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Sweet Potato Caramel Cheesecake

This decadent Sweet Potato Caramel Cheesecake is a must-try dessert recipe for anyone who loves the warming flavors of pecan pie. A buttery pecan graham cracker crust, creamy sweet potato cheesecake and a drool-worthy homemade caramel sauce makes the perfect trifecta of textures and flavors. 
Course Dessert
Keyword baked, caramel, cheesecake, classic, creamy, dessert, easy, homemade, indulge, natural, recipe, southern, traditional, vegetarian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Shanika | Orchids + Sweet Tea

Ingredients

PECAN GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST:

  • 2 cups Graham crackers, chopped (About 12-14 Graham Crackers)
  • 1 cup toasted pecans (Add more if desired; just reduce Graham Crackers amount; See Notes!)
  • 3 Tbsps organic brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4-5 Tbsps unsalted butter, melted

SWEET POTATO CHEESECAKE:

  • 16 ozs. organic cream cheese, softened at room temp. (That's 2 packs!)
  • 1 cup sweet potato puree (See Notes!)
  • 3/4 cup organic brown sugar
  • 4 Tbsps organic all-purpose flour 
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 2 large organic eggs, at room temp. 
  • 3 Tbsps low-fat or full-fat sour cream
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice

HOMEMADE CARAMEL SAUCE:

  • 1 cup organic brown sugar
  • 6 Tbsps unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup organic heavy whipping cream
  • pinch of sea salt

OPTIONAL TOPPING:

  • Toasted pecans (See Notes!)

Instructions

PECAN GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a 7 or 8-inch cheesecake pan by lightly greasing it with butter.
  • Grind the pecans + graham crackers, until almost finely ground (it’s OK to leave a few medium chunks, if your’e a lover a little crunch!). Combine the Pecan-Graham cracker mixture, cinnamon, brown sugar and melted butter in a small bowl and mix with a spatula until well incorporated.
  • Add the mixture into the prepared pan and press down into the bottom with your fingers (focusing on the middle) to ensure that it’s perfectly covering the bottom and sides (like a deep well).
  • Bake the crust for about 5 minutes and then remove from oven and allow it to cool until you’re ready to use.

SWEET POTATO CHEESECAKE:

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together on low speed: the cream cheese, brown sugar, and flour until combined. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl if needed.
  • Next, add the sweet potato puree, vanilla extract and the first egg and beat slowly until mostly combined. Then add the remaining egg and mix until well combined, still mixing everything on low speed. Now, add the sour cream and spices, and continue mixing.
  • Change mixer attachment to a whisk and beat on medium-high speed for 5 minutes or so until completely smooth and lump-free.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan until 3/4 filled. NOTE: Leaving a bit of room at the top prevents the cheesecake from spilling over while baking.
  • Bake the cheesecake for 35-40 minutes (until center comes out mostly clean when tested with a toothpick or knife), then turn off the oven and allow it to sit in the oven for another 5 minutes with the oven door halfway open to avoid cheesecake from deflating. NOTE: When baking, I always prepare a medium pot with water and add it to the oven as well, to keep cheesecake temperature even and to add moisture.
  • in the meantime, make your caramel sauce.

HOMEMADE CARAMEL SAUCE:

  • Heat the brown sugar in a medium skillet over medium-high heat and stir constantly using a rubber spatula until clumps are formed. Add butter and continue to stir until everything has melted and become a dark 'amber-like' color. Continue to stir consistently until fully melted and bubbly, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Now, slowly whisk in the heavy cream and continue stirring until well incorporated and sauce has fully thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before using. Set aside.
  • Once done, remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow it to continue to cool for another 15-20 minutes, before putting it in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
  • Once cheesecake has fully chilled, top with caramel sauce, and additional toasted pecans, if desired. Slice and enjoy.
  • Bon Appetit!

Notes

  • STORAGE: Leftover Cheesecake can be stored (tightly wrapped) in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. For best results, keep cheesecake in the freezer until the night before you’re ready to serve. Defrost by refrigerating.
  • STORAGE (CARAMEL SAUCE): Leftover caramel sauce can be stored in a tightly sealed mason jar for up to two weeks. When ready to use, simply reheat sauce in the microwave at 15 second intervals until softened and at room temp.
  • TOASTED PECANS: Add chopped pecans to a baking sheet and toasting them in the oven (400 degrees Fahrenheit) for 5-10 minutes, tossing them halfway to avoid browning on one side.
  • SWEET POTATOES: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Rinse sweet potatoes (about 2 medium-sized) and pat dry. Lightly coat potato with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and place in oven, baking for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until tender and juices begin to bubble outside of skin. Remove from oven, let cool for 10-15 minutes and slice in half. Remove sweet potato insides and place in a bowl, mashing it until “pureed”. Continue recipe.