This caramel apple cheesecake is sure to become a new Fall favorite dessert! With a combination of a simple gluten-free base, creamy cheesecake layer, warming cinnamon apple filling, and caramel sauce to top it off – this recipe is rich, decadent, and perfect for impressing guests! Plus, this gluten-free cheesecake is also dairy-free and vegan – and your guests won’t even be able to tell!
Warming Fall Baked Caramel Apple Cheesecake
It’s officially October, which means the season of baking with pumpkin, apple, and warming spices. Not that I’ve ever needed an excuse to fill my kitchen with the comforting scents of apple and cinnamon with batches of apple cinnamon pancakes, streusel-topped apple pie, apple muffins, and even apple cinnamon rolls.
Now, we’re making things warm and cozy with this Fall-favorite combination of apples and cinnamon. This caramel apple cheesecake recipe combines a simple homemade gluten-free cheesecake crust with a creamy cashew/tofu cheesecake center (nut and tofu-free options available), layers of ooey-gooey cinnamon caramel apple filling, and a drizzle of caramel sauce. While it might seem like many elements, the process is super simple, and each component takes just minutes to prepare!
The combination of soaked cashews and tofu makes for a wonderfully creamy, melt-in-the-mouth vegan cheesecake filling. When filled with two layers of warming cinnamon apple filling, this cheesecake with apples becomes a truly delicious treat! Therefore, it’s perfect for enjoying at dinner parties, Fall parties, and the Holidays.
This dairy-free cheesecake recipe is also egg-free, gluten-free, and can be prepared refined sugar-free. It’s even healthier than regular caramel apple cheesecake, too. Not to mention that the ingredients are primarily pantry essentials with a few additional easy-to-find ingredients.
Vegan gluten-free cheesecake crust:
- Flour: I used a gluten-free flour blend (combining rice flour and tapioca/cornstarch – see recipe card notes for exact amounts) AND almond flour (you could sub shredded unsweetened coconut). Regular all-purpose flour will work too instead of gluten-free flour.
- Flax eggs: Flax eggs or chia eggs will work as a binder for the crust.
- Butter: Use either softened vegan butter or firm coconut oil – not a liquid oil.
- Sugar: You can use any granulated sugar; coconut, date, regular, etc. For a sugar-free cheesecake, you could use Erythritol/Xylitol.
- Salt: Just a pinch to enhance the flavors in the crust.
Cinnamon apple pie layer:
- Apples: You can use any apples you have to hand. However, I like Granny Smith, as their slight tartness balances well with all the sweetness in this recipe. Honeycrisp is another favorite.
- Citrus: Use lemon or lime juice to balance the flavors.
- Water: Needed to soften and provide the correct consistency.
- Cornstarch: Use either cornstarch or arrowroot flour for thickening.
- Sugar: Use your favorite sweetener, as mentioned above
- Spices: Cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt make up the warming Fall spices in this caramel apple cheesecake recipe.
Cashew cheesecake cream layer:
- Cashews: You need raw unsalted cashews for the cheesecake filling. You can alternatively substitute another soft nut like macadamias/blanched almonds. You could use raw sunflower seeds for a nut-free version, or refer to my vegan baked cheesecake for more nut-free ideas.
- Tofu: I used firm tofu. Alternatively, you could use a package of firm silken tofu, though then you should omit the coconut milk. Refer to this lemon cheesecake tart for a soy-free cheesecake layer method.
- Coconut milk: Use canned coconut milk for the creamiest cheesecake layer. Full fat is best. Otherwise, you could use a vegan cream like oat cream or soy cream.
- Maple syrup: Or the liquid sweetener of your choice.
- Citrus: Lemon or lime – fresh or bottled.
- Cornstarch: Or arrowroot flour, to thicken.
- Vanilla extract: Use pure/natural vanilla for the best flavor
- Sweetener: I use maple syrup, though any liquid sweetener should work – like agave, brown rice syrup, date syrup (taste will vary).
- Coconut milk: Canned, full-fat coconut milk works best for the creamiest results. You could sub another vegan cream.
