Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Creamy and rich, with the ruby red color and flavor of fresh cranberry swirled throughout. This Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake is easy to make, but as with all cheesecakes you need to make it at least 1 day in advance of serving. I’ve doubled the original cranberry sauce recipe so there is enough to serve additional cranberry sauce on the side for an additional burst of cranberry flavor.
Recipe type: Dessert | Cheesecake
Serves: 10 to 12
Graham Cracker Crust:
  • 1 cup Graham Cracker crumbs (about 8 full graham cracker sheets)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Fresh Cranberry Sauce:
  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries (about 3 cups)
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
Cream Cheese Filling:
  • 4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/16 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare one 9 inch round cheesecake pan or springform pan with 3-inch sides; use a pastry brush to lightly butter the pan with 1 tablespoon of melted butter.
Graham Cracker Crust:
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine Graham Cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Stir until thoroughly mixed and mixture is crumbly.
  2. Bake: Pour the graham cracker crumb mixture into the springform pan. Using the back of a large spoon or the flat bottom of a measuring cup or drinking glass, press the crumb mixture firmly and evenly across the bottom of the pan. Place the pan on a baking sheet; bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a wire cooling rack to cool.
  3. When cooled, wrap bottom and sides of pan in a double layer of heavy duty aluminum foil to prepare for the bain marie water bath. The foil is to prevent any water from seeping into the cheesecake through the pan seams.
  4. Reduce oven to 325 degrees F.
Fresh Cranberry Sauce:
  1. Puree cranberries in a food processor or small food grinder. Press pureed cranberries through a fine-mesh sieve and into a small bowl to strain out the solid pieces. Discard solids. Tip: use a rubber spatula to scrape the pureed cranberries over the mesh sieve, pushing out as much liquid as possible, and leaving the solids inside the sieve. Continue scraping until the remaining solids seem fairly dry. Don’t worry if you get some solid pieces in the strained portion.
  2. Add sugar to strained cranberries; stir to thoroughly combine.Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake Slice
  3. Divide cranberry sauce in half. Half of the sauce is used to swirl in the cheesecake batter. Set this half aside until ready to create swirls.
  4. Refrigerate the remaining half of the cranberry sauce to serve as additional cranberry sauce with cheesecake slices.
Cream Cheese Filling:
  1. In a large bowl, add the cream cheese and sugar; mix on low speed with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape the mixture off the paddle and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly and there are no lumps.
  2. Add the vanilla and salt; continue beating on low speed until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the eggs 2 at a time, beating until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute, scraping the bowl between additions. Tip: crack the eggs into a small bowl and whisk with a fork to thoroughly break up the egg before adding to the cheese mixture. Tip: Do not overbeat the cheesecake batter. Blend the ingredients quickly to add as few air bubbles as possible. The ingredients must be well blended, but excessive beating creates too many air pockets which can cause the cheesecake to puff up too much during baking, and then crack during the cooling process.
  4. Let the filling rest about 5 minutes to allow air bubbles to rise to the surface.
  5. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil to use for the bain marie water bath.
  6. Pour the cheesecake filling into the graham cracker crust. Drop the reserved half of the cranberry sauce by teaspoons on top, creating random drops of cranberry. Use a wooden skewer or toothpick to swirl the sauce into the cheesecake batter, dragging the toothpick in several directions. Don’t overwork; you are creating a swirled look, not stirring the flavors together.
  7. Bake: Set the foil wrapped springform pan in a larger pan or roasting pan and transfer to the oven. Carefully pour boiling water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan, and close the oven door. Bake 70 minutes. Tip: The Cheesecake is done when the edges are set but the center 2 to 3 inches are still a pool of liquid batter. The cake should look as though it has puffed a little and just barely beginning to brown. The center will still be soft and jiggly when the pan is lightly jarred or tapped with a spoon.
  8. Remove from oven, place springform pan on a wire cooling rack to cool. Immediately run a thin knife around the edge of the pan, gently pressing into the side of the pan to avoid gouging the cake. This allows the cake to contract away from the sides of the pan as it cools, helping to prevent cracks.
  9. When cheesecake is completely cooled, cover the pan and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours before serving. Try to avoid having the covering touch the top of the cheesecake as this may mar the surface.
  10. When ready to serve, spoon a portion of reserved cranberry sauce onto plate with individual slices of cheesecake.
Source: Martha Stewart Holiday Sweets Magazine, 2009
Recipe Notes
Pan: One 9" Round Springform Pan Prep: Buttered Starting Oven Temp: 350° Method: bain marie Storage: Cover and Refrigerate

Help: Cheesecake Hints and Tips

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