These irresistible caramel apple cheesecake bars include a buttery crust, layer of creamy cheesecake, spiced apples, and a crumble topping with caramel drizzle. It's a perfect combination of sweet, creamy and crunchy, which will have you hooked from the first bite!
When you think of cosy and satisfying autumnal treats, apple recipes must be on top of the list. They're usually so easy to put together, and there are only few more comforting flavours than the combination of apples, seasonal spices and caramel.
Like most of my cheesecakes recipes, these delicious bars start with an easy digestive biscuits crust. It's then topped with a cheesecake filling and a layer of crisp apples flavoured with warming spices, which really shine through. The streusel topping with a drizzle of golden caramel are a finishing touches, creating comforting, unbeatable fall-inspired dessert.
Whilst each part of this recipe is made with basic ingredients, it is worth reading through the notes below, where I also included some substitutes and alternatives.
- Digestive-style biscuits - This classic, mild tea biscuit is ideal to form the base of our bars. Their buttery flavour blends really well with other ingredients, without overpowering any of them. You can also use graham cracker biscuits instead of digestives.
- Unsalted butter - Melted unsalted butter will act as a bonding agent, and will hold the crust base together.
- Cream cheese - Use a full fat cream cheese, like Philadelphia. Do not swap it for low-fat version, as this will compromise the texture and the flavour. Full fat soft cheese works best and will guarantee the most delicious creaminess of these bars. Be sure to bring it to room temperature before.
- Sugar - Granulated white sugar or fine caster sugar to add sweetness. You can also use icing sugar (powdered sugar) instead.
- Eggs - Couple of large eggs at room temperature for an extra volume and lift.
- Vanilla - Touch of vanilla extract to add a bit of flavour.
- Apples - Granny Smith apples will work really well, as their slightly sharp and tart flavour balance out the sweetness of the cheesecake filling. Any variety of apples that are slightly on a sharper side will work.
- Spices - A combination of ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg, to create that comforting and delicious seasonal flavour.
- Sugar - Just a touch of white sugar to add sweetness and help the apples to release some of their juice. You can also use light brown sugar instead.
- Lemon zest - To enhance and lift the flavour up a bit. Optional ingredient.
- Flour - Plain, all purpose flour to give us the base for crisp and light crumble. Alternatively, use the self-raising flour.
- Sugar - I like to use a combination of demerara sugar and white granulated sugar in my crumble topping. Demerara sugar gives the most incredible crunch to this topping, as well as adding a subtle caramel-flavours. Light brown sugar streusel topping will also taste delicious.
- Butter - Chilled and diced unsalted butter. It's crucial the butter is chilled! Making crumble with room temperature butter will cause the topping to spread as it bakes.
- Cinnamon - An extra ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon in the crumble topping to elevate the flavours even more.
- Caramel - Homemade or shop-bought caramel topping sauce to drizzle our apple caramel cheesecake bars with.
The recipe for these apple cheesecake crumble bars with caramel can be split into four components. The crust is made and gets chilled. Then there's the cheesecake and spiced apple filling. Lastly, crumble topping gets done and is scattered over the top.
It may seem like a lot, but don't worry. Each part comes together really quick, and is super easy to make! The crust base and the crumble topping can also be made ahead and stored in the fridge for a couple of days.
💭Top tip: Line the baking pan with plenty of overhanging baking paper. Once baked and cooled, use that overhang to gently lift the cheesecake from the tin.
Press the mixture of biscuit crumbs and melted butter into lined baking pan in an even layer. Transfer to the fridge until needed.
Beat cream cheese with rest of the cheesecake filling ingredients until smooth.
Prepare the apples. Mix them with sugar, lemon zest and spices. Set aside for a couple of minutes.
Pour the cheesecake layer over the chilled biscuit base. Tap the baking dish gently against the kitchen counter to eliminate air bubbles.
Add apples on top of the cream cheese filling in an even layer.
Scatter the crumb topping over the apples, and bake for 45-50 minutes.
💭Top tip: To get a neat, clean cut on your caramel apple cheesecake bars, use a large sharp knife and wipe the knife clean after each cut.
When ready to serve, slice the cheesecake and drizzle caramel sauce over it.
- Biscuit Crust - Feel free to experiment with different biscuits in the base layer. You can try biscoff biscuits, ginger biscuits, shortbread crust or graham cracker crust as delicious alternatives.
- Caramel Cheesecake Filling: Get a double hit of caramel goodness, by swirling and extra couple of tablespoons of caramel sauce into the cheesecake filling.
- Mix different spices and fruit: Add ½ teaspoon of ground ginger to the chopped apples or to the cheesecake filling, or use any combination of spices you like! You can also swap half of the apples for pears.
