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This Caramel Pecan Cheesecake is a rich brown sugar cheesecake baked in a buttery graham cracker crust. It’s topped with crushed pecans and homemade salted caramel sauce.
Homemade Caramel Pecan Cheesecake
Despite my love of all things no-bake, real cheesecake like my Creamy Homemade Cheesecake is actually one of my favorite desserts. Typically I shy away from baked cheesecakes because they can be a bit labor intensive, but it’s always worth it.
This caramel cheesecake has both a homemade caramel baked into the cheesecake as well as a thick caramel topping. It sits on top of a graham cracker crust and it’s covered with pecans. This is salty and sweet all wrapped up into one dessert.
What I’ve learned over the year is that if you have a crack in your cheesecake, cover it with something yummy…like caramel…and pecans…and whipped cream. And if my Turtle Pie recipe taught me anything, it’s that apparently, I am a big fan of caramel and pecans together.
This Caramel Pecan Cheesecake is a really special recipe because it comes from my talented friend Jocelyn Brubaker from Inside Bru Crew life. She wrote a whole cookbook about cheesecake called Cheesecake Love.
- Cream Cheese – you’ll need four blocks of full-fat cream cheese. Be sure to bring it to room temperature first so it gets nice and smooth.
- Vanilla and Caramel Extract – if you can’t find caramel extract, you can sub it out for extra vanilla.
- Flour- this helps thicken the cheesecake filling.
- Heavy Whipping Cream – this ingredient is listed in several parts of the recipe. Be sure to pay attention to the proper temperature required (either chilled or at room temperature).
How to Make Caramel Pecan Cheesecake
This homemade cheesecake looks a lot more labor-intensive than it actually is! Trust me. It’s simple and oh so decadent!
- Make the caramel sauce: Place sugar and water into a saucepan and cook until the sugar has dissolved. Continue letting the mixture cook and bubble until it turns a dark amber color. Remove and slowly whisk in butter, then very slowly add the cream. Return to the heat, boil for 1 minute, then remove from the heat and stir in salt. Cool completely. This is used both in the cheesecake filling and as a topping.
- Prepare the water bath: Place a large baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven and fill it halfway with water. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper.
- Assemble the crust: In a bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Make the filling: Beat the cream cheese until creamy, then add the brown sugar. Pour in the heavy cream, caramel sauce, extracts, and flour, and beat until incorporated. One at a time, add the eggs and beat until incorporated.
- Assemble and bake: Pour the filling into the prepared crust, place the pan on the rack above the water tray, and bake for 60 minutes.
- Cool slowly: Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then place it in the fridge and let it chill for 4-6 hours.
- Make the whipped topping: Chill a bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for 5-10 minutes, then pour in heavy whipping cream. Beat until thickened to soft peaks, then slowly add powdered sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form.
- Top and serve: Spread leftover caramel topping over the cheesecake, then sprinkle with pecans. Pipe whipped cream along the edges, then slice and serve.
How Do I Know the Cheesecake is Done?
You’ll slightly underbake the cheesecake, as it will set up as it cools. The check for doneness, give the pan a gentle shake. If the whole cheesecake jiggles, it needs more time. If it’s just a little jiggly in the very center, then it’s good to go.
Recipe Tips and Advice
- Make the caramel first. We want to give the caramel plenty of time to cool off before adding it to the cheesecake.
- Does your pan leak? If you fill the pan with water and it quickly leaks out the bottom, it’s likely that the water bath will affect the crust of the cheesecake. See the next tip.
- Prep the pan properly- how to prevent leaks. You’ll line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and grease the sides. This makes it so much easier to remove the cheesecake. But wrapping the pan twice with tin foil or using a slow-cooker bag is the best way to prevent leaks. If you love making cheesecake, check out this tutorial for preventing leaks.
- Don’t over-beat the filling. Over-mixeing the filling will have too much air in it which can cause the top of the cheesecake to crack.
- To help prevent cracking: After 5 minutes of letting the cheesecake cool on the counter, run a knife around the edges to loosen it up. It will shrink as it cools, so this helps prevent cracking.
Preparation and Storage
Refrigerate: Baked cheesecake can be made ahead of time and stored either in the fridge for two days before serving. Add all the toppings the day you plan to serve. A fully assembled caramel pecan cheesecake can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days.
