Along with the Holiday Morning Buns, this decadent cheesecake made an appearance on my husband’s birthday a few weeks ago. If you need a terribly indulgent and crowd-pleasing dessert recipe for Christmas next week, I would suggest looking no further.

From Smitten Kitchen, I’ve had my eye on this recipe for a while but was skeptical about a chocolate cheesecake because I thought it might be “too much” – too dense, too rich, too one dimensional. Oh, how I was wrong!

This was one of the best cheesecakes I have ever had and I was actually surprised at how much my husband liked it. Sure, I made it for his birthday and all, but he’s not an over-the-top chocolate fan (there was selfish motive in making it, let’s be honest) and still he could not get enough.

The cheesecake is surprisingly light and not at all gritty and thick like some baked cheesecakes I have had. The caramel helps lighten the heaviness of the chocolate and overall, this was superb.

It is definitely my new go-to chocolate cheesecake recipe and will probably be making an appearance at our Christmas dinner.

Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake

Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake


  • 1 crumb-crust recipe (recipe below)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Crumb Crust:
  • 3 cups (10 oz) finely ground cookies such as chocolate wafers or chocolate teddy grahams
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. For the crumb crust, Stir together crust ingredients and press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of a buttered 24-centimeter springform pan. Fill right away or chill up to 2 hours.
  2. For the cheesecake, preheat oven to 350°F.
  3. Cook sugar in a dry heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring slowly with a fork, until melted and pale golden. This step takes a lot longer than I thought – a good 10-15 minutes on my stovetop. After the sugar turns pale golden, cook without stirring, swirling pan, until deep golden. Remove from heat and carefully add heavy cream (mixture will vigorously steam and caramel will harden). Cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until caramel is dissolved. (I will admit I had a bit of trouble with this step – my caramel never fully dissolved again but I was also a little impatient and probably didn’t wait long enough so I ended up removing the chunks of sugar that never dissolved and using the rest of the cream/caramel mixture in the cheesecake. The cheesecake still tasted phenomenal. Next time I’ll try to have more patience in remelting the hardened caramel.) Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate until smooth. Stir in sour cream.
  4. Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy, then beat in chocolate mixture on low speed. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated and scraping down bowl between additions.
  5. Put springform pan with crust in a shallow baking pan. Pour filling into crust and bake in baking pan (to catch drips) in middle of oven 55 minutes (this took about 65 minutes in my oven), or until cake is set 3 inches from edge but center is still slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken. My cheesecake developed an enormous crack after baking so next time I will bake it in a water bath to eliminate cracking.
  6. Run a knife around top edge of cake to loosen and cool completely in springform pan on a rack. (Cake will continue to set as it cools.) Chill cake, loosely covered, at least 6 hours. Remove side of pan and transfer cake to a plate. Bring to room temperature before serving (I actually found the cheesecake tasted better slightly cold). Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Recipe Source: adapted from Smitten Kitchen via

16 Responses to Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake

  1. Erin says:

    Made this cheesecake for my son’s birthday today. It was amazing! Very rich, and smooth. Made me look good 😉 Thanks Mel!

  2. christine says:

    I’ve made lots of cheesecakes, but this one is the first one that was a complete fail for me. I guess the melting the sugar/ making the Carmel was above my skill level…once I’d melted the sugar the 2nd time and put the chopped chocolate in it,the chocolate completely seized up on me….not sure how this was to be avoided. Did I cook the Carmel too long? (But I only cooked it as directed, until the sugar had dissolved)

    • Mel says:

      Christine – it’s been years since I’ve made this so I’m less familiar with the recipe than I was a few years ago when I had made it several times. I remember one time making this and the sugar mixture hardened up but I was able to rescue it by putting the pan over low heat again. Did you try that?

  3. Anissa says:

    I made this for our family Christmas gathering this evening. It was AMAZING. Truly rich, creamy and delicious. Thanks!

  4. Melanie says:

    Anissa – so glad you liked this! Thanks for letting me know (and Merry Christmas!).

  5. Patsyk says:

    Looks like the most perfect dessert – EVER!

  6. RecipeGirl says:

    Not that I need another slice of cheesecake in my life this season, but that caramel syrup is just calling my name! Delicious! Check out my cheesecake that I posted today too 🙂

  7. Frieda says:

    That looks fabulous! Thanks for the tips and hints. I put foil on my springform pan prior to a water bath. It definitely helps keep water from leaking into the cheesecake.

  8. Annemarie says:

    This will quite possibly be next on my list…YUM!

  9. Marisa says:

    Oh wow! That looks amazing. My husband would absolutely love this!

  10. Loralee and the gang... says:

    OH! My Gosh! My three favorite sweet things, all in one dessert! That’s heavenly, and it Will be on my table for Christmas dinner!😀

  11. Colleen says:

    You can’t get much more decadent than this – perfect for the holidays!

  12. HoneyB says:

    YUMM, how can one go wrong with chocolate and caramel?

  13. Amy and David Ziehl says:

    Take my word for this… IT WAS AMAZING!!! Now I am not a huge Chocolate fan but I LOVED this! It was so amazing!!!!

  14. grace says:

    come on now. you’d have to be blind and tastebud-less NOT to like this! smooth, rich chocolate and drippy, golden caramel make grace a happy eater. 🙂

  15. Angie says:

    Are you sure you won’t be making it to our house (with this dessert) on Christmas Day?? ;o) Looks divine and I’m sure I’ll try it out soon!

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