Cheese + Cake. My two favorite items in life combined into one. I don’t let too many challenges get the best of me, so prepping a cheesecake in the backcountry for a friends birthday was a feat I was undertaking with great gusto.
This no bake cheesecake may not be five star dining level but does deserve to be enjoyed under a sky full of stars, shared with great friends after a long day of hiking. Everything tastes amazing in the backcountry, and this delicious treat is no exception.
A buttery graham cracker crust is topped with a sweet, creamy filling. Top with your favorites; I used crushed oreo crackers, but chocolate sauce, strawberry jam, toasted coconut or anything that comes to your creative mind will be a fine addition to this dessert. Don’t expect the consistency of the cake to be like that of a standard baked cheesecake. However, the filling does set enough to cut pieces and serve it up as an intact slice (or two, because one, won’t be enough!)
I’ve found the right ingredients to ensure this is lightweight, easily transportable and for the most part, non perishable, so you can have this a few days in on the trail when you will need it most. I recommend this as a cooler/cold weather trip dessert since you will need the outside to act as a refrigerator to help your cheesecake set up solid 🙂
Alright, lets get baking….
1 Box Jell-O No Bake Cheesecake
Powered Milk Powder (or the real thing if you can keep it cold)
5 Tbsp Butter (*or coconut oil or vegetable oil)
2 Tbsp white sugar
1 pie pan (or pot or bowl)
First things first:
You’re going to need to find a box of Jell-o No Bake Cheesecake dessert mix. I found this at my local Target. I already had a super cheap pie pan (the aluminum ones work well too) that I took in with me to use, but you can make this in a larger pot, a couple of plastic bowls, or a frying pan if need be. Anything with a wide bottom will suffice. I usually find this low fat milk powder at my local Walmart. I like it because it doesn’t have a strange taste like most.
At home: Un-package the ingredients.
A. In one Ziploc, put your graham cracker mix and add 2 tbsp of sugar.
B. In a second ziploc (a larger one is best), put the contents of the cheesecake mix.
C. In a third Ziploc, put your milk powder. I used powered milk (even though the package suggests against it). I measured out the right amount to make 1.5 cups of milk (per the instructions on the package of the milk). You will need to add water later on to make your liquid milk to add to the recipe.
D. Don’t forget to make sure you have your butter or oil packed in a ziploc or small container.
On the Trail:
- Make the graham cracker crust in your pan. Melt the 5 tbsp butter. If you can’t carry in butter, you may be able to use coconut oil (trader joes has single serving packets) or vegetable oil but both may create a different taste. Mix your melted butter (or oil) with your graham crumbs until you have moistened all the crumbs. Now press these into the pan/dish to make a firm crust layer.
- Next, mix your milk powder with cold water and shake. You can do this right in your milk baggie.
- Pour the milk mix into the larger bag of cheesecake mix. Mush the bag to gently combine the wet and dry ingredients. Then, close the zip and shake vigorously for about a minute until the mix starts to firm up into a thicker consistency. I recommend cutting a hole in the corner of the ziploc to make a backcountry pastry bag. Use this technique to squeeze out the mixture on top to the crust.
- Put somewhere safe for an hour plus to let the cheesecake firm up. The colder the external temperature is the better, this will set your cake up faster.
- Before serving, top with your favorites. Cute an serve. Enjoy seconds.