Vanilla and chai are meant to be together. That marrying of cardamom and cinnamon and the hint of spiciness from the nutmeg, mixed with the almost sweetness and the rich, comforting flavour of vanilla makes this perfect flavour combination that warms you up from the inside out. Even if it’s not in the form of a chai tea, or chai latte.
And whether it’s fall or winter, or steaming hot in the middle of summer, chai flavoured things never get old. Sometimes I forget about chai flavour for a while and then bring it back with a vengeance, making everything in sight taste like chai. And while the flavour may come and go, and maybe even seem more seasonably appropriate for fall of the chilly, winter days, it’s a flavour that is always worthy of bringing back.
Because when you have that perfect chai latte, and it tastes amazing and smells amazing, and is packed with the perfect balance of spices, you are reminded of how much you like it and how it would be a perfect flavour in muffins, bars and breads, as a cake or as a compliment to a matcha latte, or how you should try a chai smoothie bowl, or chai breakfast some time. Or that you should use it for raw desserts.
That’s what I decided: I should use it for raw desserts. In particular, I should use it to create a raw cheesecake and infuse chai into creamy coconut milk, and mix it with soaked cashews, for a smooth, creamy, raw cheesecake.
Up until a couple of months ago, I hadn’t played around that much with raw cheesecakes, cashew cheesecakes and creating cashew cream. In these last two months though, I’ve totally changed that and have really enjoyed spending more time creating these raw treats. It’s a fun way to have healthy dessert options that double as a great protein and healthy fat boost to fuel lots of miles and to encourage good skin health.
And in the process, I have to admit, I have become slightly more obsessed with raw nuts than nut butter . . . I can’t decide if it’s a good or bad thing. Maybe I’ll go back to trialling my nut butter raw fudge dessert so I can combine both options . . .
Nuts and nut butter aside though, this cheesecake is creamy and delicious, with the perfect hint of chai flavour. I made it in a square pan and cut it into squares, but feel free to make it round, or cut it into slices, or make it in muffin cups and turn it into mini round chesecakes. The topping is made from spirulina and blackberries, giving it this gorgeous green colour, but you can always play around with that too, and top it off however you like.
Really the star of the show in these is the chai. And it totally shines through and rises to the challenge! Chai flavour never gets old.