Whether you’ve given up animal products or just want to eat more plant-based dishes, these cruelty-free desserts will satisfy your sweet tooth without dairy

You might think that switching to a plant-based diet – be it for your health, the planet or to ensure your kitchen is cruelty-free – would involve cutting out the dairy-based treats you’ve come to love. Cheesecake? Pass. Ice cream? Not an option. Buttery pastries? Sigh.

But these viral, social-media vegan treats prove there’s no need to deny yourself or falter on your dietary principles. Check out these 10 indulgent desserts that are the perfect comfort food for the colder, darker days of winter. They might be vegan but they’re just as delicious – if not tastier – than their dairy dessert counterparts. Turns out you can have your vegan cake and eat it, too.

For more vegan food inspiration, check out our beginner’s guide to going vegan.

Iced gems

A nostalgic lunch-box classic. These bite-sized treats are fun to make, 100% cruelty free and perfect to eat on-the-go.

• Makes 80 gems

• Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus chilling

• Cooking time: 10 minutes, plus setting


75g/2½oz (5 tbsp) dairy-free butter

2 tbsp caster sugar

125g/4½oz (scant 1 cup) plain all-purpose flour

For the icing:

5 tbsp aquafaba

250g/9oz (1¾ cups) icing (confectioner’s) sugar, sifted

vegan food dyes in 4 assorted colours

1. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until soft. Stir in the flour, bringing the mixture together to form a dough. Wrap and chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 160ºC fan/180ºC/350ºF/gas 4 and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

3. Once the dough is chilled, roll it out to ½cm/¼in thick and use a 2cm/¾in cookie cutter or a small bottle cap to cut out the biscuit bases. Transfer them to the baking tray. Bake for 8–10 minutes until lightly golden, then transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

4. Make the royal icing by mixing the aquafaba into the icing sugar and stirring until you have a smooth, slightly firm icing. Divide evenly into four small bowls and add your chosen food colourings to dye them each a different colour, mixing well for an even colour.

5. Transfer the contents of one bowl to a piping bag with a star-shaped nozzle and pipe a small star on to a quarter of the biscuit bases. Repeat with the next colour until you have four different shades of iced gems.

6. Leave to set and harden for at least one hour before serving. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Recipe from Great British Vegan by Aimee Ryan (White Lion Publishing, £20)

Four-ingredient butterfingers @ballehurns

Simply delicious and completely plant based, it’s no surprise this vegan dessert recipe has over 526k likes on TikTok.


½ cup cornflake flour

1 cup nut butter

2 tbsp maple syrup or agave

1.   Combine the cornflake flour, nut butter and agave or maple syrup in a bowl and scatter a handful of cornflakes on top for crunch.

2.   Lay down parchment paper and spread the mixture on a layer over it, then lay another layer of paper on top to flatten the mixture before peeling off.

3.   Spread a layer of melted dark chocolate over the top and freeze for an hour before cutting into fingers and enjoying.

Chickpea cookie dough @sweetportfolio

With over 853k likes, this dairy-free vegan cookie recipe doesn’t feel like it’s missing anything except a spoon to get it into your mouth faster.


1 can of chickpeas

2 tbsp nut butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup oatmeal flour

3 tbsp maple syrup

Sprinkle of salt

1/4 cup mini vegan chocolate chips

1. Combine every ingredient except for the chocolate chips in a food processor or blender, stopping once or twice to scrape the sides using a spatula.

2. Serve in a medium bowl, add chocolate chips, and using a spatula or whisk, fold in the chips.

3. Grease your hands with a little bit of coconut oil and form little balls.

4. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Raspberry and Persimmon Tart @thekoreanvegan

With persimmon season beginning from early autumn, now is the perfect time to try this Asian-fusion, vegan dessert recipe with 676k likes on TikTok. Or watch on YouTube here.


2 tbsp oat milk

1 tbsp sweetener

One sheet of vegan puff pastry sheet, quartered

2 tbsp potato starch

2 ripe persimmons, peeled

1 tbsp vegan sour cream

1 cup almond flour

½ cup plain flour (optional)

1 tbsp vegan butter

Pinch of salt

1. Preheat your oven to 200ºC fan/220ºC/425ºF/gas 7.

2. Take out your quartered puff pastry and score a ¾ inch border around the edges.

3. Combine your oat milk and sweetener and lightly brush it over the pastry rectangles.

4. Bake for 18 minutes.

5. Add the potato starch to the leftover oak-milk mixture and stir.

6. Tear the persimmons into chunks and place them into a saucepan adding the sour cream, almond flour, plain flour (if using), vegan butter and salt.

