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Raw Pineapple Coconut Vegan Cheesecake Nut-Free: Part 2

Substitutions Part 2:  Raw Pineapple Vegan Cheesecake Nut-Free

Please read to the end for the recipe.

A funny thing happened while working on this post. It involves jello, pineapple and my mother, Cora. A little more on that later.

In my quest to help people with substitutions, I decided to write a three part series on substituting cashews in desserts. The first substitution, pine nuts, worked like a charm. You can see part one and the recipe here: Raw Lemon Thyme Pine Nut “Cheesecake”. It’s worth a read to get a better understanding why substitutions aren’t always straight forward.


Raw Pineapple "Cheesecake"


This is a series on finding substitutions for cashews, especially in desserts. But because so many people can’t have nuts at all,  I decided to make the this recipe completely nut free. I turned to coconut as the base ingredient and set out to see how it would all come together.

Opening 5 young thai coconuts, even for someone who is used to doing it (see how here: Young Thai Coconuts) is a bit labor intensive. But if you can get past that, the flesh of the young thai coconut makes a refreshing base for this “cheesecake”. I honestly would call it more of a soufflé cake, due to the texture


Raw Coconut Pineapple "Cheesecake"


Once again, I wanted the flavors to love each other and what loves coconut more than pineapple? Plus, the addition of fresh pineapple lightens up the coconut is a beautiful way. Think acidity cutting fat. So, in went one cup of fresh pineapple that got pureéd into the mixture and one cup of chopped pineapple to round things out.

I did everything else as I normally would and popped the little beauty into the refrigerator, thinking that I would photograph it the next morning. Imagine how surprised I was when I un-molded the “cheesecake” and it started to gently spread. It had not completely set up, even with an entire cup of coconut oil in the base. I was a bit astounded.

Knowing that adding more coconut oil or coconut butter would really start to affect the mouth feel and taste in a negative way, I instead tossed it in the freezer. A few hours later, voilá! A beautiful frozen dessert that tastes divine. But what about that setting up problem?

In comes Mom. I have to tell you something about my mother (who will not let me tell you how old she is, even though I want to so you can see how amazing women can be at all ages), she is a store house of little known facts. If you could have a partner at Trivial Pursuit, you would want my mom. When ever a question about almost anything comes up between my daughters and I, “Call Grandma” is the first thing that comes out of our mouths.

So, I am talking to my mom she asked me about the second dessert. “I had a little trouble with it setting up,” I say. “You know,” Mom says,  “You can’t use fresh pineapple in jello. It prevents it from setting-up.”

I jump on the computer and look up pineapple and jello. Now, jello or gelatin is a far, far cry from coconut. It is made from cow’s hooves and apparently the bromelain in fresh pineapple contains two enzymes that break down collagen which prevents the jello from setting up. Ok, I know. Coconut flesh is a far cry from gelatin but it did get me thinking enough to inspire me to try the same “cheesecake” with strawberries. Even though I don’t expect it to make a difference, maybe something interesting can be learned here.

For now, enjoy this refreshing raw Pineapple Coconut “Cheesecake” frozen. Make sure you let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving to soften a bit. And I will post the strawberry version next!

*Please note: Because this recipe is a substitution recipe, I don’t have a substitution for the substitution. So, if you don’t like, or can’t have coconut, I would suggest trying one of the many other dessert recipes on the site.


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  1. sabina wrote on February 25, 2017

    So disappointed to read about the coconut oil ;´(
    I don’t use it anymore since I heard how much saturated fat it contains. It clogs the arteries. However, the picture of the cake is lovely.

  2. sam wrote on June 19, 2016

    We don’t have Thai coconuts ut dry coconuts with water. Can I use fresh shredded coconut instead? Or is coconut butter better? If so would it still be 2.5 cups?

  3. Yolanda wrote on February 21, 2016

    Getting young coconuts can be difficult in my city, do you recommend a particular canned or boxed substitute for the coconut/coconut water?

    • Gail Holcomb wrote on March 30, 2016

      I found out that Birdseye has fresh frozen coconut (in 6 ounce packages) and it looks like our local Walmart may have it. I haven’t checked though, but do a search on line to see which of your local stores may have it. I want to try this cake because my granddaughter is allergic to tree nuts (even pine nuts) and we haven’t been able to find a suitable substitute for cashew “cheese”

    • Susan wrote on February 22, 2016

      Hi, Yolanda, You can see if you can find fresh-frozen coconut meat at an Asian grocery store. Cheers!


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