This year, the boyfriend and I hosted a large Orphan Thanksgiving gathering. We opened our new apartment for all of our friends who were in town for the holiday, inviting everyone for daytime drinking and snacking, dinner, and desserts. I cooked two turkeys (cause you can never have too many leftovers!), stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. And, of course, I took care of dessert…
For dessert, I knew I wanted to do something with cranberries. I thought about a cake, but I couldn’t decide on the right type… I thought about cookies, but I wanted to use fresh cranberries… So I decided to make a cheesecake! A few different flavor combinations swirled though my head, but I fell in love with the idea of a cranberry and orange cheesecake.
This cheesecake is smooth and creamy, with the tart flavor of cranberries swirled in to the sweetness of the orange batter. The whole thing is surrounded by a gingersnap crust, which lends a slightly spiced element to the cheesecake. And it fits perfectly with the winter holidays! 🙂
If you’re a cheesecake novice, don’t be afraid to try out this recipe. Cheesecakes aren’t inherently more difficult than other cakes; they just require a little more attention to detail. Check out my Pumpkin-Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake post for tips on how to bake a perfect cheesecake!
Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments below! And thanks for reading! 🙂
Yield: 9-inch cheesecake, about 12-14 servings
For the cranberry swirl, you are going to need:
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
For the crust, you are going to need:
- 2 1/2 cups gingersnaps
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
For the cheesecake, you are going to need:
- 2 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 5 whole eggs + 2 egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons orange zest
- 1 tablespoon orange extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla extract (regular vanilla extract will also work if necessary)
- + 1 cup cranberry glaze
First, prepare the cranberry swirl. (This is best the night before you want to make the cheesecake.)
Cook the cranberries, sugar, and water over medium-high heat. Bring the cranberries to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and gently boil until the sauce is reduced to about 2 cups, approximately 20-30 minutes.
Remove from heat, and stir in orange zest and bourbon. Let cool completely, preferably overnight.
For the cheesecake, preheat your oven to 325° F.
In a food processor, crush the gingersnaps. Add the sugar, and pulse a few times to blend. With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the melted butter.
Press the crust in to the bottom of your springform pan. Bake in your preheated oven until fragrant and slightly firm, about 15 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven, and let cool slightly.
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar, and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and then mix in the sour cream and the extract and orange zest. Stir the ingredients to combine.
Wrap your springform pan in heavy-duty aluminum foil, and the pour in half of the orange cheesecake. Drop approximately 1/2 cup of the cranberry sauce by the spoonful on top of the pumpkin cheesecake. Pour in the remaining orange cheesecake, and add another 1/2-cup of the cranberry sauce. Use a butter knife to lightly swirl the cranberry sauce in to the orange cheesecake. Be careful not to over-mix.
Place the cheesecake in the bottom of a roasting pan. Pour hot water in to the roasting pan until it comes halfway up the side of the springform pan.
Bake the cheesecake until it is set in the center but still slightly wobbly, about 1 hour 45 minutes. Turn off the oven, and open the door briefly to let out some heat. Let the cheesecake cool in the oven for another hour.
Remove the cheesecake, and let cool on a rack. Run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake, and then cover and refrigerate overnight (at least 8 hours).
To serve, bring the cheesecake to room temperature about 15 minutes before serving. Unlock and remove the springform ring.