Decadent, sweet, and utterly delicious, this Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake is a real showstopper! A magical twist on a classic dessert that’s perfect for any holiday feast.
What’s in this Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake Recipe?
This is the queen of cheesecakes! Layers of chocolate and caramel are adorned with a chocolate ganache – it’s utterly divine. With its rich and indulgent flavors, it’s a great fall dessert and perfect for any special occasion!
- Graham Crackers: Form the base of the cheesecake crust.
- Sugar: A combination of granulated and brown sugar sweetens the crust, while white granulated sugar sweetens the cheesecake batter.
- Unsalted Butter: Binds the crust together.
- Cream Cheese: Forms the base of our cheesecake, adding richness, creaminess, and that signature tangy flavor.
- Heavy Cream: Adds richness to the cheesecake batter and the chocolate ganache.
- Lime Juice: Adds flavor and acidity and helps prevent curdling. You can use lemon juice instead.
- Vanilla Extract: Enhances the sweetness of the cheesecake batter.
- Kosher Salt: Enhances the natural flavor of the cheesecake batter.
- Eggs: Adds richness and structure to the cheesecake batter.
- Cornstarch: Thickens the cheesecake batter.
- Caramel Sauce: Turns half the cheesecake batter into caramel cheesecake batter.
- Chocolate Chips: Turn half the cheesecake batter into chocolate cheesecake batter and form the base of the ganache topping.
Pro Tip: 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour may be used instead of cornstarch to thicken the filling.
Variations on Caramel Chocolate Cheesecake
To make this into a turtle cheesecake, substitute up to ½ cup of the graham cracker crumbs for chopped pecans, and top the cheesecake with additional caramel sauce and chopped pecans.
New York cheesecake is rich and dense due to the high volume of cream cheese and eggs in the recipe. It’s also made silky due to the addition of sour cream. A regular cheesecake uses more sour cream and/or heavy cream to thin out the batter, making it less dense.
Cheesecakes require the use of a springform pan. This type of pan allows for even baking, easy release, and less mess. If you don’t have one, you should be able to pick one up at most stores in the aisle with other baking pans.
I do not recommend using fat-free ingredients to make this cheesecake, as it just won’t taste as rich and delicious. However, you can use light cream cheese or Neufchatel for a lower-fat alternative. This will change the flavor slightly.
A water bath keeps the temperature around the cheesecake more even, allowing it to cook more evenly and preventing cracks on the surface of the cheesecake.
Aside from using the water bath method, if you want to keep the cheesecake from cracking, turn the oven off, and let it cool with the door closed for a minimum of 2 hours and a maximum of 3 hours.
Cheesecake should come out of the oven with a slightly jiggly center. It will take a few hours to cool and set properly, so don’t worry! If after baking, you press gently in the center of the cheesecake and runny batter comes off on your finger, it needs a bit longer to bake.
How to Store
Store leftover chocolate caramel cheesecake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
How to Freeze
Freeze chocolate caramel cheesecake whole or in slices in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Let thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
Serve this cheesecake topped with a drizzle of caramel sauce, dulce de leche, or hot fudge sauce and a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. It’s also delish with a dulce de leche milkshake or a hot cocoa bomb.
Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake Recipe
For the Crust
- 4½ cups crushed graham crackers 639 grams, about 40 cracker sheets
- ¼ cup granulated sugar 50 grams
- ¼ cup brown sugar 53 grams
- 1 cup unsalted butter 226 grams, melted (2 sticks)
For the Cheesecake
- 24 ounces cream cheese 681 grams, room temperature (3 bricks)
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar 67 grams
- ⅓ cup heavy cream 76 grams, room temperature
- 2½ teaspoons lime juice 12 grams, from 1¼ limes
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 4 grams
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt 3 grams
- 3 large eggs 150 grams, room temperature
- 1½ tablespoons cornstarch 11 grams
For the Caramel Layer
- ½ cheesecake batter (see above) 502 grams
- ⅓ cup caramel sauce 107 grams, store-bought or homemade
For the Chocolate Layer
- ½ cheesecake batter (see above) 502 grams
- ⅓ cup chocolate chips 57 grams, melted
For the Ganache
- 5 tablespoons heavy cream 71 grams
- ⅔ cup chocolate chips 113 grams
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with a piece of parchment paper, then line the sides with a long piece of parchment paper. Set aside.
