This post is sponsored by Challenge Dairy, but all opinions are my own.
This Turtle Cheesecake is made with a graham cracker crust and plenty of caramel, chocolate and pecans! It’s rich, creamy and sure to be a hit!
I am a big fan of turtle candies. The combination of chocolate and caramel is my jam. Not to mention the cute shape of them when you actually get them in their true shape. If you aren’t familiar, turtle candies are called “turtles” because the pecans are placed in a way that looks like turtle legs and the caramel and chocolate are placed so that they look like turtle shells. They are delicious and cute little candies that is great for the holidays.
But perhaps even though you love the turtle flavors, but really want a cheesecake. Well then, this cheesecake is for you!
What’s in a Turtle Cheesecake?
This Turtle Cheesecake is made with several layers of turtle flavors throughout. To start, there’s the crust. In addition to graham cracker crumbs, the crust has pecans right it in for extra flavor and crunch. The cheesecake filling has a layer of caramel with more pecan chips mixed in, a layer of chocolate and then a creamy brown sugar cheesecake. The whole cheesecake is topped with even more buttery caramel, smooth chocolate and crunchy pecan chips. Delicious!
How to make a Turtle Cheesecake
First, you’ll make the caramel sauce – arguably the best part of this Turtle Cheesecake. It’s basically the same as my Homemade Caramel Sauce, with a few tweaks to make it a little thicker.
The first ingredient for the caramel is the sugar, which gets melted down. Once melted, butter is added, then heavy whipping cream. It makes the most amazing caramel sauce with such a smooth, buttery flavor. Seriously, that buttery flavor is to die for, which is why I used my favorite Challenge Butter.
You’ve heard me say it before and I’ll say it again – Challenge Butter is a wonderful, high quality butter that is perfect for baked goods. Their butter is made from fresh milk at family-owned dairies and goes from farm to fridge in just two days. It has no added hormones, artificial flavors or fillers, which I’m a big fan of. I usually find it at Walmart, but it’s now also available in Kroger. And if you’re near a Harris Teeter, you can also usually find it there. If you aren’t sure, find a location near you where they carry it. It’s good stuff!
When your caramel sauce is made, it’s time for the crust. Combine all the ingredients and bake for 10 minutes.
Next up is the filling. You’ll start by adding some of the caramel sauce to the crust, then making the chocolate ganache. Add the chocolate ganache in an even layer on top of the caramel.
The next part of the cheesecake filling is the cream cheese mixture. Again, I rely on my trusty Challenge Cream Cheese, which is as close to homemade as it gets with nothing artificial and no added hormones. It’s super creamy and perfect as the base of the cheesecake filling. It’s combined with brown sugar, vanilla and your usual ingredients for a silky-smooth filling.
Bake the cheesecake in a water bath, then refrigerate until firm.
How do you bake a cheesecake in a water bath?
While water baths can seem intimidating, they really aren’t hard and they are totally worth it. I have a tutorial that shows you just how I set up my water baths that is quite helpful. I not only use aluminum foil, but also a crock pot liner bag to ensure that water doesn’t get into the cheesecake. Works like a charm!
As for benefits of a water bath, it’ll keep your cheesecake from browning too much, sinking and will help prevent cracks. Definitely the way to go!
Once the cheesecake has cooled, it’s topped with some of the remaining caramel sauce, more chocolate ganache and pecan chips. There’s nothing quite a beautiful as a dessert covered in caramel and chocolate! Nothing quite as tasty either!
The final cheesecake is smooth, creamy and the perfect combination of turtle candy flavors and cheesecake. Such a fun holiday dessert that makes a great alternative to pumpkin! Bring it on!
You might also like:
Turtle Brownie Cheesecake
Turtle Chocolate Layer Cake
Chocolate Turtle Cupcakes
Chocolate Turtle Poke Cake
Turtle Chocolate Cookie Cups
Chocolate Caramel Turtle Cake Roll
This Turtle Cheesecake is made with a graham cracker crust and plenty of caramel, chocolate and pecans!
