June 30, 2021

Black Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

Easy creamy classic baked cheesecake bars contrast against a dark, tart black raspberry swirl. 

Yield: 20
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Easy creamy classic baked cheesecake bars contrast against a dark, tart black raspberry swirl. 

 

I know, I know. I’m not supposed to give you recipes with ingredients that are hard or impossible to get. But… what about those cases of, “what do I do with…. ?” If you are like me and you haunt farmer’s markets in the summer every weekend and buy things you don’t actually know what to do with then I think these kinds of recipes can come in handy. And… well, I’m gonna say I highly recommend going to the farmer’s market just to score some of these berries. They are truly special. 

What are black raspberries? What can I make with black raspberries? 

They look like raspberries but they are the color of blackberries; these tiny berries are not as juicy or as sweet as a raspberry and are quite tart. Apparently they are a ‘superfood’ because of their high levels of antioxidants. If you are searching for black raspberry recipes I’d say use them as you would another berry: they lend themselves nicely to homemade jam or pie/galette and I think they’d be great in a muffin or scone too. 

But I went the cheesecake route because the creamy, sweetness of a classic cheesecake pairs so so perfectly with this tart berry. Blueberry swirl and raspberry swirl are fine and done but can I tell you that I think blackraspberry is probably the best of them all? It’s darker, even more tart than a raspberry and so the contrast in color and flavor is wonderfully sharp. It’s perfect.

 

 

How to make perfect baked cheesecake bars 

  • Room temperature filling ingredients: this applies to the cream cheese, the sour cream and the eggs. Take them all out at least 1 hour before you begin baking – two if your kitchen is colder. 
  • Don’t overbeat the eggs: Once the cream cheese mix is smooth and there’s no lumps, beat the eggs until they are just mixed in. 
  • Bake the cheesecake in a waterbath: using a cake pan enables us to stick the cheesecake right into the water bath without wrapping. Baking the cheesecake in the bath means that it’s the hot water surrounding it which is evenly conducting heat to cook the filling. This is what makes for a creamy cheesecake. 
  • Bake it low, cool it slow: Emphasizing the even heating here, baking it on a lower than usual temperature and cooling it in the oven before taking it out will keep it creamy and without cracks. (Also, yes I am proud of that rhyme lol)

 

Ingredients for black raspberry cheesecake bars 

Black raspberries: On the east coast I’ve only seen them in farmer’s markets and only around the month of July. 

Cream cheese: Make sure to get the blocks, nothing that’s been whipped or made smooth for spreading. 

Sugar: Granulated is fine, we’ll use just a bit of it in the compote and then some in the filling. 

Sour cream: This brings out the creaminess of the filling and adds to the tart taste. You can substitute with greek yogurt, or (my favorite substitute) labneh. 

Eggs: These are what ‘bake’ in the oven to set the cheesecake. They cannot be omitted or substituted. 

Salt & vanilla: Both of these boost the flavor of the cream cheese filling. 

Digestive cookies: Look in the international aisle of the grocery store for these or substitute with golden oreos (cream removed) or graham crackers. Classic oreos would be good too and add a pretty dramatic look to the cake along with these dark berries! 

Butter: This binds the cookie crumbs together. It cannot be substituted with oil. 

 

How to make black raspberry cheesecake bars 

  1. Cook the black raspberries in a pot to make the ‘swirl’. 
  2. Press the crumbs into the pan and par-bake it. 
  3. Beat together the filling ingredients. 
  4. Layer the filling and black raspberry sauce and swirl. 
  5. Bake & cool then chill. 

FAQ 

Can I double this recipe? 

Yes, but you’ll need to do the water bath differently since to double this you bake the doubled cheese cake in a 13×9” pan. Use another 13×9” pan or any cake pan and fill it halfway with water and set it on the rack below the cheesecake. Bake time will vary with this method too: on the one hand it’s double so it could take longer but on the other the heat isn’t conducted through the water. Use visual cues to check for doneness. 

Can I use a different berry to make swirled cheesecake bars? 

Yes – raspberries, blueberries or blackberries would work but adjust the sugar/lemon to how tart or sweet the berry is. 

Can I use a different cookie for the crust? 

Sure, anything dry and crumbly is good like a graham cracker or golden oreo. 

Where can I find black raspberries? 

The farmer’s market, usually late June to early August. 

Can I make this in a round cake pan? What about a springform pan? 

Yes to both. For a round cake pan, use my parchment method which you’ll see photos of here. Basically press the parchment paper into the greased pan and use metal clips. The cheesecake can go straight into the bath. For a springform pan I’d place the water bath on the rack underneath. Bake times will vary. 

Troubleshooting note: 

  • Remember that different cake pan materials conduct heat differently: glass is slower, ceramic is very slow. For best results, use aluminium. If you must use a different material, use visual cues to determine doneness. 

 

Black Raspberry Cheesecake Bars Recipe

Berry Swirl Cheesecake Bars

Easy creamy classic baked cheesecake bars contrast against a dark, tart black raspberry swirl.
Prep Time: 25 mins
Yields: 20

Ingredients

Black Raspberry Compote

  • 5 oz black raspberries or blackberries
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Crust

  • 2 cups digestive cookie or graham cracker crumbs
  • ½ cup butter melted
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Cheesecake Filling

  • 2 packages cream cheese 16 oz, at room temperature
  • ½ cup sour cream at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • How to make black raspberry cheesecake

Method

  • Make the black raspberry compote: In a small pot, combine the berries, sugar and lemon juice. Cook on medium for about ten minutes, until the berries are completely broken down and you have a thick sauce. Pour through a mesh sieve to remove seeds, if desired.
  • Make the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line an 8x8” square pan with two sheets of parchment so that they make a + and line all sides of the pan. Melt the butter and stir it into the cookie crumbs along with the sugar. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan, using the back of a measuring cup to pack it in tight. Bake the crust for 10 minutes to set it. Lower the oven temperature to 325, and let the crust cool.
  • Make the filling: Beat the cream cheese, sour cream, vanilla, salt and sugar using a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the bowl and beat until no lumps remain. Add the eggs and beat to just combine.
  • Bake the cheesecake: Pour half of the cheesecake mixture into the prepared crust and spoon in some of the compote and swirl it in with an offset spatula or butterknife. Pour the rest of the cheesecake and spoon in more of the compote - you might not want to use it all but swirl as much as you like, swirl it. Prep the water bath: Fill a 13 x 9” pan ⅓ of the way with water. Set the cheesecake into the water bath and put it all into the oven. Bake for 45-60 minutes until the cheesecake is set on the sides and doesn’t wobble when you shake the pan. Turn the oven off and stick a wooden spoon in the oven to prop open the door. Let the cheesecake cool for an hour inside the oven. Once it’s cool, bring it to room temperature and then set in the fridge overnight to chill.
  • Serve cold, store in the fridge, uncovered is fine.

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  1. I have never seen/eaten black raspberry fruit. However, I have been slathering black raspberry jam on toast and biscuits all my life (I also wholeheartedly recommend Graeter’s black raspberry chocolate chip ice cream). Could I make these with jam, possibly slightly thinned with water or lemon juice?