Chocolate swirl cheesecake

For the past 4 months I have been keeping a secret from you but now is finally the time to share it. If you follow me on facebook you probably already know  🙂 Two of my dear friends and I  have been working on an e-magazine: Darna magazine. The first issue was published on June 10th and you can read it on 

Darna magazine ramadan issue

The story behind DARNA is so simple and spontaneous. Three passionate bloggers, food photographers and friends came together and met in one place they called DARNA “Our home” though in reality they live thousands of miles apart. Their passion to preserve Middle Eastern heritage, to put a modern twist on it and to present its beauty and richness to the world was truly the drive behind the formation of DARNA.

Darna magazine

Darna aims to bring its readers a spoonful of Middle Eastern Cuisine, crafts and stories woven in one package to give you the best of the Middle East; A true taste of thousands of years of tradition and heritage.

Today as I invite you into our home “Darna” we do so with a promise that it  will be a truly enchanting journey. All we ask of you, is to leave any preconceived ideas about the Middle East at the door, come with us on this journey with an open mind and an open heart and we promise that you’ll love every minute of it 🙂

Cheesecake with berries

Now back to today’s recipe 🙂
Have you ever offered your kids a slice of cheesecake and regretted the decision almost instantly because the sugar rush sent them bouncing off the walls? I know I have!

There has to be a way to enjoy a slice of cheesecake without all the sugar and empty calories! For my Philips #30DaysofHomemade challenge, I was determined to find one!

I have experimented with sneaky desserts before and have quite a few family favorites in my arsenal but a raw cheesecake was not one of them. I have been intrigued by the idea of a raw cheesecake for quite some time.The idea is to prepare a dessert in which all the ingredients are raw, unprocessed ,keeping the vitamins and minerals in the food intact.You get to enjoy a dessert that is not loaded with empty calories, a dessert that is full of nutrients (you don’t see the words dessert and nutritious in one sentence quite often!). But will it taste good? or will it taste too “healthy”?


When this challenge came around I knew it was my chance to experiment with the idea.

Raw cheesecakes replace the regular cracker base with a nut and date combo. The nuts provide the rich earthy notes you usually get from the crackers and butter while the dates adds sweetness and act as a cohesive agent to hold everything together.For my cheesecake I chose hazelnuts because they work beautifully with chocolate.

The filling in raw cheesecakes is primarily cashew nuts that are pulverized into a cream like consistency. They act as a replacement for the cheese in the cheesecake. Now I know that the last sentence must have raised quite a few eyebrows. That was my exact reaction when I first researched raw cheesecakes. Cashews? instead of cheese? But after trying it a number of times I am here to tell you that  when you soak cashews for a few hours then cream them in a food processor, they transform into a velvety,luscious cream.My kids loved the filling so much that they ate it by the spoonful!

Raw chocolate

The second concern that I know many of you will have is that cashews have a reputation for being full of fat.Is it really a healthier choice to replace cheese with raw cashews?

The answer is a definite yes!

Not only do cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts, approximately 82% of their fat is unsaturated fatty acids, plus about 66% of this unsaturated fatty acid content are heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, similar to those found in olive oil. Cashew nuts are great sources of essential minerals, especially manganese, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium .Cashews are also a good source for many essential vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), riboflavin, and thiamin (vitamin B-)

chocolate swirl cheesecake

Ok, now that we have answered all the concerns, how does the end product taste like?

If you have never tried a raw cheesecake, believe me you are in for a treat! Velvety smooth filling that melts in your mouth and a nutty crust that provides a beautiful contrast in terms of texture. As you can see from the pictures the cheesecake sets perfectly and you can cut it and serve it in slices easily.So it also checks the presentation box.

I personally loved the cheesecake as is (so did my husband). I look forward to experimenting with other flavors. A blueberry raw cheesecake is at the top of the list. The kids loved the filling so much but Jana who is not too fond of dates said she could still taste them in the crust. She still gave the cheesecake two thumbs up. If you or someone in your family are not too fond of dates you can still use the filling recipe over a regular cracker crust. It will no longer be a raw cheesecake but it will still be a healthier dessert than regular cheesecake

raw cheesecake

Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake



½  cup hazelnuts  (pecan, almonds or walnuts will also work)

½  cup pitted soft dates

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)


3 cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 5 hours (overnight is best) then drained for  15 minutes

½ cup lemon juice (about 3 medium lemons worth)

The seeds of 2 vanilla beans (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)

2/3 cup raw coconut oil, melted

2/3 cup raw honey (vegans can substitute agave nectar)

2 tablespoons cocoa powder


  1. Place nuts and dates in your Food Processor and pulse to chop until they are to your desired fineness (for a fine crust, process it longer; or for a chunkier crust, process it less).
  2. Test the crust by spooning out a small amount of mixture and pressing it in your hand. If the ingredients hold together, your crust is good to go, if they don’t you can add a few more dates
  3. Place your crust mixture in a 9” springform pan (if you don’t have a springform pan, use a regular pan lined with cling film), and press firmly. You need to make sure that the edges are well packed and that the base is relatively even throughout.
  4. Melt coconut oil and honey in a small saucepan on low heat
  5. Place all filling ingredients (except the cocoa powder) in the most powerful blender that you have and blend on high until very smooth (this make take a couple of minutes and you may need to stop and scrape the sides, so be patient).
  6. Pour about 2/3 of the mixture out onto the crust and smooth with a spatula.
  7. Add the cocoa powder to the remaining filling and blend on high until smooth. Dollop the chocolate mix onto the first layer of filling.
  8. Use a wooden skewer to swirl the chocolate mix into the vanilla mix
  9. Place in freezer until solid.
  10. To serve, remove from freezer 30 minutes before eating.