- Prep Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
- Total Time: 3 hours 55 minutes
- Yield: 12-14 slices
- Category: American
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: Dessert
- 2 cups (414g) sugar
- 1/2 cup (112g) salted Challenge butter, room temperature
- 1 cup (240ml) heavy whipping cream, room temperature
- 5 tbsp (41g) all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1/4 cup (28g) pecan chips
- 2 cups (268g) graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup (112g) salted Challenge butter, melted
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (28g) pecan chips
- 4 oz (2/3 cup | 116g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 6 tbsp (90ml) heavy whipping cream
- 24 oz (678g) Challenge cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup (144g) light brown sugar
- 3 tbsp (24g) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (230g) sour cream
- 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 2 oz (1/3 cup | 58g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 3 tbsp (45ml) heavy whipping cream
1. To make the caramel sauce, pour the sugar into an even layer in a large saucepan.
2. Heat on medium-high heat, whisking the sugar until melted. The sugar will clump up first, but will eventually completely melt. This should take about 10 minutes.
3. Once the sugar has melted, stop whisking and allow to cook until the sugar has turned to a little darker amber color. You may notice a nutty aroma. The change in color will happen quickly, so don’t let it go too long or get too dark or it’ll burn. Remove the caramel from the heat.
4. Add the butter and whisk until combined. The mixture will bubble up quite a bit, but keep whisking until all the butter has melted and combined.
5. Slowly pour the heavy cream into the caramel and whisk until incorporated. I find it can help to add just a bit at a time until the caramel starts to thin out, then you can add the rest. Whisk until well incorporated and smooth.
6. Set about 1 cup of caramel sauce aside for topping. Add the flour and pecan chips to the remaining caramel and set that aside.
7. To make the cheesecake crust, preheat oven to 325°F (163°C). Line a 9-inch (23cm) springform pan with parchment paper in the bottom and grease the sides.
8. Combine the crust ingredients in a small bowl. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan.
9. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool.
10. Cover the outsides of the pan with aluminum foil so that water from the water bath cannot get in (see how I prepare my pan for a water bath). Set prepared pan aside.
11. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F (148°C).
12. Pour the caramel sauce with the pecans and flour into the bottom of the crust and spread into an even layer.
13. To make the cheesecake filling, put the chocolate chips in a small bowl.
14. Heat the heavy whipping cream just until it begins to boil, then pour over the chocolate chips. Allow it to sit for 2-3 minutes, then whisk until smooth.
15. Pour the chocolate into an even layer over the caramel sauce in the crust.
16. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, brown sugar and flour on low speed until well combined and smooth. Be sure to use low speed to reduce the amount of air added to the batter, which can cause cracks. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
17. Add the sour cream and vanilla extract and mix on low speed until well combined.
18. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing slowly to combine after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is well combined.
19. Pour the cheesecake batter into the crust, over the chocolate.
20. Place the springform pan inside another larger pan. Fill the outside pan with enough warm water to go about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. The water should not go above the top edge of the aluminum foil on the springform pan.
21. Bake for 1 hour 35 minutes. The center should be set, but still jiggly.
22. Turn off the oven and leave the door closed for 30 minutes. The cheesecake will continue to cook, but slowly begin to cool as well.
23. Crack the door of the oven for 30 minutes to allow the cheesecake to continue to cool slowly. This process helps prevent cracking.
24. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and remove the water bath and wrapping.
25. Pour about 1/2 cup of the remaining caramel sauce over the top of the cheesecake and spread into an even layer. If the caramel sauce has firmed up too much to pour, heat it up for about 10 seconds.
26. Refrigerate cheesecake until completely cool and firm, 5-6 hours. When the cheesecake is cool and firm, remove it from the springform pan and place on a serving dish.
27. Place the chocolate chips for the drizzle in a small bowl. Heat the heavy whipping cream just until it begins to boil, then pour over the chocolate chips. Allow it to sit for 3-4 minutes, then whisk until smooth.
28. Drizzle the remaining caramel sauce and chocolate sauce over the cheesecake and sprinkle with a few more pecan chips. Refrigerate cheesecake until ready to serve.
Keywords: Turtle Cheesecake