Dutch apple pie and cheesecake are two of my favorite desserts, so I thought it might be interesting to combine them into one splendid cake, and here’s the result. The simple vanilla cheesecake filling is covered with a generous layer of sauteed apple cubes and a buttery cinnamon crumble topping, reminiscent of a Dutch apple pie. I love the contrast of the creamy filling and crunchy topping, and the cake’s warm fall flavors. As I do with all my cheesecakes, I bake the cake in a water bath, placing it first in an oven bag to ensure that no water infiltrates the pan (nothing worse than a soggy crust!). The cake does take a while to assemble and bake, and should chill for at least six hours before serving, but I think you’ll agree that it’s well worth the wait.
Makes one 9-inch cake
Special Equipment: Turkey-size oven bag, such as this one
Cinnamon Graham Cracker Crust
- 2 cups (217 grams) graham cracker crumbs (about 14 whole crackers)
- 3 tablespoons (40 grams) light brown sugar
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)
- 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, melted
Caramelized Apple Layer
- 2 medium (395 grams) Granny Smith apples
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ cup (97 grams) all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons (37 grams) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup firmly packed (54 grams) light brown sugar
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- 5 tablespoons (71 grams) unsalted butter, melted
- 32 ounces (907 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 1/3 cups (266 grams) granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¾ cup (174 grams) heavy cream
Make the crust
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of a 9-inch diameter x 3-inch high springform pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- Place the graham cracker crumbs in a medium bowl and stir in the brown sugar, breaking up any lumps. Stir in the cinnamon and nutmeg until blended, then add the melted butter and mix until evenly blended. Pat the mixture into bottom of the prepared pan. Bake the crust for 10 to 12 minutes, until it is set and fragrant. Set the pan on a wire rack and cool the crust completely. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.
Make the apple layer
- Peel and core the apples, then cut them into 1/3-inch cubes. Put them into a medium bowl and toss with the lemon juice.
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When foamy, add the apples and sauté for 30 seconds. Sprinkle the sugar on top and continue to cook, stirring and tossing the apples frequently until they are just beginning to brown around the edges, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cinnamon and set aside to cool.
Make the topping
- In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugars, cinnamon and salt. Add the melted butter and mix with a fork, stirring until the butter is absorbed and the mixture is crumbly. Set aside.
Make the filling
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until very creamy, about 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until light and creamy, about 4 minutes more. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula once or twice. Add the vanilla and salt and mix until blended. Add the heavy cream and mix until blended, scraping down the bowl again to make sure the mixture is evenly blended. Pour the batter into the cooled crust.
- Sprinkle the apples evenly over the batter, then top with the crumb mixture, making the layer as even as possible.
Bake and chill the cake
- Carefully place the cake pan into a turkey-size oven bag, with the opening at the top, then place the whole thing in a roasting pan. Leave the bag open, bunching it up around the top of the pan like a short collar. Fill the roasting pan with hot water so that it comes about a third of the way up the side of the cake pan. Place the roasting pan in the oven, making sure that the turkey bag is not touching the top element of the oven, and bake the cake for 1 hour and 15 minutes – the center will still be quite wobbly. Turn the oven off (don’t open the door), and let the cake stay in the oven for another 1 ½ hours.
- Remove the cake from the water bath and the roasting bag and let it cool completely on a wire rack; the filling will be slightly wobbly, but will firm up as it cools.
- Refrigerate the cake for at least 6 hours before serving.