Brown Sugar and Toasted Pecan Cheesecake

No leakage through the 4 layers of Heavy Duty tin foil..nice crunchy crust!


Look Ma, No cracks! Yeah

And I saved the food porn photo for last! I love drippy shots.

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge
…….and I now pronounce you Brown Sugar and toasted pecan cheesecake and wife.
Whhhhhaaaaa??, you might be saying, but Leslie I thought you were married to the flourless chocolate cake from last months challenge? Well after a few of you had commented that you were already married to the chocolate cake, I divorced that cheating bastard and have since moved on to bigger and better things. Me and this cheesecake are getting along just fine thank you very much.(And I had him first).
Here in Tampa we have a Cheesecake Factory and they make some FANTASTIC cheesecakes. Well let me just say, and I don’t mean to toot my own horn(toot toot), this was the best cheesecake I have ever eaten. EVER. PERIOD!
I actually have never made cheesecake before. Sure, I have done the no bake minis before, but those aren’t truly cheesecake. I was a bit nervous going into this one, only because I have heard of the cracking on top and the water from the water bath seeping into the spring form pan and getting the crust all soggy. Well again(toot toot) I had no cracking and no water seepage.
I used the Extra Heavy duty foil(the one that is really long), so 1 sheet wrapped around the whole pan.
In my true fashion of using nothing fancy and with the ingredients I had on hand, I decided to make my cheesecake simple with simple changes to the ingredients. But the changes I made made it outstanding.
For the crust, I used brown sugar instead of white and added 1/4 to 1/2 cup of toasted ground pecans.
For the filling, I used 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup toasted ground pecans.
Caramel Sauce
(Joy of Cooking)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Place the sugar in a heavy saucepan and pour the water evenly over. Heat over medium heat until the sugar has completely dissolved, swirling the pan by the handle to stir (don’t use a spoon.) Don’t let the mixture come to a boil before the sugar has dissolved completely. Once it’s dissolved, turn up the heat to high and bring to a boil, cover the pan, and boil for 2 minutes. Uncover the pan and continue to boil until the syrup starts to darken around the edges. Now, start swirling the pan by the handle until the syrup turns a deep amber color, then remove it from the heat and add the pieces of butter, stirring until the butter melts. Next, stir in the heavy cream (if the sauce becomes lumpy, set it over low heat and stir until smooth.) Finally, add the vanilla.
Cool and store in the fridge in an airtight container. To reheat, spoon the amount you want into a microwaveable container and heat for 20-30 seconds
Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake:
2 cups / 180 g
graham cracker crumbs
1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted
2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
1 cup / 210 g sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
1 tbsp liqueur, optional, but choose what will work well with your cheesecake
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.
2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too – baker’s choice. Set crust aside.
3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy.
4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.
5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done – this can be hard to judge, but you’re looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don’t want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won’t crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.
Pan note: The creator of this recipe used to use a spring form pan, but no matter how well she wrapped the thing in tin foil, water would always seep in and make the crust soggy. Now she uses one of those 1-use foil “casserole” shaped pans from the grocery store. They’re 8 or 9 inches wide and really deep, and best of all, water-tight. When it comes time to serve, just cut the foil away.
Prep notes: While the actual making of this cheesecake is a minimal time commitment, it does need to bake for almost an hour, cool in the oven for an hour, and chill overnight before it is served. Please plan accordingly!


  1. 1

    I can see why it’s the best cheesecake you’ve ever eaten. It’s beautiful! Well done!!

  2. 2

    Wow! Your cheesecake looks stunning! What beautiful photos you took! I cannot resist cheesecake and this looks so decadent. Yummy!

  3. 3

    Wow, wow, wow. I just saw this in the DB forum and my mouth is hanging open. This one’s a show stopper. It looks incredible!

  4. 4

    Leslie, your cheesecake looks fabulous!

  5. 5
    Coleen's Recipes says:

    pecans, chocolate, cheesecake, carmel, I feel like doing a cartwheel…LOL, these are all my favorite things rolled up into one GORGEOUS dessert (and the photography is flawless).

  6. 6

    A very very pretty cake!

  7. 7
    Jennifer says:

    mail me a piece? please. scratch that, I’ll take the entire cake!!!! YUm!!!!!!

  8. 8

    To Brown Sugar and Toasted Pecan Cheesecake–Oh MY Gaaah, I am in love and I don’t even know you! How can that be possible? Pictures tell a thousand words!
    Love, Me

    Amazing, Leslie! I love everything about this! It looks awesome. Great job.

