Pillow Cheesecake With Salted Butter Caramel Sauce
Yep…a cheesecake….If you are new to blogging or this whole food blogging thing you might be wondering why so many of us are baking and writing about cheesecakes this week. Why? We are answering "The Call" shouted by Peabody a few weeks back inviting to participate in "Hay Hay It’s Donna Day" #10, originally created by Barbara.
There are a few reasons why this one got named "Pillow Cheesecake". It came from a conversation I had with B. one night, comfortably resting our heads on our mountain of pillows as we were contemplating going to sleep but found ourselves completly captivated by the subject of cheesecake. Why sleep when you can spend the next 45 minutes pondering a mighty important question: "what constitutes a great cheesecake?"
Disclaimer: the upcoming answers only apply to the author of this blog and her husband. Individual experiences may vary.
"It has to be fluffy…can’t be dense or a block…"
"gotta have some chocolate, somewhere…"
" and a hint of citrus…"
"pass me another salted caramel (brought back from Normandy)…."
"I think I just took the last one…"
"allright, then it has to have some salted butter caramel something somewhere somehow…"
…..and then we decided to go to sleep….Mom always told me never to go to bed angry, but she forgot to tell me about not going to bed hungry…we had cheesecake dreams the whole night!
Kidding aside, here were my directives for this cheesecake: chocolate, citrus, fluffy texture and salted butter caramel. How to put it all together without creating something utterly weird?
I opted to put the chocolate in the crust and settled on a recipe by Trish Deseine simply because I have been telling myself every single day that even though I have already made the same recipes at one point or another in my life, I have not made hers and maybe I should…and there it was, the perfect picture of a perfect chocolate shortbread cookie. I made the entire batch but only used half for the cheesecake bottom and froze the remaining for a later use.
For the batter, I have plenty a recipes on file in my memory bank from my days at the restaurant. For the citrus element, I grated a whole lemon and added the zest to the batter (no juice). Since i was not making a lemon cheesecake per se, I just wanted that extra bite in the background.
The secret to that "pillow" texture that B. was talking about (or was it me….can’t remember…I agreed anyway), I separated the egg yolks from the whites and whipped the latter to stiff peaks before incorporating them to the batter. I admit that my days were so full at the restaurant that I skipped this step 75 % of the time. The cakes were denser but still not brick, because I used less eggs and added a Tb of cornstarch and 1/4 cup of creme fraiche.
For the sauce, I perused a few of my favorite French blogs in search of the perfect salted butter caramel sauce and found one that I liked too much to change or alter. If you read French, head over Guillemette’s blog Chocolat & Caetera, you will not be disappointed but you are sure to get hungry!
Pillow Cheesecake with Salted Butter Caramel Sauce:
It is better to start the cake a day ahead of time, as it needs to refrigerate for a leat 6 hours.
Chocolate Shortbread Base, from Trish Deseine:
250 gr. butter, very cold, cubed small
85 gr. sugar
300 gr. flour
25 gr. cacao powder
Preheat the oven to 350.Work the butter, sugar, flour and cacao with a food processor or your fingers to get a sandy mixture. Work the dough for a minute. Divide the dough in half. Reserve one half to make shortbread cookie or refrigerate for another time.Press one half into the bottom of a 10 or 12 inch springform pan. Bake for 40 minutes.Let cool completely.
2 pounds cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter (115 gr), softened
1/4 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
1 cup sugar
2 Tb. cornstarch, sifted
zest of one lemon
Combine the cream cheese, butter, sugar, lemon zest, creme fraiche and cornstarch in the bowl of a stand mixer and whip until combine. Do not incorporate too much air or the cake will crack. Make sure the cream cheese and butter are very soft. Add the egg yolks one at a time and whip just until combined.Whip the egg whites until stiff. Gently fold them in the cream cheese batter.
Pour the batter over the chocolate shortbread crust. The batter will reach the rim of the cake. Wrap your springform pan with heavy duty aluminium foil, set it in a large roasting pan, add enough hot water to come up halfway up the side of the pan. Bake at 325 for 1 1/2 hours. Turn the oven off, crack the door of the oven open and let your cake cool in there for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and refrigerate completely for a few hours or better yet overnight.