- To make the crust, mix the graham crackers, sugar, and brown sugar in a medium-sized bowl. Add the melted butter and stir until the mixture resembles wet sand. Press the crust mixture into the bottom and sides of the springform pan. The crust will be very thick. Place the springform pan into the fridge to chill for 20 minutes while you make the cheesecake batter.4½ cups crushed graham crackers, ¼ cup granulated sugar, ¼ cup brown sugar, 1 cup unsalted butter
- For the base cheesecake batter, place the cream cheese and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat together on high speed for 2 minutes to ensure that it is smooth and creamy. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl down. Add in the heavy cream, lime juice, vanilla, and salt and beat together until combined. Add in the eggs and beat together for 15 seconds. Lastly, add in the cornstarch and beat together to incorporate.24 ounces cream cheese, ⅓ cup granulated sugar, ⅓ cup heavy cream, 2½ teaspoons lime juice, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 3 large eggs, 1½ tablespoons cornstarch
- Divide the cheesecake batter into 2 medium-sized bowls.
- For the caramel layer, mix half of the cheesecake batter and the caramel together until combined. For the chocolate layer, mix half of the cheesecake batter and the melted chocolate together until combined.½ cheesecake batter (see above), ⅓ cup caramel sauce, ½ cheesecake batter (see above), ⅓ cup chocolate chips
- Take the crust out of the refrigerator and pour the caramel cheesecake batter into it in a smooth layer. Wrap the bottom and sides of the springform pan with tin foil to prevent any water from seeping in. Place the springform pan into a large baking pan or broiler pan. Fill the broiler pan with 1 inch of warm water to create a water bath. Place the pans into the oven to bake for 50 minutes. Once baked, remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack to cool slightly for 5 minutes.
- Gently spoon the chocolate cheesecake batter on top of the caramel layer. Gently tap the sides of the pan to get the chocolate layer smooth. Do not smooth out with a spoon or rubber spatula, as this can cause the chocolate batter to go down into the caramel layer. Place the pans back into the oven to bake for 30 minutes.
- Once baked, turn the oven off and let the cheesecake rest inside with the door closed for 30 minutes. Prop the oven door open slightly and let the cheesecake rest for another 30 minutes. Once rested, remove from the oven, unwrap the tinfoil and place the springform pan onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Once the cheesecake has cooled, cover and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 8 hours.
- To make the ganache, heat the heavy cream in a microwave safe bowl for 1 minute. Pour the heated heavy cream on top of the chocolate chips. Let stand for 1 minute to allow the chocolate to melt before mixing until smooth.5 tablespoons heavy cream, ⅔ cup chocolate chips
- Once the cheesecake has chilled, uncover and pour the ganache on top. Smooth out. Release the springform and remove the sides from the cheesecake. Slice and serve.
- Lemon juice may be used in place of the lime juice in the filling.
- 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour may be used instead of cornstarch to thicken the filling.
- Follow all of the directions completely, as this cheesecake recipe has come about through many trials and tests. The mixing times and bake times are precisely what they should be to achieve the perfect cheesecake.
- If the cream cheese is not creamed properly at the start of the recipe, it will stay clumpy throughout the mixing and will create a lumpy cheesecake batter. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl down so that no lumps remain. If you should have any lumps at the end of making the batter, use a rubber or wooden spatula to press the lumps against the side of the bowl to dissipate them.
- Do not skip the water bath. This aids in prevention of cracking. The steam helps to bake the cheesecake evenly.
- Be sure to let the cheesecake rest both with the door closed and the door propped open after it has been baked. Allowing it to rest with the door closed lets it finish baking through gently. Letting it rest with the door propped open allows it to slowly cool down. Pulling the cheesecake out of the oven without allowing it to rest will cause a temperature shock creating severe cracking.
- The cheesecake will be slightly jiggly in the center after it is done baking. It is imperative that it chills to allow it to finish setting up completely.
- This cheesecake freezes really well. For ease of serving, I like to slice the entire cheesecake into individual slices and then wrap each slice in plastic wrap really well. This makes for ease of freezing and for quick serving later on.
- When making the ganache, I find that an immersion blender makes quick and easy work of bringing the ganache together versus whisking it together by hand. The immersion blender also ensures that there are no remaining lumps of chocolate chips in the ganache.