Can anyone resist the incredibly creamy, unbelievably delicious perfection that is the cheesecake? We don’t think so! Cheesecakes have been America’s favorite for years now, and there is hardly a restaurant out there that doesn’t include this decadently scrumptious dessert on their menu. We’ve decided to honor the years of deliciousness cheesecakes have given us by revealing everything there is to know about them: from cheesecake history to simple cheesecake recipe ideas. Enjoy!
The beauty of cheesecakes lies in the fact that they consist of more than one layer. It all starts with a base to which then the “cheese” layer is added and everything is finished off with a nice topping of choice. Anything from whipped cream, fruit sauces and fruits and nuts can be given the task of bringing everything together. Depending on whether you like a crunchy or a soft bite, the base may consist of a pastry or sponge cake, or crushed graham crackers and cookies. By analogy, the first type of cheesecake will require baking, whereas, with the latter, the easy cheesecake variant, you will only need the help of your freezer 🙂 (You will find, though, cheesecake recipes that include graham crackers and require baking but who cares about baking when there are no bake cheesecake recipes 🙂
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Although the very first cheesecake recipe is hard to pin down, one thing we love doing (as you probably know by now) is tracing back the steps of a recipe’s history. Cheesecake recipes date all the way back to ancient Greek times, but as soon as the Romans conquered Greece, the secret for the recipe fell into their hands along with everything else. This event resulted in eggs being added to the original simple cheesecake recipe (flour, wheat, honey, and cheese).
An interesting thing we came to discover is that small cheesecakes were served at the very first Olympic Games held in 776 B.C. on the Isle of Delos. However, athletes were not the only ones to enjoy a nice cheesecake bite, a dessert called libum (a form very similar to cheesecake in ingredients and preparation) was even worthy of Gods, served by the Romans as an offering at temples. The plural form “libuma”, made its way in De Re Rustica, a work by Marcus Porcius Cato, a politician who lived in the years 234-149 B.C.
It was as late as the 18th century that the dessert started to look like something we would call a cheesecake today. And it was all thanks to the fact that eggs started being used as yeast substitutes for leavening breads and cakes in Europe. And as it always is, Europeans who immigrated to America brought the new cheesecake recipes along.
We will finish this section with the classic New York Cheesecake, a recipe that dates from the 1900s, and one which was probably discovered by Arnold Reuben. If the name rings a bell, then you must have read the story of how another American classic, the Reuben sandwich came to be in the 7 Famous American Recipes and How They Came to Be, if not be sure to read it, that is if you love discovering where recipes came from 🙂
No Bake Cheesecake Recipe
As much as we love the baked versions, no bake cheesecake recipes are becoming more and more popular these days. This is because the fast pace of living has forced people to start looking for a quick fix-up recipe that is equally delicious as the longer-to-prepare version. Well, with no bake cheesecakes it seems like the student has become the master, because not only are the no bake cheesecake recipes easier to prepare, but they are also way tastier! Here is everything you need to know for the preparation of the perfect no bake cheesecake recipe:
The Base for No Bake Cheesecake
As we have already said, cheesecakes are so delicious precisely because of the layered form they come in. And although it is called cheesecake for a reason, the base is equally important, especially with the no bake cheesecake recipe.
The ingredients you will need to prepare the perfect no bake cheesecake base include crackers/cookies (or if you are in the UK biscuits :), unsalted butter, ground cinnamon, and sugar. For this particular recipe, you will need: 20 sheets of graham crackers, 11 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter, and 2 tablespoons of sugar. And while you can use any sugar brand and butter, here’s a word or two on the two most commonly used crunchy treats in the UK and the US respectively.
