This cafe au lait cheesecake is a delectable and irresistible combination of coffee and caramel. One of the most uniquely flavoured cheesecakes I’ve sampled.
When I saw a version of this delicious cafe au lait cheesecake on a recipe website, I just knew I’d end up trying it. The bones of the recipe was practically identical to my own standard cheesecake recipe so I just modified it a little to fit. The caramel sauce is a standard recipe of mine for years too. The caramel and coffee flavours combine so well here. This is one of the very best cheesecakes I have ever tried and, well, I’ve tried more than my fair share, trust me!
Like this Cheesecake recipe?
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- ½ cup whipping cream
- 2 ½ tbsp espresso powder or 3 tbsp instant coffee crystals in a pinch
- 1⅓ cups graham cracker crumbs
- 3 tbsp sugar
- ⅓ cup melted butter
- 3 eight ounce packages ounces cream cheese 3 cups
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- the espresso cream mixture prepared earlier
- Caramel Sauce
Heat the 1/2 cup of whipping cream almost to boiling. Dissolve the espresso powder into the cream and set aside to cool to room temperature. This will be added to the cheesecake batter later.
In a small bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter.
Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased or parchment lined 9 inch spring form pan. (Grease bottom only!) Parchment paper is ideal here because it makes it very easy to release the cheesecake from the bottom of the pan.
Cream together the cream cheese and sugar for 2 to 3 minutes until well combined.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Beat in the vanilla extract.
Finally blend in espresso and cream mixture plus the second 1/2 cup whipping cream until the batter is very smooth. Using a rubber bowl scraper/spatula, scrape the bottom and the sides of the bowl as well as the electric beaters/paddle and give the batter a final beating for 1 minute on a higher speed. This final step ensures that there are no lumps in the batter and introduces a little air into the cheesecake to make it lighter.
Pour over the prepared base and bake in a bain marie at 300 degrees F for 60-70 minutes. (Oven temperatures will vary slightly. Mine takes the full 70 minutes and you can go to 75 if you feel you need to.)
Don't be an compulsive oven door opener! Don't open it at all in the first hour.
The cheesecake does not have to brown at all in order to be fully baked; the surface of the cheesecake should lose any shine when the cake is properly baked. It can still be slightly wobbly just at the center at this point.
In my opinion, baking the perfect cheesecake requires the use of a bain marie during baking. A bain marie is simply a water bath that buffers the direct heat from the sides and bottom of the baking pan to more evenly bake the cheesecake from the sides to the center.
I bake my cheesecakes in a 9 inch spring form pan that has the bottom and sides wrapped in multiple layers of wide heavy duty aluminum foil which forms a sort of boat that the cheesecake pan sits in. The roll of aluminum foil that I use is about 16 inches wide. I use at least 4 layers of foil to make sure that no water leaks in and ruins the crust of my cheesecake. The aluminum foil wrapped pan is then placed inside a larger baking pan; I use a 12 inch cake pan. Boiling water is then poured into the larger pan filling it from ½ to ⅔ of the way to the top.I find it best to pour the boiling water into the pan after it is placed on the rack in the oven as you are less likely to splash water onto the cheesecake or inside the aluminum foil. I reuse the aluminum foil for several future cheesecakes, adding a couple of layers to it each time just to be safe.
EVEN IF YOU CHOOSE NOT USE A BAIN MARIE still use the aluminum foil wrap around the cheesecake pan. The aluminum foil still offers a good buffer to the heat. High heat and baking too quickly is the main reason that a cheesecake becomes dense and not creamy.
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