Woolworth cheesecake is light, creamy, and bursting with lemon flavor! Plus, it’s a no-bake cake, which means it couldn’t be easier to make.
In case you’re not familiar, Woolworth cheesecake is an old-fashioned icebox dessert with a bright, refreshing taste.
While it’s called a cheesecake, it’s really more like fluff or mousse. It’s so light and airy, it feels like biting into a cloud.
As for the flavor? Simply divine.
It’s sweet and creamy with a tangy lemony zing.
While its texture is not the same, its flavors are reminiscent of a New York cheesecake.
And because this cake is served cold and requires no baking, it’s perfect for the summer when it’s just too hot to turn the oven on.
It’s also super easy to make. Even amateur home cooks can pull it off. It’s literally and figuratively a piece of cake!
If you’re the type who prefers a mousse-like cheesecake over one that’s dense and heavy, the Woolworth cheesecake is for you.
This cheesecake doesn’t call for flour and eggs, and is only basically made of cream cheese, sugar, milk, and gelatin.
This combination yields a super light and airy cheesecake filling similar to mousse.
If you’re also the type who likes a crumbly and buttery crust, this cake has your name on it.
This cheesecake not only has said crust at the bottom, but also on top!
Lastly, if you like desserts with a bright, lemon flavor, then this one takes the cake.
Infused with lemon gelatin, the tangy, citrus taste here is undeniable.
Why Is it Called Woolworth Cheesecake?
Woolworth’s was a popular retail store in the 60s. Aside from shopping, it also had a lunch counter that offered dishes, drinks, and desserts.
This recipe is said to make the same cheesecake Woolworth’s served back in the day, hence the name.
I’m not old enough to vouch if this is the exact same one, but all I know is that this dessert is a must-try.
This dessert has two main components, the crust and the cheesecake filling. Both are scrumptious and easy to make.
- Crushed Graham Crackers – You can use pre-crushed graham crackers or crush the sheets yourself using a food processor.
- Margarine – Be sure it’s melted, but not hot, to get the perfect crust texture.
- Sugar – Just a little bit, to add sweetness.
- Cream Cheese – The key ingredient that gives this dessert its creamy, cheesecake flavor. Be sure to soften the cheese beforehand to prevent a lumpy filling.
- Sugar – For sweetness.
- Vanilla – A flavor enhancer.
- Lemon Gelatin – It’s responsible for helping the cheesecake set without baking. The original recipe calls for lemon gelatin, but other flavors should work, too.
- Evaporated Milk – While most modern cheesecake recipes call for heavy cream, we’re going old-school with this one. In this recipe, you’ll learn how to whip evaporated milk!
How to Make Woolworth Cheesecake
1. Chill a mixing bowl and beater attachments.
This step is crucial if you want to achieve perfectly whipped evaporated milk.
The colder the bowl and beaters are, the higher your chances of success are.
2. Make the crust.
Combine graham crackers, melted margarine, and sugar until it resembles wet sand.
You can perform this step in the pan itself so you won’t need to wash an extra bowl.
Press the crust into the bottom and sides of the pan using the bottom of a measuring cup. Be sure to pack it tightly to get a firm crust.
Don’t use up all of the crust! Save some for the top.
3. Cream the cream cheese and sugar.
First, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat again.
4. Prepare the gelatin.
This is the key ingredient that’ll make your cheesecake set.
Boil water in a saucepan, whisk the gelatin in, and pour cold water to cool it down.
5. Whip the evaporated milk.
Beat the milk at medium speed until stiff peaks.
This step should take about 3 minutes. If it’s not working, you can always use regular whipped cream.
6. Combine the cheesecake filling components.
Pour the gelatin mixture into the whipped milk and beat for 30 seconds.
Pour the cream cheese mixture in, and beat for 30 seconds more.
7. Assemble the cheesecake and chill to set.
Pour the cheesecake filling into the pan lined with crust. Sprinkle the remaining crust mixture on top.
Chill the cake overnight.
8. Slice, serve, and enjoy!
Tips for the Best Cheesecake
- Line the bottom of the pan with foil or parchment paper to easily lift the cheesecake out when you’re ready to slice.
- If you’re worried about whipping evaporated milk (or have tried several times and failed), just use regular whipped cream! It won’t make a difference in the taste or texture of the cake.
- Change up the gelatin to make other flavors.
- This recipe yields a ton of cheesecake. You can cut it in half and make it in a 9-inch round pan.
- Top the cheesecake however you want to. Fresh fruit, preserves, chocolate sauce, caramel, you name it.
Can You Really Whip Evaporated Milk?
This recipe goes way back to the 60s, during a time when people used evaporated milk to make whipped cream.
I was a bit surprised to see this in the recipe, too, which is why I had to give it a try. Shockingly, it worked!
The key is to freeze the evaporated milk for at least 24 hours.
You also need to chill the mixing bowl and beater attachments you’ll use to whip it.
Unlike regular whipped cream, though, whipped evaporated milk won’t stay stable for long. It’ll start to melt beyond 30 minutes.
But as long as you mix it with gelatin, it’ll be perfectly fine.
How to Store Woolworth Cheesecake
Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for up to 5 days.
You can also freeze the cheesecake to keep it around much longer.
Cover the pan with plastic wrap and aluminum foil, label it accordingly, and freeze.
Frozen Woolworth cheesecake will keep well for up to 3 months.
Allow the cheesecake to thaw in the fridge until it’s soft enough to slice.
More Cheesecake Recipes You’ll Love
Philadelphia No-Bake Cheesecake
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