Cheap Recipe: Black Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake

5 Jan

For a text-only version of this recipe and complete ingredients listing, click here.

I made this cheesecake (out of season) for less than five bucks, once and for all confirming my belief that there is a God and that he is good and loves us.

The trick to making a cheap cheesecake (or, in this case, a cheap, gloriously rich, decadent and twirly homage to raspberry cheesecake) lies in the shrewd purchase of certain components. However, I’m happy to tell you that with a few simple tips, a fancy and delicious cheesecake can be made for around five dollars, if you know what to use and where to look. Click on the link directly below for my money-saving suggestions and hints for making homemade cheesecake on the cheaps, or continue reading for the recipe.

[Click here for a few quick notes from Gracie on Saving Money While Making Homemade Cheesecakes]

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In the bottom of a springform pan, rub about 1 tablespoon margarine or butter with fingers until evenly distributed.

In a small bowl, crush 6-8 graham cracker squares (or approximate equivalent of wafer cookies, Oreos, or whatever else you’re using) and sprinkle by handful over the margarine-coated pan bottom until evenly covered. Set springform aside.


In a mixing bowl, beat 3 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese (total of 24 ounces) briefly, until soft.


To your beaten cream cheese, add 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Beat the mixture well, stopping occasionally to scrape the bowl sides or spoon if necessary along the way.

Gradually add three eggs to the cream cheese mixture, one at a time, beating after each addition.

Three 8-oz. bricks of cream cheese.

Next, beat in 1 cup milk and continue to scrape bowl while beating until mixture is smooth and no lumps of white cheese are discernible.

Beat until smooth.

As gently as possible, spoon about 2/3 of the cream cheese mixture in large dollops into prepared springform, being careful not to stir or upset the filling with your spoon, thus avoiding disturbing your delicate graham layer on the bottom.

Microwave 1/2 cup seedless black raspberry jam (or other variety of jam/jelly/preserves) for about 30 seconds and stir briefly until smooth.

Nuke about 1/2 cup of jam until it can be stirred smooth, about 30 seconds or slightly more.

Two or three circles around the bowl with your spoon will create a marble effect. Don't overmix.

To the reserved 1/3 remaining cheesecake batter, pour most of the heated jam. You can reserve a tiny bit of jam for swirling on the very top of the cheesecake if you like. Do not overstir when adding the jam to batter; your spoon should only make two or three quick circles around the batter to lightly incorporate the jam.

Pour the jam/batter mixture on top of the existing batter in the spring form, swirling or patting lightly with a butter knife (again, only on the surface layer to avoid disturbing graham crumbs!) until all batter has been incorporated.

If your swirls have begun to look “washed out” or overly stirred, you can use that last little bit of straight-up melted jam you saved back to swirl across the top for contrast (optional).

Layering batter...

Swirl additional jam on the top surface for more contrast if needed.

Place springform pan in a shallow-edged baking or cookie pan and pour a few cups of water into the bottom the larger pan, surrounding the springform.

This will create a water bath for preserving moisture within the hot oven to keep the top of your cheesecake from cracking too much during bake time.

Place the baking sheet (that contains both the springform and water bath) in the oven. Bake 30 minutes, resisting the urge to open the oven door too often.

Chill completely before removing springform sides.

(You may want to add additional water to the water bath around the 15-20 minute mark, but other than that, try not to have the oven open during bake time.

I love the two-layer look!

At the thirty-minute mark, turn off the oven temperature completely but let the cheesecake remain inside the warm oven. Allow to cool in this manner for 10-15 minutes, at which point you should crack the oven door open a little. Allow the cheesecake to continue cooling several minutes like this before removing cheesecake to a countertop wire rack; this gradual cooling process will also help you to avoid additional surface cracks on the cheesecake top.

These plain canned berries made a cheap topping at 80 cents a can!

Once sides of springform can be comfortably touched for a couple of seconds without scalding fingertip, move the springform to the refrigerator to chill overnight (8-12 hours) before serving. Do not remove from metal hoop until cheesecake has properly chilled in order to preserve shape.

Ahh, divine!

When serving, remember to clean your serving knife between pieces served to avoid buildup and create smoother and better-looking individual slices. If desired, top with canned fruit sauce or melted-down chunky fruit preseves as a cheaper alternative to pie filling or fresh berries.

You won’t believe how delicious your “budget cheesecake” tastes!


3 Responses to “Cheap Recipe: Black Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake”

  1. Darla January 5, 2011 at 1:41 PM #

    OMG!! This sounds wonderful……may have to postpone the diet for a few days!

  2. Gracie January 5, 2011 at 1:54 PM #

    It was so good. I ate three pieces last weekend! Couldn’t help myself. 🙂 (Oh, I forgot to mention adding cinnamon — i better go back and do that now! FYI, I added about a teaspoon of cinnamon with the vanilla extract.) 🙂 Be sure to take a photo of how yours comes out, Darla! 🙂 I’d love to see it!


  1. Cheap Recipe: Black Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake « The Red Kitchen … | Cheap Quick Recipes - January 5, 2011

    […] Original post by Gracie […]

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