Grab a spoon and get stuck into this retro-flavour inspired no bake Neapolitan cheesecake. With three layers of smooth and creamy vanilla, chocolate and strawberry cheesecake filling, it's the perfect dessert for any occasion. Super delicious and easy to make, this is an absolute no faff recipe that you'll be making over and over again.
Hands up who remembers having Neapolitan ice cream when you were a child and only scooping out the flavours you liked?
Me!! Anyone else?
As much as I love strawberries, as an ice cream it was never my favourite so I always scooped the chocolate and vanilla, leaving my brother all the strawberry ice cream.
With the warm weather we've been having which means ice cream too, I was inspired to give that classic chocolate, strawberry and vanilla flavour combo a try as one of my famous no bake cheesecakes.
Why are the layers called Neapolitan?
The term Neapolitan ice cream originates from 19th Century Italy, in particular Naples - hence Neapolitan. Although sometimes you might see or hear it referred to as Harlequin ice cream.
The original flavours were pistachio, cherry and vanilla, and when together reassembled the Italian flag. Nowadays its more common for the flavours to be chocolate, strawberry and vanilla, and that's what we're going for with this dessert.
Take me to the cheesecake!
Table of Contents
If you want to skip the step by step recipe information and recipes tips for making absolutely the best Neapolitan cheesecake, then head down to the recipe card.
Taste: Soft, chewy, buttery caramel flavour
Ease: One bowl - saves on the washing up
Pros: Quick, no-chill recipe that's great for sharing
Cons: It's giant so you've got to share this one
Make again: Of course, it's quick and easy
How do no bake cheesecakes set?
I get so many questions about what it is that makes a no bake cheesecake set...
- Do I need to use gelatin?
- Will it set properly if I don't bake it?
- Does it just taste like cream cheese?
- Is it as good as a baked cheesecake?
Every question is completely valid, but... no you don't need to use gelatin. Yes it will set properly using chilling. It doesn't taste of cream cheese, there's lots of flavours in there. And totally, it's as good if not better than a baked cheesecake.
The key to getting a no bake cheesecake to set is following the recipe and try not to cut corners. It really is a 'keep it simple' recipe, but to make sure your cheesecake sets properly then...
- Use full-fat cream cheese - Go for a traditional cream cheese, either block or Philadelphia-style. Full-fat is important to help the filling set. There's no calorie-cutting here. Check out my cream cheese frosting recipe for more cream cheese tips.
- Whip double or whipping cream to soft peaks - Be careful not to overwhip as the cream may split and the cream cheese slacken; meaning the filling may not set properly. Double cream is quite stable when whipped, but it can vary depending on the type of cream available in your country. Whipped cream has a higher fat content and can be used instead.
- Alternatively, whip the cream separately - If you are concerned about the consistency of the filling, then whip the cream in a separate bowl until it forms soft peaks. Next, add the cream cheese, fold in and mix gently by hand.
TOP TIP: If your cream is not whipping up or the filling seems too runny, try using less cream and more cream cheese
What you need to make this recipe
View my Amazon shopping list with equipment and ingredients
There's no fancy ingredients needed for this Neapolitan cheesecake, that's the beauty of this recipe. So when you're ready, here's what you'll need...
- Bourbon Biscuits - I like to go with a chocolate cream biscuit base as they go well with all the cheesecake flavours. You can switch these for your favourite biscuit or cookie instead; milk chocolate Digestive biscuits work really well.
- Butter - To help hold the biscuit crust together.
- Full-Fat Cream Cheese - Full-fat is important for the filling set properly and that velvety smooth texture. Use either a block cream cheese or Philadelphia cream cheese and allow it to come up to room temperature, 15 minutes before you use it, to avoid lumps in your filling.
- Double or Heavy Cream - Again a high fat content is important to help the cheesecake filling set. If you can't get double or heavy cream, them whipping cream can be used.
- Icing or Powdered Sugar - To add a little sweetness; powdered is best as it combines into the filling without causing a gritty or grainy texture that granulated sugar would do.
