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Exotic Cheesecake Ideas

I've been making desserts for a local restaurant and cheesecakes have been especially popular. I'm really interested in exotic flavor pairings beyond the basic fruit or chocolate. I've made lemon-ginger with gingersnap crust, and chai cheesecake with loads of cardamom and ginger. I'd love to hear your ideas or your favorite cheesecake that you've had.

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  1. At one of my favorite pastry shops (Dolcini by Joseph), in Kleinberg Ontario, they make a great cheesecake pastry with a dulce de leche centre which is absolutely heavenly. I would also love to try a cheesecake with a passionfruit topping. I think that the sweet and tangy passionfruit would go well with the rich, creamy cheesecake.

    1. How about matcha green tea, either in the batter or as a swirl?

      1. The most exotic cheesecake I ever had was in Hawaii. It was a wasabi cheesecake and it was topped with raw ahi tuna....it was amazing.

        1. When I saw the subject header, I immediately thought "cardamom" but you've already done that. The lemon-ginger with a gingersnap crust sounds amazing!

          In line with the other Indian/Middle Eastern-inspired ideas, how about rose flavor, either alone or paired with something else exotic (maybe saffron) or something more Western (I have some amazing rose-flavored chocolate).

          1. i've wanted to try making a pomegranate cheesecake, using pomegranate molasses. or a mojito cheesecake - lime & mint, with rum whipped cream. personally, i'm always a sucker for herbs in desserts, perhaps mango-basil? or add some fresh rosemary to the buttery, graham cracker crust, and make a peach cheesecake on top (i just did a peach & rosemary crisp and it was amazing; i blogged about it, if you're interested. the combo is fantastic!)

            i could go on for ages with ideas, but i have to admit that the most exotic cheesecake i've made was a sweet-potato & coconut one for a thanksgiving dessert one year. i have more ideas than i have time to actually make them.

            check out this blog for interesting flavor combo inspiration; obviously, she's all about cupcakes, but some of her combos might work really well as a cheesecake: cupcakeblog.com


            1 Reply
            1. re: funkymonkey

              I have a small business making cheesecakes, and have done pomegranate before. Take fresh pomegranate, run the seeds through a blender, with Grenadine, strain it, and add about a cup of the juice mixture to your batter. Not only does it taste delicious, but it comes out the most beautiful shade of pink. One of my favorite one's to make, I'm always happy when people order it. :)

            2. almond paste and star anise cheesecake with a biscotti crust.

              1. pineapple cheesecake with sage crust
                lemonade cheesecake with pomegranate glaze
                spiced walnut cheesecake
                goat cheese cheesecake with bananas and almonds
                fig cheesecake with honey drizzle
                greek yogurt cheesecake with olives

                4 Replies
                1. re: HillJ

                  good lord! goat cheesecake sounds heavenly! imagine the tang!

                  1. re: HillJ

                    I'll have a slice of the fig with honey! Great idea!

                    1. re: debit

                      funkymonkey & debit-this summer we made all of those cheesecakes for a charity event; gave each cake a partial freeze so they were easy to cut and stuck a popsicle stick in each triangle slice. they were a huge hit for dessert.

                      1. re: debit

                        Bleu cheese would be great with figs and honey.

                    2. This might sound crazy but what about bacon chocolate? I've been snacking on Vosges haute Chocolat's bacon-chocolate bars and think that the creamy richness of the ricotta might be a perfect match with a touch of bacon with a chocolate swirl and chocolate-crumb crust.

                      I love the rose flavor, which could be easily achieved with the addition of rooh-afza to the batter. Other ideas: chili chocolate, root beer float (vanilla atop a layer made with root beer extract), red bean-flavored with a sesame crust, pumpkin-coconut.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: JungMann

                        I was thinking about Vosges-inspired bacon, too; chile and chocolate is very trendy right now, and I think chile would go well with cheesecake. Salted caramel is another trend -- I can see a cheese cake with a caramel swirl and salt crystals in both the filling and the crust.

