Strawberry No-Bake Cheesecake and Mother’s Day

by cakeduchess on May 6, 2011 · 55 comments

Last week I entered the building that I recently feared the most with a slight stride in my step. Clutching an armful of new magazines that entertained me while I was resting after my surgery; I knew someone else could enjoy them in the waiting room of The Cancer Institute.

I signed my name on the check-in list and giggled again at the last question on the sheet that asks, “Are you currently residing in an assistant-living facility?” Someone always writes, “Not yet”.

I had a feeling that my first follow-up visit would bring good news. I never heard back from the oncologist’s office since the surgery, that could only mean something positive, right? No news is good news? And yes, he told me, “You know the results were all fine. The pathology was all clear.” I let out a quiet sigh and said, “I had a feeling, but it’s still good to hear from you in person.” The doctor then said, “See you next week.” And I smiled and headed out the door with happy feet and a relieved heart.

I was almost running as I approached the exit door. My body embraced the warmth of the bright Florida sunshine reflecting off the intracoastal water across the street. Feeling the hot sun on my body reminded me of how good life is. As soon as my eyes adjusted to the intense light, I saw a deflated face of a woman exiting the car right in front of me as I walked out the door. She had on a scarf around her head to hide her missing hair. Wisps of grey hair peeked out from the sides of the loosely wrapped scarf. Her thin and weak body was hunched over in obvious pain. She looked like a battered soldier returning from a battle. This battle was cancer.

A lady that seemed to be her mom rushed over as fast as she could at the same time assist her in getting out of the car. Her dad pulled away to park the car in the parking lot. Her parents had to be in their mid 70’s.  Tears welled up in my eyes as our glances met for a fleeting moment. I instinctively wanted to reach out and give her frail body a gentle hug.  I wanted this stranger to be able to enjoy the same healthy fate that I was blessed with. I took a deep breath as I walked towards the parking lot and was thankful that she wasn’t alone. Some people, unfortunately, face illnesses without a family’s love and support. What touched me the most about that family is that this was maybe a point in their lives that the daughter would be helping her aging parents. Instead, her mother and father were still taking care of her. She was still being graced by her mother’s care and devotion.
Nine years ago I celebrated my first Mother’s Day. It was one of the happiest days of my life. I finally realized what I had been always wanting. I couldn’t wait to give the enormous amount of love to my own child that I received growing up. I have been blessed with a dear mom that has the biggest heart.

(me and my mommy first day back from hospital)
meandmom 001
She has been there for me through thick and thin. Mom instilled in me my deep love for cooking and baking. Mom nursed me through all my scraped knees and minor illnesses when I was a little girl, and major illness I faced as an adult. She taught me how baking and eating a delicious cake could help heal a broken heart. A comforting dish of Hungarian dumplings and gulyas always alleviated disappointing news. I could go on and on about all the celebration cakes. One day I’ll share some of those happy stories and recipes. In the meantime, here’s my shout-out to my mom: Happy Mother’s Day Mom! You can say “hi” …here’s where she writes about all her delicious food.
This year I am looking forward to Mother’s Day more than I usually do. This Mother’s Day will be a little different than most of my Mother’s Days. It’s a day I was uncertain I would be well enough to celebrate. It’s a day I’m feeling a little more blessed and thankful. It’s a day I just want to spend with my kids and husband enjoying each other’s company. It will be a day filled with delicious food. I overheard whispers of the menu they will all be cooking for me. Smile(me and the kids at the zoo before my surgery)
meandkids 001
This is a cheesecake that has become a staple in our house. My mom is the queen of cheesecakes. Mom’s cheesecake is always requested whenever we are invited to a friend’s house for dinner or a party. I will leave the baked kind to her as they are simply amazing. Smile 
This cheesecake is quick and delicious. Luca likes to eat it for breakfast! The whipped cream folded in the cheese mixture makes it not as heavy. I love the convenience of not having to bake it. You can add your favorite jam on top or eat it in all it’s cheesy glory without any topping.



Stawberry No-Bake Cheescake

Nigella Lawson


  • 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (9 graham crackers)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 stick soft unsalted butter
  • 10 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 (10-ounce) jar of your favorite jam. I used organic strawberry.

Grind the graham crackers in a food processor until beginning to turn to crumbs, then add the sugar and butter and pulse again to make the mixture clump. (If using graham cracker crumbs, you can use a bowl and wooden spoon to mix the butter in, with the sugar added. )
Press this mixture into a 8-inch springform pan; press a little up the sides to form a slight ridge.
Beat together the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and lemon juice in a bowl until smooth.
Lightly whip the cream, and then fold it into the cream cheese mixture.
Spoon the cheesecake filling on top of the graham cracker crumb base and smooth with a spatula.
Put it in the refrigerator for 3 hours or overnight.

