The Secret to a Perfect Cheesecake for Your Book Club Party!

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The Secret To A Perfect Carmel Cheesecake Recipe is adding some lemon juice to the batter.  I learned this trick from Ina Garten years ago.  It enhances the flavor and balances the heaviness of the cream cheese, giving you the best cheesecake you will ever eat!

This caramel cheesecake recipe is decorated with toffee and homemade whipped cream using heavy whipping cream. It’s one of the most delicious cheesecake recipes I’ve ever made.

I’m a dessert lover! I would skip dinner and go straight to dessert if I could.

The Best Cheesecake Recipe

So, choosing a dessert for a Book Club meeting or a party is a serious matter. I want to serve something delicious! My go-to dessert is this homemade cheesecake with salted caramel sauce. Several family members request it instead of a birthday cake.

Strawberry Cheesecakes
Same cheesecake recipe with strawberry sauce and whipped cream.

The best thing about this recipe is you can make it ahead of time, and it’s versatile. You can serve it plain, add fruit, or, my favorite, toffee with warm homemade caramel sauce and Whipped Cream. You can substitute the thick graham cracker crust with Oreo cookies and make cookie crumbs for the cheesecake crust.  It’s to die for; I’m not kidding.

I used the basic cheesecake recipe but used individual silicone cups. Baking time 40 minutes.

So here’s the secret to what I think makes a perfect cheesecake. There are two, lemon juice and placing your springform or cupcake pan in a water bath.

The water bath gives the top of the cheesecake a smooth finish without any cracks.  It’s perfect when topping with fruit, but I don’t use the water bath when using caramel sauce.  It gives a little dip in the cheesecake for the caramel sauce to settle.

If you don’t have fancy silicone cups, a regular baking pan works just as well.

Over the years, the request for my cheesecake has grown. It’s a family favorite and always a crowd-pleaser at parties. It’s not my recipe. My former neighbor, who was an excellent baker and cook, shared it with me.

I filled the cups almost to the top and placed them on a baking pan with about a half inch of water. This prevents the top from cracking and gives it a professional look.

I think the original recipe came from Gourmet Magazine or Bon Appetite, which I can no longer find online. I will happily give credit if anyone can provide the information. I’m so thankful for this recipe.

 I was inspired to make mini cheesecakes from Trisha Yearwood’s Mini Key Lime Cheesecakes recipe.  They look delicious!

Mini Strawberry Cheesecakes
I used a regular cupcake pan for these mini strawberry cheesecakes.  If you don’t have a silicone pan, I would suggest using cupcake liners.

The beauty of this cheesecake is you can make an entire cheesecake or mini cheesecakes. 

My personal favorite and most requested is the Toffee Caramel which I use for special occasions. However, the fruit topping is perfect for a summer dessert or to match your holiday table setting.

Mini Strawberry Cheesecakes in a row
There are so many ways you could prepare this cheesecake.

Visit our blog post “Book Club Party” for more entertaining ideas.  Enjoy this recipe, and have fun at your next gathering!

Happy reading,


Toffee Cheesecake with Warm Caramel Sauce

Ingredients for Graham Cracker Crust:

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (you can buy ready-made or put graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor to crush)
6 T. (3/4 stick) salted butter
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

Ingredients for Cheesecake Filling:

2 lbs of cream cheese (room temperature)
1 1/2 cups of sugar
5 large eggs ( room temperature)
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Ingredients for Salted Caramel Topping:

1 1/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter (cut into small pieces – room temperature)+ a pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup whipping cream
1.4-ounce toffee candy bars (such as Skor) broken


For Crust:

Preheat oven to 350* F.
Lightly butter the bottom of the pan, including the sides of a 9-inch diameter springform pan with 2 3/4 high sides.
Combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and brown sugar in a small bowl.
Press crumbs over the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of the pan.
Refrigerate crust.

For Filling: (*Tip; it’s best to use room temperature ingredients)

Using an electric mixer at medium speed (once combined, increase speed to high), beat cream cheese in a large bowl until fluffy, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
Add sugar and beat until smooth.
Beat in eggs one at a time.
Mix in vanilla extract.
Add fresh lemon juice.

Pour the filling into the prepared crust.
Bake until cake rises about 1/2 inch over the rim and the center moves only slightly when the pan is shaken. (about 1 hour 15 minutes)
Cool on a rack (cake will fall as it cools, sinking in the center.
Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 6 hours or overnight.

For Topping:

Heat sugar and water in a heavy medium saucepan over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Then Increase heat and boil without stirring until mixture is rich caramel color, occasionally swirling and washing down sides of pan with a brush dipped into cold water, about 8 minutes.
Reduce heat to very low.
Add cream (mixture will bubble up) and stir until smooth.
Mix in butter.
Cool slightly
Mix in vanilla.


Using a small sharp knife, cut around sides of pan to loosen.
Release pan sides.
Pour 2/3 cup of caramel sauce into center of cake.
Cover remaining caramel sauce and let stand at room temperature.
Chill cake until caramel topping is almost set. (about 2 hours)

Whip 3/4 cup cream with 2 Tbl. Sugar in medium bowl until firm peaks form. Spoon cream into pastry bag fitted with star tip. Pipe whipped cream, decorating around the edge of cake. Arrange toffee pieces in whipped cream border. Refrigerate until serving.

Cut cake into wedges. Serve passing remaining sauce separately.

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