Boozy (Just Slightly) Cherry Cheesecake Recipe

As recipe developer Jennine Rye describes her latest creation, "This cherry cheesecake is the perfect way to showcase delicious cherries, as the sweet, fresh cherry flavor pairs so beautifully with the creamy vanilla of the cheesecake." She also makes mention of cheesecake being "a wonderful all year round dessert option," and indeed, you can bake this at any time of year if you're using frozen cherries.

In addition to the cherry flavor, there's also a hint of almond from the amaretto, an ingredient Rye says "give[s] more warmth and depth to the beautiful cherry flavor [and] lifts this cheesecake to the next level." She does say, however, that "you could definitely substitute the amaretto for another liqueur or liquor like brandy," as brandy and cherries are quite the well-known duo. If you prefer a slightly less boozy cake, you could also replace the amaretto with a bit of almond extract (perhaps half a teaspoon or so), combined with enough water to make up the difference.

Gather the ingredients for this boozy cherry cheesecake

To make the crumb crust, you'll need cookie or graham cracker crumbs plus butter. The cheesecake itself is made from cream cheese, mascarpone, sour cream, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, and salt. For the topping, you'll be using amaretto, cornstarch, water, more sugar, and cherries.

Rye is using frozen cherries here as she says "they come pitted here and thus save work." She does say, though, that you can use fresh ones if you don't mind pitting them yourself. The cherries are the sweet, dark kind, not the tart variety.

Make the crumb crust

Before you get started, set the oven to 325 F so it can preheat. Melt the butter and mix it into the graham cracker or cookie crumbs until you have a wet, sand-like consistency. Press this mixture into the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan, then put the pan in the refrigerator to chill for at least 10 minutes. (Longer won't hurt, so there's no need to set a timer.)

Make the cheesecake batter

Beat the cream cheese, mascarpone, and sour cream with 1 cup of the granulated sugar until you have a nice, smooth mixture. Stir in the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla extract. Sift the flour together with the salt, then fold these dry goods into the batter.

As to why Rye uses three different kinds of dairy here, she says "I personally believe that a mixture of the three ingredients — cream cheese, sour cream, and mascarpone — hands-down makes the best-tasting and best-textured cheesecake." If you don't have mascarpone on hand, she says you can replace this ingredient with additional cream cheese.

Bake and cool the cake

Pour the batter into the springform pan, on top of the crumb crust, trying not to dislodge the crumbs. Bake the cheesecake for an hour. Rye notes that when it's done, "It should retain a slight wobble in the center of the cake which will solidify when chilled." Allow it to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate it for at least 6 hours before adding the cherry topping.

Make the cherry topping

Mix the cornstarch with a tablespoon of the amaretto to make a paste. Mix the rest of the amaretto with the remaining sugar, the water, and the cherries, then simmer this fruit topping for 5-6 minutes to warm up the cherries. Stir in the cornstarch and keep simmering the cherry mixture for 3-4 more minutes to thicken it up. Let the topping cool to room temperature before using it.

Top the cake with the cherries

When you want to eat the cake, remove the sides from the springform pan and pour the cherry mixture over the top. Rye says the cheesecake should be kept in the refrigerator and will only last for about 3 days.

If you can't eat the whole thing in such a short time, Rye does say it can be frozen. As she tells us, "I personally like to slice it up into individual portions before freezing them, so I can take out a slice at a time when I like," but adds that you can freeze the whole cheesecake as long as you wrap it up.

Boozy (Just Slightly) Cherry Cheesecake Recipe
4.9 from 18 ratings
Cherry and almond is a delicious combination; they are both technically stone fruits, after all. Thanks to the addition of amaretto, both shine in this recipe.
Prep Time
Cook Time
cheesecake with cherry topping
Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • 1 ½ cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups cream cheese
  • ½ cup mascarpone
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons amaretto, divided
  • 2 cups frozen pitted cherries
  • ¼ cup water
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F.
  2. Melt the butter, then mix it with the cookie crumbs until the mixture resembles wet sand.
  3. Press the crumbs into the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan and chill in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
  4. Mix together the cream cheese, mascarpone, sour cream, and 1 cup granulated sugar in a large bowl until smooth and well-combined.
  5. Stir in the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla extract.
  6. Sift the flour and salt into the batter, folding it in until combined.
  7. Pour the cake batter into the springform pan on top of the crumb crust.
  8. Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour.
  9. Cool the cheesecake at room temperature, then refrigerate it for at least 6 hours.
  10. To make the cherry topping, mix the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon amaretto to form a paste.
  11. Simmer the cherries in a pan with the remaining sugar, amaretto, and water for 5-6 minutes.
  12. Stir the cornstarch paste into the cherries and simmer for 3-4 minutes, until thickened.
  13. Remove the cherries from the heat and wait for them to cool to room temperature.
  14. Remove the sides of the springform pan and pour the cherries on top of the cheesecake.
  15. The cheesecake should be kept in the refrigerator and consumed within 3 days.
Calories per Serving 445
Total Fat 29.5 g
Saturated Fat 15.9 g
Trans Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 135.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 38.7 g
Dietary Fiber 0.9 g
Total Sugars 29.9 g
Sodium 367.0 mg
Protein 6.7 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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