When you are ready to serve the cheesecake, un-mold and spread the jam over the top.

Did you see how easy that was? SmileNow when you are craving cheesecake, there is no excuse for you not to whip one up!Winking smileHappy Mother’s day to all the wonderful moms out there! You all deserve to be celebrated each and every day!

My daughter saw my post up last night while I was working on it. She told me it was sad and that she loved it. She told me she wanted to write something for me. I’m touched by her sweet story and I wanted to share it here. I am sure I will lose it in a box somewhere. At least here it will be safe for her to see one day.

By Gabriella-9 yrs old

The day I found out my mom was going to have a surgery I knew she would be alright. She is always strong; she knows what medicine to give herself when she does not feel well. The day of the surgery I was at school so I didn’t know exactly what happened that whole day. In the morning I said goodbye, which was the last time I’d see my mom in perfect condition without a scar. I went to school without feeling sad. The hours passed one by one. The news of my mom’s surgery was spread to many of her friends. I can’t keep my big mouth shut so of course I told some of my friends in my class. When school was over my grandma picked me up. The next day (Friday), it was the same routine at school.
My mom slept at the hospital the first night. I felt sad and guilty that night because of all the times I was being bad when she was trying to be nice and stop me from being bad, and now she was laying in a bed in pain at a hospital. I didn’t know she had to sleep more than one night at the hospital. I found out she was staying longer. When my grandma picked me up, I got in the car and I called my dad to ask him if I can go to the hospital. He said no because my mom wasn’t feeling well. I passed the phone to my grandma and then I broke into tears. I was miserable. I never was alone more than a day from my mom. I got to the house still crying. My grandma from Italy was here staying with us for 5 weeks. She was lying on the couch with me trying to make me comfortable, but at the moment I wasn’t in the lovey-dovey mood. “Non voglio tuo braccio qui.” I said in Italian as I scooted away from her. She was probably sad but I didn’t go back. We were on the couch watching some show and then the phone rang. I went to go get the phone.
My next door neighbor called to tell me that he was going to bring me to see my mom. I was excited. I quickly got ready and then I left to go to his house. He got me a glass of Gatorade to drink. I hoped he didn’t notice my red face. We talked a little than we left to go by the hospital. He stopped at a stop sign and said, “Remember to always never text and drive”. Since we were at a stop sign he did his little text. “You know there is a school bus behind us waiting,” I said. It was true. He started driving and he made a phone call and talked almost the whole drive. He talked about some dog and he was saying the dog looked fine and there is probably no disease. He is a veterinarian so that is why he talked about a dog. He hung up. “What happened to the dog?” I asked. “The dog doesn’t have a disease; this lady is poor and has no money. I am helping her out a little,” he answered.
We arrived at the hospital. We went through the entrance and stopped at the desk to get to the room. I saw a penny on the counter and when the man wasn’t looking, I took it and put it in my purse (I know that finding a penny is good luck). We got in the room. My mom looked awful. My grandma was already there sitting on a chair texting my uncle. “You can have that muffin in that bag,” my grandma said pointing to a Panera bag. I took the muffin and started eating. I heard the story about how my grandma went in the hospital this morning and went through this exit door and set off a silent alarm. I am told not to go through those doors. I ate the whole muffin and I looked at my mom. “Come here and sit down,” she said half sleepy. I sat down and she passed me her hand. I smiled. I love my mother more than anything.

Thank you, my sweet Gabriella, for your story. Thank you for making me a proud mommy. Keep on writing.

I’m the luckiest mommy ever to two beautiful children. They are my greatest gifts.

{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

Lauren at Keep It Sweet May 6, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Lora- you have such a huge heart! I am so happy that you are healthy. This dessert looks wonderful!


Adora's Box May 6, 2011 at 5:09 pm

I wish you well. I wish you good health always. It is tough to be sick when we have children. It is not our pain that we worry about but the wellbeing of our kids. I was both touched and amused by your daughter’s story. What a wonderful post. Lovely cheesecake by the way.


Katrina {In Katrina's Kitchen} May 6, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Hugs and love and prayers to you! I rejoice with you. I love that your daughter wrote that nice story for you. Kids are a treasure. ♥- Katrina


claudia lamascolo May 6, 2011 at 5:25 pm

I don’t know how to resist your desserts even on a diet… they are all scrumpticious Happy Mothers Day to you!


