Rosie’s Recipes: Mother’s Day Mini Cheesecakes for Maximum Decadence

By on May 6, 2023

(Photo credit Rosie Hawthorne)

By Rosie Hawthorne | Outer Banks Voice

If you’re trying to decide what to get Mama for Mother’s Day, may I suggest making these mini-cheesecakes?  A graham cracker base is filled with a simple cheesecake mixture and topped with caramel sauce and fluffy, light-as-a-cloud whipped cream.  These cheesecakes are deliciously fine just as they are, but I’ll be offering you a few suggestions for enhancements that are sure to please your palate.

Mama’s Mini-Cheesecakes

(Photos by Rosie Hawthorne)

(Makes 24 cupcake-sized cheesecakes.)

Heat oven to 350°.

For the crust:

  • About 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (16 whole crackers)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Combine all ingredients and divide crumbs evenly between two 12-count muffin pans lined with baking cups.  Press one heaping tablespoon mixture into the base of each liner and slightly up the sides.


For the cheesecake filling:

  • 2 8-oz. packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 TB lemon juice
  • 1 TB vanilla
  • 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk

Rosie Note:  Always use pure vanilla extract, never artificial.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat softened cream cheese for about a minute, then add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.  Beat at high speed for about 5 minutes until well-blended and smooth, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl.  Reduce speed to low and beat in condensed milk until thoroughly combined, about 2 more minutes.  Divide cheesecake mixture evenly between muffin liners, filling about ¾ full.

Bake at 350° for about 15 minutes.  Cheesecakes should be almost set, but still have a slight jiggle in the middle.  If they start to crack, you’re over-baking.

Let cool to room temperature before topping.


For caramel topping:

  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 4 TB unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 TB vanilla

Combine all ingredients in medium saucepan and simmer over low heat, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 10 minutes.

Let cool slightly, then spoon a tablespoon or so over each cheesecake.  Refrigerate until fully chilled (at least 2 hours), then pipe on whipped cream.


For whipped cream:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 TB sugar
  • 1 TB vanilla

Rosie Note:  When whipping cream, for best results (maximum volume), have bowl and beaters chilled.

In medium mixing bowl, beat cold heavy cream for a minute or so, then sprinkle in sugar, beating another minute, or until fluffy and beaters make tracks in the whipped cream.  Beat in vanilla.  You can spoon the whipped cream over each cheesecake muffin or you can use a piping bag with a star tip for a more decorative presentation.

Serving suggestions:  As I said, these cheesecakes are fine just as they are, but if you like, you could add a few accoutrements to make them a bit more special.


(Photos by Rosie Hawthorne)

The simplest addition would be adding some fresh fruit – strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries.



(Photos by Rosie Hawthorne)

Topping with shaved chocolate is another option. Use a vegetable peeler to shave little curls off bars of either dark chocolate or bittersweet chocolate.


(Photos by Rosie Hawthorne)

Another option is topping with candied nuts and a sprinkling of turbinado, or raw, sugar.

For the candied nuts, I used an assortment of nuts, and made a big batch.  They’re great for snacking on, for sprinkling on ice cream, or for adding a sweet crunch to salads.

Candied Nuts

  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup peanuts
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Heat oven to 250°.

Combine sugars, water, and vanilla in medium saucepan.  Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar.  Reduce heat to low and add in nuts, stirring to coat.  Cook, stirring, about 3 minutes.  Spread nuts in a single layer on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Sprinkle kosher salt over nuts.  Bake 10 minutes, then shake nuts to turn over, and bake another 10 minutes.  Let cool.


And don’t forget the flowers for Mama!



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