Digestive biscuits- Although we find the name of these biscuits a little bit misfortunate, they are the go-to ingredient if you want a crunchy, semi-sweet base to which you can add the cheese layer. These are the best-selling biscuits in the UK since they are the regular companion to the 5-o’clock tea. Made from wheat flour, wholemeal, sugar, malt extract, sodium bicarbonate, and vegetable oil, these biscuits are tasty and healthy. (Well, as healthy as biscuits can be 🙂
Graham Crackers- Essentially, these crackers are very similar to the first in terms of ingredients, but what’s worth knowing is how they came to be. They were inspired by Sylvester Graham, who believed that eating home-made whole grain bread is one of the best ways of paying respect to God. The graham flour, graham bread, and the graham crackers were all created for the Grahamites, proponents of vegetarianism and Sylvester Graham’s followers. A very interesting story indeed, but the main point is: graham crackers are an inevitable part of many pie and cake crusts, the no bake cheesecake recipe included.
The preparation of the simple no bake cheesecake base includes placing the crackers into a large re-sealable plastic bag and crushing them with a rolling pin until very fine crumbs form. Then you should place the crumbs into a medium-large bowl, add the sugar, followed by melted butter and stir everything until well combined. Lastly, press the crumb mixture into a 9-inch springform pan, spreading it 2 inches up the side. Press flat and let the crust chill in the freezer for 10 minutes at least.
The Cheese Layer for No Bake Cheesecake
The cheese layer is the protagonist in this story:) The thickest layer, and the one which gives the cheesecake its irresistible creaminess for that matter, consists of eggs, sugar, and the inevitable: cheese. The cheese varieties that can make their way into a cheesecake recipe can vary according to taste and to national renditions.
This mild-tasting, soft cheese variety originating in England is a cheese type that Americans love, and why wouldn’t they? Mixing cow’s milk and cream renders a heavenly creamy result every time and this is precisely the reason why it is being used in cakes, cookies and frostings. The American version comes with a lower fat content (33% milk fat) than those elsewhere, all the more reason to use it in your favorite simple cheesecake recipe!
In Italy cheesecake is usually made with the very Italian- ricotta cheese 🙂 In fact, the name of this cheese comes from the Italian word for “recooked”. It is a cheese made from whey, left over from the production of cow’s, goat’s, or sheep’s cheese. The creamy white color and the slightly sweet taste are the reason why Italians swear by this cheese; soft and easily whipped ricotta cheese can easily replace the cream cheese in your cheesecake recipe. (While talking about the Italian cheese types, mascarpone can also be used).
This fresh unaged cheese is made by warming soured milk. It is a soft, white, and acid-set cheese typically used in Dutch, German and Polish versions of cheesecakes. It is a cheese which is very similar to the French fromage blanc, and Indian chhena.
To prepare the best cheese layer, go ahead and beat two 8-ounce packages of soft cream cheese until light and fluffy (set your electric mixer at medium-high speed), then gradually add a 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk (around a cup and ¼). Beat until well blended, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary, and add a 1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Continue beating until you get a smooth, super-creamy batter.
Pour the batter into the crust and smooth with a rubber spatula. Cover everything with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for around 3 hours.
The phrase “cherry on top” means something, right? The topping will turn your simple cheesecake recipe into a superb one, and the best part is: you can always experiment! Add fresh fruit (strawberries, raspberries or blueberries), caramel, chocolate or fruit sauce, or one of the toppings included in the recipes bellow. It is all up to you and your preferences!
Healthier No Bake Cheesecake Varieties
Making a no bake cheesecake is as easy as it gets, but what if you want to retain the amazing taste in a healthier variety? Is it possible to make a delicious vegan no bake cheesecake? Can this simple dessert be made without sugar? Well, here at MyGreatRecipes, we believe that, when it comes to food, everything is possible.
Sugar-free No Bake Cheesecake
While we are aware that a sweet treat like no bake cheesecake will most certainly call for sugar, we do have a few tricks up our sleeve that will render great sugar-free results as well.
The bad news is, you can’t just omit sugar from the cheesecake without affecting its texture and consistency. Sugar is more than just a sweetener; it also holds the whole cake together. That is the reason why if there is no sugar, the recipe will contain either emulsifiers and stabilizers or sugar substitutes.
