie dessert, so enjoy it in moderation! Luckily, this dessert is best stored in the freezer, meaning there’s no worry of wasting leftovers!
More so, this no-bake chocolate cake packs in maximum flavor but absolute minimum hands-on prep. The trickiest part of the entire recipe is waiting for it to set before digging in! If you’re looking for more decadent small-serve/mini desserts, you might also like these cheesecake brownies, 2-ingredient chocolate truffles, or a molten lava cake!
The No-Bake Crust:
- Nuts: I used peanuts; however, you can use the nuts or seeds of your choice (almonds, cashew, sunflower seeds, etc.)
- Nut butter: I used peanut butter. However, once again, you may use any nut or seed butter.
- Vanilla extract: Use pure natural vanilla extract for the best flavor.
- Maple syrup: Or another liquid syrup of your choice (use a sugar-free mock ‘maple syrup’ if preferred).
- Coconut oil (not pictured below): This will help to bind the no-bake crust. Use regular coconut oil (solid at room temperature), not fractionated oil (liquid).
- Salt: Just a pinch to enhance the flavors within the crust.
The Cashew Cream Chocolate ‘Mousse’ Filling:
- Cashews: You’ll need raw, unsalted cashews that have soaked in water.
- Coconut milk: Use canned coconut milk (rather than the thin carton variety).
- Maple Syrup: Or the liquid sweetener of your choice (agave, brown rice syrup, etc.) For a sugar-free option, you could use a sugar-free ‘maple syrup’ or similar syrup.
- Vanilla extract: Pure, natural vanilla is best.
- Coconut oil: Use coconut oil or cacao butter.
- Cocoa powder: Or cacao powder, but you may need additional sweetener then (as it is more bitter).
Optional add-ins and recipe variations:
There are several ways you can adapt this mini cake recipe with simple add-ons and substitutions, including:
- Salt: A pinch of salt will enhance and add depth to the cocoa flavor.
- Lemon juice: It will add a slight ‘tang’ to the mini chocolate cake (as regular cheesecake would have). 1 tablespoon should be enough.
- Extracts: For example, orange, coffee, mint, liqueur, hazelnut, etc. Add to taste (starting with ½ tsp).
- Liqueur: A coffee, hazelnut, or orange liqueur would work particularly well in this tiny cake recipe.
- Coffee: Just a teaspoon or so of instant coffee granules (or espresso powder) will enhance the chocolate flavor wonderfully. Add more for a mocha-flavored no-bake mini chocolate cake.
- Chocolate topping: Like the one I used for this chocolate pie or coffee cheesecake – instead of ‘frosting’.
- Layered mini cheesecake/cake: First, blend the cashew cream without the cocoa powder. Then remove half, and add the cocoa powder (1/2 amount) to the remaining mix in the processor, blending until thoroughly combined. You can then add extra vanilla to the plain mix or flavor it in another way. Alternatively, add the cocoa to both layers but boost the flavor of one of the cake layers (i.e., with coffee).
- Biscuit base: For a decadent crust, combine whole crushed Oreos or Biscoff biscuits with dairy-free butter or coconut oil.
Optional toppings/decoration: Whipped coconut cream, chocolate shavings, fresh berries, etc. You could also drizzle the mini chocolate cheesecake with a fresh berry coulis/ sauce (raspberry or strawberry would work well) or raspberry jam. If you’re serving it as a mini birthday cake, don’t forget the candles!
Please read the recipe card below for the full ingredients list, measurements, complete recipe method, and nutritional information.
How to Make a Mini No-Bake Chocolate Cake?
Step 1: The Prep
- First, soak the cashews in a large bowl in either cold water overnight, hot water for an hour, or boil them for 20 minutes (until tender). Then drain the water.
Step 2: Make the raw (no bake) crust
- Add the peanuts (or nut/seed of choice) and a pinch of salt to your food processor and process into a crumb consistency.
- Then, add the nut/seed butter, vanilla, and maple syrup, and blend again to combine.
- Add the coconut oil and blitz once more until well combined.
- Finally, transfer the mixture to a 4 or 5-inch springform cake pan (I made this as a 4-inch cake recipe. It will be thinner when using a larger pan) and press it down with a spoon until level. Set aside.
