Caramel Apple Cheesecake
This Caramel Apple Cheesecake is loaded with apple flavor, and it’s baked in a gingersnap crust. It’s everything you love about the Fall…just in cheesecake form!
Every area of the country has it’s own specialty when it comes to local fruit and veggies. California has avocados and limes. Florida has oranges. Louisiana has some of the best strawberries I’ve ever tasted, and my love for South Carolina peaches is not very secret. I’m pretty sure I could build a treehouse in a peach tree in South Carolina and live in it. So what does upstate New York have? Apples! Tons and tons of delicious apples. I know it’s a bit New England cliche, but we go apple picking every Fall. In fact, we go several times and then eat apples for months.
Until we moved up here, I was really only familiar with a couple of varieties of apples. Of course there were Red Delicious and Granny Smith, and I think I might have heard of Gala and McIntosh, too. So you can imagine my surprise when I came across like 25+ varieties on our first trip to the orchard. I’m pretty sure we took a bite of every kind, too! (The orchard encouraged us to sample the different varieties.) My favorite? Honeycrisp. Hands down. No questions asked. I think we buy probably 50 pounds of Honeycrisp every Fall. Not lying. (Honeycrisps are my favorite for eating, but Granny Smiths are still my favorite for baking.)
Within just a couple months of moving into our house, we went out and planted several fruit trees in our back yard. We’ve got 2 apple trees (they need each other to pollinate), 1 nectarine tree and a cherry tree. It’s been awesome watching them grow, but the worst part is having to pick all of the buds off every Spring. Picking the buds off of young trees sends the tree’s energy into growing bigger and stronger rather than producing fruit. This year, we decided to leave a couple of buds on each tree. Sure enough, we have a couple of apples out there! Or I should say had a couple of apples.
From my upstairs office window, I can literally watch the squirrels run off with my apples. I run out there yelling and hollering like a banshee, but to no avail. We’re now down to 2 apples, and I’m hoping the squirrels are full and leave those poor apples alone. If anyone has any tips for how to keep squirrels from eating all of your apples, please share!!
We recently had some friends come visit, and they requested an apple dessert. After all, we live in the middle of apple country, and apples are in season. Well, I got to thinking. Apples. That led to caramel. Ok, so now I had a caramel apple dessert of some sort. Then it hit me. Cheesecake. Caramel Apple Cheesecake.
Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts of all time, so I was stoked to get in the kitchen and create this fun cheesecake! Not only did I include some lightly sauteed apples in the cake, but I swirled some apple butter into the batter as well. (Thanks to my uncle-in-law for that little trick!) The result? Well, let’s just say this Caramel Apple Cheesecake didn’t last too long around here!
Caramel Apple Cheesecake
For the Gingersnap Crust
- 30-35 gingersnaps enough for 2 cups of crumbs
- 2 Tbsp light brown sugar
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
For the Apples
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 Granny Smith or Fuji apples peeled and sliced into thin wedges
- 1 Tbsp light brown sugar
For the Cheesecake
- 32 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 1¼ cups granulated sugar
- 2½ Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- ¼ cup sour cream
- ½ Tbsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup apple cider
- ½ Tbsp cinnamon
- ¾ cup apple butter
For the Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- ⅔ cup heavy cream
For the Gingersnap Crust
- Using a food processor or mini-chopper, pulse the gingersnaps until finely ground. In a medium bowl, combine the gingersnap crumbs, brown sugar and melted butter. Stir until fully combined.
- Lightly butter or grease a 9” springform pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a circle of parchment paper. Press the crust mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan. (Tip: A flat-bottomed glass helps pack the crust mixture down evenly.)
- Bake crust at 350°F for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
For the Apples
- Using a medium sauté pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Once melted, add the sliced apples and stir until well combined. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until apples begin to soften slightly.
- Add the brown sugar, stir and cook for 1 more minute. Set aside to cool.
For the Caramel Sauce
- Place the sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Whisk the sugar constantly as it begins to melt. (Tip: Use a larger saucepan than you might think because the mixture will bubble up when the other ingredients are added!)
- Once the sugar has fully melted and turns light caramel in color, remove pan from heat and add the butter. Stir until butter has fully melted. (Note: The mixture will bubble up rapidly once the butter is added, so use caution.)
- Slowly whisk in the heavy cream. (Tip: If the caramel seizes up when you add the liquid, you can place it back over low temperature and whisk constantly until it turns into a thick sauce.)
- Let cool at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.
- Cover and store in the refrigerator.
For the Cheesecake
- Using a countertop mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until completely smooth (about 3 minutes).
- Add the sugar and mix well. (Tip: Don’t forget to scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl to fully incorporate the sugar.)
- Add flour and mix well.
- Whisk the eggs and egg yolks together and add to the bowl in 3 additions, mixing fully after each addition.
