My husband recently had a birthday. We don’t do much to celebrate birthdays, holidays and other monumental days like that. I like to think we celebrate every day and treat ourselves when we want to instead of waiting a certain date. But, I definitely didn’t want the day to go by unnoticed. He LOVES cheesecake and for the first time ever, I decided to make a homemade cheesecake. I have certainly made cheesecake bars, cheesecake cake and the JELL-O cheesecakes, but not a homemade one. As usual, I looked online for inspiration and found a recipe for a cheesecake that looked quite simple.
If you aren’t a caramel fan, what is your problem? Just kidding, you could easily skip that part and top it with fruit or even store bought caramel or chocolate cause.
From my research I do remember that a water bath is important and you should not beat the eggs too much. You want to just incorporate them. I don’t remember the science behind it, but if you beat them too much, your cake will crack on the top. We want a nice, smooth surface and mine turned out great.
The crust is Ritz crackers with a bit of sugar and butter. I made an easy homemade caramel sauce to go on top and the saltiness of the crust really complemented the sweet topping. I crushed my crackers in my food processor and just used the processor to mix the cheesecake. Easy!
I made this cake in an 8” spring form pan. I think it would work in a large pie pan or even an 8×8 pan.
INGREDIENTS, slightly adapted from Cookies and Cups
- About 2 cups finely crushed Ritz or similar butter crackers, 2 sleeves
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature (2 bricks)
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup milk, cream, half-n-half, whatever you have (I used almond milk and it worked)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- Preheat your oven to 325F.
- Spray a 8- inch Springform pan lightly with cooking spray. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan and spray again. Set aside.
- In your food processor, combine the Ritz crumbs, butter and sugar. Process until fine crumbs are formed. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan. Set aside.
- In the bowl of your processor, beat the cream cheese and sugar until combined and even. Scrape the sides as needed. Add in the sour cream and mix for 30 more seconds until smooth, add in the flour and vanilla, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Finally add in the eggs and mix until just smooth. Do not over-mix.
- Pour the cream cheese mixture into the prepared crust.
- Cut a piece of aluminum foil the same size as a paper towel. Place the foil under the paper towel and put the springform pan on top of the paper towel. Wrap the bottom of the pan in the foil, with the paper towel as a barrier. Place the pan inside an empty 9×13 cake pan.
- Pour 2-4 cups of boiling water into the bottom of the cake pan. You want the water to go up about an inch or so on the side of your springform pan.
- Place in oven and bake for 50 minutes. Do not open the door while baking.
- Turn off the oven and prop open the door. Allow the cheesecake to rest in the warm oven for 45 minutes. The center should be set. Chill overnight.
- To make the caramel sauce mix the brown sugar, milk and butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook while whisking now and then for about 7 minutes, until it gets thick. Add vanilla and cook one more minute. Turn off the heat, cool slightly and pour into a jar. Refrigerate until cold.
- When you’re ready to serve, top the cheesecake with the caramel sauce. Using a butter knife loosen the sides of the cheesecake from the pan and release the sides of the pan. If your caramel isn’t soft, place it in a bowl with warm water to make it easier to pour.
- Store airtight refrigerated for up to 5 days.
I would say this was a definite hit with my cheesecake loving birthday man. I could drink that caramel sauce. Mmm.
Enjoy this sweet treat!