Salted Butter Caramel Sauce, adapted from Guillemette:
240 gr. sugar
80 ml water
115 gr salted butter
150 ml heavy whipping cream
In a heavy saucepan set over low heat, combine the sugar and water and heat just until the sugar is dissolved. Add the butter. Let it come to a boil and cook until it reaches a golden caramel color. Remove from the heat and add the cream ( it will splatter and get crazy, but do not fear and trust the recipe). Whisk to combine and put back on the stove. Let it come to a boil again over low heat and cook 10-15 minutes until you reach a nice creamy consistency. Pour into a jar and try to refrain yourself from drinking it!
This one was a keeper. We had friends over that evening and we could not stop pigging out. The cake was so light it was a sin. The sauce was so incredible we are all guilty of gluttony….it is decadent over ice cream.
Anonymous March 18, 2007 um 12:16 am
While I can do without the image of you and Mr. Tartelette in bed together … curse him … I must say I would love to rest my head on this cheesecake any day.
Actually that’s not true. I’d love to eat this cheesecake any day.
Anonymous March 18, 2007 um 12:16 am
Helen, this is what I am looking for, a fluffly cheesecak!. So that’s how it is made :). I like that caramel drizzle
Alpineberry Mary March 18, 2007 um 12:23 am
Pillow talk and cheesecake dreams. Now that’s a marriage made in heaven. 🙂
Elle March 18, 2007 um 12:30 am
I’m guilty of gluttony just looking at this cheesecake…and that sauce. Mmmmm.
Lis March 18, 2007 um 5:44 am
Oh how I have missed you!!! I curse my days when I don’t get to see what you have been up to!
I see you’ve been up to a lot – yay! The biscuits made my tummy growl – probably not good before I go to bed, eh?
And then I had to see this.. pillowy cheesecake with my latest obsession – salted caramel.. *swoon*
You rock, my friend.. You. Simply. Rock.
MyKitchenInHalfCups March 18, 2007 um 8:26 am
This is just wrong. Craving cheese cake so early in the morning.
That looks just divine. Between the chocolate crust and the caramel – salted butter – sauce I am totally lost in the clouds! Beautiful job!
If only I had just a small slice.
Meeta K. Wolff March 18, 2007 um 9:03 am
Chocolate and caramel I am in cheesecake heaven! That looks dangerously good, Helene!
Anonymous March 18, 2007 um 10:13 am
Mmmmmm, this cheesecake looks just perfect – and I love the name too!
Anonymous March 18, 2007 um 12:41 pm
yummmmeh! a fluffy cheesecake! reminds me of fluffy Japanese cheesecakes which you can never get enough of!
[email protected] March 18, 2007 um 1:47 pm
I’m going all weak in the knees now.This looks so yummy !
Anonymous March 18, 2007 um 2:16 pm
Just like you and B. your discussion about the perfect cheesecake has now left me hungry and craving just your cheesecake with the absolutely decadent salted butter caramel sauce.
evinrude March 18, 2007 um 4:10 pm
Oh dear, I’m so going to go to bed hungry with desire for YOUR cheesecake. Thanks for letting us on the secret for soft and fluffy cheesecake!
Brilynn March 18, 2007 um 4:18 pm
You’re such a tease with your salted butter caramel sauce! It looks very yummy.
Connie March 18, 2007 um 5:17 pm
wow, i’m glad you spent so much time discussing cheesecake. it was an excellent meeting of the minds
Mia March 18, 2007 um 6:16 pm
Oh, how lovely! I’ve been dying to try the whole salted caramel thing, but something always seems to come in the way. I’m quite fond of fairly heavyset cheesecakes, but I think I’ll give the separated eggs thing a try next time!
bossacafez March 18, 2007 um 7:41 pm
hey helen, i was looking for a salted butter caramel (izit called caramel beurre sale in french)? yours just came in handy. but actually im trying to sandwich my macarons with and this sauce might be a little too watery. is there any way to make it thicker? appreciate yr help, thx =)
Anonymous March 18, 2007 um 8:29 pm
rholala comme il me plait bien ton cheesecake ! rien que le nom, ca a fait tilt ;o)
je gardais precieusement mon philadephia en esperant trouver LA recette, je pense que c’est celle-ci !!!
et puis avec la sauce au caramel… vivement que j’essaye !!