- Add the sour cream, vanilla, apple cider and cinnamon. Mix until fully combined. (Tip: Use a spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure the filling is fully mixed.)
- Pour about ¼ of the Cheesecake filling on top of the cooled Gingersnap Crust.
- Next spread the cooked Apples evenly across the top of the filling.
- Pour the remaining Cheesecake filling on top of the Apples.
- Finally, drop the apple butter on top of the filling in 2 Tbsp spoonfuls. Using a blunt knife, carefully swirl the apple butter into the filling. (Note: Take care not to disturb the layer of Apples at the bottom of the cheesecake.)
- Wrap the bottom of the pan with a piece of aluminum foil and place in a large baking pan. Fill baking pan with 3/4” of water. Bake at 325° until center of cake is just barely set (about 90-100 minutes). (Tip: Pull the cheesecake out of the oven when there is ~1" ring of "looser" filling left in the center of the cake.)
- Remove cake from oven and cool for 10 min. Wrap entire pan in plastic wrap and freeze overnight.
- The next day, remove the cake from the freezer and release the springform pan. Transfer the cake to a serving platter and defrost in a refrigerator for 4-5 hours.
- Garnish cheesecake with Caramel Sauce before serving.
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So how many years do you pick the buds off? Talk about calling my name ~ that
Caramel Apple Cheesecake is beyond awesome!
Thank you! We’ve heard that you are supposed to pick the buds for the first 3-4 years. By next year, I think we’ll be leaving most of the buds on since the trees are getting nice and big now. Hopefully we get a nice harvest next Fall!
Apple butter in the batter?! *swoon*!! I’m a huge cheesecake fan and would never have thought of that. Your dessert is gorgeous, as usual. <3
Thank you so much, Becca! This cheesecake may be one of my favorites…it’s perfect for the Fall!
Some of my early years of baking included baking cheesecakes. I haven’t baked one in years. Again, you have inspired me to bake either something new or something I haven’t baked in a while. I need to stay off of your website. 🙂
Hahaha! You’re the best, Tamara. Now go get in the kitchen and bake a cheesecake for this weekend! You know you want to! 🙂
Forget being lactose intolerant – am gonna NEED a piece of this! GAH – I haven’t had real cheesecake in too long (think the last one I had was one my sister baked for my 18th birthday)! Speak of totally decadent – apple butter in the cheesecake and apples at the bottom -gah – Fuji happens to be my favorite!
My daughter and I went apple picking last year and those were some delicious apples though I don’t recall there being 25 different kinds – wow, what a variety!
Shashi! I am a bad friend. I keep posting all of these recipes that you aren’t able to eat. I’m sorry! Believe it or not, I didn’t like cheesecake until maybe 6-7 years ago. It was always around the house, but I never ate it. (It might have had something to do with the fact that my sister loved it. And if she liked something, then meant it was bad. Haha.) Now I’m just making up for all of that lost cheesecake time! And yes, the apple orchards up here are insane! I just read about 2 new varieties that they created last year. The apple wizards keep grafting different varieties of trees together to create new types of apples. Talk about a fun job!
Such a great idea to incorporate all these fall treats into a delicious deesert. I wasn’t a huge cheesecake fan either years ago, but love them nowadays. I just made a pumpkin and ginger one and I could eat that stuff for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Your look just how I like it: creamy, rich and yet with an interesting aroma.
Oh man, Oana, a pumpkin and ginger cheesecake sounds like it’s right up my alley! And yes, I’m fairly certain I could eat cheesecake for breakfast…but I usually try to be good and at least wait until after I have my morning coffee. Haha! Thanks for commenting!
Oh my goodness. It looks beautiful. Your post feels so fall-esque while I sit here dying from the heat in LA. So wrong!! I’ve always wanted to go apple picking. It sounds like so much fun, but nobody wants to go. They said it’s more labor intensive and backbreaking than it is fun.
Oh my gosh. Apple picking is anything BUT labor intensive. You literally walk along rows of apples right at eye-level and pick as many as you want. It’s one of the best parts about Fall! Tell your friends that this is the year to go!!
This cheesecake is everything. I won’t need any more desserts this Fall as long as I get one teenie tiny slice of this cake…but hopefully you won’t be so cruel, and you’ll give me a big slice! I can’t believe you only have 2 apples on your trees! I want to go apple picking so badly. And honeycrisps are my favorite too, but they haven’t made it down here yet.
I may or may not have eaten all of this cheesecake. Oops. But if you send me some of those peaches, then I’ll make you a whole cheesecake. Just for you. Except I might have to take out a slice for another picture. Just because that’s what I do. Haha.
Yep my friend, we got apples in New York (and New England). I know it’s not super exciting (like avocados or peaches) but on the bright side – as you mentioned – there are hundreds of different varieties of heirloom apples.
