It has “cake” in its name, but in many ways, it is more like a pie. It can be made with ricotta, mascarpone, cream cheese or quark. It can have a crust or not, be topped with fresh fruit or jam; spend time in the oven or be no-bake, and turn out anywhere from very sweet and creamy to dense and only slightly sweet. It is cheesecake, a dessert beloved the world over.
The earliest historical mention of cheesecake comes from a Greek source written in the 5th century B.C. One of its more modern versions was developed in the 1800s when American-style cream cheese was developed. Nowadays, at least one delicious cheesecake exists for every taste, skill-level, and need, including those for special diets. Choose one—or more!—of the following to confect as a dessert to remember, whether it be a special holiday meal or an everyday weeknight dessert.
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Usually served plain (with no topping at all), dense and only moderately sweet, New York-style cheesecake is a study in understated deliciousness. This recipe's detailed instructions will help you make a wonderful classic cheesecake with a graham cracker crust on your first try.
If you're not in the graham cracker mood, opt for Junior's Original New York Cheesecake, which has a sponge cake crust.
Avoiding gluten? Try Gluten-Free New York Cheesecake. There's just so many wonderful options!
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03 of 10
Sweet potatoes are delicious, nutritious and quite economical when in season, so we should probably be eating more of them! Make this dessert and pat yourself on the back for adding a bit of beta carotene to your diet.
04 of 10Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10
Love your slow cooker? Use either a round or oval one to bake one medium-sized or two smaller cheesecakes! This slow cooker method has the advantage of conserving the dessert's moisture and allowing it to cool slowly, thus avoiding cracks in the finished product. Similar flavors can also be achieved in the oven with this recipe for Brown Sugar Cheesecake With Caramel Pecan Topping.
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Dairy products are pretty standard in cheesecakes, but this ingenious recipe includes none. The two rich main flavors in this confection will delight both vegans and omnivores alike, leaving absolutely no sense of deprivation. Once you're aboard the health and flavor bandwagon, try other vegan and dairy-free cheesecakes, such as blueberry, cherry, and even mint chocolate chip.
07 of 10
If you are languishing in cold and gray climate, the ultra-refreshing combination of cream cheese and key lime juice will definitely blow some tropical breeze into your sails. Come back to life with either this regular dairy version or with a Vegan Key Lime Cheesecake.
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Popular in several Asian countries, soft and fluffy Japanese-style cheesecake tends to be less sweet than it's American-style cousins; and is sometimes described as a cross between a dense cheesecake and a chiffon or sponge cake. As a no-bake confection (calling for unflavored gelatin rather than eggs to give it consistency), this is a dessert that can lend itself to being presented in unusual ways, such as in canning jars or shot glasses.
Not ready for an exotic green tea-flavored dessert? Start out with this slightly tamer (though still delicious) plain Japanese cheesecake.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10
Cajeta is Mexico's own sweet caramel, and this dessert will remind you of how rich a culinary tradition the folks in that country actually have. Made with crushed Maria cookies for the crust (as many such creations in Latin America are), and sporting a creamy-fluffy pumpkin layer, this delight requires no oven or springform pan, and it can be made in half an hour (plus fridge time).
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Flavor, ease of making, portion control, and fun factor—what more could a cheesecake ask for? These pops, formed from a pre-made (purchased or home baked) cheesecake, will delight young and old, whether on a buffet table or as the perfect small-bite end to a special family dinner. Another bite-sized option is Two-Bite Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes.
But wait—there´s more! These cheesecake categories are only the beginning. Take the time to also explore: