Chocolate Dream Cheesecake 5

Birthdays are an excuse to dive head first into all of your favorite guilty pleasures. I don’t know about you but most of my guilty pleasures involve chocolate. What? Yours don’t? Usually on my birthday I eat a lot of chocolate and a lot of dessert. In fact on my birthday I like to just replace entire meals with dessert. I know what you are thinking and no, I don’t just eat dessert all day long on my birthday with no actual sustenance in between!…(Okay fine I do, but it’s MY birthday I can do what I want!) But my guilty pleasures aside there were three, count them three, back to back birthdays at CrossFit this week. So of course I had to make something really outstanding for my CrossFit girls Jen, Shreya, and Michele.

Your CrossFit friends are a special variety of comrades, they are indeed a very unique type of friend. These are people that I sweat with, that I suffer with, that I am in severe pain with, that I bleed with, that I laugh with, that I cry with, that I scream with, that I would go to war with. These people see me at my best, my worst and everyday in between, their PR is my PR and vice versa. It’s kind of like a marriage of sorts, only we don’t live together and we have to pay to see each other on daily basis.

So you can only imagine how amazingly awesome my birthday ‘cake’ had to be to celebrate these ladies in all their glory! So I was thinking, if birthdays equal guilty pleasures a.k.a chocolate, and I need to make some sort of ‘cake’… what could I do?…(scratching my Paleo chin)…Ah ha! Paleo Chocolate Cheesecake!!!

Chocolate Dream Cheesecake 9

So after we did the WOD today we all gathered round, took birthday pictures and sampled the Paleo fare! It was so delicious! And I’m not just saying that because I made it! It came out exactly how I wanted! The chocolate crust was so rich and full of flavor, it made the perfect imitation Oreo crust or Fauxreo crust if you will. The zucchini gave it an amazing true to cheesecake texture, so creamy and smooth. I was in guilty pleasure Paleo heaven! Even poor Jackie who gave up chocolate for Lent had to have a bite, bless her heart! And even the boys looked like they were enjoying themselves! It made me so happy to see everyone hanging out, eating my Paleo chocolate cheesecake, at 7 o’clock in the morning, celebrating each other and these amazing friendships that we’ve forged through battle, together, in the CrossFit barracks.

Chocolate Dream Cheesecake 7

I recommend really paying attention to the lemon juice on this one. It’s not that big of a deal but I’m a perfectionist and I really wanted the chocolate flavor to come through without being overpowered by the lemon. You need the lemon juice though to give it that sour cheesecake flavor, so just go by taste, keep adding a little lemon juice until it’s just right! After pouring into the pan I used a rubber spatula to smooth and even out the top. I then put the cheesecake in the freezer to set for an hour. Then I did my handy dandy microwave melting of 85% cacao dark chocolate in a Ziploc baggie, cutting the corner trick, to drizzle chocolate over the cake. (You can find a more detailed version of that sentence in my chocolate covered strawberry blog). I also broke up some dark chocolate squares and placed them sideways into the top of the cake. At this point it was still soft enough to do so. Then I popped that bad boy back in the freezer overnight!

Chocolate Dream Cheesecake 8

Chocolate Dream Cheesecake
Prep Time
4 hr 15 min
Total Time
8 hr 15 min
Prep Time
4 hr 15 min
Total Time
8 hr 15 min
For the Fauxreo crust
  1. 2 heaping cups (8½ ounces/240 g) raw pecan pieces
  2. ¼ cup (60 ml) pure maple syrup, dark
  3. ¼ cup (18 g) cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
  4. 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  5. 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  6. 1 tablespoon smooth almond butter
  7. ⅛ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
For the filling
  1. 2 cups (310 g) raw cashew pieces, soaked in water at least 4 hours or preferably overnight
  2. ¼ cup (60 ml) melted coconut oil
  3. ¼ cup (60 ml) canned full-fat coconut milk
  4. ¼ cup (60 ml) pure maple syrup, dark
  5. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  6. 1 cup (184 g) peeled and diced zucchini
  7. ½ cup (36 g) cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
  8. ¼ cup (38 g) coconut sugar
  9. ¼ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  10. 1 to 3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice, or to taste
For the Fauxreo crust
  1. Line an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper.
  2. Place crust ingredients into the bowl of a high-powered food processor. Process until crumbly and combined, scraping down the sides of the processor as needed, about 30 seconds.
  3. Press the crust evenly into the pan, starting with the sides and working down to the middle.
For the filling
  1. Line an 8-inch (20-cm) springform pan with parchment paper; set aside. Prepare the dough for the Fauxreo Crust, following Step 2 on page xxx.
  2. Press the dough into the bottom of the cake pan. Place in the freezer to set.
  3. To make the filling: Drain the soaked cashews and put them in a blender; process the cashews until they are somewhat broken down. Then add the coconut oil, coconut milk, maple syrup, and vanilla. Blend until smooth. Next, add the zucchini, cocoa powder, coconut sugar, salt, and lemon juice. For the lemon juice, add 1 tablespoon at a time; go by taste to make sure the lemon flavor is there but not overdone. Blend again until a smooth and creamy batter has formed.
  4. Remove the crust from the freezer and pour the cheesecake batter evenly into it. Place back in the freezer to set for at least 4 hours.
  5. Remove the cheesecake from freezer 20 minutes prior to serving to allow it to thaw. Prepare the Ganache and let it cool somewhat (if poured while still hot it may melt the cheesecake as well as the chocolate shaving garnish). Once the ganache has cooled to the touch, remove the cheesecake from the pan and pour the ganache over the top, letting it drip down the sides, if desired, and garnish with chocolate shavings, if using. Store in the freezer for up to two weeks. Let thaw 15 minutes before eating.
  1. Unsalted butter in place of almond butter in the crust.
  2. 1:1 substitution of unsweetened vanilla almond milk in place of canned full-fat coconut milk in the filling.
Make Ahead
  1. Fauxreo Crust - 1 day ahead
  2. Chocolate Cheesecake - 1 week ahead
Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind

