There are two things that I make for Shavuot that I only make once a year: blintzes and cheesecake. My blintz recipe is a tried-and-true family one; it never changes. But since we eat our Shavuot meals with the same company every year, I find I’m always trying to top the previous year’s cheesecake.
I’ve exhausted a lot of different candy options. There was a Kit Kat one, Heath Bar, Oreo, cookie dough, plain old strawberry, and probably more that I can’t remember. But I think this year is my best year yet.
This year, I’ve hit the trifecta with a trio of cheesecakes inspired by my favorite desserts–each one completely different, but using the same base recipe.
That’s what is so great about cheesecake! You can make your batter and then get as creative as you want with different crusts, toppings, and mix-ins. The possibilities stretch as far as your creativity does. I’m sure you’re all eagerly waiting to hear what I’ve come up with, so let’s get to it!
It’s important to note that I used the same cheesecake recipe for each of these and tweaked each based on my inspiration. You can choose your favorite cheesecake recipe, and then follow my steps to create the ultimate cheesecake/dessert mashup.
First up, Twix Cheesecake:
For this one, I was obviously inspired by a Twix bar so I started with a shortbread cookie crust. To make your shortbread crust, you can use the following recipe:
1 cup of butter, softened
½ cup of granulated sugar
2 cups flour
Places all your ingredients into a bowl and mix together (either with a pastry blender or by hand) until a dough forms and all the ingredients are incorporated. Then dump the dough into your springform and spread evenly across the bottom and slightly up the sides.
Once you’re finished, use a fork to pierce the crust all over. (This prevents it from bubbling up as it bakes). Pre-bake the crust in a preheated, 350° oven for 20-25 minutes until it’s golden brown. Let your crust cool and make your cheesecake batter.
Like I said, you can use any batter that works for you. Prepare it per the recipe, but before you pour it into the cooled crust, fold in about 10 crushed up Twix bars (or whatever chocolate bar you want to use). Don’t crush them too much; you want to leave chunks. Make sure to reserve some uncrushed bars for the top of the cake.
Once you’ve folded into the batter, pour it into your springform and bake per your recipe’s instructions. Sometimes, adding ingredients can increase your baking time. If your cheesecake still seems really jiggly when your timer rings, add 5 minutes and check again, repeat as necessary until your cheesecake sets. Remember, it will always be a bit jiggly when it’s finished.
Allow your cheesecake to cool in the fridge overnight, and then use the following to top and decorate:
1 jar of your favorite caramel (or salted caramel!) topping
1 can chocolate fudge frosting
4 Twix cut in half (I used the snack size individual ones. If you’re using whole sized ones, cut them in thirds.)
Pour the caramel over the top of the cheesecake. Don’t use too much at first since it will spread, and you don’t want it leaking all over.
Fit a piping bag with a star tip and fill it with your chocolate fudge frosting. Use the frosting to make dollops around the cheesecake, do your best to evenly space them. Top each dollop with a piece of Twix and get ready for the oohs and aahs when your guests see you pull this one out of the fridge!
My next cheesecake is inspired by cinnamon buns. For this one you have choices for your crust, you can go the canned route if that’s available to you or you can make your own. To make it easier, I used canned cinnamon buns, since there are kosher ones available where I live.
For a 9” springform you will need 10-12 cinnamon buns depending on size. Remove them from the packaging (reserve the enclosed icing for later), and place them on parchment paper touching each other to create a large circle. Place another sheet of parchment on top, and using a rolling pin, flatten them out to the size of your pan.
You want them to be thin, but not tear. Remove the top layer of parchment carefully and flip the buns over into your springform. It will be messy! Peel back the second piece of parchment, and then use your fingers to fill in any gaps or holes by squeezing the dough back together.
Just like above, make your usual cheesecake batter. In addition to your batter though, you will need your cinnamon filling. To make it you’ll need:
1 cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
2.5 tablespoons cinnamon
6 tablespoons flour
6 tablespoons melted butter
In a bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour. Add the melted butter and mix until a crumble forms. Sprinkle a quarter of the cinnamon mixture over the cinnamon bun crust. Then top with a third of your cheesecake batter.
Continue the process of layering the crumble and batter until you have three layers of cheesecake, ending with the last of the crumble on top. Bake per your recipes instructions. Note: I had to add a half hour to my recipe’s baking time for this one.
When finished, let your cheesecake set overnight in the fridge. Use the reserved cinnamon bun icing to drizzle a design over the top before serving! If you want to make your own icing and
need a simple recipe, follow the one below:
4 ounces cream cheese, room temp
¼ cup butter, softened
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
Beat all ingredients together and drizzle on top!
My final cheesecake of the trio was inspired by lemon meringue pie. This one is full on lemon for every layer!
For the crust you’ll need:
2 packages lemon cookies, finely crushed (I used Pepperidge Farm)
¾ cup melted butter
Mix the crumbs and butter together and pour into prepared springform. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes, and then allow to cool.
Once again, make your favorite cheesecake batter, but this time, add the juice and zest of 2-3 lemons (depending on size). Pour your batter over the cooled crust. Make sure not to fill it all the way to the top so you have room for the meringue.
You may have some batter left over. You can throw it into some pre-bought mini graham cracker crusts and bake some extra little baby ones! Bake the cheesecake per your recipe’s instructions, and then cool overnight in the fridge. Once your cake is cool, spread a thin layer of lemon curd over the top (you can find a recipe and make your own, but store bought is easier).
Finally, prepare your meringue. We’re using an Italian meringue because using a hot sugar syrup makes your meringue more stable and makes it safe to eat without additional baking.
2 egg whites
¼ cup water
2/3 cup sugar
Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan, and cook over high heat until it reaches 230°F. Don’t stir the mixture, but you can use a pastry brush (or unused paint brush) dipped in water to brush down any sugar crystals that may form on the sides of your pan.
In a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until stiff. Reduce speed to low and slowly pour your sugar syrup down the side of the bowl letting it run into your egg whites (don’t pour it into the whisk). Increase the speed to medium and beat another 1 or 2 minutes until the meringue is shiny and thick.
Using a spatula, or a piping bag if you want to be extra fancy, spread your meringue over the lemon curd making sure it goes all the way to the edges. Don’t smooth the meringue too much if you’re adding it with a spatula—you’ll want some peaks for when you brown in.
Using a pastry torch, lightly brown the top of your meringue. If you don’t have a torch, you can also put it under your preheated broiler for approximately 30 seconds, but watch it carefully because there is a very fine line here between beautifully browned and totally burnt.
There you have it, one base cheesecake recipe, three different ways! Make all three or choose your favorite one. Either way, they’re sure to wow your crowd. Let me know which ones you make and share your pics with me on Instagram @sweettoothstl. Can’t wait to see them! Chag Sameach!
See it all happen below:
Not okay for me… but looks amazing! These recipes look yummy, good, and amazing.
But almost all ingredients are ready-bought, which I don’t have any…
Think of all the calories you just saved!