When I started imagining this No Bake White Chocolate Lime Cheesecake, I wanted it to be a cross between a sweet and tangy Key lime pie and a refreshing, light and creamy no bake cheesecake. I’m happy to report that it came out EXACTLY like I’d envisioned.
Well, okay, perhaps not exactly exactly… In a perfect world, I’d have loved to make my cake using real Key limes, but unfortunately, I was never able to find any: apparently, Key limes are VERY hard to come across in my neck of the woods… if you, however, can easily get your hands on them where you are, then by all means, you should definitely be using them if you plan on giving this baby a go (which you totally should, if you want my advice).
Still, the standard limes still did a really good job at flavoring this cheesecake. An amazing job, even!
Honestly, I’m almost convinced that this bad boy has now officially become my favorite cheesecake in the whole wide world. I mean, it’s hard to name just ONE my favorite… cheescakes are all so freakishly delicious. I remember years ago at some corporate Christmas party, we were discussing our favorite desserts. I’d mentioned that cheesecake, any cheesecake, would definitely take the prize for me, because eating it was more than just a pleasant thing for my taste buds, it was an actual “physical experience”. People were a bit puzzled by such a bold statement, but one of the guests totally got me and said he felt the exact same way about this glorious treat. HA! So at least, I know I’m not the only one. To this day, I still feel that eating cheesecake is a true physical experience, probably better than… ahem well, you know…
So anyway, not to toot my own horn, but I think that to this day, this was one of my top culinary successes, at least as far as desserts are concerned. The cake came out sublime, even better than I’d hoped it would, absolutely perfect. If I was to do it again, I wouldn’t modify a single thing.
The texture of the filling is bang on: firm enough to hold its shape, but still super creamy and melt-in-your-mouth velvety. The tanginess of the lime and cheese coupled with the delicate sweetness of the white chocolate complement each other so well, it’s like they were created to be together. The crust adds this tiny little hint of crunch to the experience, without taking up too much space. It just gives your teeth a little something to keep them busy while your tongue and palate are working on the softer components. And finally, the white chocolate ganache that covers the cake gives the whole adventure a graceful, voluptuous and silky finale.
Honestly, I’m usually a fan of serving cakes at room temperature, but this one would be an exception to that rule. I found it to be particularly amazing straight out of the ice box, making it the perfect dessert for summer. Well, not only because of that, but also because it doesn’t require the use of the oven, and because it tastes so crazy refreshing, too!
It just TASTES like a beautiful, warm and sunny summer day.
And now again, my usual warning…
While this cake may look like it’s a tad complicated to make, it really truly isn’t. It’s just that as usual, I’ve included a lot of pictures, too many perhaps. What can I say? I’d much rather be watching the steps to a recipe than reading them.
I guess the next best thing for me would be shooting videos, but I doubt that’ll ever happen. Videos and I don’t get along all that well. Pictures, however, are my very best friends.
As I’m sure you can very well tell…
Step-by-step instructions with pictures immediately follow recipe
- 2 cups (250g | 8.8oz) graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup (100g | 3.5oz) light brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup (120g | 4.2oz) butter, melted
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract, (store-bought or homemade)
- 2 tbsp lime zest*
- 1/4 tsp salt (I use Himalayan salt)
- 3- (227g | 8oz) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (100g | 3.5oz) granulated sugar
- 1 can (300ml | 397g | 14oz) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup (240ml | 8oz) whipping cream
- 1 cup (240ml) fresh lime juice*
- 2-3 tbsp lime zest*
- 1 cup (175g | 6.25oz) white chocolate, finely chopped
- 8 sheets gelatin (or 2 tbsp (11g) powdered gelatin)
- 1-1/4 cup (220g | 7.7oz) white chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup (80ml) whipping cream
- 1 cup whipped cream
- 1 tbsp grated lime zest*
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- Start by zesting, then juicing 8 limes. I strongly recommend that you use a microplane zester and a 2 in 1 lime and lemon sqeezer. These tools will make your life a whole lot easier!
- Line the bottom of a 9” springform pan with parchment paper. To do that, remove the ring and cover the bottom with parchment paper. Fold the excess paper back under the plate and, while holding it in place with one hand, put the ring back in its position with the other hand. Bring the excess paper back from under the pan but do not cut it off.
