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Paleo & Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake

I wasn’t sure if pumpkin + chocolate would taste good together, but in this dessert it works.

pumpkin chocolate cheesecake with a slice cut out of it

Originally, I was planning on making a vanilla swirled pumpkin cheesecake, but since I was working with natural sweeteners my first attempt at the vanilla “cheesecake” didn’t turn out very white– it was more of a beige color, which provided very little contrast against the pumpkin layer.

So, I decided to see how pumpkin and chocolate would work together for a Halloween-inspired treat. I love how the chocolate swirled layer looks like a spiderweb against the naturally orange cheesecake! Even though this “cheesecake” is dairy-free, it tastes unbelievably creamy and has the perfect amount of pumpkin flavor. The chocolate topping is mostly there for looks, but I think its flavor compliments the creamy pumpkin filling quite nicely.

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Because this dessert is so rich in nuts and healthy fats, this cheesecake is on the thinner side when you make it in a 9-inch springform pan. I prefer it this way, so you don’t use too many expensive ingredients or make the portions too ridiculously large for your guests, but if you’d prefer a thicker cheesecake, just use a smaller springform pan. (A 6-inch pan would probably work well for making a thicker cheesecake.)

I hope you enjoy it soon!

Vegan & Paleo Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake
Makes one 9-inch cheesecake

Ingredients:

Crust: 

1 1/2 cups almond flour
3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
pinch of salt

Pumpkin Filling:

2 cups raw cashews, or 1 cup raw cashew butter
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Chocolate Topping:

2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Directions:

To prepare the crust, line a springform pan with parchment paper and combine all of the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl creating a shortbread-like dough. Press the dough into the bottom of the pan evenly, creating a thin crust, and set it aside.

To prepare the pumpkin filling, grind the cashews in a blender or food processor until they are very finely ground (it’s okay if they start to turn into cashew butter). Add in the rest of the filling ingredients and blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container if necessary. If you’re using cashew butter, you can skip the blender and just mix all of the filling ingredients together in a bowl until very smooth. Pour the filling over the crust and use a spatula to spread the filling to the edges and smooth the top. Set aside.

steps to make pumpkin chocolate cheesecake

To prepare the chocolate topping, combine the three ingredients in a small bowl and stir well to combine. Transfer the chocolate to an icing bag or to a plastic sandwich bag with the tip cut off. Pipe the chocolate topping in a spiral design, starting from the center and working your way towards the edge of the cheesecake. Drag a knife from the center of the spiral to the edge of the pan, almost like you’re slicing it into pieces to create a spider web-like design. (Even with my splotchy icing skills, I think the result still looks pretty impressive, so it’s hard to mess this up!)

Place the pan in the freezer to set until firm, about 4 to 6 hours or overnight. Once firm, you can transfer the cheesecake to the fridge for a softer more cheesecake-like texture, but keep in mind that this cake will start to melt at room temperature, so serve it quickly after slicing. (You can serve it directly from the freezer, too, but the flavors aren’t as strong when frozen– it gets better after sitting on the counter for about 10 minutes.) I’d recommend storing any leftovers in the fridge for up to a week, but if you want to store it longer it should keep indefinitely in the freezer when stored in an airtight container.

side view of pumpkin chocolate cheesecake

As you can see this cheesecake is rather thin when made in a 9-inch pan, but my whole family found this to be MORE than enough– it’s very rich and perfectly satisfying. Enjoy!

5 from 4 votes
Paleo Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake
Prep Time
20 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 
A creamy pumpkin cheesecake with a decorative chocolate topping, this dessert makes a perfect Halloween treat!
Course: Dessert
Servings: 12
Calories: 345 kcal
Author: Detoxinista.com
Ingredients
Crust:
Pumpkin Filling:
  • 2 cups raw cashews , or 1 cup raw cashew butter
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
Chocolate Topping:
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Instructions
  1. To prepare the crust, line a springform pan with parchment paper and combine all of the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl creating a shortbread-like dough. Press the dough into the bottom of the pan evenly, creating a thin crust, and set it aside.
  2. To prepare the pumpkin filling, grind the cashews in a blender or food processor until they are very finely ground (it's okay if they start to turn into cashew butter). Add in the rest of the filling ingredients and blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container if necessary. If you're using cashew butter, you can skip the blender and just mix all of the filling ingredients together in a bowl until very smooth. Pour the filling over the crust and use a spatula to spread the filling to the edges and smooth the top. Set aside.
  3. To prepare the chocolate topping, combine the three ingredients in a small bowl and stir well to combine. Transfer the chocolate to an icing bag or to a plastic sandwich bag with the tip cut off. Pipe the chocolate topping in a spiral design, starting from the center and working your way towards the edge of the cheesecake. Drag a knife from the center of the spiral to the edge of the pan, almost like you're slicing it into pieces to create a spider web-like design. (Even with my splotchy icing skills, I think the result still looks pretty impressive, so it's hard to mess this up!)
  4. Place the pan in the freezer to set until firm, about 4 to 6 hours or overnight. Once firm, you can transfer the cheesecake to the fridge for a softer more cheesecake-like texture, but keep in mind that this cake will start to melt at room temperature, so serve it quickly after slicing. (You can serve it directly from the freezer, too, but the flavors aren't as strong when frozen-- it gets better after sitting on the counter for about 10 minutes.) I'd recommend storing any leftovers in the fridge for up to a week, but if you want to store it longer it should keep indefinitely in the freezer when stored in an airtight container.
Per Serving: Calories: 345, Fat: 26g, Carbohydrates: 23g, Fiber: 2g, Protein: 7g

