Forget looking for that elusive pot of gold…go for the sure thing! Grab a slice of this delicious Rainbow Cheesecake, and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in style!
I’ve always loved holidays. We have buckets and buckets of different holiday decorations stashed in our basement, and I dutifully bring them out for each holiday. However, I realized this year that I don’t have much in the way of St. Patrick’s Day decorations. I mean I have a whole bag of beads from Baton Rouge’s St. Patrick’s Day parades. St. Patrick’s Day in Baton Rouge (and New Orleans) is basically Mardi Gras, part 2. The main difference is the beads are green, white and gold instead of green, purple and gold.
Other than those beads, there’s not a whole lot in the decoration bucket. Well, I mean there is my costume when a bunch of guys dressed as a troupe of leprechauns for the parade one year. That was almost 15 years ago, though. (With that said, I’d totally still pull that costume out if I had the opportunity. Too bad upstate New York doesn’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day like they do in Baton Rouge!)
Instead of going out and buying a bunch of holiday decorations, I decided to make something festive this year. We all know how leprechauns guard their pot of gold at the end of rainbows, right? And we also know that it’s darn near impossible to find the end of the rainbow, right? Well it turns out the leprechauns’ gold is safe because rainbows actually have no end. It’s true. Rainbows are full circles – we just only see the top half because we can’t see below the horizon. Airplane pilots have reported seeing full-circle rainbows because they’re high enough up to see over the horizon. Fascinating, huh?
While a pot of gold would be nice to find, it seems like the chances are pretty slim. Instead, let’s make this Rainbow Cheesecake and celebrate with a slice for dessert! As a kid, I didn’t eat cheesecake because it just didn’t seem right to have a cake made out of cheese. Plus, my little sister liked cheesecake, and if she liked it? Well that meant it had to be gross! However, once I hit adulthood, I’ve been making up for lost cheesecake time. Whether it’s a classic cheesecake or one with all sorts of mix-ins, it’s hard to beat an after-dinner slice of cheesecake.
For this Rainbow Cheesecake, I went with my go-to cheesecake recipe, but I pulled out the food coloring. Actually, I pulled out the color gels. If you bake a lot, then you’re probably already aware of the advantages of gel-based food colorings. Instead of dropping several liquid drops of food coloring into a recipe, you swipe some of the gel into the recipe using a toothpick. (Make sure to use a clean toothpick if you want to add more gel – a container of food gel will last a long time as long as you keep it clean!) Food gels offer more vivid colors, and the colors tend to hold a lot better after baking. Traditional food coloring tends to fade in the oven. (Wilton makes great food gels, and this 12-pack is a good choice – aff. link.)
I apologize in advance for the number of dishes you’ll need to do in order to make this Rainbow Cheesecake. I opted to use one bowl, and I just kept cleaning it after each color. However, you could spread out 6 bowls on the counter for each of the different colors in this cake. On a side note, we were always taught in school that rainbows have 7 colors – remember Roy G. Biv? It turns out scientists say that indigo and violet are nearly indistinguishable to the human eye – so there’s no indigo in this cheesecake. But if you want to exercise your right to include indigo, then go for it. I support you.
No matter how many colors you include in your Rainbow Cheesecake, I promise it’ll be a delicious and fun dessert! Sure, finding that pot of gold would be more exciting, but I say go with the sure thing. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day (or any day really) with a slice of Rainbow Cheesecake. Cheers!
Did you make this Rainbow Cheesecake at home? Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog). I’d love to see your version!
For the Crust
- 2¼ cups graham cracker crumbs ~11 full-sized graham crackers
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter melted
For the Cheesecake
- 32 oz. cream cheese room temperature
- 1¼ cups granulated sugar
- 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- ½ cup sour cream
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- colored food gel red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple
For the Crust
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Grease and flour a 9” springform pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper; set pan aside.
- Using a medium mixing bowl, add graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and butter; stir until well combined.
- Transfer mixture into prepared pan; press crumbs into bottom and sides of pan. (Tip: A flat bottomed glass is helpful for this step.)
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove pan from oven and let cool.
- Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
For the Cheesecake
- Using a countertop mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until completely smooth (~3 minutes).
- Add sugar and flour; mix on medium speed until well combined.
- Using a separate bowl, whisk eggs and additional egg yolks together. Add this egg mixture to the mixing bowl in 2 additions, mixing fully after each addition.
- Add the sour cream and vanilla; mix on medium speed until well combined. (Tip: Use a spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure the filling is fully mixed.)
- Divide cheesecake mixture evenly into 6 bowls. Add food gel into each bowl and stir until well combined.
- Pour each of the colored mixtures on top of the cooled crust.
- Wrap the bottom of the pan with a piece of aluminum foil and place in a large baking pan. Fill pan with ~½” of water. Bake at 325° until center of cake is just barely set (~80-85 minutes). (Tip: Pull the cheesecake out of the oven when there is about 1" ring of "looser" filling left in the center of the cake.)
- Remove cake from oven and let cool in pan for 1 hour.
- Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, release pan and slice cheesecake.