Anonymous March 19, 2007 um 12:17 am
This looks amazing! And the name is enough to inspire cheesecake dreams in me 😀
Patricia Scarpin March 19, 2007 um 1:21 am
Helene, I’ve been hipnotized by this slice of cheesecake. All I can think of now it that caramel sauce. I have no mental conditions of writing a decent comment. 🙂
Mercotte March 19, 2007 um 3:48 am
Superbe photo qui met terriblement en valeur ton cheese cake avec ce caramel qui est à tomber en plus !! aie aie aie la journée commence très fort!
Anonymous March 19, 2007 um 7:30 am
2 lbs of cream cheese = 4.4kg, that’s a lot of cheese! Is it possible to reduce the cheese by half?
Jenny March 19, 2007 um 12:02 pm
Hmmm cheesecake with caramel sauce, while still in bed….
I think I’m sick right now, but that looks like the perfect medicine for my sore throat!
Helene March 19, 2007 um 12:09 pm
Delia: 2 pounds is 1 Kg, more or less.
Anonymous March 19, 2007 um 1:15 pm
I so want to try it, and that sauce… but there’s only one kind of butter here, would the result of the sauce be the same adding a pinch of salt?
Freya March 19, 2007 um 1:51 pm
oohh, how dreamy (pun intended) is that cheesecake? I thought it was called Pillow Cheesecake because you wanted to go to bed with it though!! It looks so good!
Anonymous March 19, 2007 um 5:46 pm
Oh wow… what a wonderful creation. I love the idea of a salty caramel sauce over the top. I can only imagine how wonderful those dreams were! Delicious!
Oh – lovely photo as well 🙂
sher March 19, 2007 um 6:54 pm
I wouldn’t want to rest my head on this pillow, because it would get in my hair–but mostly because it looks so delicious, I want all of it in my mouth!
Mandira March 19, 2007 um 7:56 pm
fluffy cheesecake with chocolate and hint of citrus… the dessert has everything I love… perfect and beautiful.
jasmine March 20, 2007 um 12:58 am
This looks so amazing. I love the idea of salted butter caramel as a topping…
Hélène (Cannes) March 20, 2007 um 6:33 am
Je vais essayer ta version "oreiller" moelleux. Je n’ai jamais eu l’idée de battre les blancs en neige et mon cheese-cake a toujours un petit côté "dense" que j’allègerais volontiers…
Cheryl March 20, 2007 um 1:15 pm
Pillow cheesecake, never were two words meant to go together more.
That sauce looks insane. Making my mouth water.
Anonymous March 20, 2007 um 2:06 pm
Oh my god… this looks delicious!
Molly March 20, 2007 um 4:57 pm
Oh wow – this cheesecake sounds spectacular! I’ve never made one before, if you’d believe it, and yours sounds like a very, very good place to start…
Parisbreakfasts March 20, 2007 um 7:15 pm
THAT IS SIMPLY OUTRAGEOUS!
and I don’t usually shout..please excuse.
I love Trish Deseine’s books though I’ve never made a thing – for The pictures and the concepts. I was feeling icky from eating pates de fruits before breakfast, but I feel better now 🙂
Parisbreakfasts March 20, 2007 um 7:24 pm
I just clicked on your picture Helene
That is a vertible swimming pool of C A R A M E L ! ! ! ! !
Anh March 20, 2007 um 10:39 pm
Your cheesecake looks fantastic. Oh my, just one piece, and I will be happy! 🙂
Alicia March 21, 2007 um 1:28 am
Late to the party again, I see.
The deliciousness on this blog is ridiculous!
It’s a shame the only part of me that gets along with caramel sauce is my tummy… sugar based anything and my stove have a long-standing rivalry!
Helene March 21, 2007 um 2:29 am
Ivonne: you know we can always push him off…!
Veron: that is indeed one of the tricks. although I am sure there are others out there.
Mary: yes, but it makes for a hungry morning.
Elle: I was guilty if gluttony as I ate the majority of it..over a few days of course…
Lis: look who is talking?! Just took a look at yours and I died…!
Tanna: salted butter caramel is my addiction and downfall…I pour it on everything!
Meeta: it was dangerous to keep around!
hester: thank you!
Dali: I have seen very similar recipe for Japanese style cheesecakes, same concept.
