Tuesdays with Dorie….

Well, it is official, food blogging has ruined me.
When I first learned that we were making the Brown Sugar Apple Cheesecake, I was overjoyed. You by now all know my love of cheesecake and so I wasted no time in making it. The very next morning after I learned of what we would be making this week, I awoke early to get started as I wanted cheesecake for breakfast! Cheesecake is after all, the breakfast of champions.
I took the cheesecake out of the oven and placed it on the rack to cool. Still at this point excited about the cheesecake. Then I released it from the spring form. Crap, crap, crap was all I thought. Now you may be thinking at this point that there was a large crack or it sunk, etc.
Nope. Not the case.
Hearing my rather loud “crap” comments coming from my mouth, my husband(who was working from home that day) came down to see what the fuss was about. I pointed to the cheesecake and said, “look at it!” He did. “Looks like cheesecake.” “It’s beige. Beige, beige and more beige.” A confused look formed on his face and I informed him very loudly…”beige food doesn’t photograph well!!!” Giving me the thanks for sharing crazy lady stare, my husband got a soda and went back upstairs.
Dorie doesn’t have a picture of this cheesecake in her cookbook…you know why? Because the whole thing is beige…and beige doesn’t photograph well! To make matters worse, when I cut into the cheesecake to plate it, the apples were, you guessed it….beige. Crap. I looked at the gray Pacific Northwest sky and thought yay, gray sky with beige food.
And this is how I knew food blogging had ruined me. No longer was I thinking hurry up and photograph this cheesecake so I can eat it, I was now thinking, how on earth am I going to photograph this cheesecake. Oh how owning a camera has changed me. Determined to give a little color contrast to pump it up, I sat and thought of things I could do to add punch to the cheesecake. I decided to go with one of my two standard back ups…when all else fails, throw either caramel or toffee sauce on it. I went with caramel. The recipe doesn’t call for it. I don’t care. Besides, caramel and apples were pretty much made for each other so I don’t know why Dorie didn’t think of it in the first place. :)
When all was said and done the beige cheesecake covered in caramel stepped up and decided to photograph nicely for me. And even more importantly….it tasted great(okay…maybe I am not totally ruined).
To see all of the Tuesday With Dorie’s entries go here.

Brown Sugar-Apple Cheesecake


  • For the Crust
  • 30 gingersnaps
  • 2 TBSP light brown sugar
  • 1/2 TBSP ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/2 stick (4 TSBP) unsalted butter, melted
  • For the Apples
  • 1/2 stick (4 TBSP) unsalted butter
  • 3 large Golden Delicious or Fuji apples, peeled, cored and cut into eighths(I used Honeycrisps)
  • 2 TBSP (packed) light brown sugar
  • For the Filling
  • 1 1/2 pounds (three 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 6 TBSP sugar
  • 3 TBSP apple cider
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • Caramel Sauce for Drizzling


  1. To Make the Crust: Butter the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan.
  2. Put the gingersnaps in a food processor and whir until you have crumbs; you should have a scant 2 cups. (If you are using graham cracker crumbs, just put them in the food processor.)
  3. Pulse in the sugar and cinnamon, if you're using it, then pour over the melted butter and pulse until the crumbs are moistened.
  4. Turn the crumbs into the springform pan and, using your fingertips, firmly press them evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan as far as they'll go. Put the pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven. (The crust can be covered and frozen for up to 2 months.)
  5. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  6. Remove the pan from the freezer and wrap the bottom tightly in aluminum foil, going up the sides. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until the crust is set and lightly browned. Transfer to a rack to cool while you make the apples and the filling. Leave the oven at 350 degrees F.
  7. To Make the Apples: Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When the foam subsides, toss in half of the apple slices and cook, turning once, until they are golden brown, about 3 minutes.
  8. Sprinkle the apples with 1 tablespoon of the sugar and cook them, turning, just until coated, another minute or so. Scrape the apples onto a plate, wipe out the skillet and repeat with the remaining apples. Let the apples cool while you make the filling.
  9. Getting Ready to Bake: Have a roasting pan large enough to hold the springform pan at hand. Put a kettle of water on to boil.
  10. To Make the Filling: Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese on medium speed, scraping down the bowl often, for about 4 minutes, or until it is velvety smooth.
  11. Add the sugars and beat for another 2 minutes. Beat in the cider, vanilla, and cinnamon.
  12. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the eggs one by one, beating for 1 minute after each egg goes in.
  13. Finally, beat in the sour cream and heavy cream, beating just until the batter is smooth.
  14. Pour about one third of the batter into the baked crust. Drain the apples by lifting them off the plate with a slotted spoon or spatula, and spoon them into the pan.
  15. Cover with the remaining batter and, if needed, jiggle the pan to even the top. Place the springform pan in the roasting pan and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
  16. Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 30 to 45 minutes, covering the cake loosely with a foil tent at the 45-minute mark.
  17. The cake will rise evenly and crack around the edges, and it should be fully set except, possibly, in the very center it sometimes shimmies, that's just fine.
  18. Gently transfer the cake, still in the pan, to a cooling rack and let it cool to room temperature, then refrigerate it for at least 6 hours; overnight would be better.
  19. Run a blunt knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the crust, open the pan's latch and release and remove the sides.
  20. Source: Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, Houghton Mifflin Company, November 2006