Looking for more fun St. Patrick’s Day recipes? Check out these other favorites, too:
How to Make Your Own Lucky Charms
St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock Tortilla Chips
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Will be making this soon with few subs can i use vegan cream cheese and butter as i hate cream cheese butter and ghee makes me vomit will dm you if i make this and let you know how it goes Thanks Ramya
Hey Ramya! I haven’t experimented much with vegan cream cheese and butter, but I would imagine it would work for cheesecake. I hope you get a chance to make this fun dessert! 🙂 Let me know how it goes if you do.
How much fun is this cheesecake, David?! The kids would love this for sure! 🙂 And I had no idea that St. Patty’s was such a big deal down south… I mean, we’ve got the green beer at the pubs, but it sounds like it’s Mardi Gras round 2 (then again, we don’t have huge Mardi Gras celebrations up here). So fascinating!
Oh man, St. Patrick’s is a huge deal in Baton Rouge! (To be fair, there are a number of other cities known for St. Patrick’s Day festivities…but I’ve lived in Baton Rouge, so I can speak to that one.) And green beer isn’t enough! I’m talking full on parades and folks dressed in costumes. It was always one of my favorite days of the year!
I had no idea that rainbows were full circles! Always learn something from your posts, David!
And this cheesecake is just pure fun. So vibrant!
Tell me about it! Isn’t the full rainbow such a cool thing!? Also, this cheesecake is pretty darn cool, too. Perfect for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day…and just about any other day! 🙂 Thanks, Marissa!
cheesecake? sadly not a fan but this looks very cute david. love the colours! and what about that photo? superb. gotta love a double rainbow. or is that double rainbows?
I get it, Sherry. I used to not like cheesecake either – but now I’m making up for lost time! 🙂 And, yes, that double rainbow is crazy. But you make a good point. I’m gonna go with singular rainbow, but I could see both sides of this one. Either way, happy early St. Patrick’s Day!
Oh, my! What a stunning cheesecake? Kids would love that for their birthday treat (except you as a child, right?). I love each color of rainbow and this is just beautiful. Besides, it would be so much fun to make with kids and kids at heart, too. I bet St. Patrick would love a slice.
Haha – you can say that again, Holly! As a kid, I would’ve looked at this rainbow cheesecake and been like “uhhhh….” 🙂 As an adult, well I just grab a fork and dig in! Thanks so much, my friend!
We have St. Patrick’s Day parade here in Halifax (And it’s quite big), but I think it’s going to be canceled for the second year in the row. Hopefully next year everything will be 100% back to normal.
I love this beautiful cheesecake! When it comes to rainbow desserts, it could be challenging to find the right flavour. I mean, Irish cream would have been a delightful and logical addition; however, Irish cream and rainbow don’t go much together, in my book. I believe citrus zest and vanilla are the best flavours for a rainbow cheesecake, after all. Simple and classic flavour yet outstanding exterior, right?
Yeah, I’m not sure what’s going on with the St, Patrick’s Day parades down South. I suspect they’re cancelled or at least much smaller than normal. Here in upstate New York, there’s not much celebrating of St. Patrick’s Day…unless you count green beer at the bars.
You make a good point about colors and flavors, Ben. Irish cream would be a great flavor for a St. Patrick’s Day cheesecake, but Irish cream in a rainbow cheesecake might be a little off. I stuck with the classic cheesecake, and it turned out to be one of my favorite cheesecakes ever! Thanks so much, my friend!
This is SUCH a fun way to celebrate St Paddy’s Day, David – I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cheesecake quite as colourful as this! It makes me happy just looking at it – and I would definitely would love to do more than just look. Hope you’ve been well!
All is well here, Katerina – thanks for checking! I am getting a bit worn down with the pandemic, but I think there is a light at the end of the tunnel. This cheesecake certainly brightened things up, though (no pun intended!). I love a good cheesecake as it is, but then add in the fun colors? It definitely got some oohs and aahs! 🙂
My niece’s would absolutely love your Rainbow Cheesecake David. They love any kind of sweeties that are bright coloured. Plus my sister in law (their mum) is Irish herself. I’m sending this recipe over to her right now. I think it’ll make a great addition to their St Patrick’s Day celebrations. Thank you!
Ah! I hope your sister-in-law gets a chance to make this cheesecake then. It is a fun one with all of the bright colors! I appreciate you passing this recipe along to them. Thanks so much, Neil!
I think you’re totally on to something here, David – making Rainbows a St. Patrick’s tradition – totally makes sense! My son has always been a fan of rainbow anything – I can’t tell you how many rainbow cakes we’ve made, but strangely, never a rainbow cheesecake! I love this idea! And I’ve never heard of 7 colors of the rainbow! good to know!
I mean green beer is cool and all…when you’re in college. 🙂 Robbie enjoyed the look of this cheesecake, and he even took a couple tiny nibbles – which is more than I expected as he’s the most persnickity eater I’ve ever seen. Don’t worry – I finished off what he didn’t eat. Haha!
Wow they look pretty!
Oh goodness – I had to grab another bowl of granola and top it with whipped cream just so I could scroll through this delicious post!
If I were you, I’d be guarding this cheesecake like those leprechauns guard their gold! This looks amazing and I’d much rather have a cheesecake as (temporary) deco than other stuff – though I think we need a photo of you in that leprechaun outfit!
Haha – I understand the granola and whipped cream, Shashi! That’s a favorite snack here, too. 🙂 I’m off to guard that cheesecake now…from leprechauns AND drones!