Ben’s Cinnamon Pecan Cheesecake

14 Feb

“You are the only person who has understood even a whisper of me, and I will tell you that I am the only person who has understood even a whisper of you.” -Everything Is Illuminated

Yes, I know Valentine’s Day is a sort of baloney holiday. We should be showing the people we care about how we feel every day, not just the one time a year Hallmark has rigged up for us. But I have to admit that it does feel special to devote a whole to, well, devotion.

My valentine and I won’t be able to spend the holiday together this year–life has taken us down separate roads for the time being, so this 14th is a little bittersweet. Being apart like this probably has been one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life: so many low moments and less-than-sane moments. In the end though, we make the choice every day to stay the course, to say “I love you” before we go to sleep, and wait for the time when we are together again. I will be forever grateful to him for sticking with me even when we both seem like crazy people.

The very first thing I ever baked for him was a cinnamon pecan coffee cake, and he said this was the first time he knew he liked me. Some people write love songs, others love poems–I do love baking. I developed this recipe for him over winter break the last time we were together. He challenged me to compete against his mom in a “cook-off” of sorts, but she’s a chef and I’m a baker, so we each naturally chose our specialty. This dessert was a little nod to that very first thing I made for him, but all wrapped up in an elegant cheesecake. Make it for someone you love!

Cinnamon Pecan Cheesecake

Printable Recipe


11-14 graham crackers

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

pinch of salt


3 1/2 pounds cream cheese, softened (7 8oz. packages)

2 1/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon

5 eggs


1 cup water

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup whole pecans

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9″-10″ springform pan.

Place the graham crackers in a food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped. Mix the crumbs, butter, sugar, cinnamon, and salt together and press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Refrigerate the crust for about 15 minutes, until it is set. Bake the crust for about 15 minutes. Let cool.

In the meantime, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until it is fluffy–about 3 minutes. Add in the sugar and flour and beat together until incorporated. Mix in the sour cream, vanilla extract, and cinnamon until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until just combined.

Pour the filling into the cooled graham cracker crust and place the springform in a large roasting pan. Carefully pour boiling water in the roasting pan around the springform. The water bath will keep the cheesecake from cracking. Put the whole rig in the oven and bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Then, reduce the temperature to 325° and continue baking for about 30 minutes–or until the cake is starting to brown on top but is still a little wobbly in the middle. Turn off the oven but let the cake rest inside with the door open a little for about an hour.

Let the cake cool completely on a wire rack at room temperature and then refrigerate overnight. Run a knife along the outside of the cake and remove the ring of the springform before serving.

To make the syrup, heat water and sugar in a saucepan set over medium-high heat. Stir constantly until sugar is dissolved. Let the mixture boil for about 5 minutes, until it is slightly reduced. Add the pecans and stir to coat. Pour the sauce over the cheesecake and serve immediately.


3 Responses to “Ben’s Cinnamon Pecan Cheesecake”

  1. cold call me maybe May 20, 2013 at 10:20 AM #

    Very nice blog post. I definitely appreciate this website.
    Continue the good work!


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