This coffee cake cheesecake combines the classic qualities of both coffee cake and classic cheesecake. It features a crispy graham cracker crust, a silky cheesecake filling with a cinnamon sugar swirl running through the center and topped off with a crumbly streusel topping. And of course, we had to include a little icing drizzle action on top. It truly is the best of both worlds!
I've got to say: I'm really proud of this recipe because (as far as I know) I've never seen anyone make a coffee cake cheesecake!! Which got me thinking, why???
The famous qualities I'm talking about are cheesecake's graham cracker crust and creamy filling. Annnd the famous qualities of coffee cake are the cinnamon swirl and streusel topping. And we got it all going on here!
There are quite a few different components to this cheesecake, but don't let it scare you off! They're all very straightforward to make. They are going to take some time and effort, but so very worth it.
what makes this cheesecake so good?
All the components of this cheesecake are specially designed to yield the best flavor AND texture. No soggy crusts, no soft streusel, no dry cheesecake filling, and no disappearing cinnamon swirl! The bottom crust and streusel topping are perfectly crisp, while the center is just as creamy as any great cheesecake is.
how are we going to get a creamy filling and crispy streusel?
Classic cheesecake is usually best baked in a steamy oven, and that's achieved by either a) placing a pan filled with water on the oven rack directly underneath the cheesecake or b) by placing the cheesecake within a pan filled with water (if you have a pan big enough that is). This is so it bakes gradually and evenly, which ultimately helps give you a smooth and gorgeous top and velvety texture!
This cheesecake is a tiny bit different.
We still need a steamy environment so that the cheesecake bakes evenly and gently. Buuuuut if we were to cook the cheesecake with a water bath throughout the entire bake time, then the streusel topping would not be quite as crispy as a classic coffee cake top.
We're going to bake the cheesecake with a water filled pan placed on the rack underneath the cheesecake for a few minutes, then take the water pan out and continue baking until the cheesecake is cooked through and the top is crispy.
I do not recommend placing your cheesecake in the water filled pan (like you would more traditionally) because it'll just make it harder to take out later on down the line. A pan filled with water placed on the rack underneath the cheesecake does the trick just fine and is easier to remove when needed.
You may notice some unevenness to the top of the cheesecake because it won't have the water bath throughout the entire bake and will be more prone to cracking on top. It's just a sacrifice we have to make to get the perfect texture.
The beauty of a streusel topping is you can use a fork to push around the crumbs to cover up any imperfections after the cheesecake has cooled to room temperature. No one will even be able to tell - and no one will even care once they take a bite!
no more disappearing cinnamon swirl
Have you ever tried to make coffee cake or any sort of treat with a cinnamon swirl, and the swirl just isn't swirling? i.e. It basically just melts into the rest of the batter and disappears?
Been there, hate that. Soooo my fave little not-so-secret secret is to add a hint of cocoa powder to the swirl! Your filling won't taste any different, but the cocoa will darken it and really make the swirl POP. It also helps mellow out some of the sugar so it doesn't end up sickeningly sweet!
how to make coffee cake cheesecake
Ok, so first off: the number of steps can definitely come off as intimidating. But seriously: everything is super straightforward.
We're essentially making a cheesecake AND a coffee cake - which both require a good amount of effort individually (imagine together!) So I definitely can't sugarcoat the fact that this is a PROJECT - but seriously so easy to follow the steps. Annnnd the added work just means you deserve to eat even more cheesecake as a reward.
Make the graham cracker crust:
1. Mix together graham cracker crust ingredients in a bowl.
2. Pre-bake the crust for 8 minutes. This helps ensure your cheesecake crust is perfectly crispy!
3. Set aside to cool slightly while you prep the rest of the cheesecake components.
Make the cinnamon sugar swirl and streusel topping:
1. Toss together cinnamon sugar swirl ingredients in a bowl to combine. Set aside.
2. Mix together streusel ingredients to combine. You should have a crumbly mixture. Set aside.
Make the cheesecake filling:
1. Cream together cream cheese and sugar. Mix together until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is smooth.
2. Mix in sour cream, flour, salt, and vanilla.
3. Beat eggs in one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Take care not to over mix.
Layer the cheesecake components:
1. Pour about half of the cheesecake filling over the slightly cooled crust.
2. Sprinkle over cinnamon sugar.
3. Dollop remaining cheesecake filling. It's easiest to drop the filling in spoonfuls over the swirl layer so you don't disturb it too much.
4. Lightly swirl the layered cheesecake filling with a skewer. Take care not to let the skewer hit the bottom crust - just swirl the filling lightly.
5. Sprinkle the streusel on top.
6. Bake the cheesecake & cool. Start the cheesecake off in the oven with a baking dish filled with water placed on the rack directly beneath it. Towards the end of the bake, carefully take the water filled dish out of the oven and continue baking the cheesecake until the streusel is crispy and the cheesecake just jiggles in the center (the edges should be firm). The cheesecake will look puffed and domed on top, but will deflate as it cools.
Cool the cheesecake for 30 minutes in the oven with the door slightly ajar. After the 30 minutes, carefully run a thin knife along the edges to make sure it's not stuck (this helps prevent ripping and cracking as the cheesecake cools and shrinks!) Continue cooling in the oven for another 30 minutes, then cool to room temperature before chilling until firmly set (about 4 hours in the fridge).
