Here comes some yummy!! The holidays are all about good food and great times. Are you planning a family gathering this Christmas season? Do you do a fancy Christmas ham, prime rib, roasted duck, or something simple like a roast chicken? Inquiring minds want to know. Do you also provide the desserts or do you ask your guests to bring a dessert? I generally volunteer to bring a dessert and if you’re like me, then you’ll want to show up and bring this amazing Cranberry Cheesecake! It’s a show stopper for sure!
This cranberry cheesecake would also be perfect to bring to an office pot luck party. When I worked in corporate America we had quite a few pot lucks around the holidays. This huge cheesecake would totally serve 12 – 16 people depending on big you sliced it.
And who wouldn’t want a slice of this beauty?
Have you taken the family our for a tour of the holiday lights yet? We have plans to get into DC to see some of the lights. For me, it’s the best part of the season. All the lights make the early nights worth it! What is your favorite part of the holidays? The songs, or the gifts or the parties??
Wanna know what I dislike the most?
Wrapping all the presents. UGH!
I try my best to keep up with gift wrapping. I definitely don’t let them pile up until Christmas eve! Oy vey! My mother-in-law does and it drives me nuts. The woman will stay up until 2 am wrapping presents and making them so pretty. She is a gift wrapping perfectionist and it puts me to shame!
Do you wrap up your gifts all fancy with pretty bows and ribbons and accessories and tags and bling?? Not me! You’ll be lucky if you get a plastic bow stick on it.
Basically, I can’t add all that fancy stuff because the cats will eat it. And then I’ll find it a few hours later….. and that’s just no good!
Tips and Tricks
- Start with wrapping the springform pan in foil. Cheesecakes need a water bath to help bake the cheesecake evenly. We wrap the pan with heavy foil and place the entire pan into a larger baking pan with hot water. The springform pan needs to be watertight to keep the water out and the crust crisp. No cracked tops wanted here.
- Get a springform pan – obviously. I love this Wilton 9-inch Bake it Better Springform Pan that you can get at your local Wal-Mart store. (You can get everything you need for this recipe at Wal-Mart.) A springform pan has removable sides that make it very easy to remove the cheesecake for serving. I used a large cake lifter to get the cheesecake off the pan base.
- Use room temperature cream cheese. Let your cream cheese, and in this case Mascarpone cheese, come to room temperature before beating it. Soft cream cheese will whip up smoothly. If the cream cheese is too cold, you’ll end up with lumps and nobody likes a lumpy cheesecake.
- Don’t over mix your batter. Cheesecake is supposed to be thick, not airy. If you end up adding too much air to the batter, the cheesecake will balloon up too much while baking and then fall when cooling. The result will be a cracked top.
- Allow the cheesecake to cool overnight. You’ll pull the cheesecake out of the oven when it still has a slight jiggle in the center. It’ll seem undercoated, but it’s not. The cheesecake will keep cooking while it’s cooling. Refrigerating the cheesecake overnight will help it evenly solidify and be creamy for serving.
- Bake ahead and freeze it. You think that Cheesecake Factory has fresh cheesecakes all day, every day? Think again. They freeze it and you can too. For this cheesecake, bake it, refrigerate it, then wrap it tightly and securely and freeze it up to three months. Thaw it covered in the fridge for a night and add the topping before serving. It’s so easy!
Here’s a few more cheesecakes that are perfect for the holiday!
For the Crust
- 2 C crushed graham cracker crumbs
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1/4 C melter butter
For the Cheesecake
- 3 - 8oz packages cream cheese
- 3/4 C sugar
- 2 Tbsp orange juice
- 1 Tbsp grated orange peel
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 3 eggs, beaten
For the Cranberry Topping
- 3 C fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1 1/4 C sugar
- 1 C water
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1/4 C orange juice
- 1/2 C chopped pecans, toasted
For the Crust
- Combine the cookie crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Mix until the mixture is like wet sand. Press the crumbs into a 9" Springform pan lined with wax paper. Bake at 325 F for 6 minutes. Set aside to cool.
For the Filling
- Beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the orange juice and orange peel along with the vanilla and cinnamon. Gradually add in the beaten eggs and mix until smooth. Pour over the crust.
- Bake at 325 F for 45 - 50 minutes. The center should be set, but still jiggly when moved. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Run a knife around the edges to release the edge. Cover and refrigerate over night.
For the Cranberry Topping
- Toast and cool your pecans.
- In a large saucepan, add the cranberries, sugar, and water and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 3 minutes stirring constantly. Whisk together the cornstarch and orange juice and add to the cranberry mixture. Return to a boil and stir for 2 minutes until thickened.
- Transfer to a bowl and cool completely. Stir in the toasted pecans.
- Spoon the cranberry sauce over the cheesecake and serve.
No time to bake a cheesecake, that's fine - Just prepare the cranberry topping and add it to your pre-made cheesecake.
Forgot the pecans? Substitute toasted walnuts or skip them all together.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.