- Love the combination of caramel apple? Why not give this irresistible Caramel Apple Crack recipe a try?
To make these apple cream cheese bars, you will need 8 x 8-inch baking pan. You can also use a ceramic baking dish, or Pyrex-style dish similar in size.
Round 8-inch springform or loose-bottom baking tin will also work well. Just make sure it is deep enough (at least 3.5 centimetres or 1.4-inch deep).
Baked caramel apple cheesecake bars should be stored in the fridge, where they will last for up to 4 days. Place them in an airtight container, to avoid them absorbing any of the fridge smells. Bring to room temperature and drizzle with caramel before serving.
You can also freeze this cheesecake for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight, then bring to room temperature and drizzle with caramel before serving.
Make sure you press the base layer of biscuits crust firmly into the baking dish. Use a measuring cup or a flat-base glass to compact the mixture for a sturdy base.
Refrigerate cooled cheesecake. Allow your apple cheesecake bake to cool on the kitchen counter first, then place it in the fridge for at least a couple of hours.
Add the caramel drizzle right before serving. Caramel sauce will harden in the fridge, so it is best to add it just before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! You can use gluten free biscuits for the crust, and make sure your crumble topping is also made with gluten free flour.
The bars take 50 minutes to bake at 160°C (320°F) in my fan assisted oven. You know they're done when the crumble is golden brown and the filling is set (a little jiggle in the middle is fine).
Ensure to follow the recipe instructions and do not amend the quantity of the ingredients. If your oven temperature is too low, or you didn't bake the cheesecake for long enough, it may result in runny cheesecake. I also recommend chilling baked cake for at least a couple of hours.
More Apple Recipes
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Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
- 8 x 8-inch baking tin
- baking paper
- hand-held electric mixer or freestanding mixer with the paddle attachment
- mixing bowls
For the crust:
- 180 g digestive biscuits
- 70 g unsalted butter melted
For the cheesecake:
- 320 g full-fat cream cheese room temperature
- 120 g granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs room temperature
For the apple layer:
- 300 g granny smith apples peeled, cored and chopped to medium cubes
- 20 g granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
For the crumble topping:
- 100 g unsalted butter chilled and cubed
- 125 g plain flour
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 70 g demerara sugar
- 40 g granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoon caramel sauce
- Preheat the oven to 160°C (fan). Lightly grease 8 x 8-inch baking pan and line with baking paper, making sure there is plenty of overhang. Set aside.
To make the crust:
- Blitz the biscuits in a food processor, or tip into a food bag and bash with rolling pin until you have fine crumbs. Stir in the melted butter until the mixture resembles the damp sand. Tip this mixture into prepared baking tin and press into base using the back of a spoon or cup until you have smooth and even layer. Chill until needed.180 g digestive biscuits, 70 g unsalted butter
To make the cheesecake:
- In a bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Add sugar, salt and vanilla and mix to combine. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape the sides and the bottom of the mixing bowl as and when needed.320 g full-fat cream cheese, 120 g granulated sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 large eggs
- Remove the baking pan with the crust from the fridge. Pour the cheesecake batter over the chilled crust. Gently tap the baking tin against the sturdy surface to get rid of air bubbles.
To make spiced apples:
- Place the chopped apples into a large mixing bowl. Add sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon and nutmeg and stir well to combine. Set aside for 5 minutes.300 g granny smith apples, 20 g granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
To make crumble topping:
- In a large mixing bowl, rub the butter into the rest of the crumble ingredients until the mixture becomes sandy and resembles coarse breadcrumbs.100 g unsalted butter, 125 g plain flour, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, 70 g demerara sugar, 40 g granulated sugar
- Top the cheesecake layer with spiced apples, spreading them evenly. Sprinkle the crumble topping in an even layer over the apples.
- Place in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, until the crumble is golden brown and the filling is set. Remove from the oven and let the cheesecake cool completely on the kitchen counter. Once cooled, transfer to the fridge for at least 3 hours, or ideally, overnight.
- Remove the cheesecake from the fridge. Use the overhang baking paper to gently lift it from the baking tin. Drizzle the cheesecake with caramel sauce, slice and enjoy!3 tablespoon caramel sauce
Please note that all my recipes are developed and tested in metric grams. I recommend that you use digital scales for a more accurate results. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.
- Press the biscuit base firmly into the baking tin, to create a sturdy base. Use the measuring cup or a flat-based object like a glass or a mug to press the crumbs into the tin.
- Allow the cheesecake bars to chill and set properly in the fridge.
- Drizzle the caramel sauce right before the serving. Placing caramel in the fridge will harden it, so it's best to add right before serving.
- For a clean cut, use a large sharp knife and wipe it clean after each cut.