Mandarin Orange Cheesecake

Jan 20, 2005 by Cray | 2 Comments| Share it:   



3 ratings


There is no flour in this recipe. The downside is that it takes longer to cook. A lot longer. From start to finish, with preparation, baking, and cooling, you’ll need almost four hours. It is most definitely worth it.

I have made two of these now, and each time I’ve been told by the people who tasted it that this was the best cheesecake they had ever tasted. And I live in the Philly/NJ/New York area, so there’s plenty of good cheesecake around. The orange flavor is subtle, but noticeable. If you’d prefer to make the cheesecake without it, just omit all the steps related to anything orange-flavored, and the food coloring (which is optional anyway, but a nice touch).


  • Prep: 1 - 2 hrs.
  • Cook: 3+ hrs.
  • Serves: 12

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You'll want:

- A Springform cake pan, 10" wide by 3" tall
- Aluminum foil
- Large mixing bowl
- Small mixing bowl
- Whisk
- Hand Mixer
- Grater
- Your favorite chef's knife

If you don't have a springform pan, get one. It's almost essential for cheesecake making, because it's about the only way you'll get it out of the pan intact. If you don't want to buy one, use a normal cake pan, and line the bottom with a round piece of parchment paper, and the sides with a strip of parchment paper.

Ingredients are listed below.

Step 1

Ingredients: - 24 oz (3 pkgs) Cream Cheese - Graham Crackers - 6 tbsp (3/4 stick) Butter - 1 cup Sugar (for cake) - 3 tbsp Sugar (for crust) - 3 Eggs - 1-3/4 cups Sour Cream - 2 tsp Vanilla Extract - Zest of one Orange - 3 tbsp Orange Juice Concentrate - Food coloring (optional) If you'd like to make the Mandarin Orange topping, you'll also need: - 2 cans (11 oz each) Mandarin Orange Slices in light syrup - 1/4 cup Apricot Jam - 1 tbsp Orange Juice (use your concentrate for this)


Step 2

First, set your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, cube up your cream cheese (this is the only thing you'll need the knife for) and set it aside in your large work bowl. Doing this first will give it a chance to soften. You can even place the work bowl in a larger bowl or pan with warm water in it to help things along. Also, place the orange juice concentrate in a bowl of hot water to help it thaw.


Step 3

Next, prepare the springform pan by crossing two sheets of aluminum foil over the insert. Rub the foil flat over the insert, fold it over the edges, and put the insert into the rest of the pan. Then fold the foil up the edges (but not over into the pan). This will help prevent leakage, and make removal of the cake much easier.


Step 4

Now to prepare the crust. First, take your 6 tbsp of butter (cut into 1 tbsp chunks) and melt it in the microwave. Should only take about 30 seconds, stir it up to dissolve any solid bits. Then place 10 graham crackers in a thick ziplock bag.


Step 5

And crush them mercilessly (until fine). You can use your hands (but it'll take a while) or a rolling pin (if you've got one) or a glass bottle (like me). Add the 3 tbsp of Sugar, and shake until well mixed. If you have a food processor, by the way, these two steps could be done in there. I like the bag method.


Step 6

Then, drizzle in the melted butter, about 1 tbsp at a time, and mix it with a fork at first, then your hands.


Step 7

You'll know the crust is well mixed when you can take a handful of it, make a tight fist, and end up with a well-formed clump. It should crumble slightly when you break the clump in half. Pour it out of your work bowl and into the springform pan, pack it down tightly and evenly, and place in the 300 degree oven for 10 minutes. This will help firm up the crust and prevent too much batter from soaking into it later.


Step 8

Now, to start on the cake itself. Begin by preparing and measuring out all of your ingredients (this is good practice for any recipe, as you won't need to stop in the middle of a step to measure things or wash measuring devices, plus you'll know before you begin if you're missing anything). Here we see, clockwise from the top, the cream cheese (already cubed), three eggs in the small work bowl (lightly whisked together), food coloring (red and yellow), 2 tsp of vanilla extract, the orange zest, 3 tbsp OJ concentrate, 1-3/4 cups sour cream, and 1 cup sugar in the middle.


Step 9

To zest an orange, you want to lightly scrape off with a grater the outermost layer of skin. This layer has lots of citrus oils in it, and will add a lot of orange flavor to the cake, as well as the nice appearance of little orangey bits. Just scrape it over your grater with moderate pressure, not too hard, because you don't want to grate off any of the pulpy white stuff under the skin. The orange won't last long without its skin, by the way, so you should eat it soon. Also, the easiest way to measure out the 1-3/4 cups of sour cream, is to take a 2 cup package, reserve 1/4 cup of it, and dump the rest into a bowl. Put the 1/4 cup back, and save it for a baked potato or taco or something.


Step 10

By this time, 10 minutes should be up, and your crust should be done. Take it out of the oven, and turn the temperature down to 275 degrees.


Step 11

Now, the first step is to pour the 1 cup of sugar over your cream cheese, and mix it in with your hand mixer. You'll get the most even distribution if you mix together the cream cheese a bit first, then add the sugar about 1/4 cup at a time. Don't forget to scrape down your mixer and the sides of the bowl occasionally.


Step 12

Now, get the small work bowl with the eggs in it, and whisk in the sour cream. Again, it makes the going easier if you add the sour cream slowly, about 1/4 of it at a time. Once mixed, add the vanilla extract, orange zest, and OJ concentrate, and whisk to combine. Now, add this mixture to the cream cheese, break out the hand mixer again, and mix them together until the whole thing is smooth (will take a couple minutes of mixing).


