The Best Cheesecake Cupcakes

A lot has changed since the last time I blogged about Cheesecake Cupcakes.

For one, I’m no longer dating Jessie, but we are still good friends and talk occasionally.

And for two, I’d like to think my photography has gotten better since 2011 🙂

And for three, I used to film cooking videos with Jessie way back when, and so I’ll include the (embarrassing) video for your viewing (cringing) pleasure at the end of this post… and I’d love it if you could excuse the fact that I weighed a good 60 pounds lighter than I do now. (Hey, a lot can change in four years).

It’s no secret here that I’m a cheesecake fanatic.

No bake cheesecakes, baked cheesecakes, cheesecake cupcakes, cheesecake brownies, mini cheesecakes or cheesecake cheese ball — just give me all the cream cheese-based desserts and no one gets hurt.

Cheesecake is one of the perfect desserts, in my mind, because it’s easy to make ahead (actually, it has to be made ahead!), it usually freezes well and you can make any variation you want.

Plus, it’s creamy and dreamy 😉

I love these cheesecake cupcakes for a holiday or party, because you can make a big batch of add a few to a dessert tray for Thanksgiving or Christmas, or you can make one big batch with 3 or 4 varieties easily, without having to prep any other dessert recipe. (See my notes on flavour variations below!)

But let’s not talk about weight right before I introduce you to these cupcakes.

In fact, if it were humanly possible to time travel back to 2011, I wouldn’t do it…even if it meant fitting back into my size 8 jeans. Mostly because I like where I am right now, despite the fact that there are some hangups. But aren’t there always hangups, even in the best situations?

Perhaps not, but I’d rather there be some minor hangups in my otherwise happy life than it being perfect. Why? Because when things are too perfect, I start to get worried something very bad will happen soon. And inevitably, it does…and usually involves money, of which I do not have.

C’est la vie?

Ingredients for the Best Cheesecake Ever
Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups ground graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 4 Tbsp melted butter

Filling:

  • 4 Eight oz packages of cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs + 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Prep Work
The Best Cheesecake Ever

  1. First take the four blocks of cream cheese & the four eggs out of the refrigerator, unwrap the cream cheese and let everything sit on the counter for about 30 minutes bringing them to nearly room temperature.
  2. Fill a small pan with warm water and place it on the bottom rack of your oven.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Keep the pan of water in the oven while preheating and during the entire cooking period, this will make the oven nice and moist and can help prevent cracks.
  3. Lightly grease your pan.

Instructions

  1. To prepare the crust, mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar & melted butter together.  Pat firmly onto the bottom of your greased pan.
  2. Put the four cream cheese blocks in a large mixing bowl.  Beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth, scraping the sides often.  Do not skimp on this step, it is one of the most important steps for getting a creamy, fluffy filling.  You want the cream cheese to be smooth with no lumps.  Beat for about 3 minutes.
  1. Add granulated sugar & cornstarch and beat filling again, scraping the bowl (for about 1 minute)
  2. Add vanilla extract and 1 of the eggs and 1 of the egg whites.  Beat until combined.
  3. Add second egg and the second egg white. Beat until combined.
  4. Slowly add the heavy cream while beating on medium speed.  Scrap the bottom & sides of the bowl really well.  Beat one final time on high speed for about 30 seconds.  The filling should be creamy & fluffy.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and put it in the oven with the pan of water, bake for about 60 minutes.
  6. Let the cheesecake cool in the pan on a wire rack, away from drafts, for 2-3 hours.  Then lightly cover the cheesecake (keep it in the pan) and refrigerate overnight (or about 8 hours).  Keep leftovers in the refrigerator.
  7. To help minimize cracking, do not open and close the oven door while cooking.  You want to maintain a steady heat & humidity.  Over baking can also cause cracking.  When it’s done, the cheesecake top will be lightly brown.  It will be very puffy (and will have some initial surface cracks, don’t worry they will likely smooth out as it settles).  The sides should be mostly solid and the center should be a little wiggly.  As it cools, the puffiness will settle down and the cheesecake will firm up.  Unless you are planning on serving the cheesecake plain, surface cracking really isn’t the end of the world.  It doesn’t effect the taste, just the appearance.  A coating of berries or whipped cream will cover any imperfections. What you want to avoid are deep cracks that go below the surface layer.  If you want a clean, white top like you would see in a restaurant, you can use a cake layer slicer and just level & skim off the brown crust on the top after it has chilled overnight.  Again, it doesn’t really effect the taste, it’s just aesthetic.  I will say having the “crust” cut off does help juices (from berries or toppings) to sink into the cheesecake itself.  This is great if you are putting the berries on and eating it right away.  If you are going to be making this ahead for a party either don’t put the berries on until the very end or leave the crust on the top.  If you put juicy berries on top of the crust-less cheesecake and let it sit too long the juice will make the cheesecake very soggy.
  8. Enjoy the cheesecake plain or top with sliced or pureed strawberries, raspberries or cherries, caramel or chocolate sauce, fresh whipped cream, nuts, mini chocolate chips – whatever makes you happy!

Cheesecake Cupcakes

  1. Cheesecake Cupcakes are perfectly snack sized and great for parties.  You can top them all different for a cupcake buffet!  This recipe will make about 24 cupcakes.
  2. Put cupcake liners in your cupcake pan
  3. Make the crust as above.  Put a thin layer of crust in the bottom of each cupcake liner and pack firm.  Don’t make it too thick or it will just make a mess when you eat it.
  4. Make the cheesecake filling as above.  Pour the filling into the cupcake pan right to the very top.
  5. Bake 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees
  6. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 30 minutes
  7. Refrigerate at least 3 hours.  Keep leftovers in refrigerator.

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