Cheesecake is my favorite! And just to be clear… I would enjoy it, no matter what the cake happened to look like. Having one that is bright, festive and pretty is just extra sweet! This colorwheel cheesecake is a fun way to dress up this favorite treat to make it instantly ready for a party.
The colors can be adjusted to any combination you can dream up, although this tasty take on the colorwheel is easily my pick. And the cake doesn’t need to go in the oven – at all! Awesome, for an easy summer birthday.
To make the colorwheel cheese cake you will need; 2 packages (20 sheets) graham crackers, 11 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 8-oz packages cream cheese, room temperature, 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk, 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and food coloring in various colors.
You will also need; 9″ springform pan, cardboard sheet (we had a 16″ high by 13″ wide sheet), scissors, and a ruler.
We were able to create this colorwheel, by seperating the cheesecake slices in the creation of the cake. To make dividers that will do this:
Measure a strip of cardboard to a length of a little under the diameter of the cheesecake pan, around 8-1/2″ to 8-3/4″. The width of each strip should be around 3 inches. Cut out cardboard; repeat 3 more times with these same dimensions.
Mark the halfway point on all four of the cardboard pieces. With scissors, cut about 3/4 of the way up on two of the cardboard strips. For the other two pieces, cut them in equal halves; you’ll end up with 4 smaller pieces measuring anywhere between 4″ to 4-1/4″ in length.
Fit the two longer pieces of cardboards to make an “X” by sliding the two cut parts together. Make sure the assembled piece fits in the pan; center the “X” in the pan so there are four equal quadrants. Note: you will cover the cardboard in foil so you may need to snip off a bit of cardboard from the ends for it to fit. Ensure that the smaller pieces of cardboard also fit, placing them in each of the quadrants so that there are now 8 wells — where the slices of cheesecake will go.
Cover the cardboard pieces completely with foil, trying to keep edges smooth and flat. For the two longer pieces, snip the centers, following the cut that was made earlier in each piece. Assemble, fitting the “X” into the pan no covered, then placing the covered small 4 pieces in next.
Next it’s time to make the cheesecake! For this easy no-bake cheesecake recipe:
Put graham crackers in a large resealable plastic bag, and crush them with a rolling pin until very fine crumbs form. Pour crumbs into a medium bowl; stir in sugar. Add melted butter, and stir until well combined.
Press the crumb mixture into a 9-inch springform pan, spreading it 1-1/2 to 2 inches up the side; press flat. Chill crust in freezer at least 10 minutes, or overnight in the fridge.
Make the filling. Using an electric mixer (or stand mixer with paddle attachment) beat the cream cheese in a large bowl at medium high speed until smooth. Beat in the condensed milk a little at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla.
Divide the batter equally into 8 different bowls. Alternately, for our cheesecake, we wanted 5 different colors of cheesecake, 3 of which would be repeated in the cake. So we doubled the amount for 3 bowls (which equals 6 parts of the filling) and then a single amount for 2 bowls (which equals the remaining 2 parts of the filling).
Squeeze a few drops of food coloring gel into a bowl and stir well with a spoon until color is evenly distributed. Repeat with the remaining bowls.
You’re ready to fill your pan with cheesecake filling. Start with the first color, pouring it into the well. Smooth the top as much as possible, using an offset spatula, small rubber spatula, or the back of a spoon. If you’re using a color twice, pour half of the batter from the bowl, reserve the rest for the second time you get to the color.
Fill the remaining wells, alternating the colors as you go. For repeating colors, go around once with different colors, then start over with the same pattern until you’ve run out of filling.
Cover the pan with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, 3 hours or overnight.
Unclasp side of pan, and remove cheesecake. Carefully lift the foil-covered cardboard pieces from the cheesecake. Cut the slices with a sharp knife. Serve and enjoy!
(Project styling and photography by Athena Plichta for A Subtle Revelry. Cheesecake recipe adapted from Martha Stewart.)