Dulce de Leche Cheesecake

Photo taken by Nicole Ramos

In preparation for Cinco de Mayo this coming Saturday, we are sharing some amazing Mexican recipes.  Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo does not celebrate the Mexican Independence Day (which is actually celebrated on September 16th!).  Cinco de Mayo actually commemorates El Dia de la Batalla de Puebla (The Battle at Puebla), where the Mexican army had an improbable victory over the French.  But enough on that history lesson! 

Dulce de Leche’s origins truly lie in Argentina and Uruguay.  Dulce de Leche is roughly translated as candy milk, and has a creamy caramel texture.  It can be used to make candy or as a topping (i.e. ice cream!!)  The Mexican version is called cajeta, and is made of goat’s milk.  I was wary of using goat’s milk and it’s not very common to find, so I substituted with sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk.  Making Dulce de Leche (pronounced “dool-say day lay-chay”) can be time consuming (as time varies when you’re trying to get the right consistency) that I recommend making it the day before or a few days before needing it.  While refrigerated, Dulce de Leche can last up to a month.

I decided to make a cheesecake with a lovely honey graham cracker crust with chocolate and espresso!  This dessert will definitely satisfy any sweet tooth!

Prep Time: Cook Time: Inactive: Level: Serves:
25 min 1 ½ hours 12 hours Intermediate 16; 9 in. cake



–        2 C          graham cracker crumbs (about 12 crackers)

–        3 TBS     Cocoa powder

–        1 ½ TBS finely ground espresso

–        8 TBS     (1 stick) butter (melted)


–        2              (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese (room temperature)

–        ¾ C         granulated sugar

–        ¼ C         Orange juice

–        1 pkg.    (8 oz.) sour cream

–        1 tsp      vanilla extract

–        2 lg.        eggs


–        1 can      (14 oz.)  sweetened condensed milk

–        1 can      (12 oz.) evaporated milk

–        ½ tsp     baking soda

–        Pinch of salt

–        1 tsp      pure vanilla extract


  1. Heat oven to 350°F.  Wrap bottom of 9 inch springform pan with foil to protect it from the water bath.  Spray inside of pan with Pam’s nonstick Baking cooking spray.  Set aside.
  2. Crush crackers until you have crumbs (you can use a food processor if you have one).  Add butter, cocoa and espresso and mix well.  Press mixture into the bottom of the pan and half way up the sides firmly.  Bake the crust for 10 minutes and then let it cool completely.
  3. Beat the cream cheese and sugar until creamy on low speed.  Add sour cream, oj and vanilla and blend until smooth.  Add eggs in one at a time and blend until creamy and smooth.
  4. Pour filling into the crust.  Place the cheesecake in the center of a roasting pan and fill with water until it reaches halfway up the cheesecake pan.  Cover cheesecake and roasting pan with foil (the shiny side up) and place in the oven and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Check the water level half way through and add more if needed.
  5. When cheesecake is done baking, turn off oven. Take out cheesecake and return to the oven to cool for half hour to an hour.  I learned this trick from a co-worker of mine!  Then remove cheesecake and refrigerate overnight.
  6. Set a medium size pot on the stove.  Pour in the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, salt and baking soda in pot.  Heat on medium-low heat, stir constantly as not to have the mixture stick to the bottom of the pot.
  7. This topping will take a while to make, but be patient!  Bring the sauce to a simmer (not a boil).  Don’t worry about the foam, it will reduce and go away.  Once it’s at a simmer, lower the temperature to low and stir until the sauce lightly coats your spoon and has a light caramel color. (It took me approximately an hour to make) 
  8. **If at any time you need to step away from the stove, remove the pot to cool and then return to the heat when you are ready to resume.**  When done, pour over a fine mesh sieve and set to cool.
  9. When you are ready to serve, pour Dulce de Leche sauce over the cheesecake or have friends self-serve!

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