                        Only mildly exotic, but one of the best flavor combinations I ever had was Meyer lemon with macadamia nuts -- I was trying to adapt a recipe for walnuts with an orange fondant glaze, and it never worked: the fondant wouldn't set, I think because of the oil in the macadamia nuts. So I ended up with clusters of macadamia nuts in a sticky Meyer lemon goo, and they were delicious!

                        1. re: JungMann

                          rootbeer float has me curious! Even a rootbeer syrup would be interesting.

                          1. re: HillJ

                            I make a rootbeer float cheesecake. I use rootbeer extract with a brown fondant dye to tint it. In between the two layers of rootbeer I do a small French vanilla layer. Ten minutes before I finish baking it I top with sour cream an sugar blend. It tastes exactly like a rootbeer float. It's amazing

                          2. re: JungMann

                            Does anyone have a recipe I could try this bacon-chocolate bar in?? Sounds crazy but we have a monthly bacon party and this has not been done. I would love to try it! thanks!

                            1. re: susiefoo

                              Maybe you could make the bacon brittle recipe people raved about and dip the ends of pieces into the melted bacon chocolate?

                              1. re: susiefoo

                                susie,,,,fool I may be...this is what we did...
                                Melt the bar and marble the chocolate thru a plain cheesecake recipe.
                                To enhance the bacon note, add crisp bacon bites to the crust recipe or it you go crustless, sprinkle broken bacon bits over the top mid bake.

                                The results were surprising and all night guests kept asking us "how did you think of it?" Vosges inspired us!

                            2. I just read an article about eating mangoes with hot sauce... so the first thing that leapt to mind just now was a mango-chili cheesecake.

                              Other random ideas:
                              Ginger pear
                              Mexican chocolate (cocoa, cinnamon, chili)
                              Manhattan (rye and vermouth with cherries)
                              Orange marzipan (with an almond cookie base)
                              Pineapple rum (with a macadamia cookie base)

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: tartiflette

                                Yes, I was thinking of mango too - with chili and lime - mango salsa cheesecake, yum.

                              2. smoked salmon with sweet jalepeno jelly on top. trust me, it works, as a savory.

                                1. Last week at a Japanese-Hawaiin restaurant I had a TEMPURA cheesecake that was AMAZING. I don't really know how they made it work, but it seemed like the cheesecake was a New York style that had been frozen before frying, in the same manner as with fried ice cream.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: Adrienne

                                    It was frozen rock hard in a super deep freeze, battered and fried. easy.

                                    1. re: Diana

                                      Well, it was tempura-d, not battered in the way I've seen in the past -- what surprised me (and what I could not probably replicate at home) was the extraordinary lightness of the fried coating. You almost couldn't see it, but then when you put your fork to it the tempura coating broke, almost like first cutting into a creme brulee. I guess if you make tempura all day maybe that is easy, but I certainly do not and was impressed.

                                      1. re: Adrienne

                                        Adrienne, could the coating have been panko crumbs?

                                        1. re: HillJ

                                          I'm sure it was. But it was a much, much finer coating than I've ever had on regular veggie tempura before (and tempura and I go way back).

                                          1. re: Adrienne

                                            I've combined panko, finely chopped pecans and light brown sugar as a cheesecake crumb/crust. The may have fine pulsed the panko for a more refined coating. Interesting!

                                  2. I love the Italian-style ricotta/mascarpone cheescake with lots of orange peel and some chocolate chunks springled around the top. I also love that it's made with a regular pie crust and not crumbs from gingersnaps, etc. Jamie Oliver puts a crude lattice crust on the top and it looks great.

                                    He also has a ricotta/chocolate/ground hazelnut cheesecake which is divine.
                                    Mario Batali has an orange cheesecake using brown sugar with the ricotta and mascarpone.

                                    The cardamom flavoring sounds great.

                                    I've also had lots of luck reducing the fat in cheesecakes (altho for a restaurant that'd prob. not work). I've found that fat free cream cheese and low fat yoghurt and ricotta make some pretty delicious cakes.

                                    1. There is another topic floating around in "Home Cooking" about maple cream pie. That is the inspiration for my answer: Maple Cheesecake.

                                      Maybe incorporate the bacon some of the others were talking about??