- Milk Chocolate - I use Cadbury Dairy Milk as the milk chocolate doesn't overpower the strawberry and vanilla layers. If you prefer a more chocolatey taste, switch for a dark chocolate instead.
- Strawberries - I love using fresh strawberry puree for the cheesecake filling. Although it won't give you an intense colour to the cheesecake layer, you'll get a nice, fresh flavour coming through. If you don't want to use fresh fruit, you can switch for a strawberry flavouring and add a little pink food colour gel.
- Vanilla Extract - This is for your vanilla cheesecake layer. You can also switch extract for vanilla bean paste if you want a more intense flavour.
The equipment is just as simple as the ingredients, and I bet you've got these already in your kitchen cupboards. Here's what you need...
- Large mixing bowl
- Hand held mixer
- 8-inch Springform cake pan
Alternatively you can use a stand mixer or a balloon whisk if make the cheesecake filling if you prefer.
How to make Neapolitan cheesecake
Full measurements and instructions can be found on the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page
The Biscuit Base
Once you master the classic cheesecake biscuit base, you can use this method for lots of other recipes including tart crusts, like my toffee apple tart.
So then, first up you need to crush the Bourbon biscuits as fine as you can. I use a food processor, or you can break them up into smaller pieces, place in a Ziploc bag and bash them with a rolling pin.
Next add the biscuit crumbs into a large mixing bowl and add in the melted butter. Mix everything together to form a crumb dough then pour this into your springform cake pan. Smooth the base over with the back of a spoon making sure it is well compacted.
Chill the base for at least 30 minutes to firm up and set before adding the cheesecake filling.
TOP TIP: Clamp a piece of baking parchment between the springform ring and base, this will help the cheesecake slide easily onto a serving plate.
The Cheesecake Fillings
Ok now you're ready to make your Neapolitan cheesecake fillings and even though we're making 3 of them, they only take a few minutes. So do this while the base is chilling and you'll have time to grab a cuppa as well.
The easiest way to do this is to make the filling base then split it into 3 equal amounts and add the flavour into each of those.
The Cheesecake Filling Base
- In a large mixing bowl, gently fold together the cream cheese and the icing sugar.
- With a handheld mixer, beat in the cream until the filling becomes smooth and thick.
- Split the filling into 3 equal amounts and add into 3 individual bowls.
Chocolate Cheesecake Filling
- Melt the chocolate using a bain marie double boiler or in 30-second blasts in the microwave. Leave it to cool down slightly.
- Stir the cooled melted chocolate into 1 of the cheesecake filling bowls and make sure its well combined.
Strawberry Cheesecake Filling
- Hull the strawberries and puree them either using a mini chopper or with a stick blender.
- Stir in the strawberry puree, a tablespoon at a time, into the second cheesecake filling bowl and mix well between each addition.
Vanilla Cheesecake Filling
- Add the vanilla extract into the last cheesecake filling bowl and mix well.
TOP TIP: Using fresh strawberry puree will give you a pale pink colour to your cheesecake filling. If you want a stronger colour add a little pink food colour gel to the mixture. If you add extra strawberry puree your cheesecake will not set.
Assembling the cheesecake
When you have made all three cheesecake fillings, grab your chilled biscuit base and start assembling.
First pour the chocolate cheesecake filling onto the chilled base and level off using an angled palette knife.
Repeat the process for the strawberry and vanilla layers, levelling off each layer before adding the next. Then pop the cheesecake back in the fridge to set for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Step by Step Video: Neapolitan cheesecake
Frequently asked questions
An 8-inch round springform pan will serve between 10-12 slices.
When the cheesecake filling has completely chilled and set, the cheesecake should be stored in the fridge, covered loosely with either cling film or kitchen foil.
The cheesecake will keep up to 3 days in the fridge.
Yes you can and the cheesecake will freeze for up to 3 months. Before freezing, ensure you wrap the cheesecake with cling film/ plastic wrap and a layer of kitchen foil. This helps protect the cheesecake from freezer burn and reduces the chance of ice crystals forming in the filling. Before serving, remember to let the cheesecake fully defrost in the fridge.