Luckily, there is a wide range of sweeteners that will make your no bake cheesecake healthier without compromising its integrity or flavor. You can choose from liquid sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, and agave syrup, or powdery and granulated ones like stevia. Still, attention should be paid to ratios – not all sweeteners can be used in same amounts as sugar.
In general, when using liquid sweeteners, the amount of the sweetener should be reduced by about ¼ cup for every cup of sugar. When using these sweeteners, the other liquid in the recipe (e.g. milk) will need to be reduced by 3 tablespoons for each cup of sweetener. It should also be noted that if you are using brown-colored sweeteners like agave or maple syrup, the color of your no bake cheesecake might be altered.
When it comes to powdery and granulated sweeteners, stevia is the healthiest, 100% natural choice for your no bake cheesecake recipes. Stevia is much sweeter that regular sugar, so about one teaspoon of this sweetener will be just enough to replace a ¼ cup of sugar.
Easy and Simple No Bake Cheesecake Recipes
Substituting is not the only way to make a simple no bake cheesecake healthier. You can also input a considerable amount of nutrients by choosing the right add-ins and toppings.
Believe it or not, chocolate cheesecake can be good for you, despite all the decadence bursting from the recipe title. The key is the type of chocolate you choose. Choosing a healthy type of chocolate means adding dietary fiber, minerals, monounsaturated fats, and antioxidants to your simple, creamy dessert. This nutritional profile makes chocolate very efficient in protecting the organism against various diseases. Consuming chocolate in moderation also enhances cognitive functions, improves mood, and boosts energy levels.
Cocoa is the main source of benefits in chocolate, so the general rule is – the more cocoa in the chocolate, the healthier the dessert. Choose dark chocolate with at least 75% of cocoa. If you worry about getting a bitter-tasting final product, rest assured that the flavor will be diluted in the cooking process and the taste will be perfectly balanced with the use of a sweetener, as well as ingredients like eggs and cream cheese.
Besides the percentage of cocoa, another important factor is the sweetener content in chocolate. No bake cheesecake recipes can “handle” unsweetened chocolate. Although this type of chocolate is crumblier, combining it with butter and cream cheese will provide the necessary smoothness and richness in texture.
If your choice is cocoa powder, make sure that it is unsweetened. Also, pay attention whether the label says “Dutch process” or “natural”. The former, as the name suggests, is processed with alkaline to reduce its acidity. It is not only less healthy than the natural option, but it also reacts differently with the rest of the ingredients in the recipe.
Melt the chocolate, blend it, or add it on top of your chocolate cheesecake. One more upside of using dark chocolate in your no bake cheesecake recipe is that, besides the deep chocolate flavor, it helps the dessert firm up in the fridge.
Unlike chocolate, which originated from the new continent and was introduced to Europe by the Spaniards in the 17th century, strawberries are native to the Mediterranean region and were brought to America by the explorers around the same period.
Despite the different paths of conquering the world, these two ingredients have more in common than one might think. Strawberries are also loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants and act as brain boosters. In addition, these nutrient-dense red gems have been credited with maintaining eye health, as well as protecting the skin damage, and detoxifying the body.
When choosing strawberries for your simple strawberry cheesecake, make sure they are fragrant, ripe, and deep red in color. Include a cup of chopped strawberries into the cream cheese mixture and place the rest on top!
For an amazing, fresh, and summery no bake cheesecake, opt for lemons. These tangy super-fruits have been appreciated for their medicinal properties since the 11th century when the Crusaders brought them to Europe. Loaded with vitamin C, lemons fight infections, keep skin healthy, improve digestion, and help you lose weight!
When choosing the perfect samples for your lemon cheesecake recipe, go for fully yellow and organic whenever possible. As a general rule, lemons with thinner skin tend to be juicier and are the best for your easy & creamy dessert.
Include these yellow fruits in the form of a zest in the crumb, in the form of a lemon juice in the filling, or to prepare a lemon curd and use it as a topping for your lemon cheesecake.
