I’m about to give you not one, not two, but THREE singe-serving protein cheesecake recipes. The first is more of a blueprint in the sense that there’s no formula attached, no recipe per se – just a framework. It’s designed for those of you who, like me, like playing with food and taking chances. The second recipe is a more traditional recipe and the third is a combination of a freestyle approach with a traditional recipe attached to it.
If you want the recipe for the cheesecakes in the photo above and don’t care much about understanding the fundamentals of ‘protein cheesecakery,’ scroll on though to Recipe 2! But if you want to find out more, check out the whole post.
Freestyle Protein Protein Works Cheesecake
There are two parts to every cheesecake: the crust and the filling. You need to understand the basic structure of both the crust and filling if you want to freestyle your own protein cheesecakes.
The basic building blocks of what I like to think of as a ‘simple crust’ ‘are three:
A) Syrup (this can be honey, agave syrup, maple syrup, or date syrup)
B) Nut/seed butter
C) Ground nuts/seeds (e.g. ground seeds, ground almonds, ground hazelnuts) or nut/seed flour (flaxseed, ground sunflower seeds, coconut flour, almond flour, peanut flour).
You need all three of these components to make a proper crust. If you miss one or exclude one, your crust won’t work.
As an example, let’s say you omit A and just use B and C. What will happen is you’ll end up with a crumbly crust – there’ll be nothing holding it together so when you go to pick up your cheesecake, buhuhuhuhu: it’ll fall apart. That’s why we need the syrup. Think of it as our ‘gluen’.
OK, what if you omit C? Well, then your crust will stay wet and on top of that, crumble as well. If you omit B – your crust will be doughy, pasty, and not like a crust at all.
The take-home message here is simple. You need three things to make a simple crust: a) syrup, b) nut/seed butter, c) ground seeds/nuts/nut flour. Let’s get to the filling now:
When it comes to protein cheesecake making, people often mess up their fillings by adding too much protein powder. The result is a tasteless and breads-like pseudo cheesecake that, if you care about food as much as I do, will break your heart.
There’s three ingredients you absolutely need to make a great protein cheesecake:
A) Protein powder (ideally whey but see Note 2 below for a vegan version).
B) Cream cheese/quark (again, see Note 2 below if you want a dairy-free version)
C) egg or egg whites.
If you’re using an unflavored protein powder, as I do, you’ll also need
D) Some stevia or sucralose drops (I link you to my favorite in the recipe below).
You need the above three/four ingredients (protein powder + cream cheese/quark + egg +/- sweetener drops) to make a good protein cheesecake filling. As with the crust, if you omit any of the above ingredients, your cheesecake will fail. So, if you omit the egg, your cheesecake will end up weirdly curdled and extremely wet. If you omit the protein powder, you’ll end up with an eggy-cheese thing that will, again, be wet – kind of like scrambled egg: not good. And if you omit the cream cheese? Well… hehehe, you probably wouldn’t do that! It’d be like making a carbonara without pasta. Or clam chowder without clams. An eclair without pastry. A chicken nugget without chicken. You get the idea 😉
Now that you understand which ingredients we need and why, let’s talk a bit about method:
Method for the Crust
To freestyle your own cheesecake, you first need to make your crust by combining the above three crust ingredients to the point where what you end up with is a tasty thick dough that you can press into the bottom of your tin – or muffin cases. It’ll be a bit like truffle dough so, if you taste it, try not to eat it all! Because it’ll taste great. So mobilise a bit of self-restraint. When it comes to ratios, you can play it by ear. Simply put your nut/seed butter in a bowl, add the ground nuts/seed or ground nut/seed flour until you get a slightly doughy + slightly crumbly mixture, and then add enough syrup until you get the perfect thick dough – one that doesn’t stick all over your hands.
Method for the Filling
For the filling, you have to keep as your goal a thick but runny batter. A batter like a pancake batter. You know, not runny so it looks watery, but thick, smooth, and creamy. What you want to avoid, when freestyling your filling, is adding too much protein, especially whey. Because, if you add too much, the chances of encountering a dry and bready cheesecake go up – and no one likes a dry and bready cheesecake! The perfect ratio, for me, is 250g cream cheese to 30g whey. Or 180 cream cheese to 20g whey. This ratio is slightly different depending on what kind of cream cheese you use, or if you use quark for example. But roughly speaking, the above ratio holds up. For the eggs, you want to use either egg whites or whole eggs. The latter will make your cheesecake slightly creamier but you could also use the former, it depends on whether you care about the overall fat content of your cheesecake. I find that for 250g of cream cheese and 30g whey, 100ml of egg whites does the job which is equivalent to 2 whole eggs. Again, you can freestyle things and go up or down on the quantities of each ingredient to see how they impact the overall texture. I invite you to do this, it’s fun! If, of course, you like playing with food because if you don’t, well… the uncertainly will probably drive you mad, hehe.
Ingredients for the Base
50g peanut butter
20g date syrup (or honey)
Ingredients for the Top
250g quark (or low-far cream cheese)
100g liquid egg whites
8g stevia drops (or a tbsp of your sweetener of choice)
1 Preheat over to 150 C.
2 Mix the base ingredients in a bowl until you get a dough.
3 Divide into 8 and press inside muffin cups (paper or silicone).
4 In a food processor or blender, blend all cheesecake ingredients until you get
a smooth batter.
5 Pour cheesecake batter on top of bases in the cups.
6 Bake at 160degrees until the sides are taut to the touch but the centre jiggles
(like Jelly) when you shake the cheesecakes (usually 15-22 minutes).
Nut-Free Single-Serving Protein Cheesecakes
The final recipe in this post is similar to the one above. The only place where it differs is the crust uses not nuts, just seeds. I made it to show you that you are free to switch things up and indeed, freestyle! As long as you follow the basic blueprint above, you should be able to mix things up and adapt each recipe to a) what you have at home and/or b) what you most like.
Ingredients for the Crust (makes 4 muffin-cup cheesecakes)
2 tbsp (36g) sunflower seed butter
1 big tbsp (17g) flaxseed mix
1/8 (22g) date syrup or agave
1 small tbsp (5g) coconut flour
Ingredients for the Filling
1 x 180g container of Philadelphia Light cream cheese
20g of whey
1 whole egg
Stevia drops to taste
1. First, make your crust by combining all crust ingredients in a bowl until you get a thick batter that you can press on the bottom of 4 muffin cases.
2. Make your filling by blending all filling ingredients with a handheld blender or inside a food processor until you get a smooth rich batter that resembles a pancake batter in terms of thickness and ‘flow.’
2. Pour the cheesecake filling onto the crusts and place on a baking tray, with about 2 inches of water added to the bottom to ensure your cheesecakes cook evenly.
4. Bake at 150C (302 F) for about 25 minutes then turn off the oven and leave them to sit for 10-15 minutes.
5. Take them out of the oven as soon as the top is taut to the touch and they looked cooked but before they look at all cakey. You want them to wobble a little bit!
6. Let them cool completely without eating – they’re best after having spent the night in the fridge!
Macros per cheesecake (out of four): 215kcals, 10g carbs, 13g protein, 14g fat.