Kate: thank you for the compliment.
Monisha: I’ll pack some up next time I head your way.
Brilynn: I knew you had issue with your caramel, give this recipe a try, it might work.
Connie: yes, but I hate to see what happens when we discuss his birthday cake.
Deinin: I like big and bold cheesecakes too, but then I have to share…this one justifies being utterly selfish.
Evan: glad we started this little email exchange as I am learning a lot from you.
Guillemette: la sauce c’est ta recette …elle est trop bonne!
Ellie: I have been waking up hungry for the past 3 days….
Patricia: that is funny…:)
Mercotte: merci de ton passage. ca fait toujours tres plaisir car je sais que tu es tres occupee.
Quellia: hope you feel better soon.
Silbsas: I would add a pinch of coarse sea salt or kosher salt.
Freya and Paul: well, my thighs are starting to take that cake to bed too…not good!
Kristen: that sauce is too dangerous to have around…
Sher: that was funny!
Mandira: hope you will give it a try!
Jasmine: I hesitated between this one and your white chocolate ad cardamom cheesecake, whic sounds out of this world.
Helene: ca fait une etape en plus mais ca vaut le coup!
Cheryl: thanks for stoping by…can’t wait for you to be back full time
Alicia: thank you. Love the new layout of the blog…
Orchidea: thanks for stopping by.. it’s always a pleasure.
Molly: I feel honored you stopped by. I know you are quite busy these days. I will be the first one in line for that book.
Carol: you are hilarious. I love Trish’s designs and concepts too but I have only made a couple of her recipes so far.
Anh: thank you for stopping by!
Anonymous March 21, 2007 um 6:50 pm
Waouhhhh superbe cheesecake que je viens de trouver 😉
Tes photos sont terriblement alléchantes, je découvre ton blog grace à ton commentaire laissé sur le bien!!!
C’est que du bonheur pour les yeux et les papilles.
Bravo à toi!!!!
Anonymous March 22, 2007 um 5:40 am
silly me and my miscalculation. But 1 kg of cheese, any chance of reducing it?
Anonymous March 27, 2007 um 12:46 pm
The cheesecake sounds heavenly, the sauce divine, and the crust delicious! I love everything about your cheesecake!
(I also talk food with my husband at night and we both get hungry and ask ourselves, "Why do we do this?")
Helene March 30, 2007 um 1:50 am
Thanks everyone for all your comments. I wish I could have time to respond individually but this week has been very hectic.
I appreciate all your comments, they are always so touching and make this adventure worth while.
Barbara March 30, 2007 um 3:42 am
I’ve spent the afternoon reading all the entries. I’ll be off out to dinner soon. I wish this cheesecake could be on the menu. Sounds delish Helene. Thanks sfor joining HHDD.
Julia April 2, 2007 um 5:59 am
Oh my, oh my, that looks divine.
ChrisB April 2, 2007 um 11:27 am
Came via barbara and just have to say that cheesecake looks sooo delicious.
Ngoc September 20, 2007 um 4:40 am
This cheesecake was so good! I ruined the caramel sauce (cooked it too long), but I’m looking forward to trying it again soon. Can’t wait to bring the rest of this cheesecake in to my co-workers. Thanks for sharing the recipe. 🙂
Courtney April 24, 2008 um 9:20 am
i just had to let you know this is what did it for me. i’m really into to making all kinds of cheesecakes now, and for my first, original, i beat my egg whites like you and they come out so fluffy and light, but still rich now. a necessary step, i would say. thanks!
Anonymous August 9, 2008 um 7:02 pm
This cake looks fabulous…I am definitely going to bake this one for a special evening…or lunch or breakfast…
roxana November 13, 2008 um 6:17 pm
Helene, i discovered this amazing cake a while back, but i didn’t have time to comment. Then, last week it was by d.h’s brthday, and although we decided to have the party only this coming Saturday, i wanted to make a cake for him on his birthday, not just a week later. And cheesecake being his favorite, i knew which one i wanted to make. I started at 9:45 pm to prepare it, and made the caramel sauce. I don’t have words to tell you how wonderful it came out, pure "pillowy" or "cloudy" i, have never seen anything like it, and i really don’t go nuts for cheesecake. I didn’t made your crust, and i added some chopped crunchy peanut butter Reeses to it. My daughter and I were allowed one small slice each, the rest was devoured by G. But teh caramel sauce is out of this world. I burnt my tongue at least three times trying it, and took a little cup with me when i went to bed. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I hope to have time to post this succes on my blog sometime next week, if that’s ok with you.
