Say hello to this gorgeous no-bake strawberry jelly cheesecake! The refreshing strawberry jelly pairs perfectly with the smooth and creamy cheesecake which lays on a cinnamon sugar graham cracker crust.
Spring is my favorite time of year because that means it's STRAWBERRY SEASON. If I could have only one fruit for the rest of my life, I would choose strawberries every time. They are sweet, tart and always juicy. When I saw the local farmer's market selling fresh handpicked strawberries, I KNEW that it was the perfect time to showcase my no-bake Strawberry Jelly Cheesecake. Pair this strawberry jelly cheesecake with Korean strawberry milk or strawberry yogurt tea and you'll have a strawberry party!
Layers for this No-Bake Strawberry Jelly Cheesecake
I guarantee that this show-stopping cheesecake will impress all of your friends and family. As complicated and long-winded as this recipe looks on the outside, it is really simple to tackle. The hardest part is waiting for each layer to set before you add the next layer. I wrote a COMPLETE step by step guide with tips and instructions for you to make your very own show stopper at home.
Here are the five layers in this cheesecake. You can substitute the fruit, jelly layers, crust in whichever way you prefer. (More about substitutions below)
- Lemon jelly with fresh strawberries layer
- Strawberry jelly layer
- No-bake cheesecake layer
- Cinnamon sugar graham cracker crust
Ingredients For This Recipe
- Honey Graham Crackers: honey graham crackers make a classic crust. But you can substitute with any cracker or cookie of your choosing. (More on that below)
- Light brown sugar: brown sugar blends better than granulated sugar in the crust. You can substitute granulated sugar.
- Cinnamon: cinnamon is optional but I think the added cinnamon gives it that *chef's kiss special flavor.
- Salt: salt balances out the sugar
- Unsalted butter: unsalted butter melted holds the crust together
- Cream Cheese: ALWAYS use full-fat brick cream cheese. My favorite brand to use is Philadelphia cream cheese.
- Granulated Sugar: adds the sweetness.
- Sour cream: the sour cream adds a subtle form of tanginess to the cheesecake. You can also substitute in greek yogurt as well.
- Powdered sugar: adds more sweetness and absorbs and firms up the cheesecake.
- Lemon juice: Use freshly squeezed lemon juice for best results.
- Vanilla Extract: the vanilla extract adds a subtle sweetness to the cheesecake
- Heavy whipping cream: keep refrigerated until used to whip the cream.
- Strawberries: Make sure to wash and thoroughly dry the strawberries before using them. I like to buy strawberries from my local farmer's market for the best results!
- Gelatin Powder: gelatin powder is used to make the two jelly layers. The gelatin is unflavored and really easy to use.
How To Make This Recipe
This recipe looks quite extensive at first glance, but don't walk away just yet! Each step is incredibly easy and 100% manageable. I believe in you! All you need to do is 1) prepare the pan, 2) make the graham cracker crust, 3) whip the cheesecake layer, 4) make a strawberry jelly layer and 5) make a lemon jelly layer.
I. Prepare the Pan.
- Make room in your freezer and refrigerator.
- Line the bottom of your 6-inch springform cake pan with parchment paper seal the paper to the pan using butter. Line the edges of the pan with parchment paper or a plastic cake collar. Tape the ends together to form a cylinder.
II. Graham Cracker Crust
- Pulverize the graham crackers. Using a food processor, pulverize the graham crackers into crumbs. Alternatively, you can place the graham crackers into a large ziplock bag and crush the crackers with a rolling pin.
- Whisk in spices. Place the graham crackers into a mixing bowl and whisk with the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
- Add in melted butter. Gently, melt the butter in the microwave for about 15-30 seconds. Pour in the graham cracker mixture and thoroughly mix.
- Layer the pan. Scoop the mix into the prepared cake pan. Press firmly for a flat, even layer. TIP: Use a flat bottomed glass to make an even layer.
III. Cheesecake Layer
- Beat the cream cheese and sugar. In a medium mixing bowl, use a hand electric mixer and beat on medium speed the cream cheese and granulated sugar together until smooth and creamy. About 2-3 minutes.
- Add in the flavoring ingredients. Add in the sour cream, powdered sugar, salt, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Continue mixing at medium speed until no lumps remain. About 2-3 minutes.
- Make the whipped cream. In a cold mixing bowl, pour in cold heavy whipping cream and whisk until stiff peaks. Careful not to over whisk. If you over whisk it will turn into a dense butter texture.
- Gently fold in the whipped cream. Pour the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture and gently fold with a spatula. Fold in an upward motion to prevent from deflating the air in the whipped cream. Mix until JUST combined.
- Layer the pan. Add the top of the graham cracker crust. Use a spatula to smooth out the cheesecake into an even layer. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to create an even top. Chill in the freezer for 1 hour.