18 Comments on Chocolate Dream Cheesecake

  1. PopularPaleo
    March 21, 2013 at 5:29 pm (11 years ago)

    Are you effing kidding me!?! DELISH! I’m so glad I found you!

    • cleaneatingwithadirtymind
      March 21, 2013 at 6:13 pm (11 years ago)

      I’m glad you found me too! Come on over to the dark side (dark chocolate that is!) of Paleo deliciousness! 🙂

  2. Liz
    March 26, 2013 at 8:25 am (11 years ago)

    After seeing this, I knew I had to give it ago. Made it this past weekend and absolutely LOVE IT! Brought some in to work for my non-paleo friend and she agreed, it actually tastes like cheesecake! My crust was a bit oily even after I paper toweled it, but no complaints on taste! Thanks so much for sharing!

    • cleaneatingwithadirtymind
      March 26, 2013 at 8:57 am (11 years ago)

      I’m so happy to hear you loved it! I know, it tastes just like cheesecake, isn’t it crazy!? Don’t you just love sharing yummy food with Non-Paleos and they can’t believe you get to eat so good!

  3. Rebecca Rodriguez
    March 28, 2013 at 5:15 pm (11 years ago)

    Thank you for the awesome recipe! I made it for my friends and it turned out so well! I even added a (Paleo) ganache and raspberry sauce. Keep posting great treats!!!

  4. Erik
    May 22, 2013 at 11:54 am (11 years ago)

    Is there any replacement for coconut water? I can’t find it here in Sweden:(

      • Erik
        May 23, 2013 at 11:34 am (11 years ago)

        Ok thanks. Isn’t the cheesecake supposed to be baked in the oven though?

      • cleaneatingwithadirtymind
        May 23, 2013 at 11:55 am (11 years ago)

        That would be a traditional cheesecake with dairy and sugar. This is a paleo one so the process is a little different.

  5. MJ
    June 2, 2013 at 7:26 pm (11 years ago)

    I just want to confirm that it is 1/4 unsweetened cocoa powder? I want this to be perfect since it’s a birthday surprise for my Paleo man!

    • cleaneatingwithadirtymind
      June 2, 2013 at 7:28 pm (11 years ago)

      Yes! I will update that now, I didn’t realize it just said cocoa powder 🙂 Hope he likes it! Also I will be posting a recipe tomorrow that you might be interested in as well, stay tuned 🙂

  6. Jill
    June 23, 2013 at 10:19 am (10 years ago)

    I’m catching up with all of my recipe reviews, made this for my birthday and everyone loved this, that had it loved it and likened it to a chocolate mousse cake rather than a cheesecake, semantics of course because everyone cleaned their plates and asked for more!

    • cleaneatingwithadirtymind
      June 23, 2013 at 10:55 am (10 years ago)

      Ooh maybe I should rename it Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake? I’m so happy to hear everyone liked it! 🙂

  7. Nolwenn
    September 19, 2017 at 6:38 am (6 years ago)

    Hi ! I went to your blog hoping to find the recipe 🙂 I have your book (one I go to for so many recipes!) and was not sure if the crust should be cooked before adding the filling or not (my guess is, no baking). Thanks

    • Vanessa Barajas
      September 19, 2017 at 9:00 am (6 years ago)

      Hi Nolwenn, this crust is super versatile so you can either cook it or keep it raw, there are instructions for both in the book. For this particular recipe I prefer it raw. Hope that helps! 🙂

  8. Lily French
    September 19, 2018 at 8:59 pm (5 years ago)

    Hi …this cake looks delicious. I’m sure the zucchini adds a nice vegie touch, but if I wanted to sub it with something, what would it be? Or would I just add more of the other filling ingredients, and if so, what would the amounts be?

    Many thanks!

    • Vanessa Barajas
      September 23, 2018 at 9:00 am (5 years ago)

      You can just omit the zucchini. It helps to give it a nice smooth consistency, similar to real cheesecake. 🙂


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