Cheesecake, Cranberry, Port… yes darling it’s true.

Cranberry cheesecake ginger crust-7

I had to make the most of this beautiful, relaxed weekend. No work for me Saturday and Sunday meant the time to dig into something extravagant for no reason except  to, well, there was no reason. Certainly not for the 10K+ calories loitering in my fridge.  Cranberries and port  seeped into my dreams these past weeks and begged to cover a dense cheesy  cake supported by a buttery, spicy, ginger snap crust.

Let’s do it I replied.

Of course I still tried to do the usual cleaning, organizing, make cornbread for the soccer banquet Monday sort of thing. The stuff that “counts” as being productive. I also had the treat of Chloe (teen daughter) wanting to spend some time together and I quote, “Really mom, I just want to. I’m not trying to suck up or anything”, she said. You don’t have to say it twice. I’m there. I’ll do the real pre Thanksgiving clean Wed night!

Let’s start with the gingery snaps by Alton Brown. They would have been worthy of a life unto their own, lest they were destined for further adulteration. We did munch on a few of these with tea and I’ll be making more for my holiday freezer cookie stash. And these too.

gingersnapsI searched my cookbooks and the internet for a recipe. This one stood out with its inclusion of powdered ginger, fresh ginger, AND candied ginger. I did about half of the fresh and candied ginger just to not have it be too overwhelming in the crust. It still packed a good punch but next time I will follow the recipe exactly.

Ginger snaps from Alton Brown and Food Network:


9 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground clove
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
7 ounces dark brown sugar
5 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
3 ounces molasses, by weight
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
4 ounces finely chopped candied ginger


Take 8oz pulverized ginger snaps, one stick of melted butter (1/2 cup) , 1/3 cup of sugar and a pinch of salt mixed together and mash it into your springform.

Cranberry cheesecake ginger crustI also researched many a cheesecake recipe in print and online. Going for a tall, dense cheesecake on the side of New York style, I hit it off most with Smitten Kitchen’s recipe. I followed it with the exception of  the ginger crust instead of the graham cracker crust, and I added 1/2 cup sour cream (I like a little tang) and eliminated the 2 yolks (I don’t know why). And I did my own topping.

Crumb crust
8 ounces ginger snaps
8 tablespoons (1 stick or 4 ounces or 113 grams) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Very tall cheesecake filling:
5 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened (Philadelphia is recommended for cheesecakes but if you’ve had success with other brands, feel free to use them again)
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
5 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Cranberry cheesecake ginger crust-2I didn’t get my crumb crust up all the way to the top but I like it sort of halfway.

Cranberry cheesecake ginger crust-5

I liked the idea of blasting up the heat for 10 minutes to start but thinking my oven cooks a little under temp I went higher than the °425 and browned the top- but no worries there.

Cranberry cheesecake ginger crust-3I made the cheesecake Saturday night and this cranberry port topping Sunday morning. I reduced 3 cups of Port to 1/2 cup. Added  to the port 10 oz frozen cranberries, 1/2 cup sugar 1 T lemon juice, a couple good pinches of orange zest and 1 T cornstarch. Just bring it all to a boil for a couple minutes then take off the heat and cool completely. I put it in the fridge pretty quick.

Delectable! I could go far with this- sweet and/or savory. Duck comes to mind.

3 cups of port reduced to 1/2 cup

10 oz frozen cranberries

1 TB lemon juice

1/2 cup sugar mixed with 1 Tb cornstarch

1/2 tsp or so of orange zest

Cranberry cheesecake ginger crust-6I’ll let go of my perfectionist needs and share the center of this bad boy. You can see where it just sags a little in the middle (hmmm sounding familiar). It seemed ever so slightly undercooked.  It could have been our chicken’s eggs- gorgeous they are but since they are new layers, they really don’t qualify as ‘large’ eggs just yet. Except for our buff orpington who’s pulled off a couple double yolkers (*see footnote). Although, it also stayed the night in our cold room, aka pantry. Actually, after spending one solid night in the fridge, the middle was what I’d call firm.  Sometimes I wish I could just put myself in a cold fridge for a night and call myself firm.

Cranberry cheesecake ginger crust-11We had little reason not to start immediate ‘operation devour cheesecake’. We’ll see if any of it makes it to Thursday. That wedge has already grown about 180°.

Cranberry cheesecake ginger crust-10It’s like fuzzy watercolors with an F-stop at 1.8!

Cranberry cheesecake ginger crust-8Do consider this cake for your Thanksgiving guests.

Cranberry cheesecake ginger crust-9

Or better yet, for the day after when you need a little something sweet after your turkey sandwich and you have the space in your stomach to enjoy.