IV. Make the Strawberry Jelly Layer
- Cook the strawberry sauce. In a small saucepan, mix the chopped strawberries, granulated sugar, lemon juice together and cook over medium-low heat until the strawberries have cooked down and looks like apple sauce. About 10-15 minutes. Strain the strawberry sauce into a heat-proof bowl.
- Bloom the gelatin. While the strawberries are cooking, in a bowl, measure out ¼ cup cold water. Sprinkle the gelatin powder over the top then stir to combine. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes until the gelatin absorbs the water and becomes jiggly.
- Mix the gelatin in the warm strawberry sauce. Sift the warm strawberry sauce into a large mixing bowl. Add the gelatin mixture and mix. Make sure that the strawberry sauce is warm and not boiling hot when adding the gelatin.
- Layer onto the cheesecake. Let the strawberry gelatin mixture cool for 5 minutes. Take the cheesecake out of the freezer and gently pour the strawberry gelatin on top. Pop any bubbles. Place the cheesecake in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
V. Make the Lemon Jelly Layer
- Cook the lemonade. In a small saucepan, mix together the lemon juice, sugar, water. Cook on medium-low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
- Bloom the gelatin. While the lemonade is heating, measure ¼ cup cold water and sprinkle the gelatin powder on top and stir to combine. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes until the gelatin absorbs the water.
- Mix the gelatin in the warm lemonade. Pour the warm lemonade into a heat-proof bowl. Add the gelatin mixture and mix. Make sure that the lemonade is warm when adding the gelatin.
- Layer the strawberries and lemon jelly onto the cheesecake. Let the lemonade gelatin mixture cool for 10 minutes. Take the cheesecake out of the refrigerator, line the strawberries along the edges and the center. Gently pour enough of the gelatin to cover the lower half of the strawberries. Place the cake back in the refrigerator to set for 1 hour. This is to prevent the strawberries from floating.
- Pour the rest of the lemon jelly. After the jelly has set a little, pour the remaining jelly on top. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours or overnight before releasing the cake from the pan.
- Release the cheesecake. Slowly release the spring lock and peel the parchment paper or cake collar away from the sides of the cake and serve immediately.
Substitutions and Adjustments
- Graham crackers: A graham cracker crust is my favorite because it is so classic. However, you can use whatever cookie you'd prefer like gingersnaps, Biscoff cookies, vanilla wafers, or Oreos. Simply remove the cinnamon and you're Gucci.
- Lemonade jelly: I used lemonade juice because I wanted to have the strawberries really shine in this cake. But you can use whatever juice you'd like! I've seen it done with cranberry juice, white grape juice, rosé, or even sweet white wines.
- Strawberry jelly: I added this extra layer in between the clear lemonade jelly and the cheesecake because I'm extra and had to have that clean even lines of separation between the cheesecake and the clear jelly. This step is completely optional. You can also change the strawberry juice with any other darker juice you'd prefer.
- 1 packet of gelatin can firm 2 cups of liquid. Keep this in mind if you decide to make alterations.
- Strawberries: Strawberries are my FAVORITE pairing with a traditional cheesecake. But you can pair this no-bake cheesecake with any fruit you prefer. I am interested in making a mango cheesecake next!
Tips For This Recipe
- Line your cake pan. Since this cake is a no-bake, it is very important to line the bottom of the pan and the edges with parchment paper and/or a plastic cake collar.
- Use a flat bottomed cup to make an even crust. This tip was a lifesaver for me. To prevent your crust from having little fingerprints in the crust, use a flat bottomed glass, like a rocks glass, to smoothly press along the bottom of the cake pan.
- Whip the cheesecake filling with an electric mixer. Use a stand mixer or a hand electric mixer for the light fluffy cheesecake you deserve. You can mix it by hand but it will take a LOT of muscle that I simply do not have.
- For the whipped cream, use cold refrigerated heavy whipping cream. The cold allows the cream to whip easily.
- Make space in your freezer and refrigerator ahead of time. This makes the chilling process run smoothly.
- Bloom the gelatin. Before you add the gelatin to the fruit juice, it is important to bloom your gelatin in a ¼ cup of cold water for 5 minutes so the gelatin has time to absorb the water. Make sure to stir thoroughly to dissolve all the granules.
- Warm the juice. Be sure the juice is warm to the touch (~90-100 F) before adding the bloomed gelatin. This allows the gelatin to dissolve properly without forming "ropes." Do not add the gelatin to BOILING juice. This deactivates the gelling properties.
This cheesecake is ultra-light, ultra jiggly and requires constant refrigeration. The cheesecake must be wrapped and stored in the refrigerator since it contains gelatin and cream cheese. It can last in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.