A light berry dessert - quick and easy dessert to make ahead! Perfect for warmer days!
No-bake, no fuss, easy cheesecake with lots of fresh and frozen berries! Perfect to make ahead and wonderful light taste and texture through the whipped cream folded into the cheesecake batter. It is a great dessert to serve to guests or to bring to a friend’s house.
What is better no-bake or baked cheesecake?
No bake cheesecake uses Gelatin or other stabilizer
No bake cheesecake is made more quickly
No bake and baked need to cool for at best over night
No bake cheesecake contains mainly cream cheese and whipped cream, baked cheesecake has less dominant cream cheese flavor
Baked cheesecake needs a water bath to bake the cheesecake with gentle heat and enough humidity to prevent cracking which is a difficult part (even with layers of aluminum foil water gets inside)
No questions asked, cheesecake is an all time favorite dessert, but what is better baked cheesecake or its fridge only version? First of all, every cheesecake needs to be refrigerated in order to set completely, no matter if baked or not. The refrigeration time is almost for every recipe a few hours but preferably over night. Which makes cheesecakes perfect made ahead desserts.
One burden of making baked cheesecake is the water-bath since keeping the cheesecake dry at the same time can be a matter of luck. Most recipes call for layers of heavy duty aluminum foil that should keep the water of the water bath from leaking into the springform pan. An environmental cautious alternative could be using a silicon mold covering the springform pan since it is reusable.
Another tricky part of making baked cheesecakes finding the right baking time to not end up with an over baked, dry cheesecake. Most recipes give a baking time range that might vary depending on your oven. To find the right baking time you are supposed to move the cheesecake for a little bit and when you see it "slightly jiggle" in the center it is baked efficiently. That is when the trickier part starts. Letting the cheesecake cool gently to prevent it from cracking (If you haven't lost already and got a cracked cheesecake while it was still baking) Baked cheesecakes tend to crack when not cooled correctly or if their top is not smooth enough or if there was air trapped inside the batter. Read here how to get a crackfree cheesecake. Nonetheless, baked cheesecakes, like the famous New York Style cheesecake, are a delight for tastebuds with their smooth, silky texture.
In my opinion baked cheesecakes have a less dominant cream cheese flavor than the no-bake variations. No wonder, since no-bake cheesecakes are basically cream cheese, whipped cream and gelatin. Mixed in flavors like fruits, caramel, chocolate or cookies add to the cream cheese flavor which makes it less overwhelming.
In general I prefer baked cheesecake, especially my New York Style cheesecake recipe but from time to time I like to eat a no bake cheesecake like this berry cheesecake. Especially in summer I prefer not to turn on the oven to get a delicious cooled cake!
More tips needed? read here all my tips for a crackfree and silky smooth cheesecake!
How to get a wonderful deep natural color
Lots of frozen berries thawed and drained give this cake its beautiful color. The frozen berries break apart when thawed and dye the cheesecake batter in all the purple, violet and pink shades. It is a easy way to get a bursting natural color as well as a lot of flavor.
Did you know that frozen fruits are supposed to have more flavor than fresh ones? Since they are instantly processed and frozen after the harvest they keep all their flavor. However, fresh produce might have a long transportation and therefore can lack in flavor and freshness. Also fresh produce lacks flavor if it is not in season. This is especially true in winter months!
No-bake Berry Cheesecake
Ingredients for a 9 inch cake
For the Graham crust:
2 cups (220 g) Graham cookie crumbs
1/3 cup (80 g) butter, melted
For the berry cheesecake batter:
32 oz (900 g) cream cheese, softened at room temperature
3/4 cup (150g) brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
6 oz (170 g) frozen berry mix, thawed and drained
6 oz (170 g) raspberries
10 oz (280 g) blackberries
6 oz (170 g) blueberries
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) heavy cream
2 sheets gelatin or 2 tsp gelatin powder
Start with the cookie crust. You can either blend the Graham cookies in a food processor or use a zip lock bag and a rolling pin to make cookie crumbs. Mix the fine crumbs with the melted butter and press the mixture in a spring form pan. Either freeze it until needed or bake it at 325 °F for about 10 minutes and let cool.
To make the cheesecake filling, start off with a large bowl or use a food processor. Cream the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with a hand mixer until smooth for about 3 minutes. Mix in the thawed and drained mixed berries. Soak the gelatin according to package instructions and melt it in the microwave for about 5 seconds. Mix 1 cup of the cheesecake batter in the liquid gelatin then mix it in the rest of the cheesecake batter. Mix it until combined. Scrape down the bowl as needed. Fold in the fresh berries until everything is evenly combined. Whip heavy cream in a tall mixing bowl and fold it in the cheesecake batter. Fill it on top of the Graham cookie layer and smooth it out. Let it rest in the fridge for at least 4 hours or over night.
When the cake is ready to be served take it out of the springform pan and decorate it with fresh berries.
Add strawberries when in season for a different flavor experience!
To keep raspberries from getting smushed, fold them in after the whipped cream or after the batter is filled inside the pan.
You want a deeper color? Feel free to add more frozen berries or cook some of the berry defrost water into a thicker liquid and add that to the batter.
The crust is thin and crunchy. If you like a higher and thicker crust use double the amount of Graham cookies.
To ensure a smooth consistency without any lumps of cream cheese the cream cheese has to be at room temperature and mixed well before adding more ingredients. Add just a small amount of liquid ingredients at the beginning and mix it in completely before adding more.
tapping the cheesecake on the counter (covered with a kitchen towel) before baking helps releasing air bubbles that might have formed.
I like to bake the cookie crust to get a less crumbly crust that holds the cake better.
When gelatin is used always mix in some of the batter with the gelatin first before adding it to the mixing bowl. Otherwise the gelatin does not mix well.