  9. 9

    This look incredible!!!! Sorry the chocolate cake cheated, but I think you have a fabulous catch here 🙂


  10. 10
    Rosa's Yummy Yums says:

    Your cheesecake looks really beautiful! I love the decorations! Great job here!



  11. 11

    Oh my! This looks delicious!! Nice job!

  12. 12

    What a gorgeous cheesecake! YUM!

  13. 13

    Looks delicious, Leslie! I am glad you were without cracks!

  14. 14

    I have to agree with you about this recipe being fabulous. I love your spin on it, I will have to try it. It was my first time making cheesecake, too, and mine turned out really good! My hubby even said that Cheesecake Factory had nothing on me! Haha. Yours looks amazing… great job!

  15. 15
    Ciao Chow Linda says:

    I can understand why this is your new love. I’d say that is one good looking cheesecake.

  16. 16

    Oh Les,
    I HAVE Made Cheesecake, And I DO Make some GREAT Cheesecake, My mom’s cheesecake recipe is the BOMB!!
    YOUR’S looks INCREDIBLE and you get 2 thumbs up from me! I will toot your horn for ya! TOOT TOOT! (it means more when someone toots it for ya!!)

    Is there anything you Can’t cook, or bake??

    Tell me you have had a MAJOR Flop in the kitchen, so I feel better about myself!!!

    Oh and your pictures ALWAYS look so BEAUTIFUL!!! I think you are a food stylist too. YOU ROCK!!!
    LOVE YOU!!!
    The other Les


  17. 17
    Prudence says:

    WOW~~ Great job! Looks SOOOO yummy! I love the porn shot!

  18. 18

    Wow, your cheesecake turned out so beautiful!

  19. 19

    stop making perfect cheesecakes, leslie. just stop. i’m sick and tired of how crack-less your cheesecakes come out, and how perfectly decorated they are. i’m even MORE sick of looking at your cheesecakes, since they look even BETTER than the ones that i purchase in specialty bakeries or dessert places, like Extraordinary Desserts. you need to stop baking those cheesecakes over there.

    or you can just come to san diego and bake them here! 😀

  20. 20

    Leslie! Girl you had outdone yourself on this one! Holy smack-a-doodles! Really nice

  21. 21

    Wow! This looks beautiful! You should definitely be proud!

  22. 22
    Angela @ A Spoonful of Sugar says:

    Absolutely spectacular, Leslie! All your photographs are total food porn. Just gorgeous 😀

  23. 23

    Oh, you’re such a culinary tease.

    Congratulations are in order for the sinful cheesecake and fickle Leslie’s nuptial.

  24. 24

    You can toot your own horn! All I can say is wow!

  25. 25

    Leslie this cheesecake is amazing! You did an incredible job, and I just love how you decorated it. The drizzles of chocolate and caramel are so pretty. Nice work on your first cheesecake!

  26. 26
    Bridgett says:

    Wow, this is beautiful! My mouth is watering and your perfect photos make it all the more enticing. You did a fabulous job, Leslie!

  27. 27

    This looks amazing – so much more indulgent than plain old cheesecake!

  28. 28

    That’s your first cheesecake?? Wow – I’m so impressed – it looks fantastic! I love the caramel sauce drizzle – yum!

  29. 29

    Your cheesecake is BEAUTIFUL!!! I’m so impressed 🙂 It’s funny because I was surprised that you said you hadn’t made cheesecake before on my cheesecake post since you’re a Daring Baker. I’ve never used a water bath yet, I’d be afraid of it leaking too. Thanks for the tips on how to prevent that!

  30. 30

    what a stunning cake! the texture, the drippage, the nuts. gadalack, leslie, you do good work. 🙂

  31. 31
    Cathy - wheresmydamnanswer says:

    DAMN impressive – Love it – texture looks so wonderful and the final product exceptional!!!

  32. 32
    Calm In The Kitchen says:

    That is one good looking cheesecake!

    I love the drippy pictures too.

    😉 amy

  33. 33

    Looks delicious!!!!!!!!! I saw this on the forum. Great photos!

  34. 34

    Nice job! Love the food porn pic 🙂

  35. 35

    Mmm, your cheesecake looks amazing!! I love your flavours =D.

  36. 36
    5 Star Foodie says:

    Wow, this cheesecake looks amazing!

  37. 37

    OMG! Is all I can say. When I lived in Miami my family used to get me a cheesecake from the cheesecake factory every year for my birthday. This looks so much better than anything they ever got me. I love your flavor combos!

  38. 38

    This is drop-dead gorgeous and cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts ever. Stunniing. I will come back for seconds!

