My favorite cheesecakes are usually mini cheesecakes. It’s not that I don’t enjoy a big, rich slice of a full sized cheesecake every now and then, but I find that I get a better crust-to-filling ratio with mini cheesecakes. Mini cheesecakes are also quick to bake and easy to serve, so they’re a much better choice for spur-of-the-moment baking than full sized cheesecakes are. These Mini Cherry Swirl Cheesecakes are always a hit. The recipe is a classic cheesecake base that is swirled with ruby red cherry preserves for a colorful and delicious single-serving dessert.
The cheesecakes start with a graham cracker crust, which is pressed into cupcake wrappers. I prefer to use cupcake wrappers to line the muffin pan when I am making mini cheesecakes because it makes them so much easier to get out of the pan, though you do need to wait for the cheesecake to cool completely before peeling off the wrapper. If you have a mini cheesecake pan, which has a removable base, you do not need to line the individual cups. The almond and vanilla-flavored cheesecake batter is spooned onto the crust and gently swirled with cherry preserves.
To get the best looking swirl, you need to be careful that you don’t over-swirl the preserves into the cream cheese mix. A gentle swirl of the cherries will give you a great contrast between the red and white colors, as well as a bit of cherry in every bite. I recommend using a chunky cherry preserve for the best results in this dessert, and the fruit chunks may make it difficult to swirl in the cherries, so some cheesecakes might have more “perfect” swirls than others, but all will taste delicious.
These cheesecakes are excellent both at room temperature and when chilled. The almond and vanilla in the tangy cheesecake batter pair perfectly with the cherry preserves. When they are freshly baked, the crust will be crisp and you’ll get a nice contrast betwee the graham crackers and the cheesecake. After the cheesecakes have been chilled for a day or two, the crust will lose some of that crispness, but the cheesecakes will still be delicious.
Mini Cherry Swirl Cheesecakes
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsp sugar
small pinch salt
2 1/2 tbsp butter, melted
8-oz cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp sour cream or plain greek-style yogurt
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
approx 1/2 cup cherry preserves
Preheat oven to 350F. Line 10 cups of a muffin pan with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, make the graham cracker crust. Mix together graham cracker crumbs, sugar and salt and stir to combine. Pour over melted butter and stir with a fork to moisten the crumbs.
Place about a tablespoon of crumb mixture in each of the prepared muffin cups and pack down into an even layer.
In a large bowl, make the cheesecake. Cream together cream cheese, sour cream and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg, vanilla extract and almond extract, mixing until batter is completely uniform.
Divide cheesecake batter evenly into prepared muffin tins. Spoon about 2 teaspoons of cherry preserves over the top of each cheesecake and swirl gently with a very small knife or spoon (the sort you use for appetizers works well).
Bake for 20-24 minutes, until cheesecakes are set.
Allow to cool completely in the muffin pan, then carefully transfer cheesecakes to a platter – cheesecakes will still be quite tender – and refrigerate until chilled before serving.