For all the tropical paradise feelings conjured up by a piña colada in convenient cake form, try this Tropical Cheesecake recipe. With a smooth, creamy texture and the inviting flavors of coconut and pineapple with a hint of lemon, this cheesecake whisks your taste buds away on a tropical vacation and is a welcome addition to any summer gathering.
Peggy Walls of Orange Park, FL shares her recipe with us, which is an adaptation of Taste of Home’s Tropical Cheesecake recipe. Though Peggy has only recently taken up cheesecake baking, she has enjoyed great success and attributes her perfect cheesecakes to a few basic rules:
- Make sure cream cheese is at room temperature
- Whisk eggs separately, then add them after cream cheese mixture is well beaten
- Use water bath (explained below)
- Cool properly
Tropical Cheesecake Recipe
2 cups coconut cookie crumbs (such as Murray Coconut Bars, available at Publix)
½ cup shredded coconut
½ cup butter, melted
1/3 cup chopped pecans
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup apricot preserves
1/2 cup pineapple tidbits
2 to 4 kiwifruit, peeled, sliced and halved
3/4 cup flaked coconut, toasted
Preheat oven to 350º. Mix crust ingredients together in a small bowl and press into a buttered 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
Reduce oven heat to 325º.
For filling, beat cream cheese and sugar in a bowl until smooth. Add cornstarch and beat well. Add eggs; beat on low just until combined. Add sour cream, lemon juice and extract; beat just until blended. Pour over crust.
Prepare water bath by filling a large roasting pan with 1 inch of cold water. To prevent leakage, take two sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil—each 18 inches long—and lay one vertically on a flat surface and the other one horizontally over the center of the vertical one to make a cross. Place the cake in the middle of the cross and press the foil up the sides of the pan. Place the foiled cake pan in the water bath, and place the water bath in the oven. The water bath allows for slow, even cooking, keeping the cake moist, preventing cracking and preventing the top from browning.
Bake at 325° for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until center is almost set and cake dulls on top. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Refrigerate overnight.
Remove sides of pan. For topping, melt preserves in a small saucepan, stirring to break up any apricot pieces. Arrange pineapple and kiwi on top of cheesecake. Brush preserves over fruit and on sides of cheesecake. Press toasted coconut onto the sides of the cheesecake. Chill until serving.