- Brown sugar: or date sugar – these both work well for adding a caramel-like flavor. Just ensure the brown sugar is vegan if using.
- Nut butter: Adding just a spoonful of any nut (or seed) butter helps create a more decadent vegan caramel sauce.
- Salt: To enhance the flavors in the caramel sauce.
- Booze: For more of an adult treat, you could add a splash or two of booze to either the apple filling or caramel sauce. I recommend apple brandy, bourbon, apple cider, apple cider rum, etc.
- Biscuit base: For a ‘cheat’ cheesecake crust, you could use vegan graham crackers, Biscoff, or Ginger biscuits, and vegan butter.
- Nuts: Alternatively, you could use some crushed walnuts/pecans to sprinkle over the caramel cheesecake with apples.
Please read the recipe card below for the full ingredients list, measurements, complete recipe method, and nutritional information.
How to Make Caramel Apple Cheesecake
Before starting the recipe, remember to allow the cashews to soak in hot water for 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can boil them for 15 minutes. You could also leave them to soak in cold/room temp water overnight.
Step 1: Prepare the pie crust
- First, prepare the flax eggs; Combine the ground flaxseed/chia seeds and water in a small work, whisk well, and set aside for 5 minutes.
- Then, process all the crust ingredients in a food processor. Process until the mixture begins to form a dough when pressed together.
- Next, press the crust into the bottom of a 7 or 8-inch (18 or 20 cm) round springform pan and transfer to the fridge.
Step 2: Prepare the apple pie filling
- First, peel, core, and dice the apples.
- Then, add all the ingredients (except apples) to a saucepan, whisk without heat until there are no lumps, and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Then add the apples and allow the mixture to simmer for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Next, transfer half of the apple pie filling over the pie crust, spreading it evenly with a spatula. Then move the pan back to the fridge.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F/175C.
Step 3: Prepare the vegan cheesecake layer and bake
- After soaking the cashews (or nut/seed of your choice), process all the cheesecake layer ingredients in a food processor/blender. Process until super creamy and smooth.
This can take some time to break down the nuts until smooth, so be patient. This works best with a blender, I’ve found.
- Then pour the cheesecake filling over the apple filling and make sure to spread it evenly.
- Next, bake the vegan apple cheesecake in the oven for 45 minutes. Then switch off the heat and crack open the oven door (use a wooden spoon/heatproof tool if needed). Allow it to cool for 10 minutes inside the oven. The cheesecake should have become slightly golden, especially around the edges. Also, it should have a slightly jiggly center (which will thicken up as it cools in the fridge).
It’s best to cook the cheesecake above a heatproof bowl/pan of water in the oven (water bath). The steam will help to keep the cheesecake from drying out and/or cracking.
- Remove the baked vegan cheesecake from the oven and allow it to cool for a further 2 hours. Then, top it with the remaining apple pie filling, and chill until set (it’s best to do this overnight).
If the apple filling has become thick, reheat it with a splash of water to make it ‘spreadable’ again.
Step 4: Prepare the caramel sauce
- Lastly, it’s time to prepare the caramel sauce. To do so, add all the caramel ingredients to a saucepan. Bring to a boil and then allow it to simmer for around 5 minutes.
- Drizzle the caramel over the apple cheesecake and then slice and enjoy!
You can serve the slices of this baked cheesecake alone or with a scoop of ice cream, a dollop of coconut whipped cream, or even a drizzle of melted vegan white chocolate.
How to Store
Store: You can store the leftover caramel cheesecake in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days.
Freeze: I recommend slicing it first, then freeze for between 2-3 months as individual slices. When you want a piece, allow it to thaw at room temperature for 40-60 minutes before enjoying it!
Recipe Notes and FAQs
- Make mini apple cheesecakes: You can bake the dessert in muffin tins (greased/ lined) and adjust the baking time (to between 20-30 minutes).
- Adjust the size: If you use a smaller or larger tin, you’ll need to adjust the baking time accordingly.
- To make caramel apple cheesecake bars: Use a 7×7 or 8×8 pan and adjust the baking time, if needed.
