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Caramel Apple Cheesecake

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A spiced brown sugar cheesecake pairs with cooked apples and salted caramel sauce for a decadent holiday dessert. This caramel apple cheesecake will have everyone asking for the recipe!

Front view of a slice of caramel apple cheesecake on a plate next to a fork.

I’m kind of known as the Cheesecake Queen by my family and friends. My cheesecake recipes are some of my favorite things to make, after all!

My pumpkin cheesecake has become a Thanksgiving must for a lot of readers. Even my nana’s easy cheesecake and my classic vanilla cheesecake are popular holiday desserts.

But this year, I wanted to change things up and give you a new holiday cheesecake that you’re gonna love: caramel apple cheesecake. 

Caramel sauce is being poured over a slice of caramel apple cheesecake on a white plate.

DECADENT CARAMEL APPLE CHEESECAKE

One word comes to mind when I think of this caramel apple cheesecake: decadence.

For this particular cheesecake, I topped a gingersnap cookie crust with a spiced brown sugar cheesecake filling. The brown sugar in the filling gives the cheesecake a bit of a caramel note, which is exactly what we want here.

After the cheesecake is baked and cooled, it gets topped with apples that have been cooked in butter, brown sugar, and apple pie spice and drizzled with salted caramel sauce.

To say that I am obsessed is an understatement.

I gave slices of this caramel apple cheesecake away to several of my friends and neighbors and they were all equally obsessed. I think they probably wanted me to test it again, just so they could get another slice!

If you’re looking for the perfect dessert to add to your holiday menu, stop the search. This is it.

Overhead view of sliced caramel apple cheesecake next to a plate of assembled and garnished caramel apple cheesecake.

HOW TO MAKE CARAMEL APPLE CHEESECAKE

A recipe like this probably seems intimidating to a beginner baker, but I’m going to walk you through each step so you can feel confident as you bake.

Recipe components

There are 4 things you’ll need to make for this caramel apple cheesecake:

  • Gingersnap crust
  • Cheesecake filling
  • Apple topping
  • Salted caramel sauce

I like to use my homemade salted caramel sauce for this recipe. It’s surprisingly easy and can be used in so many different ways.

But I’ll share a secret with you: It’s totally ok if you want to buy a jar of salted caramel sauce instead.

I do recommend looking for a salted caramel sauce, rather than regular caramel. The little bit of salt in the caramel sauce helps cut through the sweetness of the cheesecake and balances out the flavors beautifully.

Ingredients for caramel apple cheesecake arranged on a countertop.

Helpful resources

Making the cheesecake

The cheesecake itself is the most intimidating part of this recipe, but I promise that you can do this.

Grab some heavy-duty foil and tightly wrap the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with the foil to prevent leaks when using the water bath later. Spray the inside of the springform with nonstick spray and set aside.

Gingersnap crust in a springform pan.

Make the crust by stirring the crushed gingersnap cookies with the melted butter until well combined. Press this mixture into the bottom and about 1 inch up the sides of the prepared springform pan.

Bake the crust for 8 minutes, then let it cool completely while you work on the filling.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment to beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the brown sugar and mix until combined.

Add the eggs one at a time, making sure to mix each one well before adding the next. I also scrape down the sides of the bowl between each egg.

Add the apple pie spice, vanilla, flour, and salt. Once the batter is well combined and smooth, pour it into the prepared crust.

Place the springform pan into a larger pan, such as a roasting pan. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until it comes halfway up the sides of the springform. I like to do this step on the oven rack so there’s less chance of sloshing the water while transferring the cheesecake to the oven.

Bake the cheesecake for 60 minutes. It’s done when the edges appear set but the center still has a slight jiggle. 

Turn off the oven but leave the cheesecake inside. Crack the oven door and let the cheesecake rest in the cooling oven for 1 hour.

After 1 hour, remove the cheesecake from the water bath and place it on a cooling rack to finish cooling. Then cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours before serving.

Cooked apples in a black skillet set on a burner.

Making the topping

Before serving, you will need to make the apple topping for your caramel apple cheesecake. 

To do this, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the apples, brown sugar, and apple pie spice.

Saute the apples until they have softened a bit but still have some texture to them. I like them best when they’ve cooked for 3-4 minutes.

When the apples are at your desired level of doneness, remove them from the heat and let them cool.

Before serving, top the cheesecake with the apples and drizzle with salted caramel sauce.

Overhead view of chilled caramel apple cheesecake next to a bowl of cooked apples and a jar of caramel sauce.

MAKE-AHEAD TIPS

If you’re making caramel apple cheesecake for your Thanksgiving or holiday table, you’re probably going to want to prep it ahead of time.

The good news is that you can make all of the components ahead!

If you’re making a homemade salted caramel sauce, make it up to 5 days in advance. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If needed, microwave it for 30 seconds at a time, stirring between each interval, to make it pourable before serving.

Make the cheesecake up to 2 days in advance. Leave in the springform pan; cover tightly with foil and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Make the apple topping as early as the night before. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If needed, microwave for about 30 seconds just to make them more “spoonable” before serving.

With all of the components of this caramel apple cheesecake prepped and ready to go, you can finish making your roasted turkey, garlic mashed potatoes, and corn casserole without stressing about dessert. 

