I love winter. Now that we live in Victoria winter no longer involves snow and ice, and I really did miss it at first. I still miss the silence that comes with a heavy snowfall and the magical feeling the first flakes of the year bring. However, I have adapted and now I relish the short and dark Island winters. Now, nothing beats cold mornings, fog, and rainy days spent inside with a good book and a cup of tea. Plus watching the trees start to bloom in February has its perks, too.
So now that it is starting to feel like spring I was in the mood for a lighter dessert, and this no-bake cheesecake was born. The inspiration came from two places: the latest edition of Alive magazine, which featured a lovely raspberry no-bake cheesecake, and this gelatin-free version from Food Doodles. If you are still stuck in the midst of winter, think of this cheesecake as a vacation for your mouth. One bite of this creamy vanilla soaked orange filling will bring you right back to summer days as a kid eating popsicles and making sandcastles.
I wanted to avoid a jello-like consistency in favour of a lighter, softer texture, which is achieved simply by combining whipped cream cheese with greek yogurt and the smallest hint of sugar. And because it is citrus season, I decided that a creamsicle cheesecake was in order. Who doesn’t love the combined flavours of orange, vanilla, and cream cheese? The result is a delightfully light cake that is not too sweet and is bursting with orange flavour.
This cake comes together in just a few minutes, and is the perfect solution for days when turning on the oven just seems like a little too much work. It is critical that you let it sit overnight to thicken and allow the flavours to meld together. Trust me, it is worth the wait. I am already thinking of various combinations for different versions. Chocolate cherry almond, anyone?
Orange Creamsicle No-Bake Cheesecake
Adapted from Food Doodles
makes one 8 or 9 inch cake
For the Crust:
1 2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. melted butter
For the Filling:
250 g (or 8oz., or one block) cream cheese, softened
3/4 c. orange flavoured yogurt (I used Western Family Blood Orange Greek Yogurt)
3 tbsp. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. pure orange extract
zest of 1 large orange
1/4 c. freshly squeezed orange juice
To make the crust, combine graham crumbs, salt, and brown sugar. Stir in melted butter until well-combined. Press firmly into an 8 or 9 inch springform or round cake pan. Place in the fridge for an hour (or, as I did, put it in the freezer for about 20 minutes to let the butter harden).
Make the filling:
In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese, yogurt, and sugar until well combined. Add vanilla and orange extracts and the orange juice and zest. Stir well. Pour over cooled crust, spreading evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Notes: If you cannot find orange-flavoured yogurt, I would try using vanilla. However, you may need to increase the orange extract to 1 tsp. The nice thing about this batter is you can taste it as you go and adjust it to your liking.
I lined my pan with parchment paper, but I do not think it was necessary. If anything, it made it harder to remove nice slices from the pan. I would skip this next time.
I hope you give this one a try; it really is wonderful.