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No-Bake Refrigerator Cheese Torte: A Family Recipe

My mother was an excellent cook who taught me a great deal as she cooked from scratch. Today, both my hubby and I enjoy cooking.

Refrigerator Cheese Torte.  Wish you could have a slice right now!

Refrigerator Cheese Torte. Wish you could have a slice right now!

Decades-Old Family Recipe

This refrigerator cheese torte recipe comes from my great aunt Alvina. One of her two sisters was my great grandmother (my maternal grandfather's mother). We called her "Granny."

I remember my Granny and also my great aunt Alvina from when I was a child still living in Wisconsin. I've included a photo of the three sisters below. My great aunt Alvina is the tallest of the sisters in the middle.

Refrigerator Cheese Torte

This is a much lighter recipe compared to most cheesecake recipes. It is not an overly sweet dessert but rather more on the refreshing side with the slight lemony tang. I think that lime zest and lime juice would make for a subtle variation if something other than lemon were desired as a flavoring component.

A graham cracker or other crumbly crust (even no crust) could be substituted for the cornflake crust called for in this heritage recipe, in my opinion. It was fun, however, keeping this dessert recipe accurate to the past. I hope that you enjoy this recipe from the days of yesteryear.


For the Filling:

  • 2 tablespoons gelatin
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 pound dry cottage cheese, (I used ricotta)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 lemon rinds and juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 pint whipping cream

For the Crust:

  • 4 cups cornflakes
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/8 cup sugar

Step 1: Make the Cornflake Crust

Back when this recipe was handwritten, there were no instructions on how to make the cornflake crust. It was probably well known to home cooks back in that era, but I had to search online to find a contemporary recipe. I found one that was published on September 8, 1950, in a newspaper called the Deseret News. Here are the instructions that appeared there:

  1. Roll or grind cornflakes to make 1 cup of fine crumbs and combine with the sugar and the softened butter. Reserve some of the bits for the top of the cheese torte.
  2. Mix thoroughly and press the mixture evenly and firmly around the edges and bottom of the pan. I used the back of a spoon to press the crumbs into the springform pan firmly. (Apparently, this cornflake pastry recipe was also used for pies as the directions said to press them into a pie pan.)
  3. Chill the crust before the cooled filling is added. This step needs to be done before the cheese mixture is made.

Note: I allowed an hour or so in the refrigerator for the crust to set up before starting the cheese mixture.

Step 2: Make the Cheese Torte Filling

  1. Soften the gelatin in cold water.
  2. Put slightly beaten egg yolks in a double boiler with salt, milk, and sugar.
  3. Over the heated water, cook until it thickens, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove from fire (heat source), add grated lemon rind and gelatin...stirring until gelatin is dissolved. Then cool.
  5. While the mixture is cooling, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
  6. In another bowl, beat the whipping cream until it is also well whipped.
  7. Before gelatin hardens, beat in cottage cheese, lemon juice, and the vanilla using an egg beater.
  8. Next, fold in the beaten egg whites and whipped cream.

Step 3: Assemble the Torte

  1. Butter a springform pan well and line it with the cornflake pastry.
  2. Pour in the cheese mixture and cover with the remaining corn flake crumbs.
  3. Chill thoroughly for 5 or more hours.
Unmolded Refrigerator Cheese Torte prior to slicing and being served.

Unmolded Refrigerator Cheese Torte prior to slicing and being served.

Cornflake History

Did you know that the readily available cornflake cereals of which most anyone reading this is undoubtedly very familiar started out as the result of an accident? Sometimes inventions are purposeful and intended, and other times they are unexpected as happened in the case of corn flakes.

In the State of Michigan, back in the late 1800s, was a sanitarium operated by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg. His younger brother, Will Keith Kellogg, served as the business manager at the Battle Creek Sanitarium.

The brothers were both Seventh Day Adventists and believed in treating their patients with a vegetarian diet devoid of not only meat but also things like sugary items, alcohol, tobacco and even stimulants like coffee or tea. Exercise and fresh air activities were promoted.

Wealthy people from all walks of life came to be managed as well as pampered, much like going to a health spa today for a week or more of a proper diet, exercise, and treatments.

One day some cooked wheat that had been left awhile turned stale. But hoping not to waste food, they rolled it out thin, and after toasting it, flakes were discovered. The sanitarium patients probably liked the change of pace regarding diet and wanted more. It was decided to try other types of grains and create similar taste treats for the patients.

Lo and behold, a business was born!

A patent was issued in 1896, and Will Keith Kellogg founded the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company in 1906 which later became the Kellogg Company in 1922. Today this considerable business conglomerate owns and manufactures all kinds of food items worldwide.

John Harvey Kellogg and Adventism (also shows the Battle Creek Sanitarium and some of the famous people who went there for treatment.)

Another Version of a No-Bake Cheesecake Recipe

© 2012 Peggy Woods

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