                                      Heh heh. I am liking this!

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: debit

                                        I think a kiwi cheesecake would be tasty.

                                        1. re: bigjimbray

                                          bigjim, kiwi puree swirled atop raspberry cheesecake is delicious!

                                          1. re: HillJ

                                            I sure could go for that, I love raspberries in anything. even mustard sandwiches.

                                      2. guava ginger rum w/ a cashew graham crust
                                        white chocolate key lime truffle w/ a graham cracker crust
                                        orange and garam marsala
                                        mango chai cheesecake

                                        1. I do a key lime cheesecake that is very popular in the summer.

                                          Dried tropical fruits macerated in spiced rum is popular.

                                          Preserved lemon with raisins, dates, cinnamon and pistachios (Moroccan flavor)

                                          Marzipan, pineapple, maple, raspberry and green tea are very requested flavors.

                                          Howchow and Hillj, Would you mind if I borrow your ideas for my repertoire. I like the way you think, and I have a upcoming dinner they might be perfect for.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Kelli2006

                                            No objection here, happy to inspire. I'm certainly inspired by everyone adding to this thread!

                                          2. How about cabernet? My friends who run a cheesecake shop do that one, they say it is wonderful. They also do Frangelico, Guiness, and Baileys (Which are all delicious) oh and a Cappacino Caramel and another one they make with Chambord.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: adventuresinbaking

                                              How about a frangipan (not sure of spelling) but it's the almond and strawberry tart that is to die for. It has that almond pastey layer on the crust and the strawberries ontop... makes my heart sing!
                                              A cheesecake that puts a 2 inch layer of rich gooey carmel on the crust and as a frosting on the cake with WHOLE toasted/salted pecans (pralines would be better!)
                                              How about a gingerbread/spice cake flavored type cheesecake...
                                              Dates and figs seem to be the latest fruit rages- pare it with a balsamic reduction type flavoring.

                                            2. I made a pumpkin cheesecake a few years back for Thanksgiving. Eveyone loved it and I am begged to make it every November. It's very pretty with a little dark chocolate shaved on top.

                                              1. My saffron cheesecake has always been a big hit.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: relizabeth

                                                  Please share recipe reliz. I love the saffron idea/color!

                                                  1. I love this thread! I have been thinking about exotic cheesecakes, and I came up with cardamom but you have already tried it! Another great combination would be almond paste with cardamom, or pistachio paste with cardamom and rose. Raspberries with almond paste!

                                                    1. The Green Tea sounds really good, I'll have to try that!.
                                                      I make a pumpkin Cheesecake that gets rave reviews every Thanksgiving.

                                                      1. Avocado cheesecake. Use coconut milk in the filling; for the crust, I use gingesnaps, but Graham cracker or even Digestives would work.

                                                        1. My brother used to make a great Frangelico & Toasted Hazelnut Cheesecake.


                                                          1. If you have access to ube (filipino purple yams), it's fun to make ube cheesecake. I follow the instructions for regular sweet potato cheesecake, but the ube flavor is a bit different and makes the cheesecake a fun light purple color :) (I usually use frozen grated ube, but there's also a powder that could probably be reconsistuted and used, or better yet, the fresh ones!)

                                                            And speaking of filipino flavor combinations: there's a popular corn and cheese ice cream flavor, which always makes me think of making a corn cheesecake. Unfortunately, the right occasion has not yet arisen, but the plan is to add creamed corn to the batter, and then after it's baked and cooled, sprinkle finely grated mild cheddar on top.

                                                            1. Thanks for the posts, there are some great ideas here that I want to try.
                                                              Here are two I like to make:

                                                              Pecan Pie cheesecake - Bake a cut up, frozen or already made pecan pie inside of a cheesecake.

                                                              Red Velvet Cheesecake - Red food coloring and cream cheese icing.

                                                              1. I saw an intriguing cheesecake on Smitten Kitchen -- it had chocolate crumb crust and a layer of ganache under the cheesecake. Very decadent!

                                                                1. I make a lavender cheesecake with real lavender. i also make a coffee toffee that gets a good bit of attention. During the holidays I was able to put together an egg nog too.