This decadent Cherry Cheesecake combines real, made-from-scratch cheesecake with white chocolate ganache and juicy cherries. It’s a show-stopping dessert that hits all the right notes and delivers on taste.
Homemade Cherry Cheesecake Recipe
Friends, I’d like for you to know that this cheesecake is not optional – it’s mandatory! This utterly gorgeous cherry cheesecake with white chocolate ganache is a must-make dessert. You’ve got to try it! Made with a classic graham cracker crust and old-fashioned sour cream cheesecake filling, this one is extra sweet and indulgent thanks to a layer of white chocolate ganache on top. It’s swoon-worthy. For the final touch, ruby-red cherries add the most gorgeous contrast and fruity flavor!
Why You’ll Love Our Cherry Cheesecake Recipe
- Rich and Creamy Cheesecake: The combination of sour cream and cream cheese creates an irresistibly creamy texture in the cheesecake that melts in your mouth with every bite. It’s a little more airy than New York Style cheesecake, but still totally decadent.
- Decadent White Chocolate: I’ll tell you right now, I can’t resist the silky, buttery sweetness of white chocolate. So this white chocolate ganache deal is heavenly! Topping a cheesecake with it over-the-top!
- Gorgeous Presentation: Adding juicy, vibrant cherries to this snowy-white cheesecake makes for a beautiful presentation, perfect for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or any special occasion.
- Tried-and-True Baking Method: This cheesecake is the real deal, baked in a bain-marie (hot water bath) for the most tender, silky texture imaginable – and no cracks.
What Are the Three Types of Cheesecake?
- New York Style: This classic cheesecake is world-famous for its dense, creamy texture. It’s usually baked with simple ingredients, in a hot water bath for the perfect texture and to prevent cracking. Sour cream cheesecake is similar, but it includes sour cream in the batter and on top.
- No Bake Cheesecake: This cheesecake style doesn’t need the oven to turn out amazing – secret ingredients like sweetened condensed milk, gelatin, or whipped cream give the egg-free batter some stability. These desserts only need to be refrigerated until they set, and then you’re ready to go!
- European Cheesecake: European-style cheesecakes, such as German or Italian cheesecakes, tend to have a lighter texture, and can be made from quark cheese or ricotta. European cheesecakes often have unique flavors thanks to dried fruits, nuts, or liqueurs.
How to Make A Cherry Cheesecake
This recipe has three components, plus the cherries – which I shortcut by using a can of cherry pie filling. Round up the following ingredients to make this amazing cheesecake:
Ingredients For The Cheesecake Crust
- Graham Crackers: Crushed graham crackers. You can crush them yourself, or use store-bought crushed graham crackers instead.
- Butter: Unsalted butter, melted and cooled.
- Milk: A few tablespoons of whole milk help bring the crust together.
Ingredients For The Cheesecake Filling
- Cream Cheese: Soften the cream cheese to room temperature.
- Sugar: Regular granulated sugar.
- Sour Cream: Also at room temperature.
- Cream: Heavy cream, whipped.
- Eggs: For the best results, have the eggs at room temperature.
- Lemon Zest: For additional fragrance and flavor.
- Vanilla Bean Paste: You could also use pure vanilla extract.
Ingredients For White Chocolate Ganache
- White Chocolate: Chopped into small pieces.
- Heavy Cream: I really recommend heavy cream here, not half-and-half, but if you want to use half-and-half, it will also work.
- Cherry Pie Filling: Canned cherry pie filling, or homemade if you have it!
To make this dish, you’ll need to set aside a bit of time to create each layer and chill the cheesecake. Here’s the process in a nutshell, but please scroll down to the recipe card for complete information.
Make the Crust and Filling
- Create the Crust. In a mixing bowl, combine the crushed graham crackers with cooled butter and whole milk. Mix well, and press the mixture into a greased 9-inch springform pan.
- Bake. Bake the crust for 10 minutes at 325°F.
- Combine the Ingredients in Order. Beat the cream cheese until soft and smooth, and then mix in the granulated sugar, sour cream, and whipped heavy cream. Next, mix in the eggs one at a time, and stir in the lemon zest, salt, and vanilla.
Assemble and Bake the Cherry Cheesecake
- Prep the Oven and Hot Water Bath. Preheat your oven to 325°F. Pour 2 cups of water into a separate pan and place the pan at the bottom of the oven. The cheesecake will be placed above this water bath, not in it, but the steam will ensure even, gentle baking.
- Fill the Crust. Pour the cheesecake batter into the crust, spreading it evenly. Tap the pan on the counter gently several times, to help remove air bubbles.
