This summer, I am going to be traveling to Japan alone for the first time. This marks a very special moment in my life, as it represents me embracing my Japanese heritage. For the majority of my childhood, I resented the Japanese holidays we celebrated at home and was embarrassed of the bento boxes my mom packed me for lunch. I even dropped out of Saturday Japanese school in 3rd grade, while my friends continued on until they graduated from high school. However, during this past year I have felt something change inside of me. Suddenly I find myself wanting to relearn Japanese, cook Japanese recipes, and even travel to Japan on my own. I am finally realizing that being half-Japanese will always be a part of me.
Although many Americans don’t realize it, being “hafu” or “happa” is a distinct culture of its own. Every time I’m in the Narita Airport in Tokyo, people stop me to ask if I’m half. Many half-Japanese people become TV celebrities in Japan simply because of their heritage. The entire nation of Japan collectively agrees that hafu people are attractive and intriguing. Until recently, I hated that I didn’t totally fit in with my American friends or my Japanese friends. Now, as I learn more about hafu culture, I finally feel like I have a group in which I belong.
To celebrate my newfound love for my mixed heritage, I wanted to create a recipe that combined traditional Japanese flavors with American food. For the Japanese part, I decided to go with green tea, since there’s nothing more Japanese than matcha. I also happened to have some high-quality matcha powder that my mom brought home from Japan! For the American component, I went with Oreos, because nothing screams America more than those classic Nabisco sandwich cookies. I married these two contrasting flavors into one dessert in the form of a vegan cheesecake. This is perfect, as cheesecake is a dessert I have enjoyed in both countries!
If you’re not a fan of green tea but want a good baked vegan cheesecake recipe, check out the lemon version of this recipe here.
If you are a fan of matcha, and you’re looking for more ways to use it, try out these matcha chocolate chip pancakes!
Now, without further ado, here’s the recipe that you’ve been waiting for!
Vegan Baked Matcha Cheesecake With Oreo Crust
This vegan cheesecake is creamy, smooth, and baked to perfection. Its Oreo crust and matcha green tea filling give it a unique flavor!
For the Oreo Crust
- 20 Oreo cookies with cream
- 1/4 cup vegan butter melted
For the Matcha Filling
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1 cup heavy coconut cream see notes
- 1 container (8 oz) vegan cream cheese
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tbsp coconut oil melted
- 2 tbsp matcha green tea powder
For the Oreo Crust
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 9” round cake pan with parchment paper, spray with cooking oil, and set aside. (You could also use a springform pan).
In a food processor, grind the Oreo cookies into a fine crumb consistency. Add the melted butter and process until consistency is uniform throughout the mixture. Press this into the bottom and sides of the prepared pan.
Bake crust for 5 minutes, then remove from oven and set aside to cool.
For the Matcha Filling
Lower oven temperature to 350°F.
Add the cashews to a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes. Drain thoroughly.
In a high-speed blender, combine drained cashews, heavy coconut cream, vegan cream cheese, cornstarch, vanilla extract, maple syrup, coconut oil, and green tea powder. Blend on high speed until creamy and smooth.
Pour filling over prepared Oreo crust, tapping on counter to remove air bubbles.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the filling has set.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes at room temperature. Transfer to refrigerator and allow to finish cooling completely.
Once cheesecake has completely cooled, cover and place back in refrigerator overnight (or at least 5 hours).
Use parchment paper to lift cheesecake out of pan and slice into 8 slices.
- If you cannot find canned heavy coconut cream, place 1-2 cans of full-fat coconut milk in the fridge overnight, scoop the cream off the top (leaving the liquid in the can), and use that instead.