- Combine the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, melted butter, vanilla extract, salt and about 2 tbsp of the lime zest in a large mixing bowl. Mix until well combined and press firmly at the bottom and about halfway up the side of the prepared pan. Set aside.
- Place the sheet gelatin to soak in a large bowl filled with icy cold water (if using powdered gelatin, sprinkle it over 1 cup of fresh lime juice so it has a chance to bloom).
- Whip the heavy cream until firm peaks form and reserve.
- Melt the white chocolate in a small mixing bowl and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and sugar and mix on high speed with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the condensed milk and about 3 tablespoons of lime zest and resume beating until well incorporated.
- Pour in the melted white chocolate and mix on high speed until combined.
- Warm the lime juice over very low heat or in the microwave until barely just warm to the touch (and until gelatin is completely melted, if using powdered gelatin). It's important that the lime juice doesn't become hot or it would hurt/destroy the gelatin; lukewarm is what you're after.
- Remove the sheet gelatin from the water bath and squeeze it between your fingers to remove as much water as possible. Add the gelatin to the warm lime juice, stir until fully dissolved and then pour this into the cream cheese mixture. Resume mixing until it's well incorporated, then delicately fold in the whipped cream.
- Pour onto the reserved crust and spread evenly all the way to the side of the pan. Gently tap the side of your pan and give it a little shake to help the top settle and smooth out.
- Place your cake in the fridge until completely set, about 6 hours or better yet, overnight.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the white chocolate and whipping cream and place that in the microwave for 30 seconds. Allow to rest for 30 seconds and then stir for 30 seconds. If there are still lumps of unmelted chocolate, repeat the process but for 20 seconds this time, and continue doing that until the chocolate is completely melted but not hot, and the ganache is well combined.
- Pour this right over the cheesecake and tilt the pan in a circular motion to spread the ganache all the way to the egde; tap the sides and give the pan a little shake like you did before to help make that top really smooth and even.
- Put the cake back in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes, until the ganache is set.
- Take the cake out of the pan and place it on a cake plate or stand.
- In a small bowl, combine a tablespoon of grated lime zest with an equal amount of granulated sugar and mix well; Decorate the cake with swirls of whipped cream (I used an open star Ateco #2) and sprinkle some of the sweetened zest over the rosettes, then garnish with slices of lime.
- Serve chilled.
*You will need to zest and juice enough limes to get at least 1 cup of juice, about 8 to 10 total.
STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS AND PICTURES
The first thing that you should do is zest and juice enough limes to get at least 1 cup of fresh juice, which represents about 8 to 10 limes (perhaps even more if you’re lucky enough to be using key limes!)
FOR THE CRUST
Line the bottom of a 9” springform pan with parchment paper. To do that, remove the ring and cover the bottom with parchment paper. Fold the excess paper back under the plate and, while holding it in place with one hand, put the ring back in its position with the other hand. Bring the excess paper back from under the pan but do not cut it off.
Then, in a large mixing bowl, combine:
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp lime zest
- 1/4 tsp salt
Mix all the ingredients with a large spoon until well combined.
Press firmly at the bottom and about halfway up the side of the prepared pan.
I find that using a flat bottomed object, such as a glass or measuring cup works best for this, but you could also use your fingers if you wanted to.
FOR THE CHEESECAKE FILLING
Now that the crust is out of the way, we need to be taking care of the gelatin.
I’ve always been a huge fan of sheet gelatin and pretty much work exclusively with that. I find it’s much easier to use than its powdered counterpart, and yields much better results, too. It melts easily, consistently and flawlessly, and most importantly, it never clumps up or turns gritty on you.
If you’re not familiar with sheet gelatin, this is what it looks like.
To use it, you must first place it in icy cold water so it becomes soft it soft and pliable. Make sure that the water is really cold because otherwise, your gelatin could melt and dissolve in the water.
Place the 8 sheets in the water one at a time and push them down delicately, so the water has a chance to get between them.
Also too, you want to make sure to move the sheets around a little bit so they don’t end up sticking together, which could cause them to clump up and not re-hydrate properly. Just toss them around for a few seconds until they start to soften up.
