Delicious, Fun & Healthy Food

Raw Cheesecake

Cranberry Chocolate Cheesecake & "Plant-based Desserts" - An Online Course at the Matthew Kenney Culinary

Cheesecake, Raw CheesecakeLina LiwagComment
    My final project - "Create Your Own Dessert"


My final project - "Create Your Own Dessert"

Above are other photos from my  course.

The course is for six days and you have two weeks to finish it.   It starts with simple recipes and techniques and then we l progressed to the more complicated ones a few days later.  What's good about it is that you can do it in your own time and in your own kitchen.  I work full time so I would prep after dinner and then put them together the next day.  Most times, I did cooking marathon in the weekends since I work better that way.  Overall, I found the colours, textures, ingredients, techniques, especially the plating very helpful and inspiring for me.  One day, I would love to have a small Cafe  where I can offer plant based desserts.  

On this course, you learn making plant based ice cream and sorbets, chocolate cakes and sauces, pana cotta and other components of desserts like crumbles, brittles, compotes, coulis and most of all, better versions of popular sweets. 


As mentioned in my previous post, I recently took an online course called "Plant-based Desserts" from the Matthew Kenney Culinary.  It's no longer Christmas, a time popular for sweets but  January was a birthday month for so many friends and family members including my husband and I.  I thought it would be just the perfect time to learn and make these desserts. My dad celebrated his 90th in the Philippines on January 15th and that's such a big BLESSING, I must say! 

Dessert-making was never a skill that I was good at since I never had any  experiences when I was younger...didn't do any baking then as I preferred making savoury dishes.  This has to be learned and practiced - hence this course.  My family enjoyed much of it and some samples also went to friends and co-workers.

 This dessert was what I submitted for my finals on this course.  It was shared many times to my friends and co-workers for recent birthdays and celebrations.  It was also part of what I served for dessert at a private dinner for Valentine's Day.

Cranberry Chocolate Cheesecake

1  cup almonds
6 dates, soaked for 10 mins.or until soft (save the liquid) 
3 Tbsp. cacao powder
Pinch of Himalayan salt

In a food processor, pulse the first two ingredients until coarsely chopped.  Add the cacao powder.  If the mixture is dry, add a bit of the soaking water from the dates. Pulse until mixture gets sticky.  Transfer into a 7" springform (if you want it thicker) or into an 8" round or square springform pan (for easy cutting later) and let it set in the fridge.

1 1/4 cup cashews, soaked 4-6 hours
1/2 cup fresh cranberry juice (or blood orange juice)
1/3 cup cacao powder
1/3 cup. cacao butter, melted
1/3 cup coconut nectar or maple syrup
1/2 tsp. vanilla essence or powder
Pinch of Himalayan salt

In a high speed blender, place all ingredients except the cacao butter and blend until smooth.  On low speed. slowly add the cacao butter until fully incorporated.  Pour into crust and freeze until set, approximately six hours. Pop it out from the pan while still frozen and let it sit for 10 minutes.  Since this is a rich dessert, cut them into 1" thick and 4" long and serve.

Cranberry Sauce (Optional)
1/4 cup fresh cranberrries or frozen and thawed
1/4 cup raspberries
1/2 cup blood orange or regular orange juice
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
pinch of cardamom

Blend until smooth.  Strain through chinois or wire sieve.

Cacao nibs
Powdered dried berries or dried cranberries

On Valentine's Day, I served diner for 3 couples.  I played as their chef and made them a 5-course meal for their date night.  It was fun and they enjoyed a full plant based menu.  It was dark  and the quality of the photos weren't as great but I'm sharing them below:

Dessert was a combo of the chocolate cheesecake and coconut, cranberry and blood orange ice cream square (this is a nut free component)

Dessert was a combo of the chocolate cheesecake and coconut, cranberry and blood orange ice cream square (this is a nut free component)

It's been a busy week for me with so much prep just on my own.  I'm thankful that my hubby was in charge in making the house look presentable with his amazing cleaning skills and organization.  He even prepared the plates and utensils, washed the dishes and most of all, helped kept my sanity. He is such a great support and inspiration.  Also, this is not my full-time you may have seen in my bio already, I make mortgages for a living.  During the day, I review mortgage applications, credit bureau reports, appraisals  and manage my relationships with mortgage brokers.  I also help my co-workers achieve the monthly goals for our team.  One day, I hope to be serving food in my own cafe for a living.  

