Vegan Russian Chocolate Cheesecake
Cheese and chocolate cake all in one? The idea is so brilliant it could have been ours. No wonder we love Russian chocolate cheesecake so much! Isa, in particular, couldn't get enough of it as a child. Russian chocolate cheesecake was a must, whether at teatime or as a reward after a math test. In the unlikely event that you feel differently, you can find an overview of all our cakes here.
In Germany, the cake is called "Russischer Zupfkuchen", which translates to Russian pluck cake – a strange name for a cake made from curd and chocolate. So where does it come from? The answer is anything but Russian: The Zupfkuchen probably comes from East Germany! It got the nickname "Russian" Zupfkuchen because the dough flakes, when unbaked, resemble the spires of Russian churches. Funnily enough, the cake is known in Russia as Deutscher Quarkkuchen, which means German cheesecake (source). Who would have thought?
The preparation of the cake is quite simple. First, we create a delicious chocolate dough. Three quarters of the dough make up the bottom and sides of the cake. To achieve an even edge, it's best to start by forming long strings and pressing them along the sides of the greased baking pan. Take special care to ensure that the bottom and sides are well connected.
To make the filling, melt the butter in a small saucepan and let it cool a little. Mix the custard powder with the plant-based milk in a separate bowl (the starch in the custard powder dissolves best in cool liquids). The custard powder should be completely dissolved and not form any lumps.
Combine plant-based yogurt with the custard mix and brown sugar in a second bowl. Then, add the lukewarm butter. Finally, add the filling to the springform pan. You can add fruit to the filling if you like it a bit fresher. We like to use canned tangerines (drain well in a sieve) or currants, but there are no limits to your creativity. Now you have to crumble the rest of the chocolate dough on top, and the cake is ready to go into the oven! After 60 minutes, the filling is still very soft when you take the cake out of the oven. Therefore, let it cool completely before you cut it.
Vegan Russian Chocolate Cheesecake
For the chocolate dough:
- 400 g (3.33 cups) flour (type 405)
- 125 g (0.66 cup) brown sugar
- 16 g (4 tsp) baking powder
- 65 g (2.25 oz) baking cocoa
- 250 g (2.25 sticks) vegan butter
For the cheesecake filling:
- 150 g (1.33 sticks) vegan butter
- 74 g (2.66 oz) vegan vanilla custard powder
- 4 tbsp plant-based milk
- 800 g (3 cups) plant-based yogurt or skyr (curd)
- 50 g (0.25 cup) brown sugar
- vegan butter for greasing
Mix flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and cocoa in a bowl for the chocolate dough. Add the vegan butter and knead well using your hands.
Grease a springform pan (Ø 24 cm / 9.5 inches) with vegan butter. Add half the dough to the pan and press it firmly to the bottom with your fingers, creating an even base. Form three quarters of the remaining dough into several long rolls and place them over the bottom of the dough along the edge of the pan. Then press firmly against the edge of the pan, creating an evenly high edge. Make sure that the edge and bottom of the cake are probably joined. Set aside the remaining dough. It will end up as a crumble on the filling.
Preheat the oven to 180 °C / 350 °F (convection heat). For the filling, melt vegan butter in a small saucepan and allow it to cool slightly.
Mix the vanilla custard powder with the plant-based milk in a bowl until there are no more lumps. Next, add plant-based yogurt to a large bowl and stir in the custard mix and brown sugar. Once the butter is lukewarm, whisk it in as well.
Now pour the filling into the cake pan and add the remaining chocolate batter as a crumble on top. Bake the cake at 180 °C / 350 °F (convection heat) for about 60 minutes. Before cutting the cake, let it cool completely, so the filling has time to set.