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 too.
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 similar to most no-bake cheesecake recipes, with one exception.
My recipe uses a lot 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 really 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 filling to a New York-Themed Cake.
On my first attempt at assembling this cake, I tried to make cheesecake disks using this recipe, and it was a total bust!
I froze them in regular cake pans. I have no clue why I thought this 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 goopy, 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 of my raspberry coconut cake from last summer. I filled this layer cake with raspberry preserves and needed to pipe a thick ring of stiff buttercream around them to keep the filling in place.
To use this technique, pipe a ring of buttercream around the edge of your 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!
Tips for Making This Cheesecake Cake Filling
- Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature. It helps the filling mix together so much better.
- Use fresh lemon juice. It really helps balance the richness of the cream cheese.
- Place plastic wrap directly over the filling once it’s made to prevent a skin from forming
- When filling a cake with this cheesecake filling, pipe a ring of stiff frosting around the edge of the cake before adding it 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 you think of it! Please leave a rating and comment below.
And don’t forget to tag me @chelsweets and use #chelsweets so that I can see your delicious creations!
Other Recipes You Might Like:
Cheesecake Cake Filling
This no-bake cheesecake cake filling is the best! It comes together in minutes and is incredibly creamy and decadent!!
Cheesecake Cake Filling
- 2 8 oz. packages of full fat cream cheese, room temp (452g)
- 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk (7 oz. or 210g)
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (15g)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (4g)
- 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 for a minute until creamy and smooth.
- Gradually add in the sweetened condensed milk while mixing on a medium speed. Scrape down the sides and bottom 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 filling is relatively 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
Tuesday 21st of March 2023
Chelsweets, Is this filling for a 2-layer cake with each layer sliced....therefore, making 3 layers of cheesecake filling?
Tuesday 21st of March 2023
This recipe makes about 3 cups of filling, and the amount of cake layers you can fill will depend on the size of the cake layers and how thick you want the filling to be. I usually use one batch to fill an 8-inch cake that has 3 cake layers (with 2, thick layers of cheesecake filling). Hope that helps, happy baking!
Thursday 13th of October 2022
I know it's been a while sense you're posted this filling but could I add crushed Oreos to the filling as well ?? I'm making my sisters baby shower cake and she loves Oreos. Thought it would work ?????
Friday 14th of October 2022
You totally could, that would be delicious! Now I want to try that!!
Sunday 3rd of July 2022
I made this filling for a 'no bake' cheesecake (rather than a sponge cake filling) and put it in a Nilla vanilla wafer crust since I didn't have graham crackers. I will top with fresh blueberries and strawberries for our 4th of July lunch. SOOO GOOD!! Thanks for this quick and delicious recipe.
Friday 8th of July 2022
@shelley, Ok! I put another twist on this filling and it is out of this world. Hubs likes strawberries with cheesecake; I like chocolate. So, I made a batch of this filling without the lemon juice and divided it in half. Half of it got the lemon juice (half the amount for the full recipe) and I folded in some fresh strawberries I had cut up in the fridge. To the other half I added about two tablespoons of cocoa powder...WOW! I had prepared 6 crystal dessert cups with Nilla wafer crust pressed into the bottom. 3 got the strawberry filling and 3 got the chocolate. I sprinkled some of the leftover crust mixture over all of them, then mini semisweet chocolate chips on the chocolate ones and white chocolate chips on the strawberry ones. Such a 'fancy' dessert from such an insanely easy and delicious recipe! THANK YOU AGAIN!!!
Tuesday 5th of July 2022
@Chelsweets, It was amazing! This is now my go-to no-bake cheesecake filling. I love that it is not too sweet and has that nice tang from the cream cheese. :)
Sunday 3rd of July 2022
Absolutely love that Shelley, it sounds like the perfect combination :) Thank you for sharing!!
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