Stay sweet and give thanks-

Tschüß xx

* Buffy the buff orpington hen goes all out. We got several of these this week:)photo

148 responses

  1. incredible photos and recipe for the cranberry cheese cake, I’ve never seen one so beautiful, and I’m not trying to be nice. Really beautiful cake. I think I want to have that cranberry filling to go with the turkey this thursday. Beautiful.


  2. Oh I do loves me a good cheesecake, and this looks exquisite! So beautiful Wendy. And I’ve been meaning to try Alton Brown’s ginger snaps. Thanks for the extra nudge! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.


    • They are really really good and I’m not a huge ginger snap fan- except I do love it in the crust. And I like the candied ginger he’s added. I’ll do up dough balls also for the freezer- if I have room with the soup!


  3. I love the rustic looking base. Wendy you’re really such a perfectionist! If this is not perfect I don’t know what is. It looks absolutely delicious!

    I’ve only ever made the more continental-style unbaked cheesecake that’s simply chilled in the fridge before serving. I’ve always wanted to make a NY style baked one. Loving the idea of using ginger snaps too – one of my favourite kinds of biscuits! I’m also wondering if blueberries would work equally well as cranberries?

    The photos are absolutely gorgeous and mouthwatering.. pinning this and hoping to make it sometime! In the meantime, it’s there to ogle 😛


    • If only right! It’s a pretty rich dessert and honestly might be a bit much for me following a turkey dinner. But nibbling on it every night leading up to Thanksgiving is working out pretty well- except for not helping the firming up part. cheers x wt


    • Thanks so much! It was fun to have the time to do the recipe. I don’t know how some bloggers squeeze in something like this in the evening or at 5am! I’m loving your ‘kind’ bars. Got to make those myself. Best, wendy.


  4. What a great post! Good food, good pics, good humor and Chloe… what more does a post need? “lol” 10k+ calories loitering in the fridge. I like the idea of firming up my middle by chilling all night, but I’d probably just catch a cold.
    Thanks Wendy (Food Goddess) _Resa xo


  5. I read your blog post on the tram this morning and I got hungrier and hungrier for a piece of this incredible cake by the second! It looks more than just good – I want a piece of it…now! 😀
    Have a very HAPPY Wednesday! 🙂


  6. This is the culmination of many of my favourite things! It is beautiful and worth the time from the looks of it. Thanks for sharing the recipes and great pictures.


    • It won’t take nearly so long if you aren’t taking photos every five minutes. I literally set aside a couple days to enjoy it. I don’t know how people have three kids, a full time job and pull off these killer food and photo posts. Like at 3am or something maybe. Have a lovely day tomorrow. x wt


  7. This post is DIVINE Wendy!! Amazing, I love the gorgeous river of cranberry reduction running into the centre of the cheesecake in the last couple of pictures. Wow. I can imagine how good those homemade gingersnaps would’ve been also. Three lots of ginger goodness 🙂 Thanks for sharing this recipe. I haven’t seen cranberries in the supermarkets here but I’ll have a look to see if I can pick up a bag of frozen ones… for both this cheesecake and the duck option (yes please!!!!) xx


    • It is like a river but this middle bit set much better after being in the fridge for the night. We are still eating this. I’ll toss the remaining half out on the table after dinner tomorrow. We could leave out the cranberry sauce for extra garnish. I’m going to work on the cranberry gastrique 🙂


  8. My gosh, that has to be the pretties cheesecake!! I love that you made the cookies for the crust (and managed not to eat them all first like I would!) It’s unbelievably beautiful, especially because you didn’t go all the way up the sides, I like seeing the crust, filling and topping all at once in the side shots. That sauce, I was wondering how amazing it might taste IN the turkey sandwich! xx


    • Thanks Smidge- I’ll have to keep that in mind on Friday and I’ll have another bag of frozen cranberries on hand! I’ve thought about a lot of things it could go on top of since the weekend. I love the port and cranberry together with the hint of orange. x wendy


  9. I’m a real fan of the gingernuts snap and more so for delicious crumbs. In fact, they feature on my graduating menu for next year! I love the use of cranberries for that festive flair in your cheesecake. No doubt you’re cooking up a storm this week and through to the weekend too 🙂


    • Honestly, I did good this year and we have people bringing a majority of the meal. I’ve got a couple heritage birds I watched being harvested on Monday (and photographed). And I’ll do stuffing, gravy and sourdough bread. Oh and my house has to be clean. And then I’ll have a solid 12 hour work day for ‘Black Friday’ at the shop. Even on our little island! Cheers… wt


  10. Wow, i wish i had dreams like that. Maybe they’d satisfy my cravings so I wouldn’t have to eat sweets 😉 I ADORE gingersnap or graham crusts. Very impressive that you baked up the cookies just so you could destroy them, haha. Anyway, this whole thing looks incredible. I wish I had some now!!


    • That’s the word I’ve been missing! Definitely get the port. This would be a great dessert to follow a nice Christmas dinner. I almost find it could be too much after a huge Thanksgiving meal but Christmas meals in our house are usually a little more straight forward. Happy Thanksgiving!


