It’s Wimbledon tennis fortnight, so here’s a new take on classic strawberries and cream – Low-Carb No-Bake English Strawberry & Vanilla Cream Cheesecake! It’s light and sweet for enjoying sitting in the sun. Or indulge in a slice in front of a Wimbledon or World Cup match on the TV!
6g net carbs per generous slice. Gluten-free, no added sugar or artificial sweetener, and you have the option to make it vegetarian.
My blog’s three themes are decadent real (often low-carb) food, travel, and nutrition science. My recipe posts often major on the food and nutrition science elements. But where I can, I also like weaving in the third theme – travel – by emphasising a recipe’s cultural heritage. And from now on, I’ll be doing a bit more of that.
So here’s a recipe for Low-Carb No-Bake English Strawberry & Vanilla Cream Cheesecake, inspired by Wimbledon tennis fortnight, running from Monday 2 July in London, England!
Strawberries and cream is the one dish, above any other, that’s quintessentially associated with the Wimbledon event. The fact that strawberries and cream is listed as a subject under the FAQs on the official Wimbledon website confirms this! And the Wimbledon authorities’ statement in the FAQs – that the price of a bowl of strawberries and cream at the sporting event has stayed the same at £2.50 since 2010 – is clearly intended as defence against the ritual annual outcry by the UK media about the apparently astronomical prices!
Whatever you think about Wimbledon’s prices, what I can say is that, if you just stay home and make my Low-Carb No-Bake English Strawberry & Vanilla Cream Cheesecake instead, you’ll be able to give at least 8 people some strawberries and cream pleasure much more cost-effectively than by buying them at Wimbledon!
This is a no-bake cheescake, which is the cheesecake style that tends to prevail in Britain. That is, as opposed to the New York style baked cheesecake. While a no-bake cheesecake obviously requires no baking, it does require making ahead to give it time to set in the refrigerator. Hence that’s why its sometimes also referred to as a ‘set’ cheesecake.
Low-carb substitutions and prep options
My Low-Carb No-Bake English Strawberry & Vanilla Cream Cheesecake saves you carbs in two ways. First, by using erythritol natural sugar substitute in place of sugar (or you could use xylitol). And you need to use erythritol powdered to be like icing/confectioners’ sugar – unless, that is, you don’t mind a crunchy/gritty texture. You can buy this ready made, but it may be harder to get hold of, and a little more expensive, than regular granulated. I prefer simply to make powdered erythritol myself by putting the granulated version through an electric coffee grinder for about 10 seconds.
Low-Carb No-Bake English Strawberry & Vanilla Cream Cheesecake also saves you carbs by substituting ground almonds/almond flour for Digestive biscuits/Graham crackers which are most usually used in the cheesecake base. As an optional step, I like to toast my ground almonds in a dry heavy-based frying pan/skillet before using them for the cheesecake base. It makes them taste even nuttier, and more like the biscuits/crackers they’re replacing. But you have to be careful in doing this to ensure they don’t burn. So if you don’t feel confident in this step, or you’re pushed for time, then just use the ground almonds raw and your cheesecake will still taste great.
I’ve included gelatine in this recipe, which helps the Low-Carb No-Bake English Strawberry & Vanilla Cream Cheesecake set firmly and more quickly. However, if you are vegetarian, or just don’t have any in, then the cheesecake will still firm up sufficiently to be totally successful. But you will need to increase the refrigeration time to at least 5 hours, and preferably overnight.
Low-Carb No-Bake English Strawberry & Vanilla Cream Cheesecake is best eaten quite quickly to enjoy the strawberries while they’re fresh. However, the cheesecake itself – minus strawberries – will keep very well covered in the refrigerator for several days.
Low-Carb No-Bake English Strawberry & Vanilla Cream Cheesecake contains just 6g net carbs for 1/8 of a whole cheesecake – or approx. a generous 170g slice. The same size piece of strawberry cheesecake typically available in UK supermarkets would be between 53g and 67g carbs.
If you’re following the sort of keto way of eating that promotes consumption of more fat, then you’ll want to be aware that this cheesecake is high fat and low protein.
|Per slice (1/8 of a whole cheesecake)||Low-Carb No-Bake English Strawberry & Vanilla Cream Cheesecake|
|Net Carbs (i.e. minus sugar alcohols/polyols, & fibre is counted separately)||6g|
* Figures calculated using verified nutritional info on MyFitnessPal. Recipe made using marscapone cheese and gelatine.
