These cheesecake cupcakes were the definitive hit of the wedding.
The real tragedy is that I didn’t get a very good picture of them! They were out amidst the other desserts and I put them together last minute so… this is the best I can do. Which is ridiculous because do you know how many times I’ve made these? At least a million. No exaggeration there.
I’ve made these a million times because they are ah-mazing. I don’t even like cheesecake and I think these cupcakes are great. I’ve eaten them warm and plain, warm with warm topping, and cold with cold topping. They’re all winners folks! Sugar, cream, and cream cheese are meeting in a magical little place called your mouth and it’s a sensation you’re going to want again and again.
The recipe below is for 36 cupcakes. If you want fewer, you could certainly cut the recipe in half (I have). The cheesecakes don’t quite come to the top of the cupcake liners, making a nice little space to fill up with caramel. If you’re leaving the caramel off or just want slightly larger cupcakes, I would recommend cutting the crust down by one third and proceeding with the recipe in 24 cupcake tins.
For the cheesecake cupcakes:
3 1/2 cups finely crushed graham crackers (from 24 sheets, or one box)
4 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
10 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
For the caramel topping:
3 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line 36 muffin cups with paper liners. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine crushed graham crackers with 4 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Mix in melted butter until evenly coated. Divide graham mixture among prepared muffin cups, using about a heaping tablespoon for each. Press down firmly into an even layer and bake in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool while preparing the filling.
In a small bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar with 3 tablespoons flour. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine softened cream cheese and sugar mixture on low speed until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, blending on low speed, and mixing just until combined after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add vanilla, sour cream, and heavy cream and mix until just combined. Divide the mixture among the muffin cups, filling each nearly full. Bake in the oven 20-23 minutes or until centers are no longer wet looking but still jiggle slightly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool 1 hour. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator and chill 2 hours.
While the cheesecakes are cooling, prepare the topping. Have all your ingredients ready before beginning, as things tend to move quickly with caramel.
In a heavy-bottomed 3 quart saucepan, heat sugar and water over medium-high heat, whisking constantly as the sugar dissolves. Once the mixture reaches a boil, stop whisking and allow to boil until it reaches a dark amber color, swirling the pan occasionally. Once the mixture is a dark amber color, immediately add butter and whisk until it has completely melted. Remove from the heat, wait 3 seconds, and slowly and carefully pour in cream, whisking to combine. The mixture will bubble vigorously and begin to smooth out. Whisk until the mixture is smooth. Allow the caramel to cool several minutes, then pour into a glass jar or container to cool.
Spoon cooled caramel onto cooled cheesecakes and serve immediately or refrigerate.
Adapted from Cooking Classy