This no-bake cheesecake is an easy dessert to prepare

Cheesecake has always been my enemy in the kitchen. My impatience means I tend to open the oven door prematurely before the cake is ready, and sudden drops in oven temperature create unsightly cracks across the cheesecake’s smooth surface. Many recipes call for a water bath to ensure the cake cooks evenly, taking up extra baking pans and extra space in the oven (let’s not even talk about spills). But with cookbook author Jesse Sheehan’s Unbaked Vanilla Cheesecake, there’s no need for a water bath or oven—you really don’t need more than one mixing bowl.

You can simplify the easy-to-squeeze crust by mixing the chocolate cookies, melted butter, and vanilla extract together in a food processor, or you can go the old-fashioned way by placing the cookies in an airtight plastic bag and crushing them with a nail. . Although Sheehan’s recipe requires a hand mixer, you can easily use a hand mixer to mix the cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, a touch of salt, lemon juice, and vanilla.

The no-bake method bypasses the eggs that are usually incorporated into the cheesecake filling, and instead relies on refrigeration and time to set the filling. This cake isn’t quite as stiff and dense as the classic New York cheesecake, but it hits all the sweet, creamy flavors with a beautiful mousse-like texture.

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“Regular baked cheesecakes are very picky and too hard for my tastes.” Sheehan told me. “Cracked cheesecake, I’m looking at you.” The author of the cookbook not only prefers the ease and simplicity of the variety that not only bakes, but also enjoys the taste more. In Sheehan’s recipe, a few tablespoons of lemon juice complements the tart flavor of the cream cheese and allows it to sparkle, while the vanilla adds soft roundness.

Although vanilla cheesecake set in a chocolate crust is Sheehan’s favorite flavor combination for this one, she offers versatility in her book, Baked snacks, for a lemon cheesecake in a graham cracker crust. She also recommends freshening up the recipe by stirring your favorite jam or purée through the filling or adding a dash of almond extract.

Since there is no baking, there is a very low risk of the cheesecake cracking. It’s the perfect dessert to prepare for those hot, humid days when you want to keep the oven off. No need to worry in an uncomfortable warm kitchen or open the oven door and spoil all your hard work. Alternatively, you can open your refrigerator and enjoy a brief breath of cool air each time you check for dessert.

Cheesecake may be my enemy, but is this? She’s my new best friend.

Nubian cheese cake with chocolate cake crust on serving plate.
Unbaked vanilla cheesecake with chocolate cookie crust

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