Cape Cod’s cranberry bogs provided the inspiration for this festive dessert, a vanilla cheesecake scented with orange peel and topped with sweetened fresh cranberries. You can make the cheesecake and the cranberry topping a day or two ahead, then simply assemble the cake just before you plan to serve it.–Barbara Fairchild
What You’ll Need to Make This
- Cream cheese–We recommend using full-fat cream cheese for this cranberry-orange cheesecake recipe. Reduced-fat cream cheese has a higher moisture content, which can result in a softer less-set cheesecake.
- Cranberries–You can substitute frozen cranberries here. No need to thaw them; just toss them into the pan. They may take a little longer to begin to pop.
How to Make This Recipe
- Make the crumb crust. Heat the oven to 325°F. Blitz the chocolate wafers in a food processor, then mix in the melted butter. Press the crust firmly into a springform pan.
- Bake the crust. Cook until fully set, then cool completely.
- Make the cream cheese filling. Bump up the oven temp to 350°F and wrap the springform pan with foil. Beat the cream cheese and sugar, then add the flour, eggs, orange zest, and vanilla. Pour the filling into the crust.
- Bake the cheesecake. Cook the cheesecake in a water bath until just set. Cool completely.
- Make the cranberry topping. Cook the sugar and water until the sugar dissolves, then mix in the cornstarch slurry. Bring to a simmer, add the cranberries, and cook until they begin to pop. Stir in the orange zest and let the sauce cool completely.
- Assemble the cheesecake. Remove the cake from the springform pan and spoon the cooled cranberry sauce over the top. Chill until set.
Yes. The cheesecake and the cranberry sauce can be made up to 2 days in advance. Store them separately, and assemble an hour or so before serving.
You’ve got quite a lot of leeway when it comes to creating this cheesecake’s crumb crust. The sweetly tart cranberries, the vanilla-inflected cheesecake, and the citrusy note of orange all bode well for other crumb crusts, whether graham cracker, gingersnap, even granola.
To avoid an unsightly crack or two, make sure you start with room temperature ingredients, beat the eggs in slowly, so you don’t incorporate too much air, and bake the cheesecake in a water bath. Thankfully, the pretty cranberry sauce will also hide any cracks that still appear.
- To keep the crumb crust from sticking to your fingers when pressing it into the pan, place a piece of plastic wrap over your fingers.
- Double the cranberry sauce topping and use it as a condiment on your Thanksgiving table to serve alongside your roast turkey.
More Great Cheesecake Recipes
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- 9-inch springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides
For the crumb crust
- One (9-oz) box chocolate wafer cookies, coarsely crumbled
- 2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the cheesecake filling
- Four (8-oz) packages Philadelphia brand cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons grated orange zest, preferably organic
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cranberry topping
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons cold water
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon cold water
- 2 cups fresh cranberries
- 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest, preferably organic
Make the crust
- Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C).
- Finely grind the cookies and chocolate in a food processor. Add the butter and blend until moist clumps form. Press the crumb mixture over the bottom and 1 1/4 inches up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides. (To keep the moist crust mixture from sticking to your fingers, cover your fingers with plastic wrap before pressing the crumbs into the pan.)
- Bake until the crust is set, about 8 minutes. Let cool completely.
Make the cheesecake filling
- Increase the oven temperature to 350°F (175°C).
- Wrap 2 layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil around the bottom and sides of the springform pan.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until light. Beat in the flour until incorporated. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, just until blended. Beat in the orange zest and vanilla. Pour the filling into the crust.
- Place the springform pan in a large roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the filling is just set in center but still jiggles slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 55 minutes.
- Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely, about 4 hours. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days.
Make the cranberry topping
- Warm the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium, add the cornstarch mixture, and bring to a simmer. Add the cranberries and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to pop, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in the orange zest. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days.
- Run a sharp knife around the edge of the cheesecake to loosen it from the pan. Release the pan sides. Spoon the cranberry mixture over the cheesecake.
- Chill until set, about 1 hour. Slice and serve.
- Make-ahead–Make the cheesecake and cranberry topping up to 2 days in advance. Store them separately in the refrigerator and assemble 1 hour before serving.
- Ingredient temperature–Always use room temperature ingredients when making cheesecake. This helps to avoid cracks during baking.
- Double your topping–Make a double batch of the cranberry topping and use it as your holiday cranberry sauce.
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Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This Cranberry-Orange Cheesecake is very tasty and, despite multiple steps, not difficult to execute. It boasts a familiar flavor but is fancy enough to serve as the decadent ending to a special meal.
The crust came together easily, and I was able to get about a half inch without worrying that there would be thin spots in the bottom of my springform pan. We enjoyed the cheesecake/compote combo for breakfast (best part of the holidays is you can eat all kinds of crazy stuff any time of the day) with coffee. The texture is very smooth, and the cranberry topping is a nice contrast. This Cranberry-Orange Cheesecake will become part of the favorite holiday recipes binder in my kitchen.