This Cranberry Orange Cheesecake is a showstopper – an orange scented cheesecake is filled with fresh cranberries, then topped with sweet sugared cranberries. It is so creamy and delicious – no one will believe that it’s homemade!
I am totally one of those people who are tempted by the single serve desserts at the grocery store. I go over to get some bread, and I’m taunted by the slice of red velvet cake or the pretty eclair or the fancy looking cupcake. And every once in awhile, I’ll fall and I’ll grab one.
And then I’m disappointed. Every. Single. Time.
But sometimes, a girl needs a slice of cheesecake. I’ll almost always order the cheesecake when I’m at a restaurant, if it’s somewhere on the menu.
But I have discovered that I can make a cheesecake at home that is miles above the grocery store slice, and even better than the restaurant dessert. And I get to control what goes into it.
Today, I’m taking a holiday twist on the cheesecake with this Cranberry Orange Cheesecake. I’m totally addicted to the cranberry orange combination, and it was just a matter of time before I took it to a cheesecake. This cheesecake is silky smooth and creamy, and the orange flavor really comes through. Then you add in the cranberries for that holiday touch and you have an irresistible cheesecake. In fact, I had to give the leftovers away shortly after I tried a slice because I knew I would eat the whole thing myself if I had it in my fridge.
I normally like to do a water bath when I make cheesecakes, but I know a lot of people have problems with them. So awhile back, I had a few readers tell me that they would just put a dish of hot water on the rack below the cheesecake. So I tried it, and have liked it enough to ditch the water bath for now. My cheesecakes will still occasionally crack, but nothing that sugared cranberries piled on top couldn’t help. And no one was the wiser. 🙂
This Cranberry Orange Cheesecake is a definite hit – no need to go out for cheesecake!
- 1½ cups butter cookie crumbs
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- 4 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
- 1½ cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1½ tablespoons orange zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- ⅔ cup sour cream
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon orange zest
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- ½ cup superfine sugar*
- Place one oven rack in the center of the oven, with another rack below it. Preheat the oven to 375. If desired, line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Place the pan on a larger baking sheet.
- In a bowl, combine the cookie crumbs, sugar and butter and stir to mix. Press the mixture into the bottom and halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Use a glass or the bottom of a measuring cup to firmly press the crumbs down.
- Bake the crust for 7 minutes, then remove to cool.
- In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and continue to beat on medium-high speed for 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl between additions. Stir in the orange zest and vanilla extract, then fold in the cranberries.
- Pour the filling into the springform pan. Place an oven proof dish on the bottom rack in the oven, then place the baking sheet with the cheesecake on it on the top rack. Pour hot water into the dish on the bottom rack and close the oven door. Bake until the cheesecake is lightly browned on top and just has a slight jiggle in the center of the cheesecake, about 50 minutes.
- While the cheesecake is baking, stir together the sour cream, sugar and orange zest. Once the cheesecake has baked, remove from the oven and pour the sour cream mixture on the top and spread to about ½” of the edges. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Turn off the oven and crack the oven door open. Allow the cheesecake to cool completely in the oven before covering and transferring to the refrigerator to chill completely, 6 hours to overnight.
- Combine the 1 cup of sugar and water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. If the water gets too hot and starts to boil, remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly, then add the cranberries. (You don’t want the cranberries to burst, which is why you don’t want the water too hot.) Pour the simple syrup and cranberries into a bowl and cover. Refrigerate overnight.
- Drain the cranberries. Place the superfine sugar in a shallow bowl and add the cranberries. Shake to coat the cranberries with the sugar. Transfer to a surface lined with waxed paper and allow to dry for at least 1 hour.
- When ready to serve, run a sharp knife around the inside of the springform pan and carefully release the outside of the pan. Serve topped with the sugared cranberries.
*If you don’t have superfine sugar, you can run regular granulated sugar through the food processor to break it down into smaller particles.
*I love to bake my cheesecakes in a water bath, but I know it can be tricky to get it so that water doesn't leak. I have been using this technique to put a dish of water on the rack under the cheesecake for awhile, and while I still have a cheesecake split every now and again, it is much easier. This cheesecake did split a bit for me, but the cranberries easily covered the crack. Feel free to use a water bath if you are comfortable with it.
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