  1. Yummo – it may be beige, but this cheesecake looks bewdiful, and the caramel sauce just makes it to die for. I want a slice now!

  2. looks good from this vantage point. and i agree with you 100%–caramel and apples belong together for eternity. nice work, peabody, and congratulations–you have become one of my culinary gurus. :)

  3. The caramel topping definitely did the trick — the photos are beautiful! And cheesecake for breakfast sounds pretty good, too. Yes, blogging has ruined all of us, but in a good way. I know I’m much more conscious of the colors and color combinations in my food, and more conscious of plating, too.

  4. noticed you posted at 12:01 am! I was excited about this too and feel much better learning beige food doesn’t have a “best side” when it comes to pictures. your cheesecake looks beautiful!

  5. You are too funny! I think it looks delicious, beige or not. And the caramel is a great addition–you are so right about caramel and apples being made for each other.

  6. Your cheesecake looks great! That’s such a great idea to put caramel sauce on top. Caramel and apples are a wonderful combination!

  7. Mmm I love all of the caramel sauce! This WAS a beige cheesecake, but yours looks incredible!

  8. I love the caramel sauce on top!

  9. Your cheesecake looks amazing! I feel so smart now, because I used caramel sauce on mine, too!

  10. Your beige cheesecake photographed beautifully! And the caramel, makes me want to lick my screen. :)

  11. I’m so glad that someone else thought the cake just wouldn’t photograph well because of the color! We ended up getting a decent picture, but I wish I would’ve thought of making a caramel sauce. Your’s looks phenomenal!

  12. Wow, who knew what caramel sauce could do for a photo. Brilliant! That addition would have gone over wonderfully in this house. Wish I had though of it.

  13. I know what you mean about beige food. I think yours photographed beautifully though. I added some cooked apples to the top of mine to help balance out the colour a bit. Your caramel sauce did the same trick. Well done!

  14. Oh, that cheesecake looks perfect Peabody! I think you’ve got another winning photograph there. You are the master of the caramel sauce drizzling!

  15. This is one of the few Dorie recipes I haven’t made yet. Of course, when I finally do and find out it’s difficult to photography, I’ll think back to this post and “What Would Peadbody Do?” and I’ll drizzle my slice in caramel sauce to make it pretty…

  16. Now that I photograph all my food, beige food makes me crazy!!! That’s why I decided to put my apples on top of the cheesecake instead of inside. Your cake looks incredible! And your photographs… a success!

  17. The pictures of your beige cheesecake look perfect as usual. And yes, caramel and apples are like two peas in a pod

  18. I think the caramel would make it so much better, anyway!! I’ll have to remember that when all else fails, just cover it with caramel!

  19. Great idea with the caramel! I fought with camera settings and lighting for 30 minutes and ended up using a small picture of the plated final product. When all else fails, grab the caramel – I will remember that next time :)

  20. oh, Peabody, don’t be so hard on yourself – if any of my cakes looked that enticing and luscious, I’d be more than happy!! you continue to be such an inspiration for me with food-photography, culinary creativity, and writing, that I always enjoy coming to your blog (as you know, since I read every single post).

    as far as I’m concerned, this cheesecake was MEANT to have that ooey-gooey caramel drenched all over it!! yum!!

  21. I think it looks great! Would’ve looked great without the caramel sauce too, though of course caramel is delicious. :)

  22. Wow. The caramel definitely worked. That is beautiful.

  23. It was cloudy here too, and that didn’t help the beige cheesecake any, lol. What a great idea you had, it came out perfectly! Yours really does look perfect, cook book cover perfect.