- Be careful with the cooling: If you cool a baked cheesecake too quickly, it’s likely to crack. Avoid this by following my method for allowing it to slowly cool in the oven initially.
More Creamy Vegan Cheesecake Recipe
- Baked Coffee Cheesecake,
- Dairy-Free Cheesecake with Poppy Seeds
- Lemon Cheesecake Bars
- Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake
- Mango Cheesecake Pie
- Lemon Cheesecake Tart
- Cheesecake Tartlets
- Strawberry Coconut Cheesecake Bars
- Raw Vegan Blueberry Cheesecake
If you try this vegan baked caramel apple cheesecake recipe, I’d appreciate a comment and ★★★★★ recipe rating below. Also, please don’t forget to tag me in re-creations on Instagram or Facebook with @elavegan and #elavegan – I love seeing them.
Vegan Caramel Apple Cheesecake
Apple Pie Filling:
- You can watch the video in the post for visual instructions.I recommend using a kitchen scale for this recipe. Check out the easy-to-follow step-by-step photos + video above in the blog post.
- To make the flax eggs, simply put 2 tbsp ground flax seeds (or ground chia seeds) in a small bowl, add 6 tablespoons of water and mix with a whisk. Set aside for 5 minutes.
- Process all ingredients for the crust in a food processor until the dough crumbles but holds together.
- Press the pie crust into the bottom of a 7-inch (18 cm) springform (or 8-inch) and transfer the springform to the refrigerator.
Vegan Apple Pie Filling
- Next, make the vegan apple pie filling. You can use store-bought apple pie filling, but homemade is much better, and it only takes 5 minutes to make it. Add all ingredients (except the diced apples) to a saucepan, whisk without heat, then bring the mixture to a boil. Add the diced apples and simmer for about 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Transfer half of the apple pie filling over the crust and spread it evenly with a spatula. Place the springform into the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Vegan Cheesecake Layer
- Soak cashews in hot water for at least 30 minutes (if you are in a hurry, you could also boil them for 15 minutes).
- For the vegan cheesecake layer, simply process all ingredients in a food processor or blender until completely smooth, creamy, and lump-free. Check the photos above in the blog post to see how the cream should look like.
- Pour the cheesecake cream over the apple pie filling and spread it evenly.
- Bake the vegan cheesecake in the oven for 45 minutes, then turn off the oven. Leave the cake in the oven, but crack the door for about 10 minutes. If you are using a bigger or smaller springform you will need to adjust the baking time. Please note that the center of the cake will still be jiggly, which is normal, though. It will set later in the refrigerator.
- Let the cheesecake cool at room temperature (which will take a couple of hours). Then add the second half of the apple pie filling on top and spread it carefully. You might need to reheat the apple pie filling with a little water to make it spreadable again. Refrigerate the cake to set completely. It's best to leave it there overnight.
- Make the homemade caramel sauce by adding all ingredients to a saucepan. Bring to a boil on the stove and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Drizzle the caramel on top of the cake. Enjoy! Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.
- Sweetener: Any granulated sweetener can be used. Some other examples are Xylitol*, Erythritol, coconut sugar, regular sugar, or date sugar. *Desserts with Xylitol should be never given to dogs.
- Cornstarch: You can use arrowroot flour instead.
- Gluten-free flour blend: I used 1/2 cup (80 g) rice flour and 5 tbsp (40 g) tapioca flour (cornstarch is fine too). A store-bought gluten-free flour blend (with similar ingredients) or regular all-purpose flour should work as well.
- Almond flour: To make the recipe nut-free, you can use ground shredded unsweetened coconut. Simply process it in a blender or electric coffee/spice grinder.
- Tofu: You can use one package (12.3 oz or 350 g) of firm silken tofu instead of regular tofu. Leave out the canned coconut milk if you use silken tofu. If you want to make a soy-free version or a nut-free version, then please check out the recipe and the recipe notes of this Lemon Cheesecake Tart.
- Recipe serves 10. Nutrition facts are for one serving.
Nutrition information is an estimate and has been calculated automatically
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