Some Health Impacts of the Main Ingredients
I always like to have a good idea of the likely health impacts of foods, so I can make informed choices. You can read what I’ve said before about the health benefits of almonds here, and about some of the health impacts of eating dairy (butter, cream and cheese) here.
So let’s look at strawberries. As a scientific review from 2015 summarises, strawberries contain a rich and wide variety of compounds. These include vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, anthocyanins and phenolic acids, and they work synergistically to protect human health and prevent disease.
The general health benefits of strawberries include detoxification of free radicals; protection/repair for DNA damage; and modulation of gene expression involved in antioxidant defence, metabolism, and cell survival and proliferation. According to the review in 2015, polyphenols in strawberries can help guard against obesity, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, type II diabetes, inflammation, and neurodegenerative diseases. So clearly strawberries have got benefits beyond just being something tasty and sweet that fits within your low-carb lifestyle!
Recipe for Low-Carb No-Bake English Strawberry & Vanilla Cream Cheesecake
Recipe for Low-Carb No-Bake English Strawberry & Vanilla Cream Cheesecake
Low-Carb, Keto & (can be) Vegetarian. Free From Gluten, Added Sugar & Artificial Sweeteners.
- 100g/scant ½ cup butter, melted
- 50g/¼ cup granulated erythritol (or xylitol), ground into powder in an electric coffee grinder to resemble icing/confectioners’ sugar
- 150g/1 & ¼ cups ground almonds/almond flour
Strawberry Cheesecake Filling
- 75g/1/3 cup granulated erythritol (or xylitol), ground into powder in an electric coffee grinder to resemble icing/confectioners’ sugar
- 250g/1 & 1/8 cups marscapone cheese (or other cream cheese)
- 300ml/1 & 1/5 cups double/heavy whipping cream
- Juice of ½ a lemon
- 2 x 24g packets powdered gelatine, dissolved in 180ml of hot water (Optional. If you prefer a vegetarian cheesecake, then omit the gelatine, although the setting time will be longer)
- 400g/2 cups fresh strawberries
- Vanilla pod (or vanilla essence)
- Take a 20cm springform cake tin and line the bottom and sides with greaseproof paper.
- Make the Base: Optional – toast the ground almonds until medium brown by putting them in a heavy-based frying pan/skillet over a medium heat and moving them about frequently to ensure they toast evenly and don’t burn. I prefer the flavour of almonds toasted in this way, but the recipe works perfectly well without this step.
- Mix the melted butter with the ground almonds and 50g powdered erythritol. Spread and press the mixture across the bottom of the prepared tin, until there are no gaps and you have an even cheesecake base surface. Chill the cheesecake base until needed.
- Make the Filling: Remove the tops from half of the strawberries, and cut the strawberries into halves. Arrange the strawberry halves vertically at intervals around the edge of the tin, as shown in the picture above. Press the strawberries lightly into the base mixture to secure them.
- In a large bowl, beat the marscapone cheese, 75g powdered erythritol, and lemon juice until they reach a smooth consistency. Scrape the vanilla seeds from the pod and stir these into the mixture (or use 1tsp of vanilla essence). In a separate bowl, beat the double/heavy whipping cream until it forms stiff peaks. Then fold the whipped cream into the marscapone cheese mixture until all is well-combined.
- Optional – if using gelatine, then add it now. Dissolve the gelatine powder in 180ml hot (not boilng) water. Mix very briskly until it is dissolved, then add it to the cream mixture and blend well. NB. the additional water will make the cream mixture much more liquid, but don’t be alarmed, as it will set firmly once chilled.
- Pour the creamy filling mixture over the cheesecake base, evening and smoothing it out as necessary. Cover the cheesecake with cling film, and chill until set and firm. This will take at least 2½ hours if using gelatine, and at least 4-5 hours – preferably overnight – if omitting gelatine.
- This cheesecake is best served straight from the fridge. Just before serving, carefully remove the cheesecake from the tin, peel away the greaseproof paper, and put it on a serving plate. Cut the tops from the remaining strawberries, and then cut the strawberries into quarters. Pile the quartered strawberries attractively in the middle of the cheesecake, and serve.
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