Last Friday was my mom’s birthday… a great big belated happy birthday to my mom!! She spent the latter part of the afternoon and evening running around with me to do last-minute errands before our party on Saturday. I’ll be making her very favorite dinner (sausage, pepper & mushroom risotto with chocolate chip scones for dessert) soon, but since Friday was spent doing party prep, she only requested some Five Guys takeout for dinner. I couldn’t let her birthday come and go without giving her something special to eat, so I surprised her with this cheesecake. Turtles are by far her favorite candy, and I’ve been wanting to make her a turtle-inspired cheesecake for quite some time. It took me awhile to decide how I wanted to build such a cheesecake, and I finally ran with it. This turned out even more fabulous than I imagined, and was a perfect celebratory cake.
I took all of the elements of classic turtle candies and built it into one extremely dreamy cheesecake. I started with an Oreo cookie crust and topped it with a mixture of homemade caramel sauce and chopped pecans. I chilled the pan in the refrigerator while I prepared a fantastic basic cheesecake recipe. Once the cheesecake was baked and cooled, I topped it with a chocolate ganache, then finished it off with more caramel drizzles and chopped pecans.
The result? One of the most fabulous cheesecakes to ever come out of my kitchen. My mom absolutely loved it, as did the rest of us. Caramel and nuts, sandwiched by chocolate and a luscious cheesecake layer… it’s all win. A perfect dessert for a mom that deserves only the best!
A cheesecake fashioned after turtle candies; it has an Oreo crust, a layer of caramel and pecans, a creamy cheesecake, then topped with a chocolate ganache and drizzled with more caramel sauce and sprinkled with additional pecans.
Make the Crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toss together the Oreo crumbs, melted butter and salt until all of the crumbs are moistened. Press into the bottom and two inches up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Place pan in the freezer for 10 minutes. Bake for 7 minutes, or until crust is firm. Remove from oven and cool completely.
Make the Caramel-Pecan Layer: In a small bowl, stir together the caramel sauce and pecans. Pour onto the cooled crust and gently spread into an even layer. Refrigerate while the cheesecake is prepared.
Make the Cheesecake: Beat together the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until smooth and creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well until fully incorporated and scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and beat until well combined, about 1 minute. Pour the batter on top of the caramel-pecan layer and bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until the edges are set, but the middle still jiggles a little.
Keeping the oven door closed, turn off the oven and let the cheesecake rest in the oven for 1 hour. After 1 hour, remove the cheesecake from the oven, and place the pan on a wire rack to cool completely, about an additional 2 hours. Once completely cool, refrigerate for at least 6 hours (preferably overnight).
Make the Chocolate Ganache: Combine the heavy cream, corn syrup, chocolate and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until smooth. Set the glaze aside to cool and thicken at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Pour the ganache over the top of the cheesecake, gently spreading it to the edges. Refrigerate for 15 minutes, or until set. Remove the sides of the pan, garnish with additional caramel sauce and chopped pecans, and serve. Leftover cheesecake can be stored, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It can also be frozen for up to 2 months.
Note: Some readers have mentioned issued with the caramel sauce leaking through the springform pan while baking. To avoid a mess, place a rimmed baking sheet on the oven rack below the cheesecake to catch any drips.