What can be more representative of winter fruit than Cranberries? Hubby was a bit apprehensive when I told him I wanted to try cranberry sauce with this to replace the fresh raspberries. He wasn't very keen and quite doubtful of the idea at first but said, it may be worth a try. I thought about using fresh and homemade Cranberry Sauce for this and I actually made one for this cake but then I thought if you wish to make this and you don't have the time to go through the hassle of making a homemade Cranberry Sauce, after all the rest of the ingredients are all store-bought and made for me - I certainly cannot say I made a homemade white chocolate or cream cheese - so I thought why not try the canned one for convenience. And I must say, it worked really well - I opened the can, warmed up the content a little, stirred in some lemon zest and voila - the sweet-tangy sauce provided a great and delicious contrast to the creamy and rich taste of the chocolate and cheese. I also added some cranberry filling in the middle of the cake so that when you bite in it - there is that extra burst of sweet-tangy deliciousness! :-)
And because this is obviously quite a rich and luxurious cake, small slices would be appropriate so it can be enjoyed by many. Since this cake is a little indulgent it is truly perfect for special occasions such as Christmas for sure, after all this is our festive winter cake! Please enjoy!
For the Crust
18 Graham Cracker Squares, crushed* (or Digestives - about 10 - roughly 1 1/2 cups when crushed)
1 (2.5 - 3oz) packet of Pecans or Walnuts, crushed (roughly 3/4 cup)
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon (optional)
6 Tablespoons unsalted Butter, melted
Glass with a flat and smooth bottom
Rolling pin to crush the crackers and nuts
To make the crust, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix until evenly moistened. Press the crumb mixture into a greased 9-inch springform pan using the smooth bottom of a glass. Spread the crumb mixture to about 1/2-inch up the sides. Use the glass to help you form the side crust, too. Chill the crust while you are making the filling.
*I read somewhere that to make it easier to remove the cheesecake from the springform pan - turn the removable base of the springform pan upside down. Do this before you add the crumb crust. This way the crumbs won't stick into the groove inside the pan. It would be easier to slide them onto a cake pan this way, too.
For the Filling
14-16 oz good quality White Chocolate, broken into pieces*
2 Tablespoons unsalted Butter
2 (8 oz) packages Cream Cheese, softened to room temperature
6 fluid oz / 3/4 cup Heavy (whipping) Cream
1/4 cup white Sugar (extra fine, if you can find it)
1 teaspoon pure Vanilla Extract
1 (15 oz) can whole berry Cranberry Sauce (or homemade Cranberry sauce of the same amount)*
Grated zest of 1 Lemon*
*Don't be intimidated by the amount of chocolate here - that's what makes this cake totally scrumptious and what makes it solid without using any gelatin. I recommend you use only "eating chocolate" for excellent results. I personally use Aldi's brand - Choceur White Chocolate as not only are they cheaper than the name brands they are truly excellent. I use exactly 2 bars as they equal 14 oz - perfect. Feel free to use your favorite brand, of course.
*Feel free to use your own homemade cranberry sauce. Here's a link to our homemade cranberry sauce if you want some inspiration. I added the canned one for convenience and less work. This is meant to be a quick and easy cheesecake after all! :-) When using the canned one - warm it up a little so it becomes more saucy rather than clumpy. Stir in the Lemon zest for extra tang or perhaps a few drops of fresh lemon juice, too. Cool completely before using it.
In a heat-proof bowl over barely simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter. Stir occasionally. Let it cool for a couple of minutes afterwards.
In a separate bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the softened cream cheese, heavy cream and sugar until it has a smooth consistency, roughly 3-4 minutes. Note that your cream cheese should be in room temperature so it's easier to mix. Pour in the vanilla extract. Mix just until it's fully blended in.
Stir the cooled chocolate mixture into the cream mixture. Pour or spoon half of the mixture into the prepared pan. Use half a can of the cranberry sauce. Place spoonfuls of the sauce over the cheesecake batter and then swirl gently with a knife. Top with the remaining cheesecake batter. Spoon the remaining cranberry sauce over the cheesecake batter and swirl gently with a knife. I must admit that I messed up a bit on the swirling part...not to worry - if you mess up, too - it won't affect the taste of the cake!
Place in the fridge and allow the cake to set overnight. This can be made about 2 days ahead. If you are feeling generous, sprinkle bits of extra white chocolate on top. If you have extra cranberry sauce, serve it with the cheesecake. Please enjoy! :-)
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This cake is one of the 12 Cakes of December feature project presented by a group of foodie bloggers. We are Cake no. 9. Don't forget to check out the other scrumptious cakes showcased in this delicious series.
1. Chocolate Truffle Pirouette Cake by Lemony Thyme
2. Strawberry 'n Cream Cake by Cooking from a Stay-at-home Mom
3. Coconut Tres Leches Cake by Moore or Less Cooking Blog
4. S'more Cakes by 365 Days of Baking and More
5. Pomegranate Lime Bundt Cake by It's Yummi
6. Brownie Bombe by The Rowdy Baker
7. Chocolate Roll with Candy Cane Whipped Cream by Hun...What's for Dinner?
8. Egg Nog Pound Cake by Chocolate Chocolate and More
9. No Bake White Chocolate Cranberry Cheesecake - that's us!!!
There are three more delicious cakes coming soon so watch this space!