There are two key points for the success of this raw cheesecake: you need to soak the cashews for more than 5 hours to ensure that when you pulverize them, they will become creamy. You also need to use a powerful blender and you need patience. The cashews will give you the melt in your mouth cheese feeling only if they are completely smooth.

The coconut oil is solid at room temperature that is why it is included in the recipe, to help the filling set, you can’t replace it.

You need to drain the cashews for 10- 15 minutes after soaking because if you don’t the extra water will make your filling runny and it won’t set.

You can play with the flavors of this cheese cake. Instead of the coco powder you can add berries or caramel sauce or any other flavoring agent that you like.

Raw chocolate switl

تشيز كيك الشوكولا الصحي



نصف كوب من الجوز الطازج (يمكن استخدام الجوز الأمريكي أو اللوز أو البندق)

نصف كوب من التمر منزوع النواة

ملعقه كبيره كاكاو


ثلاثة أكواب من الكاجو (منقوعة لمدة خمس ساعات على الأقل)

نصف كوب من عصير الليمون (عصير حوالي ثلاث حبات متوسطة الحجم)

بذور عودين من الفانيليا (أو ملعقتين صغيرتين من شراب الفانيليا)

ثلثي الكوب من زيت جوز الهند المذاب الطازج

ثلثي الكوب من العسل الطازج (يمكن استخدام رحيق الصبار الأمريكي عوضاً عن العسل للنباتيين الذين لا يتناولون المشتقات الحيوانية)

ملعقتين صغيرتين من مسحوق الكاكاو

المتسابقة سوسن أبو فرحه

هل سبق لكم وأن قدمتم قطعة من التشيزكيك إلى أطفالكم وشعرتم بالندم مباشرة بعدها لأنهم أصبحوا مفرطي النشاط بفعل كمية السكر الكبيرة؟ لقد مررت بهذه التجربة شخصياً، وكنت أفكر دوماً بأنه لا بد من وجود طريقة للتمتع بالتشيزكيك دون استهلاك هذه الكمية الكبيرة من السكر والسعرات الحرارية، ولذلك كنت مصرّةً على إيجاد طريقة أثناء مشاركتي في #تحدي_الثلاثون_يوماً للطبخ المنزلي مع فيليبس، وقد وجدتها بالفعل.

في هذه الوصفة لإعداد التشيزكيك سرٌّ غير متوقع، فكل المكونات المستخدمة غير مطهوة للحفاظ على الفيتامينات والأملاح المعدنية فيها. لا تتسرعوا في الحكم، إن لم تسبق لكم تجربة التشيزكيك بهذه الطريقة فبانتظاركم مفاجأة سارّة ولذيذة.

طريقة التحضير

ضعي الجوز والتمر في جهاز تحضير الطعام ، واطحنيهما معاً حسب الرغبة (لقاعدة ناعمة اطحنيهما لمدة أطول، أما العجينة الخشنة المقرمشة فتتطلب الطحن لمدة أقل).

اختبري تماسك العجين بالضغط على كمية منه في يدك، فإن كان متماسكاً تكونين على الطريق الصحيح، أما إن تفتت بسهولة يمكنك إضافة المزيد من التمر إليه.

مددي العجين في صينية خَبز ذات قاعدة قابلة للفك والتركيب بقياس 9 إنش (يمكن أيضاً استخدام صينية عادية بعد تغطية قاعدتها بورق التغليف البلاستيكي)، وقومي بالضغط عليها بإحكام.

تأكدي من أن الحواف متماسكة وأن المزيج موزع بشكل متساوٍ.

ذوبي زيت جوز الهند مع العسل في مقلاة صغيرة على نارٍ هادئة.

ضعي مكونات الحشوة (ما عدا مسحوق الكاكاو) في الخلاط وامزجيها جيداً على سرعة عالية (قد يستغرق الأمر بضعة دقائق ومن الممكن أن تحتاجي إلى كشط جوانب دورق الخلاط، لذا كوني صبورة).

اسكبي ثلثي مزيج الحشوة فوق العجينة ووزعيه بتساوٍ باستخدام ملعقة الطهي.

أضيفي الكاكاو إلى ما تبقى من الحشوة وامزجيها جيداً على سرعة عالية، واسكبيها فوق المزيج في الصينية.

استخدمي سيخاً خشبياً لمزج الطبقة المحتوية على الكاكاو مع الحشوة بشكل لولبي.

ضعي الصينية في الفريزر حتى تتماسك تحتاج من 2-3 ساعات. أخرجي التشيزكيك من الفريزر قبل ثلاثين دقيقة من موعد التقديم.

Raw chocolate swirl cheesecake. Simply heavenly