Zesty and creamy lemon cups – like a cheesecake, but so much lighter. These healthier vegan lemon cups are so easy to put together and makes for a lovely chilled treat now that the weather is warming up.
It’s no secret that I love my decadent chocolatey desserts, but I also love fruity treats, especially when I’m looking for something light after a meal. A simple crumbly no-bake oaty base, topped with a smooth and lush lemony filling made up of cashews, coconut milk and lots of lemon goodness! You don’t need to soak the cashews before hand – just add everything to a blender, then heat up in a pan (to allow starch gelatinisation). Pour into muffin moulds and leave to cool. That’s it!
What you need to make these healthier vegan lemon cups:
Oats – my fave ingredient to use as a pastry base. Oats are higher in fibre compared to plain flour and work really well in no-bake treats.
Maple syrup – adds a hint of sweetness. A little goes a long way! It also helps bind and stick the base together.
Coconut oil – helps bind everything together.
Cashews – this will act as the base of the ‘cheesecake’ layer. A great dairy-free alternative to cream cheese and heavy cream used in traditional cheesecake recipes. Compared to other nuts, cashews work best because they have a mild flavour, so they won’t overpower the hero flavour of the cheesecake, which in this case is lemon.
Coconut milk – adds extra creaminess and body to the cheesecake layer. Again, a great dairy cream alternative.
Lemon juice & zest – fresh lemon juice works best and the zest adds so much zing and makes the lemon taste so much sharper.
Cornflour – this acts as a setting agent transforming the creamy spreadable filling into a cheesecake consistency.
Agar agar – another setting agent. It works as a plant-base gelatine substitute helping give the cheesecake a firmer, more gelatinous texture. You can easily find it online (I get mine from Amazon) and it’s definitely worth having in your pantry if you like making vegan custard, jelly or cheesecakes. Alternatively you can omit the agar and add an extra 1/2 tbsp cornflour instead.
Turmeric – to add colour, but this is completely optional. You only need a small pinch – too much and your cups turn orange!
I decided to use a muffin tray to make 6 individual ‘cheesecakes’, but you can use a loaf tin to make 8 lemon squares instead.
Healthier Vegan Lemon Cups
For the base
- 100g oat flour use gluten-free oats if necessary
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp coconut oil melted
- 1/2 tbsp maple syrup or liquid sweetener of choice
For the filling
- 40g cashews*
- 200ml full fat coconut milk canned
- 80ml lemon juice
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2.5 tbsp maple syrup
- 1.5 tbsp cornflour or arrowroot powder
- 1/2 tsp agar agar**
- Pinch of turmeric
- Mix all the base ingredients in a bowl and press into a muffin mould, or a loaf tin lined with baking paper. Chill in the freezer while you make the lemon filling.
- Pour the coconut milk into a blender/food processor along with the cashews, lemon juice, lemon zest, maple syrup and a pinch of salt. Blend until smooth.
- Pour into a pan and mix in the corn starch, turmeric and agar agar. Cook on a medium heat whisking constantly until the mixture thickens.
- Pour the lemon mixture on top of the base, then leave for 10-15 minutes to cool. Transfer to the fridge and allow to set for a couple of hours. The mixture will thicken as it cools.