Notes: As always, please leave a comment below if you make any substitutions to this recipe. We can all benefit from each other’s experiments! I have a feeling you could use honey instead of maple syrup, if you prefer, and you may have luck using a different nut or seed in the filling, too– but you’ll never know for sure until you try!

Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite Fall dessert? Are you making anything special for Halloween? We make homemade peanut butter cups every year, and I have a feeling we’ll be making some peanut butter pumpkins using this recipe this year!

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Comments

Claudia

What is the measurement for the coconut oil in the Chocolate Topping? Can’t wait to try this one!

    Megan Gilmore

    Thanks for catching that– it’s been updated!

Samantha @ThePlantedVegan

Yummmm! I definitely will be making this for Thanksgiving! So simple, and it looks so delicious! Thanks for the recipe!

Jess @ Crunchy Hot Mama

Oh man, this looks and sounds delish! I am loving all your pumpkin recipes and can’t wait to whip this one up 🙂

Keep ’em coming, Megan!

Heather W

This looks amazing! Just in time for Canadian Thanksgiving too! I was wondering, could you sub apple cider vinegar for the lemon juice?

    Megan Gilmore

    I haven’t tried it myself, but I think that would work– I’d probably only use half the amount though, because vinegar has a stronger acidic flavor than lemon juice.

Amber@FarmGirls

That looks delicious! I would love to try raw cashews in a pumpkin pie filling. Great pictures too.

Karen

Hi there Megan, this cheesecake recipe looks amazing. I’ve an allergy to coconut, are you able to suggest an alternative ingredient please? many thanks & I just love your recipes & website. Karen UK

    Megan Gilmore

    If you don’t need this recipe to be vegan, you could use real butter as a substitute for the coconut oil.

Joslyn

This looks SO good! I can’t wait to try it. I have almond butter already at home so I’ll be trying it with that, but just in case that doesn’t work out(but I think it will) I have some cashews on hand lol!

Susan Tasker

I have an allergy to cashews is there a substitute you could recommend in place of them? coconut nut butter maybe or macadamia nuts?

Bethany @ Athletic Avocado

I love pumpkin and chocolate together, definitely one of my favorite flavor combos! This looks and sounds so divine, and I love that its dairy-free!

Abbi*tarian

Thank you for this great recipe!

Jessica @ Styled Nutrition

Very festive and looks pretty easy make!

Jen

I just had to comment to say how delicious this is! I was craving pumpkin pie pudding and didn’t have an avocado for your pudding recipe so I made this filling instead, thinking that I could just eat it. It was super rich and delicious, but I couldn’t eat it like pudding (I will probably make the pie for Thanksgiving though!). So I mixed it with some homemade, tart coconut milk yogurt and wow! It tastes like the pumpkin yogurt from Trader Joe’s. Except better and healthier. Thanks for always having amazing recipes. Your book never leaves my kitchen.

Kathy

Can you freeze this too? I don’t see why not~~

    Megan Gilmore

    Yes, absolutely!

Jean

Tried the Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake over the weekend with family. It was a huge hit. Thank you for the recipe.

LeAna

Hate having to ask, any suggestions on a substitute for the almond flour in the crust? I’m allergic to almonds. Thank you

Margie

Do you think or know if the nuts can be subbed out? Maybe coconut flour for the almond flour and sun butter for the cashew butter? Would I be wasting ingredients to try it? I really, REALLY wanna eat this! 🙂

Erin

This turned out fabulous, and everyone including kids loved it. My big tip would be to simply use cashew butter (I’ve never actually used it but I assume it’s silly smooth like store peanut butter would be). I have a basic blender and a good food processor, I used the processor and worked really hard to get the raw cashews smooth enough. The end result was actually smooth but it was touch and go! I also used almond meal instead of flour (a mix of homemade and store because it’s what I had) – it had more texture than almond four would but to me it worked great as a sub if needed.

Jason Cook

This looks like a good recipe thanks for the inspiration. 🙂
I was wondering if you can replace the Almond flour for coconut flour for the crust?

brittany

This turned out AMAZING! I swapped almond meal for hazelnut meal, and it turned out perfect. The only issue I had was my chocolate for the top was too thin, and so it didn’t turn out as pretty. Perhaps my cocoa powder should have been rounded tablespoons, regardless I give this an A+. Even though it appears small, you really don’t need much.

Sarina

Wondering if I can make this filling and put it in a pie crus?

    Megan Gilmore

    As long as you bake the crust first, the filling should still firm up just fine when chilled!

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