This cherry caramel cheesecake post is sponsored by Reese’s Specialty Foods. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Buuck Farms Bakery possible.
Move over cocktails — today I’m stealing Reese’s Maraschino Cherries from your dirty shirley’s and I’m turning them into a delicious cherry caramel sauce and then swirling that into cheesecake. Who’s with me?
This Cherry Caramel Cheesecake is creamy perfection, and the tart cherry caramel is the perfect thing to cut through the rich cheesecake. Top it with a little whipped cream and some red and green maraschino cherries, and you’ve got yourself the perfect holiday dessert.
How to Make Cherry Caramel Cheesecake
Bring all of the ingredients to room temperature.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to use room temperature ingredients when making cheesecake. It’s the best way to ensure that you end up with a cheesecake that is smooth as butter and lump free. I suggest leaving all ingredients on the counter for at least 3 hours before making the cheesecake. But, while you wait, you can make the crust and the cherry caramel.
Make the Cherry Caramel Sauce
For the Cherry Jam –
Strain the juice from one jar of Reese’s Red Maraschino Cherries. Put the cherry juice into a small saucepan along with 1 TBSP of lemon juice. Place the saucepan over medium heat to being reducing the cherry juice. Once the juice begins to simmer, stir in a cornstarch slurry of 1 tsp cornstarch and 2 tsp of water. Continue cooking over medium heat until the juice begins to thicken enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Set aside.
For the Cherry Caramel –
In a medium saucepan, add the sugar, karo, and water. Place saucepan over medium heat and cook until sugar dissolves. Once sugar is dissolved and the mixture has started to boil, place a lid on the pan for 3 minutes. This helps to remove any sugar from the sides of the pan and prevents crystallization. Do not stir the caramel past this point. You can swirl the pan around slightly if necessary.
Continue cooking the caramel until it has reached a dark amber color. Don’t walk away from the pan. Once the caramel begins to get some color, it will reach the amber point quickly. When the caramel is amber in color, remove it from the heat for 30 seconds. Be very careful, it is extremely hot. While stirring the sugar, slowly pour in the heavy cream. Stir until combined. Add the butter, stir until the butter is melted and combined. Stir in the cherry jam.
Make the Cheesecake Crust
For this cheesecake, I went with the classic graham cracker crust. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Start by crushing 2 sleeves of honey graham crackers. (18 crackers) I use my high speed blender for this, but feel free to do whatever works for you! To the crushed grahams, stir in salt, brown sugar, and melted butter. Stir well, making sure all of the graham crackers get coated with the butter. Using the bottom of a measuring cup or small glass, press the crust into an even layer in a greased springform pan. Make sure to push some of the crust up the sides of the pan as well. Bake for 15 minutes and then cool completely.
Make the Cheesecake Filling
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
To make the filling, start by adding the softened cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat the cream cheese alone for 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl about half way through. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the mixture to the cream cheese and mix until combined.
Add the sour cream and vanilla and mix to combine. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl again. It’s important to do this to make sure that everything is getting incorporated and that there are not any lumps in your cheesecake. Add the eggs, one at a time, until combined.
Pour the cheesecake filling into the crust. Take the cherry caramel and dollop it all over the top of the cheesecake. Using a butter knife, swirl the caramel around in the cheesecake batter. Drag the knife back and forth in both directions until you achieve a beautiful swirled effect.
Baking and Chilling the Cheesecake
The best way to make sure you get a perfect cheesecake that is free of cracks and doesn’t have browned edges, is a water bath. If putting your cheesecake crust into a pool of water freaks you out – don’t worry, I have the perfect trick that will protect that crust.
Wrap the springform pan with a slow cooker liner. Pull the liner up around the pan to the top, then tie it in a knot to keep it snug and in place. Then wrap that in foil, getting it as tight as possible. Place the wrapped pan into a roaster pan and pour water around the cheesecake. You want the water to come up about an inch or so up the pan.
Bake the cheesecake at 350 for 45 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 325 and bake until the cheesecake is set, and just slightly wobbly in the center. This will take another 45-55 minutes. Start checking it at 45.
Once the cheesecake is set, turn off the oven and crack the door, leaving the cheesecake inside the oven. Let it cool in the warm oven for an additional hour. Then chill in the fridge overnight. This is another trick for reducing the chance of cracks. Quick changes in temperature will increase the risk of cracking.Print
Rich and tangy vanilla cheesecake swirled with a tart maraschino cherry caramel sauce with a graham cracker crust and topped with whipped cream and cherries.
For the Cheesecake Crust
- 2 Sleeves Honey Graham Crackers, crushed (18 Crackers)
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 2 TBSP Brown Sugar
- 6 TBSP Unsalted Butter, melted
For the Cherry Caramel
- 1/2 C Granulated Sugae
- 2 TBSP Water
- 1 TBSP Light Corn Syrup (Karo)
- 1 TBSP Butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 C Heavy Cream, at room temperature
- 2 TBSP Maraschino Cherry Jam
For the Maraschino Cherry Jam
- Juice from 1 Jar of Reese’s Red Maraschino Cherries
- 1 tsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1 tsp. Corn Starch
- 2 tsp. Water
For the Cheesecake Filling
- 28 oz. (4 Blocks) Full Fat Cream Cheese, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 C Granulated Sugar
- 1/3 C All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 tsp. Salt
- 2/3 C Sour Cream, at room temperature
- 1 tsp. Pure vanilla extract
- 3 Lg Eggs, at room temperature
- 1/4 C Cherry Caramel Sauce
For Whipped Cream
- 1/2 C Heavy Whipping Cream
- Pinch of salt
- 1 TBSP Granulated Sugar
For the Crust
- Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a springform pan.
- Crush the graham crackers until fine.
- Stir together the graham crackers, salt, brown sugar, and melted butter.
- Press the crust into the greased pan using a small glass or measuring cup.
- Bake for 15 minutes, cool completely.
For the Maraschino Cherry Jam
- Put the cherry juice and lemon juice into a small saucepan.
- Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the cornstarch and water until there are no clumps.
- Stir the cornstarch slurry into the cherry juice.
- Continue to cook until it is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Set aside.
For the Cherry Caramel Sauce
- In a medium saucepan, add the sugar, karo, and water. Stir it around so that all of the sugar is coated with water.
- Cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and it starts to bubble around the edges.
- Cover with a lid for three minutes.
- Continue to cook until the caramel reaches a dark amber color.
- Remove from the heat for 30 seconds.
- Slowly stir in the heavy cream until incorporated.
- Stir in the butter, then the cherry jam. Set aside to cool.
For the Cheesecake Filling
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium for 5 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt.
- Add the flour mixture to the cream cheese and mix to incorporate.
- Add the vanilla and sour cream, mix to combine.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated.
- Be sure to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl several times throughout the process to ensure the cheesecake is free of lumps.
- Pour the cheesecake batter into the cooled crust.
- Swirl the cherry caramel into the cheesecake batter.
- Wrap the springform pan with a slow cooker liner and then foil to prevent any leaking.
- Place cheesecake into a water bath and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 325 and continue to bake the cheesecake until set, an additional 45-55 minutes.
- Crack the oven door and let the cheesecake cool in the oven for 1 hour.
- Refrigerate overnight. Top with whipped cream and cherries before serving.
For the Whipped Cream
- Add all the ingredients to a cold glass bowl and whisk until you reach your desired consistency.
- You may also use a hand or stand mixer for this!
- I suggest making this cheesecake the day before you’d like to serve it!
Keywords: cheesecake, cherry desserts, holiday desserts