White Chocolate Mascarpone Cheesecake with Salted Caramel
They say it’s your birthday. Well, Happy Birthday to You!
Today’s post is part of a birthday surprise for Brandy, a young (oh yes, you are!) blogging friend. I was asked to participate in a Virtual Surprise Party for Brandy’s 30th birthday. You may know her as Nutmeg Nanny (two guesses on that name and one answer is yes, she is a nanny!) but I know her as a sweet, quirky girl who I’ve now seen get engaged, shop for a wedding dress and celebrate an important birthday; all through the magic of Twitter.
This is a communal effort but I love that it’s been kept small and more intimate. Each of us has taken on one course and if given the opportunity I’ll always choose dessert. I love making them. I love eating them. Nuff said?
I’ve been dying to make a cheesecake with some flavors from one of my favorite cakes and now I had the opportunity. To be honest I was CERTAIN that I would include some form of adult libation. I mean how could you NOT include booze in a dessert for a girl who puts on the ‘The 12 Boozy Days of Christmas?’ each year.
As it turns out; this was also Abby Dodge’s subject for February’s #baketogether challenge. Each month Abby gives us inspiration and a recipe and we can run with it. Follow as is or in Abby’s term, ‘Switch It Up’ if we choose. I did choose. I loved the crust with the ground almonds and my guests raved over the salted caramel and chocolate topping.
This was a trial; one of the few times when I struggled to get something to work; to elicit that OMG response upon tasting. I tried, I really did. I started with wanting something that would work with pomegranate arils but also had my heart set on caramel, so I mixed some pomegranate liqueur into a batch of caramel. It was OK. But just OK and that sort of meant I pitched it. I wanted stellar!
I ended up ditching the idea of pomegranate altogether; as gorgeous as they are…they are also so seasonal and I didn’t want to limit this cheesecake to just the middle of winter so moving on..
I decided to make the cake and maybe get an inspiration from the end result.The cheesecake alone is filled with things I love. Almonds in the crust, mascarpone and white chocolate in the base…it seemed easy enough to add just a bit of somethin’ somethin’ to the caramel, right? Wrong! I asked for suggestions on Twitter; I even contemplated making several caramel sauces and doing a taste test but in the end it really was simple. White chocolate in the base. Almonds in the crust? No I did not add a coconut liqueur…but opted to just KISS it (Keep It Simple Stupid) and went with the Scharffenberger Chocolate Liqueur that I had just made for Valentine gifts and a martini. Once that decision was made it was so perfect I was only irritated with myself that I had suffered getting there!
Make this dessert for someone you love. Make it for you. But make it. I made this for Brandy and only wish she could share it with me. Happy Birthday Sweetie!
White Chocolate Mascarpone Cheesecake with Salted Caramel and Chocolate Topping
For the Crust:
- ¾ cup toasted ground almonds
- ¾ cup graham cracker crumbs
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup butter melted
For the Cheesecake Filling:
- 6 ounces good quality white chocolate chopped
- 2 - 8 oz packages of cream cheese room temperature
- 16 oz mascarpone cheese room temperature
- 1 cups granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- Boiling water for baking
For the Sour Cream Topping:
- 16 oz sour cream
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
For the Caramel Sauce:
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 oz butter
- 3-4 Tbsp Chocolate Liqueur optional
- Maldon Sea Salt Flakes
To Make the Crust:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
- Tightly wrap the outside of a 9-inch diameter springform pan with 3 layers of heavy-duty foil
- Mix the almonds, cracker crumbs, and sugar in a food processor until finely ground. Add the butter and process until combined and moist crumbs are formed
- Press the almond mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan (not up the sides)
- Bake the crust until it is set and beginning to brown, about 12 minutes. Cool. Decrease the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
To Make the Cheesecake:
- Melt the white chocolate gently over simmering water or on low heat in the microwave.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, melted chocolate, sugar and salt in a large bowl until smooth, occasionally scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Beat in the vanilla.
- Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
- Pour the cheese mixture over the cooled crust in the pan.
- Place the springform pan in a large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
- Carefully put the pan into the oven and bake until the center of the cheesecake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, 55 minutes (the cake will become firm when it is cold).
- Remove the cake from the oven, top with the sour cream topping and return to the oven for 12 more minutes.
- Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and cool for 1 hour.
The Caramel Sauce:
- In a small, heavy bottomed pot, melt the sugar with water. Cook over high heat until deep amber in color; do not stir. Remove from heat, and carefully whisk in the cream (it will bubble up considerably; make sure you use a larger pot than you think you will need!). Whisk in the butter; returning the pan to low heat if necessary to get the butter to melt.
- Add the Chocolate Liqueur to taste and let cool to room temp. Spread over the top of the cheesecake with a thin layer of the caramel.
- Lightly sprinkle the top with Maldon sea salt.
- Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold, at least 4 hours and up to 2 days.
I hope you will enjoy our Virtual Birthday Party…visit some of my cohorts for additional courses:
1. Soup Course- Healthy Green Kitchen
2. Salad Course- Living Mostly Meatless
3. Pasta Course- Cooking With Books
4. Meat Course- Farmgirl Gourmet
5. Cheese Course- Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body
Your recipes look amazing. But I would like to know the exact amount cream cheese you are adding for this recipe.is it 32 oz ?
The recipe calls for 2 – 8 oz packages of cream cheese and also 16 oz of mascarpone cheese. If you want to use all cream cheese then yes, it would be 32 oz total. Hope that helps.
Ooh this looks gorgeous! I’d love to try it. A quick question, any ideas on what I could use instead of sour cream? We can’t get it here in Greece 🙁 Many thanks
I often substitute Greek yogurt for sour cream Eleni; I’ve never done that but you could try it. Since it’s already thinner, I might be a good idea to let it drain a bit first before mixing it with the sugar and applying it to the cheesecake. I’ve also heard of people combining 3/4 cup yogurt with 1/4 butter for a sour cream substitute but I’m not sure how well that would apply in a baking environment. Please let me know what you do and how it works!
Just made this, it’s wonderful! The sour cream layer adds a silky smooth, tangy element that, together with the salted caramel makes this really intriguing and sexytasty!
Nothing please me more than someone making something and loving it…especially thinking it’s sexytasty; that’s a new one and I love it! Thanks Peter.
looks fabulous, love to bake it and taste it!
Holy schmolly! That is one beautiful cheesecake!
I don’t always go through spam to see if good comments got caught by mistake but glad tonight that I took a peek. Holy schmolly…that made me chuckle! Thanks Georgie.
I love that perfect slice of cheesecake..and caramel topping sounds yummy!
This looks delicious!!
Looks absolutely delicious. I’ve never made cheesecake with mascarpone before — think I’ll make this one for my boyfriend for Valentine’s Day!
Wow, this looks amazing. You did a really great job! I have a couple of questions and I hope you don’t mind. You mention adding chocolate liquor to the caramel but I don’t see it in the ingredients list. How much did you use? Also, does the caramel remain chewy and soft, or does it become hard(er)?
Oops…I fixed that Hanaa; thanks. Just a couple of Tablespoons and it’s even optional if you don’t have it. I also made my own chocolate liqueur which is what I used.
You had me at hello!!! I have a weakness for cheesecakes, but it was the salted caramel that really did me in. Swoon!
what a sweet event.. sweet and salty treats rock!! so glad I hopped over to check out your creation! pinning!!
Thank you so much! Glad to have you stop by and thanks for the pin.
I am so delighted that I found your website but I can see that I shouldn’t read it when I’m hungry because everything looks so good! The combination of the flavors in this cheesecake sounds heavenly. Who needs dinner, anyway?
You are a woman after my own heart Sally!
Gorgeous and richly delicious!! I love that you used mascarpone and the caramel topping just blends beautifully. Must taste amazing!!
I had a large group over and served it for dessert. It might have gone over well. 🙂
I love pomegranate, but I’m sure glad you ditched it and went with the salted caramel here! This looks absolutely amazing!! Pinning it right away!
Me too; it would have been pretty but I can plan that for next Christmas can’t I?
I love this, looks amazing. love the sweet and salty way this would taste. On my to do list.
Ahh, but the suffering paid off royally in the end! Simply delicious – can we start this virtual birthday celebration with the dessert course 🙂
Sure…but you know it was the only course I had. Was sure happy to have friends coming over. They can smell when I’m baking and are always eager to be my testers.
Hmmmm where is MY birthday cheesecake? Really anything with mascarpone and salted butter caramel will do! This is just stunning! Absolutely beautiful and I am so loving the flavors! You are an incredible cook/baker….
Ahem. When you come to the states and drop in via parachute as I have suggested; I will have this cheesecake waiting. And more. 🙂
Girl! This looks DA-Vine! Going on my list of must try cheesecakes asap. I would say more but I’m busy drooling 😀
Wipe your chin girl!
Hmmm…that’s what I’d call delicious… I’m a big fan of cheesecakes so Ijust can’t wait to give your recipe a try as soon as possible! Thanks for sharing it!
This is one exquisite cheesecake…ALL my favorite flavors!
Hello salted caramel deliciousness, I want a piece!
I can not tell a lie. I would probably go nuts over liver with salted caramel on top. 🙂
well you know this has my name written all over it, right???? salted caramel?? on cheesecake??? i really hope there is salted caramel in heaven . . . or i’m not goin’ . . . just sayin’ . . .
I’m with you Deb. My first experience I can remember was a salted caramel hot chocolate I bought for my daughter MANY years ago…have been hooked, line and sinker, ever since.