Step 13

Now, get your springform pan out, and pour half of the cheesecake mixture into the pan. Yes, half. Smooth it all out with a spatula, and get out the food coloring. Add three drops of red and five drops of yellow to the remaining mixture, and use the hand mixer to mix it all in.


Step 14

It now should have an orange color: Why not just add the food coloring to the whole thing? Because this way, when you cut into it, we'll get a nice two-layer effect, with the top orange and the bottom white. It's entirely optional, of course, but it looks really nice.


Step 15

Carefully pour the colored mix into the pan, and spread it evenly over the first half. Place the whole thing in the oven, and set your timer for 15 minutes. This is going to take a lot longer than 15 minutes to bake. But, during the first hour, you'll want to open your oven door for a few seconds (to let the heat out) every 15 minutes. This will make the heat "gentler" and reduce your chances of the top of the cake cracking open. Adding 1 tbsp of corn starch will help even more. And if you want to avoid opening the door entirely, put the pan in a water bath. (This means place it in a large pan with about 1/2 inch of water in it. This will soften the heat, and keep the top of the cake moist. Alternately, you can use a baking stone.) If you're using a springform pan, only use a water bath if you have lined the bottom with foil, and have enough extra to fold up along the edges of the pan. Otherwise, water will leak into your cake through the gaps in the bottom of the pan!


Step 16

After the first hour has gone by (and you've opened the door four times, now) go ahead and keep the door closed, baking it for one more hour. I've seen a lot of cheesecake recipes that bake for a much shorter time than this. Trust me, the cake will come out perfect. Also, it may "rise" a bit in the oven -- don't worry, it'll settle back down when it cools. How to tell when the cake is done? It will be lightly browned around the edges, but stil soft and jiggly in the middle. A toothpick inserted near the edge will come out clean, but near the center will come out with cake batter on it. And here it is, very slightly brown around the edges (the brown doesn't show up as well against orange), a little wobbly in the center. Carryover will take it the rest of the way. When it gets to this point, remove it from the oven, and place on a cooling rack for one hour. Do not place it directly in the fridge! The heat that it's hanging onto will finish cooking the middle of the cake, without overcooking the edges. Once an hour has passed, place the cake in your fridge for at least six hours before removing from the pan.


Step 17

And here it is, finally out of the pan. The orange layer doesn't show up as well in the picture, but it looks really nice laying on a plate. The edges are a little rough and ugly, though, so first we'll cover that up.


Step 18

Take your remaining crushed graham crackers, and press them into the sides of the cake. You won't get a huge amount of them to stick, just a thin layer, but it's enough to pretty it up. Once that's done, it's time to start making the topping.


Step 19

Put the 1/4 cup of Apricot Jam and 1tbsp of Orange Juice in a small sauce pan over medium low heat. (Why Apricot jam? Because orange would be too overpowering. Apricot has a sweeter, less acidic flavor that won't overpower the mandarin orange slices, or the cake.) While that's melting, take a moment to drain the mandarin orange slices and pat them dry with a paper towel.


Step 20

Once the jam and juice mixture has melted, coat the top of your cheesecake with it. A pastry brush is excellent for this, of course. You could use a basting brush, but be careful with the stronger bristles it has. If you don't have either of these, just pour it on top of the cake and carefully smear it all over the top with a soft rubber spatula, a spoon, or your (clean!) fingers. Don't worry if it drips over the edges. Once it's well coated with the glaze, start putting the orange slices in concentric circles on the top of the cake. The slices are really small, but there's a lot of them. It'll be fine. Cover the entire top of your cheesecake with them. Letting this chill in the refrigerator for at least a half hour before serving will allow the glaze to firm up and really hold the orange slices onto the top of the cake, though it could certainly be served immediately. Extra Bonus Content! -- Here are a few more ideas that I just came up with right now. 1) Want an extra fancy presentation? Get an extra can of mandarin orange slices, and prepare 1-1/2 times the glaze. Drain and dry them like the others. Put your cheesecake on a platter big enough to serve it on, and arrange the extra slices around the base of the cheesecake. Drizzle the extra glaze on the plate around the cake. 2) Don't want the mandarin orange topping? Try this. Get some chocolate (baking chocolate would be best because of the firmness and size of the chunks, but you can use a Hershey's bar) and put it in the freezer while your cake is in the fridge overnight. When you're ready to make the topping, zest another orange, and shave the chocolate bar. (Using a knife to shave it will yield the best looking results, though you could use the grater.) Liberally sprinkle the top of the cake with the orange zest and chocolate shavings. 3) The mandarin orange topping goes great on plain cheesecake, too. Or try it with other fruit, like strawberries (you can use strawberry jam for this since they aren't really acidic), blueberries, or cherries. You can take the easy way out by using canned pie filling, or make it yourself with fresh ingredients. You can also try other flavors for the cheesecake itself, though this may require more experimentation. And there you have it! My favorite part of this recipe, by the way? It's pretty cheap. Assuming you already have the basic baking supplies (sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla extract) and not counting the cost of the cake pan. Blocks of cream cheese can often be had for $1 on sale, and you can use store brand graham crackers. The cost of the whole thing is less than $10, and you will never find a whole cheesecake this good for that price. Enjoy!

Now that you have learned how to make mandarin orange cheesecake, please be sure to view these other cheesecake recipes. Also, you will love these American recipes.


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user does not have an avatar preciouz

Nov 24, 2008

wow that looks yummy I’ll be making this cheese cake for my husband next week!!! He’ll love it!!!!

user does not have an avatar Anika & Josi

Jul 20, 2010

Hi, we haven’t gotten to eating the cake yet, but it looks amazing. However, I wanted to let every one know that it doesn’t take 4 hours, but actually around 11 hours from start till the point you can eat it! So be aware, start early if you wanna eat it in the same day!

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