Vegan Vanilla Custard Cake

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Dreamy meets healthy in this Vegan Vanilla Custard Cake with 2-ingredient pecan crust, low-fat vanilla bean filling, and easy berry compote to top!

Cream cake? Pudding cake? Cheesecake minus the cheese…cake? Mousse-like must-make magical vanilla stuff? Shockingly un-pumpkin for the first post of October?

YES. All of the above.

This recipe is inspired by the low-fat chocolate lusciousness that came before it, but with a change of color and flavor and crust. You may have noticed I nixed the low-fat part from the name too. Because lately I’ve been on mission embrace all the yummy fats and eat coconut like it’s my job (hey, sometimes it kinda is!), so that part of the title just didn’t sit right with me anymore.

In favor of focusing on what the recipe is rather than what it’s not, I almost called it: Very Extra Uber Velvety Vanilla Bean Custard Cake That Makes All The Cheesecakes Jealous.

But I didn’t want to start something with Cheesecake.

Not to say the filling isn’t surprisingly low in fat – free of cashews and coconut and all the usual creamy cake things. Ah sweet potato, how I love thee. If you hadn’t noticed I’m kind of on a sweet potato kick at the moment. Can’t help it, I’m just a big fan of everything that root does whether cookie or cake or cold and creamy.

Crust. Pecans + maple syrup makes for the simplest but so delicious nubbly crust. The same method works with any kind of nut (or even hemp seeds if you want it nut free!) Or you can use the more fine-textured almond flour crust recipe from the chocolate version instead. Or you can even use this medjool date crust to keep the entire cake fruit-sweetened.

Also, did I mention the entire crust is totally optional and I fully support eating the filling straight from the blender?

Vanilla custard. It’s about the simplest mix of things you can imagine: sweet potato, medjool dates, non-dairy milk, and vanilla bean. I used white sweet potato so no one would confuse it with the pumpkin EVERYTHING floating around right now. Because it’s officially October, so when on Pinterest and in doubt assume it’s pumpkin flavored. But orange sweet potato would work as well if that’s the kind you’ve got.

You don’t need too many medjool dates as the sweet potato itself is already naturally sweet, but 5 or 6 amp up the flavor nicely and help to thicken the filling without having to rely starch of any kind.

For the milk, I used light coconut milk because I somehow always seem to have 3 or more open and half-empty cans/containers of that in my fridge. But almond works too, or any kind you like.

Since I wanted the vanilla flavor to be front and center, I opted for real vanilla bean instead of extract. I am currently out of vanilla bean powder, so instead I threw half of a bean in there and blended (pod and all) to get the tiny black speck effect. And potent flavor of course. If you wanted to substitute extract, I would recommend 2 teaspoons. Or if you have vanilla bean powder then 1 teaspoon of that would work too.

Also, can we just agree whole vanilla beans = better than any perfume.

Similar to a custard or cheesecake, this cake does need to bake and then chill overnight before to set properly. Easy to make. Hard to wait. 100% worth it.

Berry compote. Because what’s a healthier cheesecake replacement without a berry compote to spoon on top? Keeping things simple as per the theme here, you only need 3 ingredients and about 10 minutes + cooling time. Frozen mixed berries (or cherries would be delicious too!) + maple syrup + arrowroot starch to make it thick. Ten minutes of stovetop cooking and stirring later, and you have thick sweet-tart purple perfection.

And it didn’t hit me until I was editing, but there is something a little sinister about the color scheme of this cake. So maybe it’s October apropos after all.


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Vegan Vanilla Custard Cake

4.8 from 18 reviews

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6 people 1x
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: american

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Dreamy meets healthy in this Vegan Vanilla Custard Cake with 2-ingredient pecan crust, low-fat vanilla bean filling, and easy berry compote to top!




  • 1 1/2 cups pecans (*)
  • 34 tbsp maple syrup

Vanilla Bean Custard

  • 1 1/2 cups white sweet potato, baked and mashed ((or the orange kind works too))
  • 56 pitted medjool dates
  • 1 1/4 cup non-dairy mik
  • 1/2 a vanilla bean ((pod and all)**)

Berry Compote

  • 1 cup frozen berries
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp arrowroot starch (***)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. For the crust, add the pecans to a blender or food processor and process until broken down into small pieces.
  3. While it’s running, stream in the maple syrup to form a sticky clumpy texture.
  4. Press into the bottom of a 6″ springform pan lined that has been lightly sprayed with oil. Set aside.
  5. For the filling, blend all the ingredients on high until smooth and creamy.
  6. Pour on top of the crust. Smooth the top.
  7. Bake for 45-50 minutes at 350F.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before chilling overnight.
  9. For the berry compote, stir together all the ingredients in a saucepan on the stove. Cook over medium heat stirring regularly until you have a thick chunky sauce (about 10 minutes).
  10. Release the cake from the pan, top with berry compote, slice, and enjoy!


*Can sub any kind of nut you like, or even hemp seeds for a nut-free option. Or use this date-sweetened crust recipe instead. **Can sub 1 tsp vanilla bean powder or 2 tsps vanilla extract. ***Can sub cornstarch or tapioca starch.

Keywords: baking, dessert, vegan, cheesecake, paleo, sugar free

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