7. Add the oat-milk mixture to the pan, heating and stirring.

8. Take the pastry out of the oven, pressing down the scored centre section to form a well and spooning the heated mixture on top.

9. Place the raspberries over the top then allow to cool completely before enjoying.

No-Bake Pumpkin Fudge Tart @oatmeal_stories

No bake, all plant-based ingredients and with over 10K likes on Instagram, this vegan dessert recipe is tried-and-tested.


18-20cm tart tin or spring-form tin

For the crust:

1 cup of oats

1/2 cup of mixed nuts of choice like walnuts and pecans

1 tbsp of raw cacao powder

Pinch of salt

2 tbsp of maple syrup

1 tbsp of coconut oil

1-2 tbsp cold water, if needed

For the filling:

1/2 cup of pumpkin purée

1/4 cup of nut butter (peanut or almond)

1/4 cup of coconut oil

1/4 cup of maple syrup

1 tsp of vanilla bean paste

Pinch of salt

1. Add oats and nuts to a food processor and blitz until broken into small pieces.

2. Add cacao powder, salt, maple syrup and coconut oil, keep blending until well combined.

3. Incorporate cold water, tablespoon by tablespoon, only until needed to achieve a sticky dough.

4. Press the dough into the tin after lining it with baking paper and leaving the edges high.

5. Place in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

6. Add nut butter, coconut oil and maple syrup to a saucepan and heat until melted, whisking to combine.

7. Remove from the heat and mix in the pumpkin purée, vanilla and salt.

8. Pour the fudge into the cooled crust and return to the freezer for three-four hours then transfer to the fridge.

9. Store for up to three days.

Healthy blueberry crumble @foodbyamy

Gluten free, vegan and 75k likes on TikTok – this vegan dessert recipe is the perfect way to use up leftover blueberries in a comforting dessert.


3 cups of frozen blueberries

1tbsp coconut flour

Juice of ½ lemon

1 cup oats

1 cup coconut (or other) flour

¼ cup maple syrup

⅛ cup almond or coconut oil

A spoonful of dairy-free yoghurt

1. Preheat your oven to 160ºC fan/180ºC/350ºF/gas 4.

2. Add frozen blueberries halfway up your dish.

3. Put the coconut flour and lemon juice on top and mix well.

4. To make the topping add your oats, flour, maple syrup and oil to a bowl.

5. Mix and densely top your crumble, patting it down as you go.

6. Bake for 45 minutes.

7. Serve with dairy-free yoghurt.

Two-Ingredient Peanut Butter Ice Cream @elavegan

Vegan, refined sugar-free, creamy and doesn’t require a shopping trolley full of ingredients. This vegan ice cream recipe couldn’t be easier.


450g (about 5 medium) ripe bananas

80g peanut butter

1-2 tbsp maple syrup (optional)

1. Chop the bananas into one-inch slices and add them to a freezer-safe container, freezing for one hour until solid. If frozen for longer, let them thaw for 20 minutes before using.

2. Add the frozen banana pieces to a high-speed blender along with the peanut blender and maple syrup (if using) until creamy and free from lumps. If the blender is having problems, wait a few minutes to thaw and try again or use a tamper.

3. Transfer the ice cream back to the container and freeze until scoopable (or thaw for 15-25 minutes if it’s too solid).

Salted Caramel Apple Cake @plantbased.traveler

This impressive-looking, comfort-food vegan cake recipe can be made gluten-free if the whole-wheat is substituted for almond flour.


7 inch cake pan

3 small to medium-sized apples

1 cup oat flour

1 cup whole wheat or almond flour

1 cup unsweetened apple sauce

¼ cup almond butter

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ tbsp baking powder

½ tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 flax eggs, 2 tbsp ground flax seeds + 4 tbsp water

For the sauce:

½ cup coconut sugar

1 cup coconut cream (from the top of the can)

Pinch of sea salt

1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC fan/180ºC/350ºF/gas 4.

2. Make flax eggs by mixing water and ground flax seeds.

3. Peel and core the apples, dice two of them finely, and slicing the third.

4. Add the oat and whole wheat flour, baking powder, and cinnamon to a mixing bowl.

5. In a separate bowl, stir together the apple sauce, apple cider vinegar, almond butter, vanilla extract, and flax eggs.

6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir just until everything is combined.

7. In a small saucepan, bring coconut sugar and coconut milk to a simmer, and stir until the sugar has melted and the sauce begins to thicken. Use a low heat to avoid burning. Add sea salt at the end.