So next month, I'm enrolled online for the Advance or Level 2 program at the Matthew Kenney Culinary.  I'm hoping this will help prepare me for my future.  Wish me luck!  

I hope that whatever dreams you have, you too are pursuing them.  Age is not an issue as I just turned 55 last month!  Go for it, is what I can say.

And by the way, if you live in Toronto, it's super cold out there...keep warm!



"Triple-Decker" Raw (Birthday) Cheesecake

Dessert, Cheesecake, Raw Desserts, Raw CheesecakeLina Liwag4 Comments

So January flew by fast...although it feels like the latest buzzword (in Toronto), the "polar vortex" is here indefinitely.  The media calls it "the winter visitor that refuses to leave."  But in the midst of these consistent sub-zero temps and record high snow falls, it was a time for celebration.  It was the big month of birthdays in my mini community.   I first wrote about it on this post here last year. 

So for an update, my dad who lives in the Philippines, turned 89 on January 15th.  What's really exciting to share about him is that he has started drinking green juice!  My brother and I bought him this kind of juicer here as a Christmas present.  The first juice recipe that my sister made for him was a mix of carrots, apple and the awesome moringa leaves (malunggay) -  fresh and organic from our backyard  there.  How cool is that!  You can definitely start a healthy practice at any stage in life.  I think having an open mind is the key. 

This year, the number of celebrants on my floor at work has increased to 11.  Half of that is from  my team.  Just imagine how many candles were being blown every time. Crazy! 


It's then predictable that it's also a time for making birthday treats, right?  But the real question is: how can I possibly squeeze this in to my ever so tight schedule? I managed...made a huge Cherry Chocolate Cheesecake for the birthday celebrants at work (check it here on my Instagram page) and then there's this special one for my husband who happens to celebrate his birthday back to back with me.   So here goes "Triple-Decker Raw (Birthday) Cheesecake.  Delicious and colourful bites and tastes of sunshine on this gloomy season of the polar vortex! Happy Birthday everyone especially to my soulmate, Angel! 


"Triple-Decker" Raw (Birthday) Cheesecake
Ingredients (Preferably Organic)

For The Crust:
3/4 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup dried Turkish figs, chopped
1 Tbsp. water
Place all ingredients into a food processor and pulse until the mixture becomes sticky and holds together.  Transfer to a 6" x 2 3/4" springform pan and press firmly.  A 7" one can also be used.  The cake will be a bit thiner.

First Layer: Persimmon Cheesecake
1/2 cup raw cashews soaked for 6 hours
1 cup Vanilla or Fuyu persimmon, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. fresh clementine or orange juice
2 Tbsp. coconut  butter, softened
1 Tbsp. coconut oil melted
2 tsp. maple syrup
1/8 tsp. vanilla powder
Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until the mixture becomes very smooth. Adjust the taste.  Pour into the crust and place it in the freezer while you get to work on the next layers.

Second Layer: Matcha Green Tea and Avocado Cream
1/2 cup young coconut meat
1 medium size avocado
2 tsp. matcha green tea powder
3 Tbsp. coconut water
1  1/2 Tbsp. coconut oil
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp + 1 tsp. maple syrup (or more depending on your taste)
Dissolve the green tea with the coconut water and set aside.  Rinse either your food processor or high speed blender and process all the ingredients until smooth and creamy.  Adjust the taste.  Take out the pan from the freezer and pour the avocado cream on top of the persimmon layer. Return the pan into the freezer.  

