Pretty pastels stun from inside and out in this light, airy, mousse-like cheesecake. When you can’t stand to turn on your oven, sweet strawberries, tropical mangoes, and zesty limes make this summertime no-bake cheesecake a real treat.
Cook’s Notes: I prefer Ataulfo mangoes, but use whatever type is available to you; Stir any leftover strawberry or mango puree into yogurt or serve with waffles; The gelatin makes a super-stable cheesecake that will show off the clean layers when sliced. It also creates an airy texture similar to mousse; The lime layer may be a bit thicker and fluffier than those made with fruit puree due to the additional whipped cream.
Graham Cracker Crust
Strawberry and Mango Purees
Assembly and Decoration
Whipped Cream (1 Batch)
Fit a 9-inch (23-cm) springform pan with a collar: cut a long strip of parchment paper, 28 inches (71 cm) in length and about 1 inch (2.5 cm) wider than the height of the pan (or use an acetate cake collar). use a touch of baking spray or butter to lightly grease the back of the collar to help it stick to the pan and stay in place. Wrap the collar around the inside of the pan. Secure the ends with tape or a paperclip as needed. the collar is used to extend the height of the sides of the pan.
Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Pour in the melted butter and stir until the crumbs are evenly moist. tip the mixture into the prepared pan. use the bottom of a drinking glass or dry measuring cup with straight sides to firmly and evenly press the mixture into the bottom of the pan. The crust should be tight and compact. Chill the crust in the freezer for about 30 minutes before filling.
Place the hulled strawberries in the bowl of a small food processor. Add 1 tablespoon of the sugar and blend until smooth. taste and adjust the sugar as needed. the puree should be slightly sweet.
Set aside 1 cup (240 ml) of the strawberry puree to use in the strawberry cheesecake layer. Rinse the food processor bowl and repeat with the mangoes and remaining sugar. Set aside 1 cup (240 ml) of the mango puree to use in the mango cheesecake layer.
Put the lemon juice in heatproof container, like a glass measuring cup or a coffee mug, and sprinkle in the gelatin. Stir to combine and let bloom for about 5 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar on medium-low speed for several minutes, stopping and scraping down the bowl often, until smooth.
Zap the gelatin mixture in the microwave for 5 to 10 seconds to liquefy. Add the gelatin, 1 cup (240 ml) of the strawberry puree, and the vanilla to the cream cheese mixture. Mix on medium-low until combined. Add a drop or two of food colouring (if you’re using it) and mix to combine.
In a clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large bowl using a handheld mixer), whip the cream on medium-high until it holds medium peaks. Gently fold the whipped cream into the strawberry mixture until fully combined.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared crust and gently spread with an offset spatula. Gently tap the bottom of the pan on the counter a couple of times. Chill in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes as you prepare the mango layer.
Follow the directions for the strawberry layer, substituting the mango puree for the strawberry. Spoon the mango mixture on top of the strawberry layer and gently it spread with an offset spatula. Gently tap the bottom of the pan on the counter a couple of times. chill in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes as you prepare the lime layer.
Follow the directions for blooming the gelatin in the strawberry layer but with the lime juice. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and lime zest on medium-low speed for several minutes, stopping and scraping down the bowl often, until smooth. Add the gelatin, vanilla, and green gel food coloring and mix until combined.
Whip the cream following the directions for the strawberry layer, then fold into the lime-cream cheese mixture until fully combined. Spoon the lime mixture on top of the mango layer and gently spread it with an offset spatula. Gently tap the bottom of the pan on the counter a couple of times. chill in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours until set.
Once set, carefully unlock the springform pan and remove the sides. Gently peel off the collar. Smooth out the sides of the cheesecake with an offset or straight spatula as needed.
Spread half of the whipped cream over the top of the cake with an offset spatula. Fill a piping bag fitted with a star tip with the remaining whipped cream and pipe a fluffy shell border around the top edge of the cake. Add sprinkles, if desired.
Store loosely covered with plastic wrap or in a cake box in the refrigerator until ready to serve.To serve, warm a large chef’s knife under hot water and wipe dry before slicing. Clean and warm the knife (as needed) between slices. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the cream on medium speed until it starts to thicken.
Add the sugar and vanilla. Whisk on high until medium peaks form.
Whipped cream is best made just before assembling/serving. If you need to make it in advance, store in a lidded container in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours. Gently re-whisk by hand before serving.