A celebratory funfetti vegan cheesecake that's easy enough to make anytime, with a smooth and creamy, no-bake filling and a buttery graham cracker crust. Or omit the sprinkles and add your favorite toppings for a versatile cheesecake recipe perfect for any occasion.
Place a can of full-fat coconut milk in the refrigerator at least 24 hours in advance. Use a good quality brand (I like the Whole Foods 365 coconut milk). This will ensure the solid coconut cream separates from the liquid.
If not using a high-speed blender, soak the cashews in water overnight or quick-soak them in hot water for about an hour. Option: see instructions above for champagne-soaked cashews.
Make the crust:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 C).
In a large food processor pulse graham crackers into crumbs. Add sugar and melted butter, and pulse several times to combine. Press mixture into a 9-inch non-stick springform pan. The flat bottom of a glass or ramekin works nicely to tamp down the crust. Use your fingers to press in the crumbs around the edges.
Bake for about 9 minutes, then set aside to cool. If you have time, once the crust has cooled, refrigerate until ready to fill.
Blend the filling:
If you soaked the cashews, drain and pat dry. Next, blend the cashews with the liquid ingredients (lemon juice, vanilla, and ¼ cup milk, if using) until incorporated but still chunky. Once the cashews are mostly broken down, add the coconut cream, sugar, and salt, and blend until smooth. Stop as needed to scrape down the sides of the blender, and use a tamper if your blender comes with one.
Add the cream cheese and blend just until smooth. Refrigerate the filling until cool, 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on how warm the mixture got during blending.
Scatter about 1 tablespoon of sprinkles onto the crust. Pour half of the cheesecake filling on top. Add another heaping tablespoon of sprinkles, then pour in the rest of the filling. Smooth the top with a spoon or silicone spatula. Decorate the cheesecake with as many sprinkles as you like.
Place cheesecake in freezer, uncovered, for at least 2 hours, preferably 3 to 4. Carefully release the sides of the springform pan. Transfer cheesecake to a serving platter, slice, and serve. See storage tips below.
If not using a high-speed blender, soak the cashews first, either overnight or for 1 hour in hot water. Then drain, rinse, and pat dry. Or get fancy with a soak in champagne! See tips in post, just above the recipe card.
It's very important to only use the solid cream portion of coconut milk. To ensure that it separates from the liquid part, refrigerate a can of full-fat coconut milk for 1 to 2 days in advance. Reserve the liquid to use in another recipe, like a soup or this easy red lentil curry.
The cheesecake is fine at room temperature for up to 1 hour, depending on exactly how cold it was before serving. Otherwise, keep the cheesecake refrigerated.The cheesecake can be frozen overnight, however there's a slight chance the color of the sprinkles will fade. It will also need several hours in the refrigerator to soften/thaw before serving. If making for a special event it's best to prepare the cheesecake about 5 hours in advance. This allows for 3 to 4 hours in the freezer just before serving.