Few desserts have as decadent a reputation as cheesecake, so it was with bated breath (and empty stomachs) that our panel of judges awaited entries for our bi-annual reader recipe contest, this time dedicated to the cheesy, creamy dessert of desserts. We weren’t disappointed. Entries ranged from traditional to unique, proving once again that St. Louis’ home bakers know their way around the kitchen! Congratulations to our winning baker, Settie Nickel, who will receive a gift certificate for a ‘Kitchen with a Mission’ class at L’École Culinaire. 


Apple-Almond Cheesecake by Settie Nickel

Crust: 1 c. flour, ½ c. powdered sugar, 1 stick cold unsalted butter, 

¼ t. almond extract

Filling: 3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, ¾ c. sugar, 3 T. flour, 3 eggs, 1 ½ t. vanilla extract

Topping: Toss 1 c. sugar, 1 T. cinnamon and 3 or 4 apples, peeled, cored and sliced very thin (Granny Smith, Jonagold or Macintosh). Toast almonds by mixing together cinnamon and sugar, stiring in thinly sliced almonds, spreading on cooking sheet and baking at 350 degrees until toasted, about 10 minutes.

    Preheat oven to 450 degrees. To make crust, mix together the powdered sugar and flour in food processor, then add butter, cut up, and vanilla extract. Process until mixture forms a ball. Spread on bottom and up the sides of a springform pan. Refrigerate until ready.

    To make the filling:

    With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese until smooth, about one to two minutes. Beat in sugar until smooth, add flour. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla. Pour over crust. Arrange apples and almonds on top of filling.

    Bake at 450 degrees for 12 minutes, reduce heat to 400 degrees and continue baking for 25 to 30 minutes. Apples will be tender. Cool cheesecake. Refrigerate. Remove from pan when ready to serve.


White Chocolate Cranberry Cheesecake by Sandy Powers

Filling: 3 (8 oz.) cream cheese packages at room temperature,

1 ½ c. sugar, 5 eggs, 2 t. vanilla, 12 oz. chopped white chocolate,

4 oz. heavy whipping cream, 1 ½ c. cranberries.

Crust: 2 c. graham cracker crumbs, ¼ c. sugar, ½ c. butter, melted.  Mix all in bowl and press into a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Microwave white chocolate and whipping cream until chocolate is melted (approximately two minutes), stir and set aside. Mix cream cheese and sugar with electric mixer until smooth. Mix in eggs and vanilla, then the white chocolate mixture. Fold in cranberries. Pour into springform pan. Bake for one hour and 10 minutes. Turn off oven, open door approximately one inch and let cool for several hours. Remove cheesecake from oven. Cool in refrigerator for several hours or overnight.


M&M Cheescake by Rachel Eilbott

Ingredients: 8 oz. softened cream cheese, 1 (14 oz.) can condensed milk (fat free recommended), 1 egg, 1 t. vanilla,

1 c. M&Ms mini baking bits for pie filling,  ¼ c. mini M&Ms for top,

1 t. flour, 1 ready-made chocolate pie crust, 1 c. chocolate chips, 1 T. milk

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in condensed milk until smooth. Mix in egg and vanilla. Toss one cup M&Ms mini baking bits with flour. Stir into cream cheese mixture. Pour into crust. Bake 40 minutes or until center springs back when lightly touched. Cool. Melt one cup chocolate chips with milk. Stir until smooth. Spread glaze on top. Sprinkle with ¼ c mini M&Ms.

German cheesecake by Snjezana Jurcevic

Ingredients: 1 yellow sponge cake layer, 9 oz. cream cheese, 1/3 c. sugar, 8 ½ oz. sour cream, 2 packages vanilla sugar, 2 packages gelatin, 1 orange, whipped cream, 3 ¼ c. strawberries

    Shred the orange peel and juice the orange. Mix shredded orange peel, orange juice, cream cheese, sugar and vanilla sugar. Mix sour cream with two spoonfuls of sugar. Combine sour cream and cream cheese mixtures and add gelatin. Top the cake layer with the mixture and put in the refrigerator. Decorate with sliced strawberries and whipped cream.

Praline Toffee Cheesecake by Lisa Nouss

Ingredients: 1 c. graham cracker crumbs, 3 T. sugar, 3 T. butter (melted), 3-8 oz. cream cheese packages at room temperature,

1 ½ c. dark brown sugar, 2 T. flour, 2 eggs,  2 t. vanilla, 1 c. chopped pecans, maple syrup, 2 Heath bars, chopped

    Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Press in bottom of a nine inch springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Blend together cream cheese, brown sugar and flour. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and pecans and mix well. Pour onto crumb crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes. Loosen rim. Brush with maple syrup. Sprinkle with chopped Heath bars.

Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake by Vivian Johnson

Ingredients: 2 ½ c. graham cracker crumbs, 1 T. sugar, 1 stick butter (melted),  4 softened (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese, 2 c. sugar,

1 t. vanilla, 1 T. lemon juice, 8 oz. sour cream, 8 oz. cottage cheese, 5 T. cornstarch, 4 eggs

    Combine melted butter and sugar with graham cracker crumbs. Press in springform pan. Place eggs, cottage cheese and cream cheese in blender until blended completely. Pour into large mixing bowl. Stir in sugar one cup at a time, sour cream, cornstarch, vanilla and lemon juice. Pour entire mixture into prepared crust and bake at 350 degrees for one hour and 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Refrigerate overnight. Carefully remove from pan and place on serving plate.

To create a pink marbled effect:

    Reserve 2 ½ c cheesecake mixture. Stir in two tablespoons of lemon concentrate and the zest of three lemons. Pour the cheesecake mixture in blender and blend ½ c. strawberry preserves to make pink. Swirl into cheesecake as you pour it into the pan.