Cherry Swirl Cheesecake with Graham Crust is an ultra-creamy and decadent, no-fail New York style cheesecake swirled with a luscious Cherry Pie Filling and then baked to perfection over a buttery, crisp graham cracker crust. Is it the ultimate combination? Um, yes please!
Sure, you could just garnish this soft, luscious bite of cheesecake heaven with a Homemade Cherry Pie Filling, but why not swirl it into the batter before you bake it? Even better? Absolutely!
Everyone celebrates their birthday a little differently.
My kids really enjoy being able to pick out absolutely anything they can throw at me for their birthday dessert.
This is a tradition my Mom started when I was a kid. It might have been just a yellow box cake mix with chocolate fudge frosting, but as a kid, I was actually convinced that the fancy looking bakery cakes my friends had were better than my homemade desserts.
As an adult? It’s possible my own kids may also be wondering exactly that, but I’m making their special dessert whether they like it or not!
My 14 year old son, Adam, will always choose a cheesecake for his birthday.
Some years, ok most of them, he will give me a flavor like Oreo or chocolate covered strawberry cheesecake. But other years? I get to pick! (Feel free to envision my hands rubbing together in glee as I contemplate the freedom and options I’ve just been given!)
This year’s cake combines my tried and true New York style basic cheesecake with another family favorite, Homemade Cherry Pie Filling.
How to make Cherry Swirl Cheesecake with Graham Crust
First, make the Homemade Cherry Pie Filling by simmering frozen cherries and a few other ingredients together for 5 minutes. It’s very easy and the difference between homemade filling and the canned variety is huge.
Can I use canned cherry pie filling in this recipe?
Yes, canned pie filling may be substituted, but the easy, homemade cherry pie filling is superior in both taste and texture.
Next, assemble the graham cracker crust ingredients in a 10″ springform pan.
Using a meat mallet or rolling pin, place the graham crackers and toasted sliced almonds in a gallon size ziplock bag, squeeze the air out, and then crush and pound the crackers and almonds to small crumbs.
Add the crumbs, melted butter, sugar, cinnamon, and salt to the bottom of the springform pan, stir until the ingredients are well combined and then pat into a consistent, firm crust layer.
I like to use the bottom of a metal measuring cup to pat it into place.
Bake for 10 minutes so that the buttery crisp texture remains true after adding the cheesecake filling.
To make the cheesecake filling, whip softened cream cheese until it’s smooth.
Add sugar, room temperature eggs, room temperature sour cream, flour, and vanilla and continue to cream everything together until the batter is well combined and a smooth, creamy texture.
Pour the cheesecake filling into the 10″ springform pan over the pre-baked crust.
Dollop the cherry pie filling over the cheesecake batter and then swirl it in using the edge of a knife in figure 8 patterns.
I prefer using a large baking dish of steaming water on the oven rack below the cheesecake to create the steam in the oven necessary to prevent cracking on the cake top.
Tips for the PERFECT Cheesecake
- Make sure to use the correct size of springform pan. This recipe is for a 10″ springform.
- Pre-bake the crust before adding the filling.
- Room temperature ingredients combine to make the cheesecake filling without lumps.
- Use full fat cream cheese and sour cream for the best results.
- Have a pan of hot water on the oven rack below the cheesecake as it bakes.
- Do not overbake. The cheesecake will be slightly wobbly in the center when it is done cooking.
- Rest the cheesecake in the oven with the door cracked before chilling.
- Thoroughly chill the cheesecake before slicing and serving.
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Cherry Swirl Cheesecake with Graham Crust
Graham Cracker Crust
- 1 cup graham crackers, crushed into crumbs
- 1/2 cup almond slices, toasted and crushed
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons granulated cane sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 cups cherry pie filling Homemade Cherry Pie Filling
- 40 ounces cream cheese softened (5 – 8oz packages)
- 1 cup granulated cane sugar
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup sour cream, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Graham Cracker Crust
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Spray the sides of a 10" springform pan with non stick spray.
- Add the graham crackers and toasted, sliced almonds to a large ziplock bag, squeeze out the air, and seal the bag.
- Use a meat mallet or rolling pin to pulverize the contents to small crumbs.
- Add the crumbs and all the remaining crust ingredients to the bottom of the springform pan and stir them together until they are well combined.
- Using the bottom of a flat cup or other object, firmly pat the crust ingredients into a consistent thickness at the base of the pan.
- Bake the crust for 10 minutes.
- Place a large baking dish half filled with hot water on the oven rack below where the cheesecake will be place.
- Cream the softened cream cheese in a large mixing bowl using a stand mixer or a hand mixer at a medium speed.
- Add the sugar and then the eggs one at a time to incorporate with the creamed cheese.
- Add the sour cream, flour, and vanilla and continue to beat the mixture just until it is smooth, creamy, and well combined.
- Pour the cheesecake batter over the pre-baked crust and smooth the top to an even thickness.
- Laddle the Cherry Pie Filling over the cheesecake batter. Use the edge of a knife in a figure eight pattern to swirl the pie filling into the cheesecake batter.
- Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes.
- Turn off the oven and crack the oven door, leaving the cheesecake in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Chill the cheesecake in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours before slicing and serving.
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