Mini Caramel Apple Cheesecakes. Wait…come back! Does making “from scratch” cheesecake scare you?? It should’t! At least not with this simple recipe I have for you today. Plus, I am making these mini cheesecakes in a cupcake tin…no springform pans or water bath needed. And if you don’t like caramel apple? I have options for that too. Make these for your next party or get-together and they will be sure to impress!
I told you February was full of birthdays for our family…so this family baker has been quite busy being in charge of all the birthday cakes. You can check out my other birthday desserts HERE, HERE and HERE. Let me just say, I am glad February only has 28 days (most years). So now it was James’ turn for his birthday! Yay! My husband and Chief Taste Tester…so whatever I was going to make him for his birthday had to be good. Of course I asked him what he wanted, but James said for me to surprise him. And then James mentioned the caramel apple cheesecake I made him for his birthday a few years ago. I remember that cheesecake and how much he liked it. But the recipe? I have no idea where it went or where I found it. That’s why I like having this blog…for my own selfish reasons of documenting the desserts I make and the recipes I create.
So I was going to make James a Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie (think—a giant Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup), but it has been awhile since I have made a cheesecake, so I changed my mind and went with cheesecake. A few years back, when I was really getting into baking, I made my first from-scratch cheesecake. And it was a disaster. So that’s why I wanted to share a simple cheesecake recipe with you. We are baking this one, but only for 15-18 minutes. The key to success before even starting this cheesecake? Take your cream cheese and eggs out of the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature before you get going on this recipe. I set my cream cheese and eggs out on the counter for about 2-hours before I made my cheesecake. Just enough time to hit the gym!
Make your graham cracker crust first:
Whip up your cheesecake mixture and then bake!
While those babies are baking, you can whip up your caramel apple topping. Super easy to make, but if you don’t like caramel or apples, you can always buy a can or jar of pre-made pie filling/topping, eat your cheesecakes plain, top them with melted chocolate…whatever you want really. For the caramel apple topping, I used my favorite Pink Lady variety of apple and store bought caramel sauce.
I added cornstarch into my caramel apple topping mixture in an attempt to thicken it up some, because of the brand of topping I used. So if you want a thicker, gooier topping, use something other than what I used:
Mini Caramel Apple CheesecakesPrint Recipe
- GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST:
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- CHEESECAKE FILLING:
- 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons VAIN Ugandan Vanilla extracted in Premium Vodka
- 2 eggs, beaten, room temperature
- CARAMEL APPLE TOPPING:
- 1 firm apple (Pink Lady, Granny Smith, etc), peeled, cored and finely chopped and diced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch of ground cloves
- 1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping (or thick dulce de leche)
- 1-2 teaspoons cornstarch (if needed to thicken your topping)
Preheat oven to 350-degrees and line a cupcake tin with 12 paper cupcake liners (do not use foil liners). Set aside.
PREPARE GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST:
In a microwavable safe bowl, melt the butter. Add the graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar and cinnamon to the bowl with the melted butter and mix until all ingredients are combined. Use a tablespoon to measure out one rounded tablespoon of graham cracker mixture into each cupcake liner. Use the back of the tablespoon to press the graham crackers crumbs firmly into the liners. Bake in 350-degree oven for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on the counter. Let crusts cool completely before starting on cheesecake mixture.
PREPARE CHEESECAKE FILLING:
In the bowl of your stand mixer, affixed with the paddle attachment, add both packages of room temperature cream cheese. Beat cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add the white and brown sugar to the cream cheese and beat on medium-high speed until combined and creamy. Slowly add the vanilla extract to the cream cheese mixture. Beat until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat mixture until there are no lumps and mixture is smooth and creamy. Change the mixer to low speed and slowly add the beaten eggs into the cream cheese mixture. Beat the eggs into the mixture on medium speed, until completely combined.
Fill the cupcake liners almost to the top of the liners, with the cheesecake mixture. Bake in 350-degree oven for 15-18 minutes or until centers are set. Do not over bake.
Remove baked cheesecakes from the oven and set the cupcake tin on a wire rack to cool for at least 30-minutes. Once cheesecakes are cool and set, remove the cheesecakes from the cupcake tin and place on a tray or plate in the refrigerator. After cheesecakes have completely cooled in the refrigerator, loosely cover with plastic wrap.
PREPARE CARAMEL APPLE TOPPING:
In a saucepan on medium heat, add the diced and finely chopped apple, butter, cinnamon and cloves. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until apples are softened, stirring occasionally. Add the caramel sauce to the pan and stir until combined with the apple mixture. If topping is too loose for your desired consistency, add a teaspoon or two of cornstarch to the mixture and stir until combined. Transfer apples to a bowl and let cool completely. Once cool, put topping in the fridge to completely cool. Once completely cool, loosely cover the caramel apple topping with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
Top cooled cheesecakes with cooled caramel apple topping when ready to serve.
Store the cheesecakes and caramel apple topping loosely covered, in the refrigerator. Cheesecakes are best made the day before eating and will stay fresh for 3-4 days.
Wait to top your cheesecakes with your caramel apple topping until you are serving them though!
Ok now lets eat!
We are ready for birthday cheesecake!
Oh but wait…just in case you were still unsure about making these…
Oh yes! Crunchy graham cracker crust, creamy cheesecake filling all topped with the perfect caramel apple topping. My sister said this was one of her favorites of all the things I have ever made, James loved them and so did everyone else. I mean, just look. It’s so good it will make your hair stand up!
I made these cheesecakes the day before the party, and I think they are better after they are able to sit overnight. I topped all the cheesecakes with the topping on James’ birthday, and James said the cheesecakes were just as good the day after his birthday too. James was already talking about different cheesecake topping options.
See? Easy right?? You got this!
And Miss A LOVED these mini cheesecakes! She kept trying to steal Gramma and Poppa’s cheesecake from them. But I mean look at that face…she just melts my heart!