- Bake. Place the cheesecake in the oven on the rack above the water bath, and bake it for about one hour, or until the edges are set.
- Cool. Turn off the oven and open the door slightly so the cheesecake can start to cool. Leave it there for one hour, and then take it out of the oven to finish cooling at room temperature. Finally, chill it for four hours or overnight.
- Make the Ganache: In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the white chocolate and heavy cream together in short intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate is fully melted and the mixture is smooth. Let it cool for a few minutes to thicken.
- Finish the Dish. Spread the white chocolate ganache over the cheesecake, and let it set before spreading the pie filling over the ganache.
Tips and Notes For Cherry Cheesecake
This beautiful cheesecake is so special and will wow anyone lucky enough to taste it! These tips will ensure a perfect, gorgeous dessert.
- Room Temperature Ingredients: Make sure your cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, and milk are at room temperature before starting. This helps your batter beat up perfectly smooth.
- Water Bath: Many recipes call for baking the cheesecake in the water bath, but I like to bake mine just above it. If you choose to put your cheesecake in the water bath, make sure to wrap the outside of your springform pan with foil to keep the water out.
- Oven Door Crack: When cooling the cheesecake in the oven, leaving the oven door slightly ajar helps to prevent sudden or dramatic temperature changes that could cause the cheesecake to crack.
- Cherry Topping: If you want a fresh cherry topping, go for it! Pitted, halved cherries would be wonderful arranged on top.
- Black Forest Variation: For a chocolatey twist, try using chocolate graham crackers for the crust and adding a drizzle of melted dark chocolate over the white chocolate ganache.
How to Store Cheesecakes
- To store cherry cheesecake, place it in an airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.
- To freeze it, wrap it tightly in a double layer of plastic wrap and foil. Freeze the whole thing, or freeze individual slices – it will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw it out in your fridge before serving.
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For The Cheesecake Crust
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 4 tablespoon whole milk
For The Cheesecake Filling
- Preheat your oven to 325°F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the graham crackers with butter and whole milk. Mix until the crumbs are evenly spread.
- Press the graham cracker mixture firmly into the bottom and edges of the prepared springform pan to create the crust.
- Place the prepared cheesecake crust in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
For The Cheesecake Filling
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese until smooth and creamy.
- In a separate mixing bowl, using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream on medium-high speed until medium peaks form, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the whipped heavy cream, granulated sugar, and sour cream to the cream cheese. Mix until all the ingredients are well combined, and the mixture is smooth.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- Stir in the lemon zest, salt, and vanilla paste (or vanilla extract) until fully incorporated.
Assembling and Baking the Cheesecake
- Preheat your oven to 325°F. Prepare a water bath for baking the cake by pouring 2 cups of water into a separate roasting pan and placing it at the bottom of the oven. The cake will be placed on the rack above this water bath to ensure even and gentle baking.
- Pour the cheesecake filling into the baked graham cracker crust in the springform pan, spreading it evenly.
- Give the pan a few gentle taps on the counter to remove any air bubbles.
- Place the springform pan in the preheated oven on the rack above the water bath and bake for about 1 hour or until the edges are set.
- Turn off the oven and crack open the oven door slightly. Let the cheesecake cool in the oven for about an hour.
- Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let it cool completely at room temperature.
- Once cooled, cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight to set.
White Chocolate Ganache
- In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the white chocolate and heavy cream together in short intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate is fully melted and the mixture is smooth.
- Let the ganache cool for a few minutes until it thickens slightly.
- Spread the white chocolate ganache over the chilled cheesecake.
- Once the white chocolate has set, spread the cherry pie filling over the top.
- Optionally, you can add some fresh cherries and fresh mint for garnish.
- Cut and serve.
- Ingredients at Room Temp: Ensure your cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, and milk are all at room temperature – this results in a smoother batter.
- Water Bath Approach: While many suggest baking the cheesecake directly in a water bath, I prefer placing it just above. If you decide on a direct water bath, make sure to foil-wrap your springform pan to avoid water seepage.
- Cracking the Oven Door: To cool the cheesecake and prevent it from cracking, allow some airflow by slightly opening the oven door while the cheesecake is cooling inside the oven.
- Black Forest Twist: For a rich flavor, use chocolate graham crackers for your base and top the white chocolate ganache with a dark chocolate drizzle.
- Storing: To store the cherry cheesecake, just place in an airtight container and stick it in the refrigerator! It will keep fresh for up to 5 days.
- Freezing: This cheesecake will keep for up to two months in the freezer, wrapped tightly in a double layer of plastic wrap and foil, or just foil. Freeze the whole thing, or freeze individual slices – whichever you like. Thaw it out in your fridge before serving.