Ethan May 6, 2011 at 5:46 pm

I’m just thankful you’re ok:)
Enjoy your weekend of being a mom and being treated to a homemade kids meal!


A Spoonful of YUMM ! May 6, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Lora- wishing you good health & many more happy moments with your kids ! I’m so touched by this story. Happy Mothers Day to you ! Cheesecake is my favorite cake after chocolate. No bake is win win :D – shruts


foodwanderings May 6, 2011 at 6:44 pm

Yay to HEALTH!! Lora, your kids are absolutely adorable just like you are!! Apples didn’t fall far from the tree. I love love no bake cheesecakes, can’t remember last time I made one. Maybe in my teenage years! It’s about time, no>?!


shabs May 6, 2011 at 7:26 pm

Hi Lora , I came to this blog looking at the No bake cheesecake coz I just love them and I too have a recipe like this which I make very often , it always turns out perfect doesn’t it ? ,back to your post just loved to read it and I wish you all the good health in the world , your daughter’s letter was so touching that it made me think of my Dad who lost his battle with cancer , He was the best Dad in the world and I miss him so much . I wish you the best of health again :)


The Mom Chef May 6, 2011 at 7:33 pm

I loved reading your daughter’s story, Lora. I hope she understands that she never has to feel guilty for being a child. Children are SUPPOSED to not behave all the time. It’s their job! Tell her I said so, ok?

Your cheesecake is wonderful and makes me smile because I have one cooling in the fridge. It’s a treat for Dudette, who’s had a rough day. What is it about strawberry cheesecake, eh?


Lick My Spoon May 6, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Lora I’m so pleased to hear your wonderful news. I’m sure this Mother’s Day will be extra special for you. An event like cancer always makes birthdays, holidays and other occassions even more special. Savor it! And what a beautiful and mature girl you have raised.


mellissina2 May 6, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Ez a torta fenséges lehet!! A történetet szeretem olvasni,de sajnos a fordítás nagyon “mókás”,angolból forditja magyarra,és a forditó rendszer ugye szavakat fordit.
A napokban készülök epres sajttorta készitésre.


Pam @ From Apples To Zucchini May 6, 2011 at 7:53 pm

That sweet story brought tears to my eyes – your daughter has as sweet of a heart as her mother! May this be your happiest Mother’s Day yet, dear.


Marnely Rodriguez May 6, 2011 at 8:00 pm

:) another lovely recipe from one of the sweetest persons I’ve “met” on twitter. Thanks for sharing, both the story and the recipe. Have a great weekend love!


Christine Wu May 6, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Happy Mother’s Day Lora! I weep a little reading this. Thanks for sharing it. Love your family :)


Becky May 6, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Happy Mother’s Day Lora, and for being a cancer survivor.

Your story is beautiful, as well as the part that Gabriella wrote. This post will be a keepsake for sure. And your cheescake is mouthwatering!

Being diagnosed with cancer is alife changing event for sure, and sometimes it isn’t all bad.
You might not have had the compassion for the woman getting in the car, before your diagnosis. I have met so many wonderful people since my diagnosis, and that is what gives the resolve to fight cancer.


Maris (In Good Taste) May 6, 2011 at 8:37 pm

This is such a beautiful post and I too found myself in tears. You have certainly instilled all the right values in your children and kind loving compassionate hearts. I am glad you are doing so well.


Nancie McDermott May 6, 2011 at 8:38 pm

What a wonderful writer Gabrierlla is. Her words drew me into her story immediately, and kept me immersed in the time and place and heartfelt moments, right to the very last word. When she couldn’t visit, it was sad; when she gets to visit, it was happy; the car ride was funny; she wove so much into that piece. Please convey my compliments, from one writer to another.

Reply May 6, 2011 at 8:39 pm

I really enjoyed reading this post, Lora. We must cherish every second with our loved ones because no one knows what the future brings. Happy Mother’s day, you’re a special lady :) xoxo

Reply May 6, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Looks delicious!!


Happy When Not Hungry May 6, 2011 at 9:26 pm

This looks delicious! Love your post. Happy Mother’s Day!


Chris May 6, 2011 at 9:41 pm

Awwww…that was the best Mother’s day present EVER!!!! It made my eyes glisten.

BTW…I am reprising you absolutely divine Apple Pie with Caramel, and this time I promise NOT to beat the Caramel into think it’s a cream puff, and instead, will leave it bubbling merrily until it tans LOL :)


Kathy May 6, 2011 at 10:24 pm

I used to work in a Dr’s office, and there is nothing that makes you realize how fragile life is, more then seeing people going through so much suffering. I am so glad you received a clean bill of health. Have a wonderful Mother’s Day! Loved seeing the picture of your mom and you! How precious!