Recipe notes and top tips
As with all my no bake cheesecakes, this Neapolitan cheesecake recipe is really easy and quick to make. I've made so many now, and tried and tested lots of different variations, so I can guarantee if you follow the recipe and these top tips you'll end up with the best dessert ever.
- Always use a springform cake pan - I can't stress this one enough; a springform cake pan will make your cheesecake life so much easier. There's no faff, just pop the catch and the ring will lift straight off - no turning out. Add a layer of baking parchment beneath the biscuit crust and you can easily slide the cheesecake onto a serving plate.
- Start with room temperature cream cheese - Cream cheese straight from the fridge is too cold and you'll end up with lumps in your cheesecake filling. So instead, take the cream cheese from the fridge about 10-15 minutes before you're ready to use it and you'll get a smoother and creamier filling texture.
- Don't under beat the filling - Make sure you whisk the cheesecake filling until it is thick and creamy, but smooth enough to spread easily with a palette knife. If you don't beat it enough, the cream will not thicken up and will not stabilise and set properly.
- Let the cheesecake chill properly - It's absolutely vital that you let the cheesecake chill completely in the fridge for at least 6-7 hours. If you have time, for the best results leave the cheesecake to chill overnight in the fridge.
Looking for more cheesecake inspiration?
Then why not check out these other deliciously easy cheesecakes, there's plenty to go round.
No Bake Neapolitan Cheesecake
For Decoration (Optional)
- 150 ml Double Cream or Heavy Cream
- Make the biscuit base: Add the Bourbon biscuits into a food processor, and blitz until they form a sandy-like crumb. Add the biscuit crumb to a large mixing bowl and make a well in the centre then pour in the melted butter.250 g Bourbon Biscuits, 60 g Butter
- Mix together until well combined until the crumb mixture is like a wet-sandy texture. Then pour the mixture into an 8 inch springform tin. Level off the crumb mixture with the back of a spoon, pressing down to compact the base and smooth out to the edges. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- Make the cheesecake filling - Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the icing sugar, cream cheese and double cream together, until thick and creamy but spreadable. Alternatively, you can make the cheesecake filling, in a large mixing bowl, by hand or with an electric hand whisk.500 g Cream Cheese, 75 g Icing Sugar, 300 ml Double Cream
- Add the chocolate to a small heatproof bowl, place over a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure that the bowl does not touch the water. Heat until all the chocolate has melted. Alternatively, melt in the microwave. Set aside to cool.
- Hull the strawberries and add to a mini chopper and puree until they are smooth and thick. Alternatively you can use a stick blender.
- Split the cheesecake filling into equal amounts, into 3 bowls. Add the vanilla extract to one and mix well together. Add the pureed strawberries into the second bowl and mix well. Finally add the melted chocolate spread into the last bowl and mix well together.1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract, 100 g Milk Chocolate, 50 g Strawberries
- Assemble the cheesecake - Pour the chocolate cheesecake mixture over the top of the chilled biscuit base, then smooth out to the edges and level with an offset spatula. Carefully add the strawberry mixture on top and gently smooth and level. Repeat with the vanilla mixture. Chill the cheesecake in the fridge for 6-7 hours or overnight.
- Decorate the cheesecake - When ready to serve, whip up some double/ heavy cream and pipe on top of the cheesecake. Decorate with sprinkles then serve.Sprinkles, 150 ml Double Cream
- Use a springform cake pan so you can release your cheesecake without running the risk of damaging it in the process.
- Your cheesecake will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge, and up to 3 months in the freezer. When freezing make sure you wrap it well with cling film or plastic wrap, and then a layer of aluminum foil to prevent ice crystals forming in the filling. Remember to allow the cheesecake to thaw before serving.
- Use room temperature cream cheese to avoid any potential lumps that you might get if it is too cold.
YOUR OWN NOTES
The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.
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