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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Classic New York Cheesecake
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.
Try Gluten-Free New York Cheesecake if you need to avoid wheat.
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Eggnog White Chocolate Cheesecake
Nothing says holidays quite the same way as eggnog. This eggnog white chocolate cheesecake will be part of a very merry celebration with its gingersnap crust and light, fluffy texture.
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Peppermint Bark Cheesecake
If eggnog cheesecake puts you in a Christmas state of mind, this peppermint bark cheesecake should really seal the deal. Made with peppermint bark, peppermint extract, and crushed candy canes, it has enough minty goodness to rival any after-dinner candy.
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Sweet Potato Cheesecake Pie
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.
If you have pumpkin in the pantry rather than sweet potatoes, create similar flavors with the Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake, or take a different and adventurous approach with Pumpkin and Labneh Cheesecake Parfaits.Continue to 5 of 17 below.
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Spanish Cheesecake Flao
Choose this recipe if you are looking for unusual flavors in your cheesecake. Originating on the island of Ibiza, this dessert's enchanting anise, mint flavors, and aromas will not disappoint. For a dessert from Asturias, another region in Spain, have a look at Asturian Cheesecake.
06 of 17
Black Forest Cheesecake
Black forest cheesecake combines the best elements of two fabulous desserts. The recipe is relatively easy, skips the typical cheesecake water bath, and can be made up to three days in advance. You'll treat guests to an indulgent chocolate cheesecake on a cookie crust topped with a lovely cherry whipped cream and cherry compote.
07 of 17
Pineapple Upside-Down Cheesecake
This cheesecake is perfect for fans of pineapple upside-down cake as it combines that old-fashioned dessert with a luscious cheesecake. Once the cheesecake is baked, it is topped with pineapple rings and maraschino cherries covered in a sweet syrup, making for a festive looking and delicious dessert.
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The creamy filling of the classic Italian tiramisu is ideal for transforming into a cheesecake. The traditional coffee flavor and mascarpone make their way into this rich cheesecake, which is surrounded by ladyfingers and topped with a coffee liquor-spiked homemade whipped cream. The quintessential dusting of cocoa powder finishes off this delicious dessert.Continue to 9 of 17 below.
09 of 17
As if the holidays aren't busy enough, creating a showstopping dessert can really throw a wrench into the works—unless it's this no-bake Oreo cheesecake recipe. It can be made a day or more ahead and wait patiently in the fridge until the end of the meal to wow your guests.
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Slow-Cooker Pecan Praline Cheesecake
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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No-Bake Cool Whip Cheesecake
These individual no-bake cheesecakes combine cream cheese and Cool Whip dessert topping for a rich and fluffy treat. Top them with fresh berries, slices of kiwi, chunks of pineapple, or other favorite fruit. You can make these up to two days in advance and store them tightly wrapped in the refrigerator. Add the fruit just before serving.
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This tofu cheesecake comes together easily when you make the crust and the filling in the food processor. Both vegans and non-vegans enjoy this luscious dessert, which uses silken tofu, cashews, and coconut cream in place of the dairy and eggs in traditional cheesecake recipes.
Plan ahead as the cashews require a one-hour soak before you can use them. Top each slice with fresh fruit or a chocolate drizzle and whipped coconut cream before serving.Continue to 13 of 17 below.
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Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake
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.
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Key Lime Cheesecake
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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No-Bake Matcha Green Tea Cheesecake
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 a green tea-flavored dessert? Start out with this plain Japanese cheesecake.
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No-Bake Pumpkin Cajeta Cheesecake
Cajeta is Mexico's own sweet caramel, and this dessert will remind you of how rich is their culinary tradition. 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).Continue to 17 of 17 below.
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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 premade (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.