Slice of caramel apple cheesecake on a white plate. A jar of caramel is visible in the background.

RECIPE FAQS

Are there other crust options for this recipe?

I love the richly spiced gingersnap cookie crust on this caramel apple cheesecake, but there are plenty of other options if you don’t like gingersnaps.

You can use a classic graham cracker crust as-is or add 1 teaspoon of apple pie spice to it.

Another option is to use the sugar cookie crust from my sugar cookie cheesecake.

If you want a spiced crust but can’t find gingersnaps at your store, try substituting them for an equal amount (by weight) of Biscoff cookies! 

I don’t have any apple pie spice. What can I use instead?

If you don’t have apple pie spice or the ingredients to make your own on hand, you can substitute an equal amount of ground cinnamon.

Can I top this caramel apple cheesecake with apple pie filling?

I like using the cooked apples in this recipe because I can control how crisp they are and they aren’t overly sweet. That said, you could definitely use apple pie filling if you prefer.

If you do use apple pie filling, keep in mind that it is a bit sweeter than the listed apple topping, so the dessert will be sweeter overall.

Slice of caramel apple cheesecake with a bite taken from the front on a plate next to a fork with the bite of cheesecake on it.

Do I have to bake the cheesecake in a water bath?

No! Using a water bath helps gently cook the cheesecake to prevent cracking on the top.

If you often struggle with leaks in your water bath, try this trick:

Place the springform pan inside of a 10-inch cake pan. Place both of these pans in the larger roasting pan. Pour the boiling water into the roasting pan, up the sides of the 10-inch cake pan.

This will allow the water bath to do its job while preventing leaks!

If you still are intimidated by the idea of the water bath, you can skip it and simply cover any cracks in the cheesecake with the apple topping.

Can you freeze caramel apple cheesecake?

Cheesecake freezes quite well. If you want to make your caramel apple cheesecake more than a couple days ahead of time, I’d recommend freezing it.

If you’re freezing the cheesecake whole, place the cooled cheesecake on a cardboard round and cover it tightly with plastic wrap.

Alternatively, you can freeze individual slices of cheesecake – slice and wrap each piece with plastic wrap.

Next, wrap the cheesecake or individual slices with foil. 

Because I am extra cautious, I will often place the double-wrapped cheesecake in a freezer-safe zip-top bag, although that’s not totally necessary.

Freeze the caramel apple cheesecake for up to 1 month for best flavor. When you’re ready to eat it, thaw at room temperature for a couple of hours or in the refrigerator overnight. Top with the apples and caramel and enjoy!

Plated slice of caramel apple cheesecake next to a fork.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake

A spiced brown sugar cheesecake pairs with cooked apples and salted caramel sauce for a decadent holiday dessert. This caramel apple cheesecake will have everyone asking for the recipe!
4.75 from 4 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Cooling and Chilling Time: 12 hours
Total Time: 13 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients 

For the crust:

  • 8 ounces gingersnap cookies about 25 cookies, crushed
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted

For the cheesecake filling:

For the apple topping:

  • 3 large Honeycrisp apples peeled cored and sliced into ¼-inch slices
  • 1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons lightly packed light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon apple pie spice
  • salted caramel sauce

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  • Tightly wrap the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan in heavy duty foil. This step prevents leaks when using a water bath. I also take the extra step by placing the foil wrapped spring form pan inside an oven bag while baking, but this is optional. Lightly spray the springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together crushed gingersnap cookies and melted butter until thoroughly combined. Press the crumbs into the bottom and about 1 inch up the sides of the prepared springform pan.
  • Bake gingersnap crust in preheated oven for 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and cool completely.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with your paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and mix until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add in apple pie spice, vanilla, flour and salt and beat until fully incorporated and smooth. Pour batter into the prepared crust.
  • Place the springform pan into a larger pan, such as a roasting pan, and pour boiling water into the larger pan until it is halfway up the side of the springform pan. Bake for 60 minutes, the edges will appear to be set, but the center will still have a slight jiggle to it. At this point, turn off the oven, but leave the door cracked and allow the cheesecake to rest in the cooling oven for one hour.
  • After one hour has passed, carefully remove the cheesecake from the water bath and place on a cooling rack to cool completely. Once the cheesecake is completely cooled, place it into the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.
  • Before serving, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the apples and sprinkle them with the brown sugar and apple pie spice. Saute over medium heat until the apples have softened a bit, but still have some texture to them. This should take just a few minutes. Once the apples are cooked to your desired level of doneness, remove them from the heat and allow them to cool completely.
  • Top cheesecake slices with apples and caramel sauce just before serving.

Notes

You can skip the foil and oven bag for the water bath by placing your 9-inch springform pan into a 10-inch cake pan. Set this entire thing into the roasting pan, then add the boiling water into the roasting pan, outside of the 10-inch pan. This will still let the water bath do its job without the danger of any leaks.
I recommend keeping the cheesecake, apples and caramel separate until just before serving for the best texture as the cooked apples can soften up the top of the cheesecake.
Helpful resources:

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 519kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 145mg | Sodium: 370mg | Potassium: 268mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 1281IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 120mg | Iron: 2mg
The default measuring system on My Baking Addiction is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided as a courtesy; please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.
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Recipe Rating




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