Magic of Spice May 6, 2011 at 10:55 pm

Lovely cheesecake! I am so glad you are doing better and I wish both you and your mother a wonderful Mother’s Day :)


Sandra May 6, 2011 at 11:34 pm

So happy that everything turned out well. The cheesecake looks so good and yippee for no baking. I love the picture of you and your mom, thank you for letting us into your life as much as you have. Gabriella ia a brave and sweet girl. You are truly blessed. Have a fun and peaceful Mothers Day.


Cake Duchess May 7, 2011 at 12:31 am

Thank you to all the wonderful comments about Gabriella’s story:) She loves them. Thank you especially to Nancie, my writer friend. That made her especially thrilled to read your words!
Chris-I CAN’T wait to hear about your next pie!
Hugs to you all! xo


birdie to be May 7, 2011 at 1:35 am

So scrumtious looking! Thanks for sharing.


Amy May 7, 2011 at 1:49 am

Glad to hear you got good news Lora :)! My Mom used to make a cheesecake very similar to this one when I was little and I loved it! Yours looks delicious :)! Happy Mother’s Day, and have a wonderful weekend!


knitstamatic May 7, 2011 at 3:30 am

I was in the car on my way to visit my parents for Mother’s Day as I read your post. My husband couldn’t figure out why I had “my nose buried in my phone” (his words) for so long. I am so happy to hear you got good news from your doctor. I have to tell you, your daughter has your gift for writing. I had tears in my eyes as I read her words. To write with such heart at so young an age, beautiful. A very special Mother’s Day to you.

The cheesecake recipe looks great, I’ve actually never made the no-bake kind so I’m going to have to give it a try.


Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen May 7, 2011 at 9:57 am

What an emotional and touching post. I’m blown away by what your daughter wrote, it’s so incredibly well written! I’m so glad you are better now and that you can enjoy this weekend with your family without the fear looming over you any more.


Pretend Chef May 7, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Such a sweet and emotional story from both you and your daughter. Tears in my eyes. So much love with you and your family and the compassion you have for others is immense. Enjoy your Mother’s Day and that wonderful cheesecake!


Angela@RecipesFromMyMom May 7, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Love to have a light, no-bake cheesecake in my repertoire so thanks for sharing your mom’s recipe. I’m following her blog and Twitter now too!

Tell Gabriella that even grown-up daughters feel those same emotions about their moms. Hope you have the most relaxing and sunniest Mother’s Day with your kids.


Sandra May 7, 2011 at 6:37 pm

Oh dear Lora, I read your story and felt so happy for you that you are healthy! Your kids are beautiful and your mom seems like a amazing woman..I love her recipes too!
Gabriella is one thoughtful girl and we can see love for you through her words!
Have an amazing Mother’s day, and thank you for sharing this delicious cake recipe!!!


A Thought For Food May 7, 2011 at 10:13 pm

What a lovely story, Lora! Happy Mother’s Day to you… and to your mom. You are a terrific woman, and a wonderful parent.


Jean (Lemons and Anchovies) May 8, 2011 at 4:06 am

What a sweet, sweet post. Lora, I’m so glad you’re doing much better–I can imagine how much more special this Mother’s Day will be for you and your family. Your daughter expressed herself so well and I’m touched by her desire to share what was going through her heart and mind in the midst of your family’s most difficult hour. I would be filled with pride myself.

Happy Mother’s Day to you! :-)


Karen May 8, 2011 at 6:46 am

Really sweet post Lora! Your daughter is adorable.
And this cheesecake does not hurt my feelings any either! :)


Angie's Recipes May 8, 2011 at 8:13 am

Lora, I am so happy to hear that you are feeling/doing better now. I can tell Eli’s smile from the picture of her holding you close to her heart :-))
Happy Mother’s Day to you!
Gotta call my mom now (we are 10000 kilometers away)


Evan @swEEts May 8, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Happy Mother’s Day Lora! You absolutely deserve a day of pampering and fun with your family :) Your cheesecake looks amazing of course.


Lo-mo May 8, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Your daughter is a great writer Lora! I do love reading your accounts and about how well things are indeed going for you. This is a beautiful post, thank you for sharing with us your journey, and your family’s thoughts. Also, I love the simple cheesecake recipe!! Perfection in a pan!


