Turtle-Topped Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

  • Cooking and Prep: 27 h
  • Serves: 14
  • Contains:

Experiencing a piece of this cake is like tasting a slice of heaven.

Ingredients (17)

Chocolate Crust


Caramel Topping


Start Cooking

Prepare the Cheesecake

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (160 degrees Celsius). Lightly spray the bottom and sides of a 10-inch (26-centimeter) springform pan.

  2. Place the sandwich cookies in a ziplock bag and crush finely. Transfer to a small bowl and add the melted butter. Mix well.

  3. Press the crumbs firmly onto the bottom of the springform pan. Bake for six minutes, then set aside.

  4. Mix the softened cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each addition.

  5. Add the scraped vanilla bean seeds, vanilla extract, sour cream, and heavy cream. Beat until completely blended and smooth. Scrape sides to ensure everything is incorporated.

  6. Pour the batter into the baked crust. Gently tap the pan on the counter to even out the top. Wrap pan in three pieces of aluminum foil.

  7. Pour two inches (five centimeters) of boiling water into a pan. Gently place the cake into the water bath. Bake on the center rack of your oven for one hour. Turn off oven and allow cheesecake to sit for one hour with the oven door open.

  8. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and peel off the foil. The cake may still jiggle in the center. Refrigerate overnight to set completely.

  9. Rinse a knife under boiling water. Slide knife between the cake and the pan to loosen for removal. Open springform and remove cake. Chill overnight in refrigerator.

Prepare the Topping

  1. Place water, sugar, and cream of tartar in a medium-size saucepan. Mix to combine.

  2. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat, swirling pan often but not stirring. After eight to 10 minutes, the mixture will begin to turn a golden amber color.

  3. Remove the pan from the heat. Add in one tablespoon butter at a time, stirring until melted and combined.

  4. Stir in the heavy cream. Allow to cool.

To Make the Turtles

  1. Place eight one-teaspoon mounds of caramel on a baking sheet lined with Gefen Parchment Paper.

  2. Place three pecan halves in each mound. Freeze.


  1. Spread remaining caramel over the top of the chilled cheesecake.

  2. Drizzle melted white chocolate over the caramel, then place a dot of melted white chocolate in the center of each turtle.

  3. Drizzle melted dark chocolate over the top of the cake.

  4. Arrange the turtles evenly around the cake.

  5. Drizzle melted dark chocolate over every other turtle.


Caramel can be made in advance. When ready to use, microwave in 10-second increments until it softens enough to be poured. Any remaining caramel can be refrigerated and used another time.


Photography: Moishe Wulliger

Food Styling: Renee Muller

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