Lismi October 21, 2009 um 3:58 am
I was looking for your salted caramel sauce that you used in banana foster tartelette and found it with this cheesecake recipe. After reading this blog, I am now tempted to make the cheesecake too.This looks and sounds enticing. Thank you for sharing this. Keep inspiring us =)
Helene January 10, 2010 um 6:26 pm
Anonymous: Where? Comment deleted. As much as you are entitled an opinion, I don't allow fowl language on this blog.
BlueNile January 10, 2010 um 10:55 pm
This looks to be a delightful recipe– you mixed measurement conventions somewhat, I would love to try this with out calculating metric to english measurements.
Helene January 10, 2010 um 11:16 pm
www.gourmetsleuth.com is a very convenient site to convert recipes rom metric to cups and vice versa.
Unknown January 11, 2010 um 9:59 am
It would have been nice if you had converted the recipes to pounds, ounces, etc. Metric measurements are foreign to me and most Americans. I am eager to make this cheesecake, but uncertain I can translate the measurements accurately.
Helene January 11, 2010 um 2:58 pm
Frank: yes, it would have been but 2 full time jobs sometimes dictate otherwise.
You can accurately convert the recipe by using www.gourmetsleuth.com
Pica January 15, 2010 um 11:08 pm
this looks extremely delicious, is there anything you have to do for high altitude? I live up in the mountains in UT…
Unknown January 16, 2010 um 7:43 am
I did my own conversions and then compared them to those on the site you recommended. My cheesecake was perfect and my guests raved about it, especially the sauce.
mariamM February 12, 2010 um 5:52 pm
wow! this looks *delicious*. i was looking for a perfect cheesecake recipe, and this seems to do the trick! i will let you know how it turns out! thanks so much for sharing (i'm a big fan of your blog!)
A-Man February 15, 2010 um 12:30 pm
What a delicate cheescake idea!
Sook February 19, 2010 um 2:30 am
Oh the photo looks beautiful! I want some! 🙂
Gordon Hamilton March 12, 2010 um 4:39 pm
This looks absolutely delicious. I found it via StumbleUpon and have given it a very big thumbs up!
Unknown May 8, 2010 um 3:48 pm
I found this recipe through foodgawker and saved it a while back. I finally got the chance to try it out yesterday, and it turned out awesome!!!!! The cheesecake was light and fluffy like a pillow, the chocolate crust was delicious, and the caramel sauce was amazing!!!
I ended up only baking it for an hour (toothpick was clean and top was golden brown), and instead of salted butter I used unsalted butter and added sea salt in after it cooled a little.
Everyone loved this! Thank you!
Unknown May 23, 2010 um 3:17 am
I have a question:
for the recipe you wrote 2 lbs of cream cheese… how many bricks is this?
Beverly August 2, 2010 um 4:49 am
Awesome how a cheese cake can diversify with toppings!!
Sharmin September 14, 2010 um 5:43 pm
I was wondering if there was a regular graham cracker crust that would go well with this? If there is can u suggest one?
Claire October 17, 2010 um 11:49 pm
I found the link to your wonderful cheesecake recipe on Lemonpi's blog . . . I made it for a friend's birthday and it was very well recieved! The most pillowy cheesecake they'd ever had, by all accounts. I added some Morello cherries for a fruity bite. Turned out nicely. So thanks!
elann January 3, 2011 um 7:20 pm
Why mess with perfection? I made this cheesecake as the recipe stated and it was deeelish!! Happy faces on all who ate it. Thanks for sharing.
Jess May 9, 2011 um 2:12 am
I stumbled on this recipe a couple months ago but just yesterday decided to make it for Mother's Day. I cannot even begin to explain how DELICIOUS it was. I could die. Even though there was something a little bit wrong with every ingredient I put into it, it was mindblowingly decadent. My family was skeptical at first because I'm known to be messy and ungraceful with food (not to mention I'm 15 years old and generally live on cereal and toast). I even had to substitute the heavy whipping cream in the drizzle for milk and butter. Thank you so much for this recipe. I will continue to make it for special occasions for as long as I can!
