On a diet for January? Well you don’t need to skimp on some indulgence. This luscious blueberry cheesecake saves you 57g of sugar and 220kcal a slice over regular cheesecake, without losing any of the flavour. Tasting just as good, if not better, than a high-sugar version, it’s low-carb, vegetarian, and free of gluten, added sugar and artificial sweeteners.
I’m eating full-on low-carb at the moment, and losing around 2lbs a week in weight, which is great. Some days I’m having this cheesecake for breakfast, when I’m finding that the fats it contains are keeping me full, meaning I don’t feel like eating anything else, until lunchtime.
I also sometimes have a piece if I fancy a sweet snack during a hard day’s blogging at my computer! Of course it’d also be great as dessert – although most often when I’m being strictly low-carb, I find that I’m not hungry enough to eat anything else after my main course.
It really is gorgeous, creamy and sweet, and anyone served this would be hard pushed to know it’s part of a weight-loss regime.
The main ingredients swapped to make this blueberry cheesecake recipe low-carb include natural sugar-substitute erythritol, which is used in place of sugar throughout. It gives a nice sweetness to this dish, without any of the bitter aftertaste associated with stevia or artificial sweeteners. And ground almonds are used in the base, instead of the more traditional carby ingredients of flour, or digestive biscuits/graham crackers.
The blueberries in this cheesecake are already naturally one of the lowest sugar fruits you can eat. But to go even lower, you could try substituting raspberries or cranberries.
I’ve been storing my cheesecake in the fridge, where it keeps happily for several days if you use freshly-bought cream. You can also store it covered in the freezer. It slices better immediately after removal from the fridge or freezer too, although I then like to leave it to come up to nearer room temperature before diving in!
Nutrition: Regular Blueberry Cheesecake vs. Low-Carb Blueberry Cheesecake
Just look how much sugar you’re removing from your diet by having the low-carb cheesecake over the regular version! A whole 57g – which is over 11 teaspoons!! You’re also saving a massive 220 calories.
And the chances are the low-carb version will fill you up better to boot – partly as this lower-sugar alternative is less likely to cause your blood sugar to spike – so you’ll save additional carbs and calories on other things you don’t eat too. It’s partly by these actions that low-carb diets can really help you lose weight, while still eating indulgently and enjoying foods you never thought you’d be able to.
|Per 1/6 of a whole cheesecake||Regular Blueberry Cheesecake *♦||Low-Carb Blueberry Cheesecake*|
|Net Carbs (minus polyols, & fibre counted separately)||64g||7g|
* Figures calculated using verified nutritional info on MyFitnessPal
♦ I’ve calculated the regular blueberry cheesecake using my low-carb recipe, but made with digestive biscuits/graham crackers instead of almond flour, & sugar instead of erythritol
Health Impact of the Main Ingredients
This cheesecake contains far less sugar than regular recipes, and a greater proportion of the fats it contains will be healthy ones. If you’re interested in the detail, you can read what I’ve written before about the health benefits of eggs, cream, blueberries, almonds, and erythritol. And this article summarises some of the science on why the fats contained in butter from cows that have been fed with grass are healthier than butter from those fed with grains.
I’ve used full-fat versions of cream and cream cheese to make my blueberry cheesecake. You can choose to make this lower calorie, if you wish, by using light versions of both. But that sort of misses the point on a low-carb eating regime. I can wholeheartedly confirm what the scientific research and the internet will tell you – that you tend to want to eat less on a higher-fat low-carb regime – as opposed to a low-calorie low-fat regime – partly because the higher fat and protein content helps keep you fuller for longer.
An interesting scientific review from 2014 by the University of Reading – an academic leader in the UK on the subjects of food and nutrition – argues that to only think of full-fat dairy products in terms of their saturated fat content is oversimplistic, and overlooks their other potential health benefits. An added benefit of consuming full-fat dairy, for instance, is greater intake of fat-soluble vitamin A, which naturally occurs in dairy products. Vitamin A underpins skin and eye health, and can give your immune system a much needed boost for the winter.
There is also some limited evidence emerging that conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) – a type of fatty acids associated with dairy products – may also be protective for heart health.
Products derived from milk are also rich sources of some essential micronutrients such as calcium, potassium and iodine. For a number of reasons these are more bioavailable from dairy products – i.e. more likely to be absorbed by the body – than they are from some other foods in which they’re contained.
Recipe for Low-Carb Blueberry Cheesecake
Prep Time: 30 mins (plus a few hours refrigeration time for best consistency)
For the Blueberry Sauce Topping
- 60ml (¼ cup) water
- 300g fresh blueberries
- ½ tsp xanthan gum (in the UK I use Dove’s Farm, readily available in supermarket baking/free-from sections, and online)
- Juice of half a lemon (about 2 tbsp)
- 50g gram (¼ cup) erythritol sugar substitute (e.g. Sukrin Melis in the UK, or Swerve in the US)
For the Base/Crust
- 55g (¼ cup) butter, melted (I use Kerrygold because it’s both grass-fed and easily available)
- 150g (1½ cups) ground almonds/almond flour
- 50g (¼ cup) powdered erythritol icing/confectioners’ sugar substitute
For the Cheese Filling
- 120ml (½ cup) double/heavy whipping cream
- 225g (1 cup) cream cheese (I use full-fat Philadelphia)
- 150g (3/4 ¾cup) powdered erythritol icing/confectioners’ sugar substitute
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°/350°F/Gas 5.
- To make the crust, mix the three ingredients together well until they have formed a crumbly dough, then press this into a 9″ tin. (You can use a pie or flan tin, or I used a springform cake tin for ease of getting the cheesecake out afterwards). Use the back of a tablespoon to spread it around the base of the tin, and press it in firmly until there aren’t any gaps.
- Put the crust into the oven for around 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Have a look 10 minutes in to see how brown it is, and keep checking every minute or two after this, as it does suddenly go brown quite quickly. Once it’s done, take the crust out of the oven and leave to cool.
- You can start making the blueberry topping while the crust is in the oven. Put all the blueberry sauce ingredients in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Bring to the boil while stirring, then turn down the heat and simmer for around 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the blueberries have popped and the mixture is starting to get thicker via the action of the xanthan gum.
- Remove the blueberry sauce from the hob, give it a good old stir, and then leave it to cool.
- To make the cream filling, mix the cream cheese and sugar substitute together in a medium bowl until all is combined and smooth.
- Whip the cream, using a handheld blender or food processor, until stiff. Then fold it into the cream cheese mixture until well combined. Turn this creamy mixture out onto the cool cheesecake crust.
- Use a spatula or back of a spoon to smooth the cream mixture evenly over the top of the crust. Cover in cling film and refrigerate for an hour or two so that it’s firm enough to receive the blueberry sauce topping.
- After an hour or more, remove the cheesecake from the fridge and pour over the blueberry sauce. Cover the dish with cling film again, and return to the fridge for at least a further 2 hours, or until needed. You can also store it for longer in the freezer.
- The cheesecake cuts best when it’s straight out of refrigeration, but tastes best when the cut pieces have been left around 15 minutes to come back to nearer room temperature.