  39. 39

    those lines are so mesmerizing. i… want… cheesecake!!!!!!!

  40. 40
    Kristy - Where's My Damn Answer says:

    ohhhhh … that looks so yummy. I LOVE LOVE LOVE cheesecake and caramel and pecans and brown sugar … oh my.

  41. 41

    That cheesecake looks perfectly baked. So impressive!

  42. 42
    newlyweds says:

    Beautiful, you are so right this is food porn!

  43. 43

    Incredible, looks really delicious 🙂

  44. 44
    Elizabeth says:

    The cake looks fab!!

  45. 45

    It looks divine! I can see why you married, it.

  46. 46

    Leslie, what a cheesecake!! Man oh man, could I have some right now? I’m so impressed…and jealous that you called dibs on Mr. Cheesecake. Hope this second marriage is even better than the first 🙂

  47. 47

    Lovely flavors! pecans, caramel and chocolate all in one cheesecake! yum!

  48. 48

    what a perfect cheesecake!!! a real winner… 🙂

  49. 49
    Culinary Wannabe says:

    This looks just as fancy and delicious as those at the cheesecake factory. Nice job! I can see why you chose this one to stay with you forever (or at least until your next workout!).

  50. 50

    Les, this is total, utter food porn…fabulous job…bravo girl!

  51. 51

    Ok, that looks out of this world!! BEAUTIFUL PHOTOGRAPHY girl!!

  52. 52

    Oh, geez. To quote the twins’ bestfriend, that is one sick cheesecake! Leslie you did (as usual) a fantastic job. Love all the photos and I, too am a lover of the drippy photos, hee-hee!

  53. 53
    ReluctantYankee says:

    Stop..gawd stop….I’m licking my computer screen!!

  54. 54
    MaryBeth says:

    Just like you, this cheesecake is gorgeous!!!

  55. 55

    Oh wow, you really took this one over the top! I can’t believe you never made a cheesecake from scratch before, since your brown sugar-toasted pecan-caramel-chocolate masterpiece rivals that of ANY cheesecake I’ve ever seen! The Cheesecake Factory better watch out ;D

  56. 56

    holy freaking crap. that’s all.

  57. 57
    ice tea: sugar high says:

    oh.. will you look at that caramel and chocolate sauce dripping on the side of the cake. DROOL!!!

  58. 58
    Clumbsy Cookie says:

    I love dripping photos too, ahahah! It looks so incredible good that I’m going to ask you to give me a call when you divorce him, ok?

  59. 59

    Wow, this may be the prettiest cheesecake I’ve ever seen! I love the idea of using brown sugar in the filling. This is going to the top of the “must-try” list.

  60. 60
    Natalie... says:

    Wow! Wow! Your cheesecake looks amazing, sounds like a great combo too!! I’ve got a craving now!!

  61. 61
    dessertobsessed says:

    OMG this cake is so gorgeous!! and better than cheesecake factory?! i need a slice! right now!

  62. 62

    Oh my word! This looks like pure heaven. It’s not only totally beautiful but it looks decadent and delicious too. Nicely done Leslie!

  63. 63

    Beautiful cheesecake! I love your photos!

  64. 64


  65. 65
    Justin Schwartz says:

    whoa, that’s a work of art

  66. 66

    Hi Leslie

    Thanks for the comment on my site. I think I got mine to go so far up the sides because the macaroons were already very moist and then you add butter to that so it became very easy to press up the sides.

  67. 67
    Foodycat says:

    Oh wow! That is the most perfect texture! I made a cheesecake last week which cracked BADLY despite the waterbath and slow cooking.

  68. 68
    Shari@Whisk: a food blog says:

    This looks beautiful. Nice and high. I would be thrilled to be served a cheesecake like that in a restaurant. Nice job!

  69. 69

    Seriously? You are so putting me to shame! Your cheesecake looks unbelievably amazing and professional. Great flavor combo!

  70. 70
    cookies and cups says:

    That looks amazing! I have been putting off cheesecakes, but you have changed my mind!

  71. 71
    Julia from Dozen Flours says:

    This looks sooooo good! I’m adding this to my must make list. Gorgeous pictures too!

  72. 72

    Wow, this looks amazing. The flavors sound good but then it looks so perfect! I'm glad you liked the recipe so much. Thanks for being a part of the challenge. It is taking me a while to get to everyone, but I'm glad you were a part of it.

    Jenny of JennyBakes

  73. 73
    earthexpressions says:

    Wow! This cheesecake looks delicious and the pictures are amazing, great work!! Love it!