Kate July 14, 2012 um 8:48 am
Definitely trying this out… now! Looks so delicious!!
Unknown September 9, 2012 um 5:42 pm
I shouldn't, but I am going to make this cheesecake. I think it's the prettiest one I've ever seen…or at least the combination that I like….chocolate, fluffy cheesecake and a decadent looking salted caramel sauce. Yum! Maybe I will make for the opening day Patriots tailgate next weekend.
Anonymous October 3, 2012 um 12:11 am
I'm dying here, you're killing me with the descriptions and the photos!!
Kellie October 15, 2012 um 7:46 pm
oh. my. heavens. this looks amazing! i cannot wait to try it. might be one of those that needs to not wait for a special occasion! it's monday night? yay, here's a cheesecake! 🙂
Jane October 20, 2012 um 11:50 pm
Oh dear, I think I've over-cooked it. Am taking it to a BBQ today so will find out then-will be very disappointed if I have, it wasn't the easiest thing I've made! I can't get the hang of baked cheesecakes-how the heck do you know if they're cooked?! And please don't say "if they're firm around the edge and jiggle in the middle" because when they're still warm the whole bloomin thing jiggles! Any advice greatly appreciated!
Thank heavens for that delicious sauce 🙂
Jane October 21, 2012 um 5:33 am
Haha, would you beleive the cheesecake was divine and the sauce turned out to be the problem?! Not sure what I did wrong with the sauce, but the cheesecake was a hit-thank you for sharing this great technique!
Jacques December 17, 2012 um 6:11 pm
This looks delicious! Would the sauce last up to a week (or more)? I plan to make a cheesecake for Christmas and freeze it for a week. I'd love to make the sauce
Helene December 18, 2012 um 1:43 pm
Jacques: the sauce will last for about 3 days in the fridge (it has dairy) and cannot be frozen.
Judy December 29, 2012 um 11:46 pm
This cheesecake looks divine, especially with the salted caramel sauce.
Jillian January 30, 2013 um 9:35 pm
Having never made a cheesecake before I was somewhat intimidated. I shouldn't of been. This is amazing and totally doable.I plan on making it again tomorrow for my husbands birthday because it is phenomenal! I've made one slight adjustment in decreasing the lemon zest which is only due to personal preference. This cheesecake is a gift from the cheesecake gods and the caramel sauce is wonderfully simple and amazingly delicious all on it's own.
V McB March 30, 2013 um 3:18 pm
I love the salted caramel recipe, I made a sauce to pour over my own cheesecake and it was so good! thanks for sharing!
Lisa-Maree May 31, 2013 um 4:13 am
This looks great, found it in Pinterest as need a great Gluten Free desert for a dinner party this weekend!
Lu Ann September 5, 2013 um 2:11 am
Just made this sauce. Lawdy, it is divine! Had doubts about the butter, but it silkens the sauce. Lovely
Krista February 13, 2014 um 11:06 pm
Just made everything and the cake is in the oven as I type! The caramel turned out amazing and I can't wait until tomorrow to dig in! Thank you for the great recipe 🙂
Karen June 5, 2014 um 2:42 am
For the sauce, is it BROWN sugar, instead of granulated? I had been stirring the sauce with white sugar for over an hour, waiting for it to turn caramel-colored, when I realized that brown sugar is typically used for caramel sauces. If this is true, can you please edit the recipe so novice bakers such as myself don't waste time (and run out of the ingredients!) doing this the wrong way?
I'm so disappointed, the cheesecake looks great but now it is so late I have to wait until tomorrow to try it. 🙁
Helene June 15, 2014 um 4:14 pm
Karen: as a former pastry chef, I can tell you that brown sugar is never used for caramel sauces. I can't be positive but it sounds like you added the cream with all the ingredients and stirred waiting for it to become caramel color. I make this sauce once a moth at least, so I know it works. Once the sugar-water-butter combo becomes caramel color, add the cream slowly.
LL October 8, 2015 um 3:47 am
would I be able to leave out the butter in the batter recipe?
Helene October 9, 2015 um 5:42 pm
LL: I wouldn't. It's partly what gives the cheesecake its soft pillowy quality.