This looks insanely delicious! Wow. What a work of mouthwatering art.
Thank you so much Mary; very much appreciated.
You can make me one for my birthday! 🙂 I have always wanted to try a cheesecake with Mascarpone cheese. That salted caramel just sends it over the top. Drooling!
Nice job! And yes, great minds do think alike. 😉 I also struggle at times with keeping it simple.
I actually love a relatively plain lemon flavored cheesecake so much that I hesitate adding a lot of anything to the basic recipe but this…these were a couple of subtle but perfect elements…once I got that liqueur thing right. 🙂
This is simply amazing..! Cheesecake is one of my favorite cakes and the way you baked it, looks so delicious! I’m gonna share this to my mom because she loves baking new recipe.
Happy birthday to you! 🙂
OMG! This cake looks incredible! Happy Birthday to Brandy!
Thanks Maris…and glad to see you stop by. XOXO
Will you please stop making every kind of food, sweet or sacory, that I love? I’m one of the few people who feels white chocolate should be let into the ‘real chocolate’ club just because it’s soo french vanilla wonderful – why not french vanilla chocolate – the hell with picky cocoa bean llquor/butter crap? Salted caramel? Fuhgeddabout it, I’d be begging at your doorstep.
I agree wholeheartedly…it adds a great element to this cheesecake without making it chocolate chocolate. Let’s start a campaign!
You know how much I love cheesecake! I hopped over as soon as I saw the title. The salted caramel glaze sounds divine.
It is, it is…I had some left over. I had no problem eating it with a spoon. True confession.
WOW!!!! Now that is a dessert I would love, would a perfect sweet treat for any birthday celebration!!!! Love that top, the caramel looks so perfect! Hugs, Terra
Thank you Terra…I guess I have to admit; if it’s got a caramel topping, how could it not be good? 🙂
Well, I think I will just start with the tasty crust. Lounge around in the cheesy center and leave room to finish off the caramel topping….and I’m not referring to just a slice. I’d like the whole thing, please;)
Traveling through a cheesecake huh? Loved your comment…let’s lounge together girlfriend.
WOO HOO!!! You definitely made the right decision Barb – that one definitely gives the Cheesecake Factory a run for it’s money!! If I could ship it, I’d be making it right now for the oldest since he LOVES cheesecake! Alas, I may just have to make it for… me!!
I think Cheesecake Factory is overrated anyhow…but thanks so much. I did suggest you make it for yourself. Do it!
I mean, I GUESS pomegranate would have been ok, but the flavor combo you landed on is outrageous! Can you make this, for reals, for my birthday? It’s not til November, so you have a few months 😉
I was sort of stuck on how pretty pomegranate would have been but then it seemed too holidayish so glad in all ways I went another direction. I appreciate the heads up…yes, you have given me plenty of time. Whew.
Oh, I can’t wait to try this, your photos are gorgeous as always! So nice to be a part of Nutmeg Nanny’s party too 🙂 Great idea to make courses.
It was fun…I liked the fact that it was directed and made of courses too…created synergy in abundant ways.
HEAVEN on a plate!
Thank you Mick…always a special feeling when the chef from Tony’s gives his seal of approval! Much appreciated.
That is one divine looking and sounding cheesecake! The caramel glaze is so irresistible. A perfect dessert.
Thanks so much Rosa…isn’t it though. Who doesn’t like cheesecake? 🙂
Oh my!!! I just want to dive into that cheesecake head first! I’ve been on such a salted caramel kick lately and this would be just the thing to hit the spot right now… And yes, it’s 9am here in NJ 😉 Wonderful wonderfully recipe and I will definitely be making this some time.
I love salted caramel too Kate…just enough to balance what can often be an almost achingly sweet caramel. Fabulous on cheesecake.
You’ve outdone yourself! This looks amazing and perfect to celebrate another year in Brandy’s life!
Only wish we could actually be together celebrating. Sob…but it was fun doing it with you and the others. A great bunch.
Wow, you really made up for lost time this month! What an inspired recipe. There’s not much better than salted caramel. This looks great Barb.
Thanks my friend. I have some in the freezer. Just sayin’!
Happy Birthday to Brandy! I’m betting that she’s wishing she could celebrate it with you IRL and with this gorgeous and scrumptious looking cheesecake. With 2.4 teaspoons of your homemade Chocolate Liqueur in the topping and an almond based crust I know this is a true winner.
It was so good Paula…really sometimes I think I overthink!
This looks SO good! Can I have some for breakfast instead?
Shh…don’t tell but I did the other day. Sometimes a girl has to do what a girl has to do, right?
OMG Barb this looks fantastic. Cheesecake is my weakness 🙂
Mine too Winnie. And caramel. Together I’m in trouble. I had a party so it was mostly finished off but I have a small piece in the freezer. Now I want to go thaw something. 🙂