You know me… any excuse for a party. And any excuse for making a wicked dessert.

This particular excuse was my friend and coworker, Fran’s, birthday. With so many employees, our basic rule-of-thumb at work is we’ll celebrate your day if you’re actually working it, or, if it’s a significant number.

Fran made the significant number rule.

Her stunning outfit was created by our Funderella Czarina, Diane – one of the best trash-to-treasure mavens on the planet.

Diane came up to me the other day while I was cashiering and the following conversation ensued…

Diane: Have I ever told you what a fantastic baker you are?

Me: Why, no.

Diane: I haven’t? Gee, you’re one of the best bakers I know.

Customer to me: Careful. She wants something.

After hilarity and denials, the something was something for Fran’s birthday. Cupcakes, cookies, something…

As luck would have it, I was thinking of making a maple cheesecake for Thanksgiving! This would be the perfect opportunity to test it out. Of course I said yes!

And I’m glad I did – this sucker is G-O-O-D!

It’s pretty much a riff on my basic cheesecake but the idea and the maple walnut caramel topping comes from Kraft.

Maple Walnut Cheesecake


  • 1 sleeve graham crackers
  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted


  • 4 pkg cream cheese
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup mascarpone
  • 4 eggs
  • pinch of salt


  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup walnuts

Preheat oven to 325°F / 160°. Butter or spray a 10″ springform pan.

Make crust:

Pulse together graham crackers, walnuts, and brown sugar until fine crumbs are formed. Add melted butter and pulse to combine. Press firmly onto bottom of buttered pan – a flat-bottomed glass or measuring cup works well.

Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Make filling:

Mix cream cheese, mascarpone, spices, and pinch of salt together until creamy. Add maple syrup and mix well

Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Pour into crust and smooth top.

Bake until center is barely set – about 1 hour.

Remove from oven and cool before refrigerating overnight.

Make topping:

Mix together 1/2 cup heavy cream and 1/2 cup maple syrup. Heat to boiling – stirring constantly. Reduce heat and reduce to about 2/3 cup, stirring occasionally. Stir in nuts and refrigerate.

Final assembly:

Spread cold caramel topping over cold cake almost to edge.

Slice and enjoy!

As I said, this came out great. The only problem I had was making it at night for early morning, so it went into the ‘fridge too soon and it cracked. The topping hid it, but do make sure to cool completely before refrigerating.

You could also top it with a maple sour cream and serve the caramel on the side.

No matter how you do it, though, it’s going to come out most excellently!