Apple Cider Caramel Cheesecake

This apple cider caramel cheesecake is so festively Fall, you are going to want to put a sweater on and jump into a big pile of leaves! This recipe uses Sweetzels Spiced Wafers for the crust and the caramel is made with apple cider.

Once the weather starts getting cooler, you start to see display boxes of Spiced Wafers in the stores around Philly and it makes you want to grab some apple cider and enjoy them both in front of a fire. So that’s how I got the idea for this apple cider caramel cheesecake!

Before you begin this recipe, make sure you allow plenty of time. I suggest you make the cheesecake and caramel first and then the next day, finish up with the apple topping. It’s a time consuming recipe, but trust me, it is SO worth it! Scroll past the recipe for more insights on this cheesecake.

Apple Cider Caramel Cheesecake

Spiced Wafer crust and apple cider caramel topping really make this cheesecake perfect for Fall
Prep Time1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Cooling/ Chilling time6 hrs
Total Time9 hrs
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: apples, cheesecake

Ingredients

For the Crust

  • 18 Sweetzel's Spiced Wafers (one sleeve)
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar

For the Cheesecake

  • 4 8 oz. blocks cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

For the Topping

  • 3/4 cup apple cider
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp cold butter
  • 2 apples, peeled and thinly sliced I used honeycrisps
  • 1 pinch salt

For the Apple Cider Caramel

  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Instructions

For the Cheesecake

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Make the crust in a food processor. Pulse the cookies until finely ground, add the butter, salt and sugar and pulse until it call comes together in wet crumbs
  • Press the crumbs into a greased 8" round springform pan.
  • Using an electric mixer (stand or hand held), beat cream cheese and sugars until no lumps remain. Alternatively, if your food processor is big enough and has been cleaned out, you can do it in there!
  • Add eggs, one at a time, then stir in sour cream and vanilla. 
  • Add flour and salt and beat until just combined, then pour mixture over crust.
  • Wrap bottom of pan in aluminum foil and place in a large roasting pan.
  • Place roasting pan in oven then pour boiling water in roasting pan about halfway up sides of springform pan (about a full kettle of boiling water was enough for me).
  • Bake until center of cheesecake only slightly jiggles, about 1 hour 30 minutes.
  • Turn off heat, prop open oven door, and let cheesecake cool in oven, 1 hour.  
  • Remove foil and refrigerate cheesecake for at least 5 hours and up to overnight.

For the Apple Cider Caramel

  • Bring apple cider to a boil in a heavy bottomed pot. Reduce heat to medium/low to maintain a steady bubble and cook until the cider is reduced to about 1/4 cup (about 30 minutes). Stir occasionally and keep a close eye on it so it doesn't burn.
  • Stir in the brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, cinnamon and heavy cream.
  • Bring to a boil and cook over medium/low stirring occasionally until the caramel has reached 230 degrees on a candy thermometer.
  • Caramel will thicken as it cools. Store, covered in the refrigerator.

For Apple Topping

  • In a large skillet, bring apple cider, brown sugar and cinnamon to a boil over medium high heat.
  • Cook until thickened and reduced by half.
  • Stir in the butter and then add the apples and salt. Stir occasionally until the apples are soft and the liquid is syrupy.

Assembling the Cake

  • Take the cheesecake out of the oven and remove the side part of the spring form.
  • Transfer the cheesecake to a dish, if you'd like.
  • Pour the apple cider caramel on the top of the cake. You may have to heat it up if it gets too stiff in the fridge.
  • Top with the apples, slice and enjoy!

Notes

I think the best way to do this cheesecake is to make the cake and the apple cider caramel first and then the next day, after the cake has chilled, you can make the apple topping. 
This recipe will make more caramel than you need! You can keep it in the fridge for a week or so. Put it on top of some ice cream or just drench the cheesecake in more of it. 🙂

Now, you might think that with this being “The Philly Kitchen”, that I would probably use Philadelphia Cream Cheese, but I actually do not! Did you know that Philadelphia cream cheese is not from Philly?? I looked it up and the company started in New York and they used the name “Philadelphia” because Philly was known for great dairy. It was all lies!!! So for MY cheesecake, I use local PA dairy. I get my cream cheese and sour cream from Riehl’s Deli and Cheese Shop at Reading Terminal Market. I truly believe that this makes a difference. There’s nothing wrong with Philadelphia cream cheese. You can make a great cheesecake with it, I just always try to go for local whenever I can.

I’d like to share a few notes on this cheesecake.

First, make sure that your pan is wrapped really well with aluminum foil before you place it in the roasting pan. Springform pans are not waterproof, so you have to try your best to seal it up well with the foil.

Second, this will make more caramel than you need. If you made half, you’d probably be OK, but I wrote it this way because it’s so damn good, I want to make sure you have the option to totally drench your slices in it if you want to!

Last, I made the cheesecake filling in my food processor and it came out great. I didn’t use my stand mixer because I’m lazy and already had my food processor out. I just wanted to share that in case you want to do it this way. It turned out pretty great for me, but a mixer is the traditional way to go.

That’s it! If you make this cheesecake, let me know what you think! And if you share on social media, make sure you tag me @thephillykitchen and use #thephillykitchen so I can see your creations!

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