See how they almost disappear? Now we can say that the gelatin has officially been dealt with and we can move on to the next steps. Just let your gelatin soak in that water bath until you’re ready to use it.
Oh, if you didn’t have sheet gelatin, you could use 2 tablespoons of powdered gelatin instead, but that you would have to sprinkle over the cup of lime juice so it has a chance to bloom. Now would be a good time to do that, too.
Next items on the agenda would be to whip 1 cup of heavy cream until firm and then melt 1 cup of white chocolate in a small mixing bowl.
In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 packages of cream cheese and 1/2 cup of sugar and mix on high speed with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.
Add the condensed milk…
Isn’t that drool worthy? I just LOVE watching condensed milk pour and cascade and land in thick ripples of sweet sinfulness…
Add about 3 tablespoons of lime zest to the bowl…
… and resume beating until well combined.
Don’t forget to scrape the sides from time to time, to make sure every last bit gets incorporated.
Pour in the melted white chocolate.
Again with the beautiful ripples… not quite AS pretty as the sweetened condensed milk, but still nice to look at.
Mix that white chocolate in on high speed until fully combined.
And now back to the gelatin.
Warm the cup of lime juice over very low heat or in the microwave until barely just warm to the touch. It’s important that the lime juice doesn’t become hot or it would hurt/destroy the gelatin; lukewarm is what you’re after. Just like a baby’s bottle!
Remove the sheet gelatin from the water bath and squeeze it between your fingers to remove as much water as possible.
This is what your gelatin should look like once it’s been squeezed dry.
Add the gelatin to the warm lime juice all at once and stir until fully dissolved.
If you’re using powdered gelatin, warm the juice and gelatin together and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved. Again, it’s important that you do not let your liquid get too hot.
Pour the lime juice and gelatin into the cream cheese mixture.
And give this a final spin until all is well incorporated.
Now delicately fold in the whipped cream with a rubber spatula…
And pour the batter onto the reserved crust.
Spread evenly all the way to the side of the pan. Gently tap the side of your pan and give it a little shake to help the top settle and smooth out.
Place your cake in the fridge until completely set, about 6 hours or better yet, overnight.
FOR THE WHITE CHOCOLATE GANACHE
To make the white chocolate ganache, combine 1-1/4 cup of finely chopped white chocolate and 1/3 cup of heavy cream in a small mixing bowl, and place them in the microwave for 30 seconds. Then, let them rest undisturbed for 30 seconds and finally, stir delicately for 30 seconds. If there are still lumps of unmelted chocolate after that, repeat the process but for 20 seconds this time, and continue doing that until the chocolate is completely melted but not hot, and the ganache is well combined. You really shouldn’t need more than 2 to 3 passes in the microwave.
Pour the white chocolate ganache right over the cheesecake and tilt the pan around in a circular motion to spread the ganache all the way to the egde;
Again, tap the sides and give the pan a little shake like you did before to help make that top really smooth and even.
Put the cake back in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes, until the ganache is completely set.
AND NOW, FOR THE FINISHING TOUCH
Make the whipped cream and, in a small bowl, combine a tablespoon of grated lime zest with an equal amount of granulated sugar and mix well;
Equip a pastry bag with a medium sized open star tip (I used an Ateco #2).
To help release the cake real cleanly, it helps to slightly warm up the side of the pan. I find the best way to do this is by delicately heating it with a propane torch or warm cloth. If you choose to use a propane torch, make sure that you maintain a good distance from that pan. You just want to warm it up some, not completely melt the cake.
And keep an eye out for that paper too. You wouldn’t want to set it on fire! (that MAY have happened to me once or twice…)
And voilà! Here’s what your cake should look like now that it’s been relieved of its outside ring! Is that pretty or what?
But wait, we’re not done. We’re gonna dress up this bad boy to make it look even nicer!
Pipe swirls of whipped cream around the perimeter of the cake as well as in the center and sprinkle some of the sweetened zest over the rosettes…
And then garnish with slices of lime, to make it even prettier. Place your cake on a cake plate or stand and prepare for lift-off!
You are now officially ready to serve, my friend!