8. Pour half of the caramel sauce into a small bowl, and set aside. The sauce will thicken as it cools.

9. Mix chopped apples with the other half of the sauce, then fold them into the cake batter.

10. Pour the batter into a lightly greased cake pan and top with the apple slices and a drizzle of the caramel sauce.

11. Bake for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

12. Let the cake cool down and serve with any remaining caramel sauce.

No-Bake Berry Coconut Cake

It might be a vegan dessert recipe but this cashew-based alt cheesecake is arguably better than the real dairy deal.

• Serves 6


200g cashew nuts, soaked in water for 1 hour, then drained

1.2 kg mixed berries (fresh or frozen)

12 tbsp maple syrup (or sweetener of your choice)

Freshly grated lemon zest

1 tbsp cornflour

1-3 tbsp maple syrup or sweetener of choice

50ml lemon juice

80ml coconut oil

80ml maple syrup

160ml full-fat coconut milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Pinch of sea salt

For the base:

120g walnuts or mixed nuts

200g dates, pitted

Pinch of sea salt

1. Make sure your cashews are soaking for the required time before you start.

2. Place the berries in a deep saucepan over a low heat. Stir in the maple syrup and a touch of lemon zest. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until stewed.

3. Line a 15cm (6in) baking dish with baking paper.

4. Place the stewed berry mixture in a saucepan over a low heat. Sprinkle in the cornflour and simmer, stirring now and then for about 5 minutes until the mixture thickens. Turn off the heat, add a tablespoon of maple syrup, then taste and add more if needed to achieve your preferred sweetness.

5. To make the base, place the walnuts in a blender and blitz into small crumbs.

6. Transfer to a plate, then add the dates and a pinch of salt to the blender and blitz into small pieces.

7. Return the walnuts to the blender and pulse just until combined with the dates – don’t overmix or it will turn into butter. Transfer the mixture to a plate, then rinse out the blender.

8. Put the drained cashew nuts in the clean blender, then add the lemon juice, coconut oil, maple syrup, coconut milk, vanilla extract and a pinch of sea salt. Blend until completely smooth.

9. Place the walnut and date mixture in the lined baking dish, pressing it down with your fingers to create an even base.

10. Pour the cashew mixture over the top.

11. Place in the freezer for two hours to set, then pour the stewed berries on top. Return to the freezer for another two hours.

12. Serve within 10 minutes of removing from the freezer for the best texture.

Recipe from One Pot: Three Ways: Save time with vibrant, versatile vegan recipes by Rachel Ama (Yellow Kite, £22)

Photography: Haraala Hamilton

Vegan Spiced Carrot Cake

This seasonal, warming comfort vegan cake recipe is so onctuous you wouldn’t guess it was vegan and low in refined sugar. It might not quite be a health food but it’s definitely good for the soul.

• Makes 20 squares

• Hands-on time: 35mins, plus cooling and chilling

• Cooking time: about 50mins


150g vegan spread, plus extra to grease

250g pitted dates

350ml unsweetened almond milk

2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

75g light brown sugar

Zest and juice 1 orange

350g wholemeal plain flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1 ½ tsp ground ginger

2 tsp ground cinnamon

250g carrots (peeled weight), coarsely grated

50g desiccated coconut

50g dried cranberries, plus extra to decorate

25g pumpkin seeds, plus extra, toasted, to decorate

50g pecans, chopped, plus extra to decorate

For the icing:

150g vegan spread

75g smooth almond butter

325g icing sugar, sifted

1. Heat the oven to 160ºC fan/180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Grease and line a 30.5 x 23cm rectangular tin with baking parchment.

2. Put the dates and almond milk in a small pan, bring up to the boil, then simmer for five minutes. Transfer to a blender or food processor and whizz until smooth. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat together the vegan spread and sugar with a handheld electric whisk until combined. Beat in the date mixture along with the orange juice and zest.

4. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and spices. Fold into the batter, followed by the carrots, coconut, cranberries, pumpkin seeds and pecans.

5. Transfer to the roasting tin and spread to level. Bake for 45–50min, until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin on a wire rack.

6. Meanwhile, make the icing. In a medium bowl, beat the spread and almond butter with a handheld electric whisk until smooth. Gradually beat in the icing sugar and chill in the fridge until needed.

7. Remove the cake from the tin, transfer to a board and spread over the icing. Scatter with cranberries, pumpkin seeds and pecans. Cut into squares to serve.

Recipe from Good Housekeeping Brilliant Baking (HarperNonFiction, £18.99)