Step 3: Make the chocolate cashew cream filling
- In a blender, combine all the filling ingredients (soaked cashews, canned coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla, coconut oil, and cocoa powder). Blend on high speed until completely smooth and lump-free, scraping down the sides of the jug several times, if needed.
Be patient when processing the cashews, as it takes time to become super smooth.
- Pour the chocolate ‘mousse’ cream over the crust and tap the springform lightly against the surface to release any air bubbles. Then, transfer the pan to the freezer and allow it to thicken and set for 3-4 hours.
- Once set, remove the chocolate mini cake from the springform, allow it to thaw for 20-30 minutes, and enjoy!
If you want to add a melted chocolate topping to the small cake, do so now and place it back in the fridge for 10 minutes or until the topping firms up.
How to Make Ahead and Store
Make ahead: You can leave the cashews to soak in cold water overnight to start the process, or even blend them in advance and store the cashew cream in the fridge for 1-2 days.
Store: This vegan mini chocolate cheesecake can be stored in the fridge or in the freezer. You can freeze the whole cake or pre-slice it (with parchment paper between the slices to avoid sticking). Place in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
When you want to enjoy a slice, allow it to thaw at room temperature for 20-30 minutes, then enjoy!
Recipe Notes and FAQs
- Can I make this nut-free? You can easily swap the nuts in the crust for seeds. As for the cashew filling, you may be able to use soaked sunflower seeds instead. Though, the flavor and color will vary.
- Can I use regular chocolate in the filling? You could substitute the cocoa powder and coconut oil/cacao butter for your favorite dairy-free chocolate instead. However, I haven’t tried, so I can’t provide exact substitute amounts.
- Keep in the fridge or freezer: This mini cake’s filling doesn’t naturally ‘set’, so it needs to be chilled. It will soften if you keep it at room temperature for too long (though the oil in the filling will help keep it somewhat set). Therefore, it’s best to eat it as soon as possible after the short thawing period.
- Bite-sized chocolate cheesecakes: Divide the crust and filling in a silicone cupcake/muffin mold (or a loose-bottomed cupcake/muffin tin) for single-serving/ individual cakes. The yield will vary based on the size of the tray/mold.
- To cut clean slices: Dip your knife in a cup of hot water (and wipe it dry) while slicing the mini no-bake chocolate cake. Repeat this step between each slice.
- Blender vs. food processor: For the smoothest, creamiest results, I recommend using a blender. Food processors may produce slightly grainy results.
More Vegan Chocolate Desserts
- Double chocolate chip fudge cookies
- No-bake chocolate salami
- Vegan chocolate pudding
- Gluten-free chocolate muffins
- Zucchini brownies
- No-bake strawberry chocolate cheesecake
If you try this creamy no-bake chocolate mini cake recipe, I’d love a comment and ★★★★★ recipe rating below. Also, please don’t forget to tag me in re-creations on Instagram or Facebook with @elavegan #elavegan—I love seeing them.
Chocolate Mini Cake
- You can watch the video in the post for visual instructions.Soak the cashews in hot water for about 1 hour. You can also soak them in cold water overnight or boil them for about 20 minutes if you are in a hurry. Then drain the water.
- Process peanuts (or nuts/seeds of choice) with a pinch of salt in a food processor.
- Add peanut butter (or nut/seed butter of choice), vanilla extract, and maple syrup and blend again.
- Finally, add coconut oil and blend one more time.
- Transfer the mixture to a 4 to 5-inch springform and press it down with a spoon. Set aside.
- Add the soaked cashews to a blender, along with canned coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla extract, coconut oil, and cocoa powder.
- Blend on high speed until completely smooth and lump-free, scraping down the sides of the blender with a spatula, if needed.
- Pour the chocolate cream over the crust, tap the springform a few times and chill it in the freezer for at least 3-4 hours.
- Once set, remove the mini cake from the springform and let it thaw until it’s soft, about 20-30 minutes, then enjoy! You can, optionally, pour vegan melted chocolate on top, if you like and chill the cake for about 10 minutes, until the chocolate firms up a bit.
- Peanut butter: Use any other nut/seed butter of choice, like almond butter, cashew butter, sunflower seed butter, etc.
- Total time doesn't include soaking time or chill time.
Nutrition information is an estimate and has been calculated automatically