Cinnamon graham cracker crust, luscious creamy cajeta cheesecake filling with a thick chocolate sea salt ganache and a scoop of home made whipped cream on top.
That’s my perfect dessert.
And now you can make it yourself from scratch!
But first, you may be asking, what in the world is cajeta?
Cajeta is a Mexican dulce de leche made with goat’s milk. I first tried it when I was in high school when one of my friends from Mexico would eat it for dessert on some Maria cookies. I soon became addicted and ate the stuff everyday. The brand is called “Coronado” and it should say “Cajeta Quemada” on the bottle. I was able to find cajeta in the Latin American section in my local grocery store here in San Diego. It might not be that readily available in other parts of the country, but you could always just buy dulce de leche or even order the cajeta online.
My idea to make a cheesecake began last week when I bought some cajeta and was wondering what to do with it since I ran out of cookies. I had this idea that adding it to a cheesecake would really bring out the flavor. I also was heading to a party and was thinking that using it in a cheesecake would be a good way to introduce that flavor to people that may not have had it before.
Well, it was a success! I ended up cutting it into squares and serving it as finger food. Everyone commented that they loved the sea salt chocolate ganache so that was definitely a good touch. My friend, Niki, went even so far as to say it may have been her favorite dessert she’s ever had! Thanks, Niki! That means my crazy invention was a success in my book. I made up the recipe and the measurements so this is all coming from my little noggin’! Enjoy!
- I cup crushed honey graham crackers
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 4 tbsp. softened butter
- 3 packages softened cream cheese
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup cajeta
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 12 oz bag of semi sweet chocolate chips
- 1 and 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Sea salt, for sprinkling once ganache is set
Preheat oven- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit (I just spelt fahrenheit wrong 9 times).
Crush the Grahams- I always use a rolling pin and freezer bag to crush crackers or cookies because I am too lazy to wash the food processor. It’s also good if you have a child that would have fun rolling the bag to make the crumbs (that was always my job in the kitchen as a kid). Crush until you have fine crumbs.
Mix crumbs with other ingredients and press into pan- In a medium bowl, mix the crumbs with the butter with your hands until totally combined. Add in the sugar and cinnamon and mix a little more. Line the bottom of 9 or 10 inch springform pan with parchment paper. Use a little butter to coat the sides to make sure the sides won’t stick. Press the crumb mixture into just the bottom of the pan.
Make the filling- Place the softened cream cheese in a large bowl, or your mixer bowl if you have an electric mixer.
Add eggs, sugar and and vanilla- Add in the 3 eggs, the 3/4 cup sugar and the tsp. of vanilla and mix until fully combined and fluffy.
Mix in cajeta- Slowly pour in the cajeta and just barely stir it. You want the cajeta to look marbled.
Pour filling and spread- Pour the filling on top of the crust and gently smooth with a large spoon until fully flattened.
Bake- Bake in a 350 degree oven on the middle rack for 35 minutes for a 10 inch pan and 45 for a 9 inch pan. You want to look in the oven and see that the outer 2 inches of the cheesecake are set. The middle should still be jiggly if you move it a little.
Make the ganache- Once the cheesecake has baked, leave it on the counter to cool. As it’s cooling, start on the ganache. Pour 1 and a half cups heavy cream into a double boiler. Slowly bring the water up to a boil and continue to stir the cream The cream should start to slowly bubble after about 10 minutes.
Add the hot cream over the chocolate chips- Once the cream is very hot and gently bubbling, carefully pour it slowly on top of the chocolate chips. Stir and slowly you will see all the chocolate melt.
Let ganache sit- Let the ganache sit in the bowl for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want it to thicken just a bit.
Pour ganache over cake- Pour the ganache evenly over the semi cooled cheese cake and sprinkle on sea salt to your liking.
Refrigerate- Put the cake in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. Top with some whipped cream and serve cold! Let me know what you think! Would you do anything differently?