      • Same to you Wendy!

        I was thinking the same thing- this will be just perfect for Christmas evening. Only hope it somewhat closely resembles your gorgeous photos! It was a beautiful post all around.

        Thanks, and happy holidays to you and yours!


  11. Ok Ima so sick right now, but Ima still drooling. And there has to be more to this story, because my experience with German cooking has been . . . Not so hot.

    When Ima feeling better I’ll be back . . .


    • Well then you’ve not found the right place to eat it. Granted there can be a lot of meat, potatoes and sauce! But some totally great dishes too. And the fish in northern Germany. yum. The breads, pastries and cakes… delightful!
      Hope you feel better soon.
      PS- I’m in the USA now:)


      • I lived with a German the first 18 years of my life. . . I don’ta remember no home-made cheesecake.
        Ima try this one, but I think I’ll sub in Aleia’s GF ginger snaps, because they have so much ginger, they nearly make your tongue hurt. The ginger content will help me keep the cake all to myself.


  12. Wendy, this looks delicious and worth many deaths 😛
    am on a diet and you had me salivating and craving…(hahaha, talk about self control).
    all this being said, am sure, you all had a great time. The pictures are tempting and am so happy that you got freshly pressed. Thanks for sharing and happy thanksgiving.


    • Hi! So nice to “see” you! I really can’t seem to keep up a normal life and the blog thing so well. We can only do so much! I’ve got some catching up to do your way too but I’ve caught glimpses and you are really out and about- that’s so wonderful. We’ve got Thanksgiving happening and I’m about to go stuff two big birds but am sneaking in a a few minutes here. Take care! x wendy


    • I could see that. But not sure if it would ring my bell with the cheesecake filling- although it might for some. I’d like the oreo crust for like an ice-cream pie or something like that. And I do love oreos- but not the double filling, the classic ratio:)
      Have a great turkey sandwich day.


  13. Wendy, this is truly a work of art. It’s so beautiful, I *almost* wouldn’t want to eat it (note that i said almost because who am I kidding? I’d be digging into this so fast it’d make your head spin!). What fabulous flavours and the colour of the cranberry port topping is gorgeous. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!


    • Thanks! We finally finished it off last night with the two apple crisps, pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake and GF/dairy free pumpkin pie brought by friends. Well we didn’t finish all the others but at least I will be no longer taunted by this radically rich yet amazing dessert!!! Happy turkey sandwich day:)


  14. Give me that good old fashioned cheesecake, –NOTHING but the cheesecake, nothing added, nothing taken away. Don’t put any of those berries or pineapples or even that chocolate into the cheesecake. That just all ruins it for me.


    • I hear you- it’s not for everybody. And stick with the graham cracker crust too, right. I’m the same with with bread stuffing. I don’t want any nuts, apples, oysters, or cornbread- straight up bread stuffing with butter, a little celery,onion and sage- shoved in that bird. Have a good one. wendy


  15. Because I happened to stumble upon such a wonderful idea for a cheesecake, I am now a bit heavier. I do not regret a single bite though because cheesecake is my all time favorite! I have never heard of this style of cheesecake so I had to see if it tasted as good as it looked… And indeed it did. I was in heaven for that whole cheesecake.Thank you for this recipe.


    • I can work with that! I like your site- very appropriate as I’m just looking in the mirror like- what happened? One thing is mid 40’s. But it’s no excuse- going to try to start with a 10K in January (oh hell did I just put that in writing?) Thanks for swinging by CC- I’m not shy on the kale, juicing and salads either. Gotta stay balanced! cheers…wendy


      • Awe! Thanks for inspiring me to comment! 10K … I did my first because a client asked me to. During the run I couldn’t help feeling like she was trying to get back at me for her training sessions, since I was a sprinter, lol! It was very fun and I felt a sense of accomplishment afterwards, glad you put it in writing :).


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  19. Wow! I am so not a cream cheese cheese cake eater but that amazing topping would have me begging for a piece of this astonishing dream Gorgeous!


  20. Wendy, I’m not surprised over your 289 likes – this is just sOoOOOo good – and your photos are just priceless. Not a fan of cheesecakes, but this makes me droll. What a fantastic post!!!
    You’re priceless … this should be something you do full time.


      • Okay, now I understand – because I wondered where they all had come from .. you had quite a few followers, but not to that extend. Wonderful new that you as Freshly Pressed, the post was worth it – stunning post in photos and writing.
        You should consider food styling … you have the touch and the eye.


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  23. Hi Wendy! It looks like this post is from a few years back but I wanted to tell you that your cheesecake looks amazing and I am looking forward to trying out the cranberry topping. It was so great seeing you and getting to know you a bit better this summer! I’m going to enjoy trying some of your veggie recipes as well. All the best, Jeff


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