I was brainstorming ideas for a NYC-themed cake (i used this amazing stencil to create this look), and was struggling to pick a flavor.
I even took a poll on Instagram, and got suggestions for everything from black and white cookies, to an apple cake!
When I sat back and thought about what flavors I associated with NYC, cheesecake seemed like a clear winner.
But rather than make a cheesecake, and sandwich it between two cake layers, I wanted to make a cheesecake filling for a cake!
While this might seem like a small difference, it makes a huge difference in the process of making and assembling this cake. Sometimes it’s nice to keep things simple.
Cheesecake Cake Filling vs. Making an Entire Cheesecake
If you’ve ever made (or attempted to make) a cheesecake before, you know it’s no easy feat.
There are all kinds of tricks out there to prevent cracking, and different people swear by different methods.
Recipes will say things like, “turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake inside to cool.” The recipes will recommend turning the temperature down part way through, or even cooling the cheesecake on the counter with a bowl over it.
It’s a lot to process, and always seems like a hassle to me.
Maybe I’m just lazy, but if I’m already baking cake layers and making frosting from scratch, I just don’t want to bake a cheesecake.
By using a simple, no-bake cheesecake filling for a cake, you get that delicious cheesecake flavor without a ton of additional effort or worry.
For me, not having to worry about this part of the cake process failing gives me so much peace of mind.
How This Cheesecake Cake Filling Differs from No-Bake Cheesecake
This cheesecake filling is pretty much the same as most no-bake cheesecake recipes out there, with one exception.
My recipes uses less sweetened condensed milk! This does two things, it makes the filling a bit less sweet, and gives the filling a thicker consistency.
Normally I use American buttercream to fill my cakes, which is rather sweet.
It’s a nice change of pace to have a filling that’s less sweet. This recipe allows the delicious tang of the cream cheese to shine, which I love.
Using less sweetened condensed milk is also necessary for the consistency to be thick enough to fill a cake.
This amount allows the mixture to stay relatively stiff, and makes it easier to use between cake layers.
How To NOT Add This Filling to a Cake
Like I mentioned above, I added this cake a New York-Themed Cake! I added crushed oreos to my vanilla layer cake recipe, to make them kind of gritty and grey in color. My vision was that they’d represent the concrete jungle that is NYC!
On my first attempt at assembling this cake, I tried to form cheesecake disks using this recipe, and it was a total BUST!
I froze them, and used regular cake pans. I have no clue why I thought this was a good idea or that it would work, but I learned my lesson the hard way.
Even though I lined and sprayed the pans, I couldn’t get the disks of cheesecake out. I dipped the bottom of the pans under hot water to help them release, which gave me gloopy, melty cheesecake discs that were hard to handle.
Long story short, don’t make disks with this recipe (unless you have springform pans…but even though, I’m not 100% sure it would work).
How to Properly Add This Filling to a Cake
I recommend piping a frosting ring or frosting dam when using this cheesecake filling.
I use this technique whenever I want to fill a cake with something that is soft or less thick than buttercream.
Below is a picture from a cherry cake I made last summer. I added cherry preserves to frosting to make the filling, which made it too thin to add to the cake with a frosting ring.
To use this technique, pipe a ring of buttercream around the edge of you cake layer, then spoon a generous amount of this cheesecake filling on the inside. Smooth with an offset spatula, then repeat.
Frost the outside of the cake with the frosting you used to pipe the frosting ring, and you’re all done!
I used my cream cheese frosting on this cake, so that it was cheesecake themed through and through.
Tips for Making This Cheesecake Cake Filling:
- Be sure your cream cheese is at room temperature
- Use fresh lemon juice
- Place plastic wrap directly over the filling once it’s made, to prevent a skin from forming
- When filling your cake, pipe a ring of stiff frosting around the edge of the cake before adding, to help the filling stay in place
- If you make this in advance, it keeps in the fridge for up to 5 days! Give it a good stir to smooth it out again before adding it to your cake.
Let Me Know What You Think!
If you try this cheesecake cake filling, I’d love to hear what think of it!
Please leave a rating, and let me know your thoughts by sharing a comment 🙂
Cheesecake Cake Filling
- 2 8 oz. packages of full fat cream cheese, room temp. (450 grams)
- 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk (7 oz. or 210 grams)
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (15 grams)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (4 grams)
- Place room temperature cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Mix on medium-high speed with the whisk attachment (or a hand mixer) until creamy and smooth.
- Slowly add in the sweetened condensed milk, and mix on a medium speed after each addition.
- Scrape down the sides and bottom of the of the bowl as needed, to make sure the ingredients are fully incorporated.
- Mix in the vanilla extract and lemon juice, on medium speed.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to fill your cake.
- Pipe a ring of stiff buttercream around the perimeter of the cake layer, then fill the center with a generous amount of this no-bake, cheesecake filling.
This recipe makes about 3 cups of cheesecake cake filling.
While this cheesecake is somewhat thick, it's not sturdy enough to add between cake layers by itself. Be sure to pipe a ring of stiff buttercream around the perimeter of the cake layer, then fill the center with a generous amount of this no-bake, cheesecake filling. This will keep the filling in place, and prevent it from oozing out once the cake is stacked.
This no-bake cheesecake filling can be made in advance! Simply cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge. It lasts in the fridge for up to 5 days. Give it a good stir before you add it to your cake, to ensure it's creamy and smooth!
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Amount Per Serving Calories 377Total Fat 29gSaturated Fat 17gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 88mgSodium 281mgCarbohydrates 23gFiber 0gSugar 22gProtein 7g