Jenny (VintageSugarcube) May 8, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Happy Mother’s Day! I’m always looking for a cheesecake that’s easy and delicious and this is it!! :)


Elin May 8, 2011 at 4:04 pm

Lora….glad that everything is fine now. Thank
God that you have a wonderful mom by your side during your most difficult time giving moral support to you. Lizzy is indeed a wonderful mom . Happy Mother’s Day to you. That cheesecake looks yummy ….wishing for a slice !


Lizzy May 8, 2011 at 4:09 pm

Lora, happy Mother’s Day to both you and your sweet mom! Love the photo of you two :) And I love that Luca likes this cheesecake for breakfast…I think I would as well…it looks fabulous! xoxo

PS. So happy for your good news!


sara @ CaffeIna May 8, 2011 at 4:39 pm

This post made me cry and reminded me of how lucky I am to be in good health and with the people I love around. Thanks Lora. It’s always good to be reminded.
Happy Mother’s Day!


Paula May 8, 2011 at 8:05 pm

I got so wrapped up in reading the story behind the recipe and your beautiful, poignant note from your daughter that I forgot about the cheesecake. It is lovely (the cheesecake)but Gabriella’s note to you broke my heart. She is wise beyond her young nine years and has a gift for being able to so eloquently express herself with the written word. I’m so very happy for you to have received such wonderful news from your Doctor and can only imagine what a very special Mother’s Day this year is for you. Continued best wishes Lora and may you always be surrounded by the love of your beautiful family and children.


Carolyn May 8, 2011 at 11:47 pm

Aw, Lora, Happy Mother’s Day. I am thrilled about the all-clear and so touched by your daughter’s words. What a sweet, sweet day.


marla May 9, 2011 at 3:36 am

Oh Lora, what you and Gabriella share here is so beautiful I am so happy for you that you are recovering well and are in good health. Amazing how life can slow down to a screeching halt and the pick up again. Happy Mother’s Day friend. Hopefully you had a bunch of this lovely cheesecake! xo


Lindsay @Eat, Knit, Grow May 9, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Happy Mother’s day! And so happy you are recovering well!


Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking May 9, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Lora, I’m so happy to hear you’re on the path to good health. I can’t imagine your elation upon hearing that wonderful news. :) This is a beautiful cheesecake to celebrate and a delicious, decadent dessert! Thanks for sharing a bit about your personal life and your always mouthwatering recipes!


Lisa @ Tarte du Jour May 10, 2011 at 1:38 am

Hurray… I’m delighted to hear about your clean bill of health!! Celebrate, enjoy, give thanks!


kita May 10, 2011 at 3:55 am

What a sweet story from Gabriella. I’d forgotten what it was like to read a story through the eyes of a child. Im glad she knows what is important to her and shows you how much she cares by writing for you.
My BFs mom makes a no-bake cheesecake that her family loves. I have brought over other cheesecakes only to be told its not like hers. I don’t get upset, but rather, think it sweet that they love her cheesecake so much that they never want to deviate! I hope you had an enjoyable Mother’s Day.


Cookin' Canuck May 10, 2011 at 3:58 am

This is such a touching post on so many levels – from your good news (yipee!) to the despair of the woman in the parking lot to your mother’s unconditional love. Sending you a big hug, Lora.


Chris May 10, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Lora -
The Apple pie came out scrumptious as always BUT…the caramel still thought it was a cream puff…however…I think I figured out why. Next time I will melt the sugar and water FIRST until it’s a dark golden brown then add the butter til melted, then heavy cream. I think that might fix it.

Oh darn. I guess I’ll have to make the pie…AGAIN ;-)


Sue May 11, 2011 at 3:17 am

I like Luca’s idea of cheesecake for breakfast, and I enjoyed Gabriella’s story:) I’m happy for both of them that they have their healthy mom at home with them!


Bestfoodies May 18, 2011 at 11:38 pm

All of us who have children are blessed and your daughter is a very special little girl. I enjoyed reading this very much and it reminded me of something my daughter wrote in high shcool that I will keep forever!
The cheesecake looks wonderful and i love the ease of it. I will be trying it for sure!


Lana May 29, 2011 at 6:09 am

I don’t know what to say, but that you deserve those two beautiful and kind children as much as they deserve you. I am so happy that you left the Center with a smile on your face. You are a courageous, genuine, kind soul, and I am delighted to have met you, even though only through Internet. Have a wonderful holiday weekend:)


Lin Ann May 31, 2011 at 12:24 pm

I’m so happy to hear the great news! A very touching post and it looks like you’re passing on a special cheesecake tradition in your family.


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