(Optional) make a simple icing:
1. Whisk together icing ingredients until smooth and combined.
2. Drizzle over the cooled cheesecake.
3. Slice & enjoy!
coffee cake cheesecake tips
• choose a pan with HIGH sides. This cheesecake has a whopping 6 layers, so you need a pan with at least 2 inch high sides.
• pack the bottom crust in firmly. A well packed crust prevents any filling from seeping in and softening the bottom!
• pre bake the crust. This helps dry it out and create a crisp top layer to protect it from softening!
• don't overmix the cheesecake filling. It's unnecessary added work AND it will make your cheesecake top more prone to cracking!
• run a thin knife along the edges of the baked cheesecake. As cheesecake cools, it sinks and shrinks. If the sides are stuck to the pan, it can cause cracks and tears in the cheesecake. Running a knife around the sides helps ensure the edges aren't stuck to the pan.
• don't rush the chill time! A cheesecake this size needs AT LEAST 4 hours in the fridge to set enough to slice and serve. Don't try speeding this up by placing the cheesecake in the freezer (this can cause the outside to freeze before the center is even set).
Cheesecake is best served cold, so keep covered and stored in the fridge until ready to enjoy! Cheesecake will keep for around 3 to 4 days in the fridge. The streusel topping remains crunchy for a surprisingly long period of time!
Check out these other recipes!
Coffee Cake Cheesecake Recipe
For the graham cracker crust:
- 2 cups (210g) graham cracker crumbs
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup (1 stick / 115g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
For the cinnamon swirl:
- ½ cup (100g) packed brown sugar, light or dark
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder *see notes
For the streusel topping:
- ¾ cup (90g) all-purpose flour, spoon and leveled
- ½ cup (100g) packed brown sugar, light or dark
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup (60g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
For the cheesecake filling:
- 4 (8oz) blocks cream cheese, 32oz / 900g total, at room temperature
- ¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (120g) sour cream, at room temperature
- ¼ cup (30g) all-purpose flour, spoon and leveled
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
For the icing:
- ½ cup (70g) powdered sugar
- 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
- Position an oven rack in the center of your oven and another rack on the bottom. Preheat your oven to 325°F.
- Make the bottom cheesecake crust: In a medium bowl, mix together graham cracker crust ingredients until well combined. Pack the mixture into the bottom and about halfway up the sides of a 9 inch springform pan. Make sure to use a pan with sides that are at least 2 inches high (this is a TALL cheesecake!)2 cups (210g) graham cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ cup (1 stick / 115g) unsalted butter,
- Bake the cheesecake crust in the center of your oven for 8 minutes. It won't look any different, but this helps keep it nice and crisp! Take the crust out and set aside to cool slightly while you prep the rest of the cheesecake components.
- Make the cinnamon swirl: Mix together all the ingredients for the cinnamon swirl in a small bowl, and set aside.½ cup (100g) packed brown sugar,, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- Make the streusel topping: Mix and mash together all of the ingredients for the streusel topping in a medium bowl until you have a well moistened and crumbly mixture. Set aside.¾ cup (90g) all-purpose flour,, ½ cup (100g) packed brown sugar,, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¼ cup (60g) unsalted butter,
- Make the cheesecake filling: In a large bowl, combine your blocks of cream cheese and sugar. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the cheese and sugar until the sugar is fully dissolved and the mixture is smooth (about 1 to 2 minutes on medium speed). You can do this by hand as well with a wooden spoon, but it'll take some elbow grease.4 (8oz) blocks cream cheese,, ¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
- Add your sour cream, flour, salt, and vanilla extract to the cream cheese mixture. Mix together until combined.½ cup (120g) sour cream,, ¼ cup (30g) all-purpose flour,, ½ teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Add the eggs in one at a time, mixing after each addition to incorporate the egg into the batter before adding the next egg. Take care not to over mix! Just mix until the egg disappears into the batter.4 large eggs,
- Assemble: Pour about half of the cheesecake filling over your slightly cooled crust and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle the cinnamon swirl filling over top. Carefully drizzle the remaining cheesecake filling on top. It's easiest if you dollop it over the cinnamon sugar so it doesn't get too disrupted and carefully spread the top into an even layer. Run a skewer through the batter to gently swirl everything together - being careful not to hit the bottom crust. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over top.
- Fill a large pan with 2 cups of boiling water and place it on the bottom rack of your preheated 325°F oven to create a steam effect. Place the cheesecake onto the center rack of your oven (right above the water filled pan).
- Bake your cheesecake in the preheated 325°F oven for 70 minutes with the water filled pan. After the 70 minutes, take the pan filled with water out of the oven, and continue baking the cheesecake for another 20 to 30 minutes. The top of the cheesecake should be slightly puffed up, and the streusel should be evenly browned and crisp. If you gently shake the pan, the center of the cheesecake should still jiggle but the edges should not.
- Leave the cheesecake in the oven and cool for 2 hours with the door slightly ajar. The cheesecake will deflate slightly as it cools. I recommend running a thin knife along the edges of the cheesecake after it's cooled for about 30 minutes to prevent sticking.
- Cool the cheesecake completely to room temperature, and then chill for at least 4 hours or until fully cooled and set.
- Make the icing: In a medium bowl whisk together powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of milk to combine. If the icing is too firm, whisk in a bit more milk until it reaches your desired consistency.½ cup (70g) powdered sugar, 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
- Take the cooled cheesecake out of the pan, and drizzle the icing over top before slicing and serving!