Salted caramel swirls through this simple but decadent cheesecake that sits on a crust of graham crackers and almonds for a truly special dessert. If you are looking for an ultra-creamy but easy to make cheesecake that will wow your family, this is it. This was the clear winner at a recent family get together and it is perfect as a Christmas or New Year’s celebration dessert.
Making a cheesecake from scratch can be intimidating if you have never made one before, but this recipe is so straightforward that anyone can master it. There are only a few simple steps and some very basic ingredients involved. I have included some baking tips to help you create the perfect cheesecake and this recipe works perfectly without baking it in a water bath, so you can save yourself that step.
For the filling:
- Cream Cheese: I would not recommend using low fat varieties of cream cheese. This is not the time to skimp on fat. Afterall, the fat is what makes this dessert so creamy and decadent.
- Granulated sugar
- Eggs: Use large room temperature eggs.
- Vanilla, just a teaspoon is needed.
- Salt Caramel Chips: This is the secret ingredient. There are several brands on the market, and I can usually find them in the grocery store around holiday time. I used Hersey Sea Salt Caramel Chips in this recipe.
For the Crust:
- Graham crackers crumbs: Use any flavor you like. I used honey flavored.
- Almonds: ¾ of a cup of finely chopped almonds provides flavor and a little texture to the crust.
- Butter: Unsalted and melted.
How to make this cheesecake
Mix together the graham crackers, sugar and almons.
Add the melted butter.
Press into a greased springform pan.
Beat the cream cheese and sugar.
Add the eggs one at a time.
Add the vanilla.
Melt the caramel chips.
Add a cup of cheesecake filling to the caramel chips and mix well.
Pour the filling into the crust and spoon dollops of the caramel mixture onto the filling. Run a knife through the filling to create swirls.
Bake for 40-45 minutes.
I highly recommend using a springform pan so that you can easily remove the cheesecake from the pan in on piece.
Lightly spray the bottom and sides of your springform pan with cooking spray. This will make removing the cake so much easier because it won’t stick to the sides.
Use a measuring cup with a flat bottom to pat down the crust and evenly push it up against the sides. You don’t need to bring the crust all the way up the sides of the pan. An inch or so is plenty.
Put the crust in the refrigerator while you make the cheesecake. This will ensure that it sets and is a ready for your filling.
Make sure that the cream cheese is at room temperature before you start to make your cheesecake so that it blends smoothly. If the cream cheese is too cold you will have lumps in the batter requiring you to beat it longer and you don’t want to do that!
Don’t overbeat the batter! The longer you beat the cake batter the more air you incorporate into the cheesecake. If the batter is whipped too much, it will rise quickly in the oven and then fall when it cools, causing cracks on the top of the cake.
Wrap the pan in foil before you put it in the oven. Sometimes springform pans can leak a little so covering the pan with foil keeps the butter from leaking into your oven. You can thank me later!
Don’t overbake the cheesecake. If the cheesecake is too dry it can cause cracks. At the end of the cooking time, tap the side of the pan gently with a wooden spoon or gently shake the pan. The cake is done if just the center of the cake is jiggly. If the whole cake still jiggles, then it needs a few more minutes.
The cake needs to cool down slowly. So, when you remove it from the oven put it on your stove or another warm area to cool down. After about 10 minutes, run a sharp knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it from the pan and let it cool completely.
Once it has cooled, cover it with foil and refrigerate it overnight. It is important to avoid putting the cheesecake in the refrigerator while it is still warm so that condensation does not form on the top.
What is the best way to slice a cheesecake?
Have you ever made a cheesecake and tried to cut a slice only to have your knife full of cake and you make a mess of your beautiful creation? Well, there are a couple of tricks that the pros use to make sure that every slice is perfect.
- You will need a long-serrated cake knife or bread knife and a paper towel or a cotton dish towel. Hold the knife under hot running water for a couple seconds. Dry it off and make a slice in the cheesecake starting in the center and pushing straight down. When the knife has completely cut through the cake, slowly pull the knife out toward you. Wipe the knife off on the paper towel or dish towel and run it under hot water again before you make your next cut. Repeat this for each cut.
- Cut a strand of unflavored dental floss long enough to go completely across the cake and for you to hold it on either end. Holding it taught, cut down on the cake until the floss cuts completely through. Then carefully pull the dental floss out along the bottom of the cake. Don’t pull up on the dental floss or you will pull cheesecake up with it. If you want to see how this is done check out this Kitchen Conservatory video.
How do you store cheesecake?
Cheesecake will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 5 days as long as it is covered with foil. It should not be left out on counter for more than a couple of hours.
It can also be frozen for 6-8 weeks if wrapped in several layers of plastic wrap and then covered with foil. When you are ready to serve it, thaw the cheesecake in the refrigerator overnight.
Looking for other delicious holiday treats? Try one of these recipes
Salted Caramel Swirl Cheesecake with Graham Cracker Almond Crust
- 9" inch Springform pan
- ¾ cup Graham Cracker Crumbs
- ¾ cup Almonds finely chopped
- 6 tbsp. Butter unsalted, melted
- 3 tbsp. Sugar
- 24 oz. Cream Cheese 3 bricks, softened to room temperature
- ½ cup Sugar
- 3 Eggs large
- 1 tsp. Vanilla extract
- 1 cup Salted Caramel Chips
- Lightly Spray the bottom and sides of an 8" or 9" springform pan.
- Stir together the graham cracker crumbs, almonds and sugar.
- Add the melted butter and stir to make sure that all of the dry ingredients are coated in butter.
- Press the graham cracker mixture evenly along the bottom and about 1 inch up the side of the pan. You can use a flat bottomed measuring cup to press the crumb mixture evenly. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
- Set oven to 350° and move the rack to the center of the oven.
- Using large mixing bowl beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until the mixture is creamy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, allowing them to fully incorporate. Scraping down the sides between additions.
- Add the vanilla extract and stop mixing when it is fully blended in.
- Put the caramel chips in a dry microwave safe bowl. Place the bowl in the microwave and microwave in 20-30 second intervals. Stir the chips between intervals until the chips have melted and are smooth. Do not overheat the chips as they may burn or seize.
- Add 1 cup of cream cheese filling to the melted chips and stir to fully combine them.
- Pour the cream cheese filling into the cold crust. Dollop spoonfuls of the caramel mixture on top of the cream cheese filling. Run a knife through the caramel mixture to create swirls in the cheesecake.
- Bake in the center of the oven for 40-45 minutes. The cheesecake is done when there is a little jiggle in the center of the cake.
- Cool in a warm area for about 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife along the edge of the cheesecake to loosen it from the sides of the pan. Allow to cool completely, then cover it with foil and refrigerate it for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- The cream cheese needs to be at room temperature before you start or you will have lumps in the batter.
- Melt the caramel chips slowly so that they do not burn or sieze.
- Wrap the pan in foil in case the springform pan leaks.
- Bake the cheesecake in the center of your oven so that it is not too close to the heating element.