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Turtle Tiramisu Cheesecake

by Lori on September 6th, 2011


Labor Day Weekend seems a good time to get back to work on my blog. Obviously, I’ve been neglecting Girl Meets Oven the past few weeks. I hope you’ll forgive me with this post about turtle tiramisu cheesecake.

The Story

Instead of baking sweet treats in the kitchen, I have been busy cooking up an exciting new work-related adventure. Interviewing and preparing for a new job kept me out of the kitchen these past few weeks. Luckily I got the job! Now I look forward to getting into the swing of things at work — and back to baking on the weekends.

When my mother-in-law invited us over for a Labor Day Weekend, I immediately volunteered to make dessert. I was excited to get back in the kitchen. While most people celebrate this end-of-summer holiday with an all-American cookout, we opted for an Italian-themed dinner inside. My mother-in-law made tortellini, and I brought this turtle tiramisu cheesecake.

It was a sweet way to celebrate the coming end of summer— and the beginning of a new job.

The Moral of the Story

Both making a cheesecake and finding a job require a little bit of luck and hard work.

About the Recipe

With our Italian theme, I wanted to make a tiramisu cheesecake. While browsing through my copy of Great Cheesecakes from Better Homes & Gardens, I found a tiramisu cheesecake recipe. I also found a recipe for a chocolate and caramel cheesecake. I decided to make a hybrid of the two recipes.

The Cast of Characters

Chocolate and caramel are definitely the stars of this show.

The Play-by-Play

First, make your ladyfingers. Whip up your egg white until foamy.

In another bowl, blend together the egg yolk and sugar.

In yet another bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder.

Fold half the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture.

Fold in the sifted flour and baking powder.

Stir in the remaining egg whites.

On a baking sheet lined with parchment, pipe the ladyfingers.

Bake for 8 minutes, or until golden brown.

While your ladyfingers cool, grind chocolate graham crackers in a food processor.

Mix melted butter and cracker crumbs, and press the mixture into a springform pan.

Line the side of the pan with the ladyfingers, broken in half.

Pour caramel sauce into the crust.

Sprinkle regular graham cracker crumbs over the caramel.

Make the cheesecake filling. Blend together marscapone cheese and cream cheese.

Blend in sugar.

Add ground espresso soaked in rum.

Pour the cream cheese mixture into the crust.

Bake for 45 minutes. Let cool before removing the sides of the pan.

Chill the cheesecake in the refrigerator. Then spread melted chocolate chips on top.

Chill the cheesecake while you make more caramel sauce to drizzle over the cake.

Recipe: Turtle Tiramisu Cheesecake

Summary: A sweet cheesecake with hints of coffee and rum, and topped with chocolate and caramel.


3/4 cup chocolate graham crackers
2 tablespoons melted butter
3/4 cup regular graham crackers
1 10 oz can evaporated milk
2 14 oz bags of caramels
12 ladyfingers (recipe from Allrecipes)
1 teaspoon espresso powder
2 tablespoons spiced rum
2 8 oz packages cream cheese
8 oz mascarpone substitute (recipe from Allrecipes)
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
1/2 bag semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Prepare the Ladyfingers Recipe from Allrecipes. Set aside.
  2. While the ladyfingers cool, grind chocolate graham crackers in a food processor.
  3. Stir melted butter into the cracker crumbs, and press the cracker mixture into the bottom of a springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, and let cool.
  4. Break the ladyfingers in half, and line the sides of the springform pan with them.
  5. Prepare the first batch of caramel sauce by melting 1 bag of caramels into half a can of evaporated milk. Pour the caramel sauce into the crust.
  6. Grind regular graham crackers in a food processor, and sprinkle on top of the caramel.
  7. In a stand mixer, blend together marscapone cheese or make the Marscapone Cheese Substitute Recipe from Allrecipes.
  8. Blend cream cheese into the marscapone cheese, and then blend in sugar.
  9. Dissolve espresso into the rum. Stir coffee and rum mixture into the cream cheese mixture.
  10. Pour the cream cheese filling into the crust.
  11. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the center of the cheesecake is almost set.
  12. Cool the cheesecake on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
  13. Run a thin spatula or knife around the edges to loosen sides of the crust from the pan. Let cool for 30 more minutes before removing the sides of the pan.
  14. After removing the sides of the pan, let the cheese cake continue to cool completely.
  15. Once cool, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.
  16. After the cheesecake is chilled, spread melted chocolate chips over it.
  17. Return the chocolate-covered cheesecake to the refrigerator to continue cooling. Meanwhile, make another batch of the caramel sauce by melting the second bag of caramels in the remaining evaporated milk.
  18. Drizzle warm caramel over the chocolate-topped cheesecake, and chill until ready to serve.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Baking time: 55 minutes

Number of servings (yield): 8

The Footnotes

  • About the ladyfingers: You could use store-bought ladyfingers, but I found this recipe from Allrecipes easy to make. I used a pastry gun to pipe the fingers onto the parchment paper.
  • About the marscapone cheese: If you can’t find marscapone cheese at the store, make an easy substitute using this recipe from Allrecipes.
  • About baking cheesecake: To prevent cracking, take the cheesecake out of the oven while the middle still jiggles a bit. It will firm up once it cools. If you bake it until it no longer jiggles, it may be dry and crack.

What’s your favorite kind of cheesecake?

  1. Oh heavens, this is just pure happiness in the form of a cheesecake. Congrats on your new job!

  2. Thanks so much! This cheesecake will definitely make you happy 🙂

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