Top Layer: Blueberry Cheesecake
1/2 cup raw cashews soaked for 6 hours
1 cup  fresh or frozen (then thawed) blueberries (see suggestions)
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. fresh clementine or orange juice
2 Tbsp. coconut  butter, softened
1 Tbsp. coconut oil melted
1  1/2 Tbsp. maple syrup 
1/8 tsp. vanilla powder

Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until the mixture becomes very smooth. Adjust the taste.  Pour on top of the avocado cream layer.  Freeze the cake for 2-3 hours.  To serve, remove from freezer at least 30 minutes (or more) before serving.   Run a knife under hot water and cut into slices.    Enjoy!

1.  If young coconuts are not available in your area, you can use cashews as a substitute.  I would say use 1/3 cup and soak them.  The coconut water can just be replaced with filtered water.  
2. If you want the colour of the top layer to be more vibrant, use organic frozen blueberries and thaw them first.  A mix of fresh and frozen is also great.  This is my second time to make this cake so I noticed the difference. 


I usually take the time to meditate on the things that I'm thankful about every time I turn a year older.  Here are the big ones:  the Lord's kindness and blessings, my family, my friends. Canada, my job and my health.  It's been pretty amazing for a 54 year old I must say!  I hope you're enjoying the first part of the year.  Let me know what you think of this Birthday cake!



Raw Persimmon Cheesecake With Cacao Sprinkles - Our 20th Anniversary Cake

Dessert, Cheesecake, Raw CheesecakeLina Liwag4 Comments

October 30th was an important day for my husband and I.  It was our 20th Anniversary!  Wow! I just couldn't believe how time has flown.  There's so much gratitude in our thankful for God's blessings through the years. The lessons we've learned and are continually learning in our marriage and parenting make it even more special and meaningful. 

So to celebrate the occasion, I wanted to make a special cake...something with my favourite fruit in season...with just the right flavours and ingredients to go with it.  And delicious enough for everyone.  I'd love to share it to friends, co-workers and relatives. 

With that intention, I was so ecstatic when I found a box of the freshest and nicest looking Fuyu persimmons at my grocery store. As if they were just there waiting for me. Raw persimmon cheesecake here I come!  This would be the 2nd installment to my "dessert making adventure." I wrote a bit about persimmons in an earlier post here.  For this recipe, no sweetener was necessary. Isn't that awesome?

As I write this, I'm happy to share that the cake came out very was enjoyed by our mini community.  I felt the joy as people smiled and savoured this homemade 20th Anniversary cake!




 Raw Persimmon Cheesecake  With Cacao Sprinkles

Crust :
1 c. raw  almonds 
6 pcs medjool dates, pitted and sliced into small pieces 
4 Tbsp raw cacao powder 
a pinch of sea salt 
1 vanilla pod scraped or 1/2 tsp. vanilla powder 

1. Place almonds in food processor and process until finely chopped. 
2. Add dates, cacao, vanilla and salt and process until mixture stick together. 
3. Transfer the mixture into the bottom of a 9" spring form pan lined with parchment paper (a smaller 7" pan can also be used which will yield a thicker cake). Make sure to press it well. 

2 1/2 c. raw cashews, soaked overnight or minimum 4 hours
3 c. Fuyu persimmons, peeled and chopped 
1 c. fresh orange juice 
1/4 c. lemon  juice 
1/2 c.coconut oil, melted
(see #3 below on sweetener)

2 1/2 Tbsp. cacao nibs 



1. Rinse and drain soaked cashews. Prep the persimmons, orange and lemon juices, melt the coconut oil by placing it on a small bowl over a pan of  simmering water. 
2. Transfer them all into a high-speed blender. Process until smooth. 
3.  Adjust the taste.  If persimmons are very ripe, no sweetener is required otherwise add up to 2 1/2 Tbsp. of maple syrup if they are still a bit crunchy.
4. Pour over crust. Sprinkle the cacao nibs on top. 
5. Freeze until cake becomes solid, approximately 6-7 hours.
6. Remove from the freezer 30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

There's also an older cheesecake recipe made of pomegranate, my other favourite fruit. You can check it at this link. 


Marriage is a gift and I am truly grateful that Angel and I are partners in this life that God gave us.  I'm thankful for the bible, a standard that both of us can trust.  Then there's our good friends who help hold our hands when we need strength and support. I can truly say that we are enjoying each other.  Happy 20th my dearest!