My faves are the Cox’s Orange Pippin (mainly because of the name – Pippin -> LOTR) and the Black Oxford (super crunchy!) You should try ’em!
And that a legit cheesecake my friend, my GF would love it! #WolfPackEats
I had no idea you were such a LOTR fan, Mike! It’s nice knowing there are fellow foodie nerds out there…haha. I’m not familiar with those varieties, but I’ll have to see if I can hunt them down this apple season. Thanks!
Love the look of this beaut! One question – some of us can’t take apple cider – will apple juice be a good substitute or would you suggest a suitable alternative please? Appreciate it.
Hey Radhiah! Apple juice would be a perfectly acceptable substitute here. I hope you enjoy the cheesecake…it’s one of my favorites!! 🙂
Yay! Thanks for quick reply. Hope so too. Oh n thanks for the laugh – can see you running & hollering like a banshee at the squirrels hehe.
Haha! Anytime, Radhiah. 🙂 We’re down to one lone apple left on that tree. All I know is it better still be there in another week or two when it’s ready to be picked!
How thin should the apples be for this recipe.
Hey Jackie! Good question. I sliced the apples into 4 quarters, and then I cut each quarter into 3-4 slices. It’s a bit of personal preference, though, since the apples do get cooked down slightly before going into the cheesecake. I hope you enjoy this one…it’s one of my favorite Fall recipes!!
This looks amazing! All my favorite things in one place!
Thank you so much, Serena! I gotta admit…this may be my favorite cheesecake ever. So perfect for Autumn! 🙂
Oh my! I have not made cheesecake in many years now but it is was my favourite! I was on Pinterest looking for a fall desert to make for a Thanksgiving lunch this weekend and saw this absolutely delicious looking thing! You have inspired me to make cheesecake again and I will attempt this one 🙂 One question, might sound silly… how do I make the apple butter? I’m assuming apple and butter but the ratios? Thank you so much!
Hey Heather! I’m so glad you stumbled onto this cheesecake…it was absolutely delicious! In fact, I might need to make another one of these soon. 🙂 It does involve a few steps, but there’s nothing terribly complicated in there. (And if you’ve baked cheesecakes before, you’re probably already familiar with the steps.) Your question isn’t silly at all! Apple butter is actually sold in most grocery stores. I found mine in the jam and jelly section…just hanging out on one of the lower shelves. It was made by a national brand (I think it was Musselman’s), so I’m guessing you should be able to find it pretty easily, too. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask! I hope you enjoy this cheesecake as much as I do. 🙂 (Oh, you probably saw it in the recipe, but I like to make the cheesecake the day before and then freeze it in the pan overnight. I find this helps get the cheesecake out of the springform pan easily.)
Thanks for the quick response! Oh gosh… the grocery store! Thank you. I will be making it Friday night then freezing it as I head out of town on Saturday until Sunday evening. I’ll take it out Monday morning which is the day of the lunch/early dinner. Hope that all works out! Thanks again!
I just stumbled across your recipe on Pinterest! Every Christmas I always make mini cheesecakes in muffin tins, wrap them nicely and give them to close family and friends. I’m thinking this could be this years cheesecake! Do you have any suggestions or tips for using this recipe?Thanks 🙂
Hey Tara! I’m so glad you stumbled across my site…and especially this cheesecake! It’s one of my favorites, and I might need to make another one now that the holidays are here. I’ve never baked cheesecakes in muffin tins, but I imagine this recipe would work pretty similar to others that you have made. If you are able to find removable bottom tins, then that would certainly help the process! Oh, one tip that I do have for cheesecake (any cheesecake…not just this one) is to freeze the entire thing (pan and all) as soon as it has cooled down enough to handle. I wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap and freeze it overnight. It’s super easy to pop the cheesecake out of the springform pan then. If you aren’t using a springform pan, you can hold the pan over a gas burner on a stove (if you have gas) for a couple of seconds. This helps melt the edge…making it easier to pop the cake out. I hope this helps, but let me know if you have any other questions! Happy Holidays…and happy cheesecake baking! 🙂
BTW…. I made this recipe at Thanksgiving and it was a HUGE hit! It was delicious. My husband said that I can make that again ANY time! Thanks again 🙂
Awesome! I’m sorry I missed this comment a couple of days ago…but I am so glad the cheesecake turned out well for you! Happy Holidays, and thank you for reading my site. 🙂
Made it for my family lunch on mothers day! Everyone loved it, even convinced two of my sibling who are lactose intolerant to have a slice, one even went back for seconds! Mum was very happy with it.
Hey Caroline! I’m so glad you and the family enjoyed this recipe. It’s an older one here on this blog, but it’s still one of my favorites!! I hope you make it again sometime…it’s particularly good when the crisp days of fall roll around!