This Gluten Free Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake is coming to you just in time for the holidays. With its smooth, rich and creamy texture and gluten-free pecan flour crust, the only way to make this cheesecake more delicious would be to top it with a salted caramel apple sauce.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner and apple season in full force, I seized the opportunity to make the most decadent cheesecake keeping the crust gluten-free to accommodate a family member’s dietary preference. This recipe combines the best of both worlds- an irresistible gluten free cheesecake with all the flavors of Fall married together in this stunner dessert.
I used Hunnyz apples for this recipe. Found at Sprouts, my favorite source for seasonal produce, this specialty variety of apple is a mid-season, orange-yellow dessert apple that maintains it’s crunch and texture when baked. They are crisp, juicy with a sweet tropical flavor, yet mildly tart. Hunnyz apples are the result of the marriage between the Crimson Crisp and the Honey Crisp. They paired beautifully with a jarred caramel sauce and maintained their shape when being transferred from the skillet to the cheesecake.
About the Gluten Free Crust: I used a packaged pecan flour. You can certainly create your own nut flour, but I saved myself some effort. You can also use gluten free graham crackers if you are able to find them.
About the Salted Caramel Sauce: I used a jarred salted caramel sauce, again to save time. You can make your own caramel sauce, or use an unsalted caramel sauce instead.
I’ve paired the apples with a salted caramel sauce and intentionally used as topping only. While you could certainly include the apples into the interior of the cheesecake, I’ve left it as topping so that you can best determine if you wanted a simple Caramel Apple topping, a Salted Caramel Apple topping (my favorite), or even an Apple Pie topping.
I did not use a water bath for this cheesecake. I find having to prop the oven door open fussy, and don’t like to bother with the water. You have to be a bit more careful using my method to avoid the cheesecake from cracking.
Helpful Cheesecake Making Notes:
Allow your ingredients to reach room temperature before you begin making the cheesecake.
Don’t over mix the filling. Mix just until combined, and eggs only as long as it takes for them to disappear from the batter when incorporated.
Do not peek on your cheesecake! You will be tempted to open the oven door, DO NOT DO IT. Keep that heat trapped in the oven for the duration of the baking time.
Cool the cheesecake completely before transferring to the refrigerator. This will help keep the cake from sinking.
Refrigerate overnight. It’s hard to do, but you need to let that baby fully set. Minimum is about 4 hours before I’d trust cutting into it.
Plan ahead. This cake is a labor of love and does not come together quickly. It’s great for making a day ahead, leaving only the topping to quickly pull together.
To ensure a pretty slice every time, don’t allow the cheesecake to sit out for too long before serving. I like to cut right out of the refrigerator, cleaning the knife with a damp cloth between each slice (it keeps the crust from getting into the cake layer).
- For the Crust:
- 1 1/2 cups ground pecan nut flour (or gluten-free graham crackers)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- For the Sour Cream Topping:
- 1 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- For the Cheesecake:
- 4 pkg (8-oz) cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- For the Salted Caramel Apple Topping:
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 medium apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
- Salted caramel sauce, for drizzling
- Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling
- Chopped pecans, for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray.
• Prepare the Crust: In a medium bowl, combine the nut flour, brown sugar and butter.
• Press the nut crust into the bottom of the springform pan. Bake for 12 minutes, remove to cool and reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.
• Prepare the Topping: In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, sugar and vanilla; set aside
• Prepare the Filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the cream cheese and sugar and mix on medium-high until smooth and creamy.
• Add the eggs, one at a time until each is incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix again.
• Add the vanilla and almond extract. Slowly add the heavy cream and mix on low. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl once again.
• Pour the filling over the crust. Bake for 65-70 minutes until set, but the center of the cheesecake is still a bit jiggly.
• Pour the sour cream mixture over the top of the cheesecake and use a spatula to evenly distribute. Return to the oven for additional 5 minutes.
• Remove the cheesecake to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife, or a cake release tool along the sides of the pan so the edges can release.
• Allow the cake to cool completely for about 2 hours. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours (or overnight).
• When ready to serve, prepare the caramel sauce: In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add apples and lemon juice. Cook and stir until apples are tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add brown sugar and cinnamon; cook an additional 2-3 minutes until brown sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Arrange the apple slices on top of the cheesecake, drizzle warmed salted caramel sauce over the top. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
Garnish with chopped pecans, if desired.
One bite and this recipe is sure to become a new favorite and you may intentionally choose to use a pecan crust the next time you decide to make cheesecake.
This recipe for Gluten Free Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake has been a sponsored conversation with Sprouts. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.