Here is a fun fact – Oreo cookies are vegan! And even though they do contain sugar, accompanied by a number of additives that can’t really be dubbed healthy, there is one positive aspect to hold on to – these all-American cookies don’t contain trans-fats that increase the “bad” cholesterol levels and, proportionally, the risk of heart disease.
Grind the Oreos using a food processor and combine them with butter to form the crust for your Oreo cheesecake recipe. Fold some crushed Oreos in the filling, and use the rest as a topping.
The fact that Oreos contain no animal-derived ingredients makes them perfect for preparing easy vegan cheesecake recipes. To make a vegan Oreo cheesecake recipe base, combine ground Oreos with cocoa butter.
Creamy cheese in easy vegan cheesecake recipes is often replaced by cashews. These nuts are soaked in water for at least 4 hours (even better overnight), then drained and pulsed in a food processor. Since both eggs and cream are not an option, vegan cheesecake recipes call for other ingredients that provide binding and consistency such as coconut oil, full-fat non-dairy milk, and cocoa, nut, or peanut butter.
And remember, honey cannot be used in vegan recipes because it is derived from bees.
Easy No Bake Cheesecake Tips and Tricks
There are many reasons why no bake cheesecake is one of the best desserts to make. First, it is very simple to throw together, using everyday ingredients we all have in the fridge or pantry. These ingredients are also easily replaceable. For instance, you can substitute cream with milk, or sugar with honey, which makes the preparation stress-free.
No bake cheesecakes spare you the inconvenience of water baths required when preparing the baked variety. In addition, there is no need to stress about cracks, also a common occurrence in baked cheesecake recipes. And last, but not least, no bake cheesecakes give you the opportunity for various forms of presentation, from individual servings in glasses, jars, cups, or ramekins perfect for parties, to classic springform pan cakes for big, hungry families.
Still, even the best and simplest recipe can result in an imperfect final product. Knowing a few essential tips and tricks will save you from a cheesecake disaster and help you turn an average simple dessert into a fantastic delight.
In the base of every amazing cheesecake, there is a firm crust. Even though some no bake cheesecake recipes suggest that you pre-bake the crust just a about 10 minutes, we’ll stick to the boundaries and stay away from the oven.
Instead of crushing the graham crackers (or any other cookies or biscuits the recipe requires), ground them in a food processor. Mix them with butter, then pour over the pan bottom and tamp well using a cup or a glass. Place in the fridge for 2 or 3 hours to set well or, for speedier results, in the freezer while you prepare the filling.
To prevent the filling from sticking to the pan, extend the crust about an inch up the sides or brush the pan sides with butter.
The Perfect Batter
The key to a perfectly smooth and glossy batter is to bring the cheese and eggs to a room temperature before you start beating. For this purpose, let them stand on the counter for about half an hour.
If the cheese is too cold, the filling will be far from perfectly smooth. Cold cheese will lead to overbeating, resulting in lumps and bubbles all over the surface.
When it comes to eggs, bringing them to a room temperature will prevent the proteins from breaking and will produce the desired creaminess and fluffiness.
Beat the cream cheese by itself before adding the other ingredients. Make sure it is very well beaten (beat for a minute more than the original recipe requires). The eggs come last, following the sugar. Add them one by one, gently folding into the mix. Finish with any optional add-ins.
No bake cheesecakes have to be chilled before serving, preferably overnight. The cake will become firm and will separate from the pan’s edges. It should be very easy to remove it by sliding a knife or spatula around the edge. After that, just loosen the springform pan and garnish the cake with the toppings of choice.
No bake cheesecakes can be kept in the freezer for up to a year! Bear in mind that the filling can be easily damaged when wrapping the cake, so place it in the refrigerator to firm up first, then wrap and freeze.
A dessert recipe was never this easy to prepare, so go ahead and give one of these no bake cheesecake recepies a try. No bake, no mess, no stress!