To freeze: wrapped tightly and stored in the freezer for up to 1 month without the toppings. When you’re ready to serve, just thaw it in the fridge overnight and add the topping.
You can also prepare the caramel topping ahead of time and store it in a mason jar in the fridge for up to 1 month.
More Cheesecake DessertsPrint
A rich brown sugar caramel cheesecake with crushed pecans and a graham cracker crust with a homemade salted caramel sauce.
For the Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream, at room temperature
- 1–2 teaspoons coarse sea salt (optional)
For the Cheesecake
For the Crust
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the Filling
- 32 ounces (4 8-ounce packages) full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream,
- 1/4 cup caramel topping (recipe listed above)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon caramel extract (or sub vanilla)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
For the Toppings
- 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream, cold
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- Leftover caramel topping
For the Caramel Sauce:
- Place the sugar and water in a 3-quart saucepan with high sides. Pick up the pan and rotate it to get the water into all the sugar. Place the pan over medium heat and cook until the sugar has dissolved. Do not stir the mixture at all.
- The mixture will begin to bubble. Let the sugar mixture cook for 8-10 minutes more. Again, do not stir the mixture at all while its bubbling.
- The color of the mixture will turn from clear to light amber to golden amber to slightly darker amber. Do not let it get too dark. Carefully watch the sugar mixture because it can burn very quickly.
- Remove the pan from the heat when the mixture turns darker amber and whisk in the butter very slowly. Once the butter is mixed in, VERY slowly add the cream while whisking constantly. Note the mixture will bubble fiercely when you add the cream but just keep whisking.
- Return the pan to the heat and let the caramel boil for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the salt for salted caramel if desired. Cool the mixture completely.
For the Cheesecake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place a large rimmed baking sheet on the very bottom rack of the oven and fill it halfway with water. Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Wrap the pan twice with heavy-duty aluminum foil or a slow cooker bag.
- For the crust: Mix together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Press the crumbs firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Set aside.
- For the filling: Beat the cream cheese until creamy and smooth. Add the brown sugar and beat until well combined. Add the heavy cream, 1/4 cup caramel topping, extracts and flour. Beat until everything is incorporated completely.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Make sure the eggs are fully incorporated but do not overbeat the batter.
- Pour the cheesecake mixture onto the prepared crust. Place the pan on the oven rack right above the tray of water. Bake for approximately 60 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack. Let the cheesecake cool for five minutes, then run a sharp knife around the edge of the cheesecake to loosen it from the springform pan. Let the cheesecake cool for one hour then refrigerate it for 4 to 6 hours or until completely chilled.
For the Topping:
- Detach the springform pan ring and remove the cheesecake from the pan. Slide it onto the serving plate. Spread the caramel topping on the cheesecake right before serving. Sprinkle the pecans on top of the caramel.
- Prepare a batch of whipped cream: Chill the mixing bowl and beater blade for 5-10 minutes in the freezer or refrigerator. Beat the heavy cream in the chilled bowl and use an electric mixer to beat on medium-high speed until the cream thickens to soft peaks. Add the powdered sugar and continue beating on high speed until stiff peaks form. Pipe along the edges of the cheesecake.
- Store-brought caramel vs homemade: Prepare the required caramel sauce prior to making the cheesecake and allow proper time to cool. If you’d like to use store-bought caramel, its is recommended that the caramel sauce for the cheesecake filling should be thin like an ice cream topping. The caramel sauce for the topping should be thick like a caramel dip for apples.
- Prep the pan properly- how to prevent leaks. Wrapping the pan twice with tin foil or using a slow-cooker bag is the best way to prevent leaks. If you love making cheesecake, check out this tutorial for preventing leaks.
- Storage tips: If you refrigerate the cheesecake with the caramel dip on top, the caramel will harden. Run a sharp knife under very hot water. Dry it off and very slowly cut through the caramel so that you do not crush the soft cheesecake. The hot knife will melt the caramel as you cut through.
- To store leftover caramel dip: Let the caramel mixture cool before spooning into a jar. Store the caramel in the refrigerator for up to one month. You may need to warm it up slightly in the microwave or allow it to come to room temperature before using.
- Recipe reprinted with permissions from St. Martin’s Press Cheesecake Love
- Category: Cheesecake
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Caramel Cheesecake, Cheesecake Recipe,