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A Few Surprise Ingredients Turn Traditional Cheesecake Into an Anything-but-Ordinary Dessert

published Nov 4, 2019
Cranberry Mascarpone Cheesecake
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Credit: Sugar In The Raw®

A slice of creamy, ultra smooth cheesecake is worth rushing through dinner so that you can get straight to dessert. While a classic New York-style cheesecake is delicious, swapping in a few new ingredients and topping it with a vibrant cranberry sauce transforms it into a stunner that’s just as tasty as it is beautiful. When cranberry season rolls around, add this to your recipe list.

How to Transform Cheesecake

There are a couple of fun new twists in this cheesecake. Change up the traditional graham cracker crust by crushing chocolate wafer cookies into crumbs instead. For the filling, swap out half of the cream cheese for mascarpone cheese, a super-creamy Italian cheese that’s cream cheese’s mellower, dreamier cousin. When blended with some orange zest, eggs, and Sugar In The Raw®, the filling bakes up luscious and creamy.

To balance out the chocolate crust and creamy filling, tangy cranberries are simmered with some fresh OJ and more Sugar In The Raw® to make a topping to spoon over the finished cheesecake. Sugar In The Raw® is a golden turbinado sugar that transforms your cooking and baking, giving everything a molasses flavor that regular granulated white sugar just can’t. Keep a bag around to sprinkle into your morning oatmeal or to sweeten that first cup of coffee even after you’ve polished off the last of the cheesecake.

Cranberry Mascarpone Cheesecake

Prep time 30 minutes

Cook time 1 hour 20 minutes

Serves 16

Nutritional Info


For the crust:

  • Cooking spray

  • 1 1/2 cups

    chocolate wafer cookie crumbs

  • 5 tablespoons

    Sugar In The Raw®

  • 4 tablespoons

    butter, melted

For the filling:

  • 1 pound

    cream cheese, at room temperature

  • 1 pound

    mascarpone cheese

  • 1 cup

    Sugar In The Raw®

  • 4

    large eggs

  • 2 teaspoons

    vanilla extract

  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange

For the topping:

  • 1 cup

    freshly squeezed orange juice (from about 4 large oranges)

  • 1 cup

    Sugar In The Raw®

  • 12 ounces

    fresh or frozen cranberries


For the crust:

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350℉. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Place the pan on a triple layer of aluminum foil large enough to wrap around the pan so the layers come all the way up the outside of the pan, and wrap the outside of the pan in the foil.

  2. In a medium bowl, stir the cookie crumbs, sugar, and butter together. Transfer the mixture to the pan and press it evenly into the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of the pan. Bake until set, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely.

For the filling:

  1. Lower the oven temperature to 325℉. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil, then turn off the heat.

  2. In a large bowl or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, mascarpone, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and orange zest together until combined and smooth. Scrape into the crust.

  3. Place the pan in a large roasting pan with high sides. Pull the oven rack halfway out, then place the roasting pan on it. Pour in enough scalding hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan, being careful not to get any water into the cheesecake. Bake until the cheesecake is set around the edges but still jiggly in center, about 1 hour 10 minutes.

  4. Remove cheesecake from water bath to a wire rack. Remove the foil, and let cool completely to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 24 and up to 48 hours.

For the topping:

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the orange juice and sugar. Bring to a boil, stir in the cranberries, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and glossy, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wide, shallow pan and refrigerate until completely cool.

  2. Before serving, spread the cranberries on top of cheesecake.