Are Mini Cheesecakes with Salted Caramel Difficult to Make? | The Secret to Fluffy Cheesecake | 3 Food Styling Tips for Making Beautiful Mini Cheesecakes | How to Make This Recipe | Essential Baking Tools
When I think of cheesecake, I often think of a super rich and decadent slice covered in toppings. These mini cheesecakes with salted caramel are rich, but they are light and fluffy instead of super dense and creamy. The lightness gives a nice contrast to the caramel, and balances out the flavors and textures beautifully. Read below for the details and recipe.
Are Mini Cheesecakes with Salted Caramel Difficult to Make?
The answer is no, they aren’t difficult to make! BUT, they do require some attention to detail. It’s all the little details that make a difference. Follow the directions closely, and they will turn out beautifully every time!
The Secret to Fluffy Cheesecake
In culinary school, we made traditional cheesecake, which is dense and creamy. When I made my first batch of these mini cheesecakes using the traditional method, the texture seemed too heavy and rich for this particular recipe.
So I went to good old Google search to figure out what makes cheesecake fluffy. No, I didn’t just know the answer! It takes research sometimes, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of. The overwhelming result was that whipping the egg whites and folding it in was the key to getting a fluffy texture. So guess what? I tried it, and my cheesecakes were exactly how I wanted them to be.
It’s such a simple solution and doesn’t require any extra ingredients, but whipping the egg white makes a huge difference!
3 Food Styling Tips for Making Beautiful Mini Cheesecakes
- Keep the layers clean and even for a really stunning dessert. Don’t allow graham cracker crumbs to stick on the sides of the cupcake liners because they will bake into the sides of the cheesecake. I always check each mini cheesecake liner for crumbs after making and pre-baking the graham cracker crust to ensure that they are totally clean.
- Next, make the cheesecakes really cold or lightly freeze them before removing the cupcake liners. This helps the cheesecakes to hold their shape. It’s also far less likely that your finger will make an indentation in the side of a mini cheesecake if it’s firm and solid as well. Room temperature cheesecake is not forgiving and very difficult to photograph because it’s so easy to smudge.
- Top the cheesecakes with caramel before removing the wrappers so that the caramel forms a beautiful layer. Chill for 5 minutes in the fridge, and then remove the cupcake liners to reveal perfectly beautiful, layered cheesecakes.
How to Make This Recipe
- Make the graham cracker filling, portion into a lined cupcake pan, and bake for 5 minutes. Let cool.
- Mix the cream cheese, egg, sugar, vanilla, and sour cream until smooth.
- Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Gently fold the whites into the cheesecake filling.
- Portion into the cupcake liners, bake in a water bath, and let cool.
- Make caramel while the cheesecakes are cooling.
- Refrigerate cheesecakes until cold, then top with salted caramel sauce.
- Eat and enjoy!
Essential Baking Tools
- Standard cupcake pan
- Cupcake liners
- A hand mixer (this one is my favorite)
- A half sheet pan
- A whisk to make the caramel
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Mini Cheesecakes with Salted Caramel
- Prep Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 3 hours
- Yield: 12–16 servings 1x
- Category: Cheesecake
For the Graham Cracker Crust
- 1 1/4 cups fine graham cracker crumbs
- 5 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
- 1 Tbs granulated sugar
For the Light and Fluffy Cheesecake Filling
- 16 oz full-fat cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup sour cream, not low-fat
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs, separated
- A pinch of salt
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
For the Caramel Sauce
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 Tbs heavy cream, warmed
- 2 Tbs unsalted butter, preferably European style (like Plugra)
- 1/2 tsp fleur de sel or fine sea salt, plus extra for topping
- Whipped cream (optional)
To Make the Graham Cracker Crust
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a standard cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
- Combine graham cracker crust ingredients in a bowl and mix until graham cracker crumbs are moist and mixed.
- Portion 2 tablespoons of the graham cracker mixture into each cupcake liner, and press down to flatten and even out the graham cracker bases. Bake for 5-6 minutes and let cool. The graham cracker crust should not be browned at this point- just lightly baked so it doesn’t absorb as much moisture from the cheesecake.
To Make the Cheesecake Filling
- Combine the cream cheese and sour cream in a medium bowl and mix on medium speed with a hand mixer until completely smooth.
- Add egg yolks, sugar, salt, and vanilla, and mix until smooth. Don’t mix on high speed as we don’t want to incorporate too much air.
- Next, whip egg whites to stiff peaks, and gently fold the whites into the cheesecake mixture.
- Pour cheesecake filling into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip, or use large freezer bag and cut off the corner.
- Fill the cupcake liners with cheesecake filling until 3/4 full. You can fill the liners a little closer to the top, just don’t fill to the very rim because the cheesecake puffs up a bit during baking.
- Next, boil 6-7 cups of water. Then place the cupcake pan on a rimmed half sheet pan and put it in the oven, and pour the boiling water into the half sheet pan until it comes half way up the sides of each cupcake well.
- The water bath helps the cheesecake to cook evenly so that the inside and outside of the cheesecake cooks evenly.
- Close the oven and bake for 18-23 minutes, or until centers are just barely jiggly.
- Remove cupcake pan from half sheet, let cool for 1 hour at room temperature, and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until thoroughly chilled.
To Make the Caramel Sauce
- In a large, heavy bottom sauce pan, heat the sugar on medium-low to medium heat. Do not stir too often, but instead let the sugar begin to melt. Once it begins to melt, stir occasionally.
- To prevent any sugar crystals from staying on the side of the pan, dip a pastry brush in water and wash down the sides of the pan where any sugar crystals are hanging on.
- If any of the sugar crystals make it into the caramel after the caramel is made, then it can cause the caramel to become grainy and unpleasant!
- Stir caramel more often as it melts, and add the butter once the caramel is the color of a brown paper bag. The darker the caramel color, the richer the flavor, so you can decide just how light or intense you want the flavor to be by the color of the caramel.
- Next, add the salt and the heavy cream, whisking rapidly as the cream goes into the caramel.
- Strain the caramel just in case there are any seized caramel bits that won’t melt down. Place in the fridge to cool caramel.
To Assemble the Mini Cheesecakes with Salted Caramel
- Remove cheesecake and caramel from the fridge. Warm the caramel in the microwave for 20-30 if it is stiff, which it will be if the caramel has been in the fridge for a few hours.
- Top the cheesecakes with as much caramel as you desire, extra fleur de sel(optional), and whipped cream(also optional). These mini cheesecakes don’t need the whipped cream to be delicious, so it’s just a matter of preference. For a more intense caramel and cheesecake flavor, leave the whipped cream off.
This is a Baker Street Society original recipe
Keywords: mini cheesecakes with salted caramel, salted caramel, graham cracker crust