  24. You are crackers. The cheesecake looks seductive enough to me! Dorie would surely approve the caramel sauce. Lush!
    I am in my fifties. I love beige now!

  25. Well I think it looks beautiful. And tasty!

  26. hahaha I totally hear you on the husband’s “ok crazy lady” stare. I get that every time I snap photos of our plated dinners. Sometimes his looks better than mine and I’ll yell at him to not touch his food until I take the perfect shot. lol

    btw, your cheesecake looks absolutely decadent…good call on the caramel!

  27. I personally think apples without carmel are just a waste ;-)

  28. I can relate – when I make something, my husband asks me if he’s “allowed to eat it yet.” Then I snap some pics like a crazy woman. Good call on the caramel, by the way!

  29. Gorgeous cheesecake and photos. I found sunlight helped alog, but I understand about the gray Washington skies (I grew up there and I miss them!) I’m going to make a note in the cookbook about using a caramel sauce as an alternative.

  30. Thanks for the smile this morning, your post made me crack up! (and the cheesecake looks yummy no matter what color it is).

  31. *falls over*

    that is gorgeous.

  32. i made caramel sauce for the plate for the exact same reason! great cheesecake, but a little bland looking by itself! yours looks wonderful!

  33. You just crack me up! I can hear myself trying to photograph on cloudy days!! The cheesecake is to die for and that caramel…hmmhmmhmm!

  34. Uhh Gracie? Honey, you are ca-raaacccyyyyy! Caramel sauce or not, that slice of delectible cheesecake would win awards. :)

    I’ve been craving cheesecake (and carrot cake!) like you wouldn’t believe lately.. maybe I will follow in your footsteps…….


  35. Simply delicious, some excellent photos.


  36. Oh, that looks amazing. I’ve just stumbled onto your website and I wish I was at home (and not at work, boo) so I could start baking right away!

  37. Oooooh, caramel! Who knew that beige food doesn’t photograph well? You teach me something every time, thanks!

  38. Nice save, it looks lovely! Even the beige parts : )

  39. I could so go for a slice of this right now. And I totally know your pain. I tried photographing those darned dulce de leche brownies the other day to little success. You did way better than I did!

  40. Oh I encountered that problem with being told all my desserts were too beige quite a while ago. I would take this cheesecake with or without the caramel. Its just awesome.

  41. What great insight you had to dump the caramel sauce on top! I bet it tasted wonderful too :)

    I’d love the join the Tuesday’s with Dorie if it weren’t for my March Biggest Loser competition with friends! Maybe one of these days… I’d enjoy baking away with the group!

  42. You say beige – I say ‘give me a slice!’ OMG that looks divine.

  43. Nothing wrong with the looks of this cheesecake-it is perfectly gorgeous!I will be trying this one for certain!

  44. I had the same reaction to my beige cheesecake, only I was too impatient to taste it to actually whip up something to put on top of it!

  45. Aaah, your blogging may have ruined you – but it’s good for us!

  46. Wow – the caramel just makes the cheesecake POP! What a wonderful way to jazz up the picture!

  47. i never even noticed the beige, i was drooling so much. i must make this gorgeous cheesecake. pronto!

  48. Oh. My. God.
    Looks sooooo good! I’m am so trying this!
    I tried your Caramel Apple Toffee Cheesecake, and that was delicious! I know I’ll love this one!

  49. Well… that’s the most beautiful biege *I’ve* ever seen. YUM.

  50. That apple cheese cake looks great with the caramel sauce on it.


  1. […] March 12, 2008 This is from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. I became acquainted with this recipe while following the group, Tuesdays with Dorie, it was the group recipe on February 12, 2008. If I get my act together, I may even join the group, but making a recipe a week is ambitious. There are several online descriptions of the recipe, including here, here, here, and here. I sliced my apples (instead of cutting them in 8ths) using my all in one peeler/corer/slicer.  I love that device, it makes using apples so much easier.  This was a hit at the party and several people picked it as their favorite dessert.  It was tasty with a nice flavor profile (cinnamon and brown sugar) and the cheesecake layer was very smooth and just what I expect from cheesecake.  I had a little issue with the contrast in texture between the cheesecake and the apples, it was just slightly difficult to slice all the way through in a smooth motion.  I placed the apples on the very bottom and I might consider placing them in the middle instead.    Overall, I liked this recipe and would make it again.   […]

  2. […] Brown Sugar Apple Cheesecake Ingredients – adapted from Dorie Greenspan via Culinary Concoctions […]

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