Cinnamon Buttermilk Cheesecake with Apple Pie Topping

Cinnamon Buttermilk Cheesecake
I hardly ever make cheesecake. Not because I don’t like it but because I like it a little too much.

I am pretty sure I have never met a cheesecake I didn’t love and eat more of than maybe I should. I have even purchased a tub of Philadelphia cheesecake filling just to eat straight like pudding. Wait, that wasn’t me…

About three weeks ago, I ordered a jar of Apple Pie Jam from Fogwood Farm as part of our order through Carolina Grown. When I ordered it, I didn’t actually have a plan for it. I just had an idea that I’d be able to use it to make something delicious at some point. When the jam arrived, I put it in the cabinet and waited for inspiration.

Cinnamon Buttermilk CheesecakeThe next week, I bought 6 blocks of cream cheese at the warehouse store, because I had started thinking about cheesecake. I went in search of gingersnaps for an easy cracker crust, but when I saw the enormous container of biscotti, I changed my mind and bought it instead.

Cinnamon Buttermilk CheesecakeI had every intention of using heavy cream or maybe sour cream in the cheesecake, but then I spied the bottle of buttermilk. And, feeling somewhat sorry for it as it seldom gets chosen when I open the refrigerator door, I decided to use it instead. I did look up “buttermilk cheesecake” to make sure that there was precedent and documented success (yes, and yes), and cinnamon buttermilk cheesecake was born.

I can now declare myself a very big fan of the buttermilk cheesecake. Since it adds more liquid but not more fat, as sour cream or heavy cream would, the texture is much lighter. Plus, I can feel a little bit less guilty since it is somewhat lower in fat and calories than a “regular” cheesecake. The texture is almost mousse-like. Not quite that fluffy, but pretty close. The tang of the buttermilk also helps to make it seem lighter.

I do hope you give this cinnamon buttermilk cheesecake a try. It is pretty delicious.

4.8 from 4 reviews
Cinnamon Buttermilk Cheesecake
Recipe type: Dessert
This cheesecake is not too sweet. Feel free to up the amount of granulated or brown sugar by an ounce or so. The critical ratio is egg to cream cheese and other liquid, so it's okay to play with the amount of sugar some.
What You Need
For the Crust
  • 15 small biscotti (about 3" long x ¾" thick)
  • 1.5 Tablespoons (4½ teaspoons) granulated sugar
  • heavy pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 oz (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
For the Cheesecake
  • 4-8oz blocks full fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ plus ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
  • several gratings of fresh nutmeg (optional)
  • 5 oz granulated sugar
  • 4 oz dark brown sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten and at room temperature
  • 1 cup (8 oz) buttermilk, at room temperature
For the Topping
  • 1 cup of apple pie jam, pureed and melted
What To Do
For the Crust
  1. Set your oven rack to the middle setting and preheat your oven to 350F.
  2. Whir up the biscotti in the food processor until you have fine crumbs.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until evenly blended.
  4. Pat evenly on the bottom and partway up the sides of a 9" springform pan. I find it easiest to use a glass for this.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and set aside.
For the Cheesecake
  1. Reduce the oven temperature to 325F.
  2. On low speed in your stand mixer, mix the cream cheese until smooth.
  3. Ad the cinnamon, vanilla, salt and nutmeg and mix on low until evenly blended, scraping the bowl as necessary.
  4. Slowly add in the sugars, keeping the mixer on low speed and scraping the bowl as necessary.
  5. Drizzle in the eggs, a bit at a time, until they are all incorporated.
  6. Continue mixing on low speed, scraping the bowl as necessary.
  7. Slowly stream in the buttermilk, mixing until well combined. Scrape the bowl as necessary.
  8. Pour the batter into the pan, rapping it on the counter a couple of times to dislodge any air bubbles. Pop any bubbles that rise to the surface.
  9. Bake for an hour, or until just the center of the cake is a bit jiggly.
  10. Carefully and evenly spread on the apple pie jam. (See Notes for other ideas for toppings)
  11. Turn off the oven but leave the cheesecake in for another 30 minutes.
  12. Crack the oven door and leave the cheesecake in the oven for another 30 minutes.
  13. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let cool to room temperature.
  14. Chill for four hours or overnight before slicing and serving. (Run a thin-bladed knife or icing spatula around the inside of the springform pan to loosen it before removing the sides to slice).
  15. The cake will be more flavorful if you let it sit out for about thirty minutes after slicing but before serving.
  16. Store leftover cake in the refrigerator, covered, for up to four days.
Other Stuff to Know
If you can't find apple pie jam, feel free to top with your favorite cooked apple pie filling. You could even top it with cinnamon apple sauce or apple butter if you wanted, as well.

So, are you as addicted to cheesecake as I am? What is the dessert that you can’t have in the house too frequently lest you lose control? Let me know in the comments!Cinnamon Buttermilk Cheesecake

Thanks so much for taking the time to read today. Take care, and have a lovely day!


  1. Theresa Meehan Currie says

    Believe it or not it’s not a traditional cheesecake, it’s close. It is Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars with Streusel Topping. They are to die for. Left alone with it, I could eat it all, it would take me a few days, but I could !!!!

  2. says

    OMG. This recipe looks wonderful. My go to recipe has two 8 oz blocks of cream cheese and one tablespoon of cider vinegar to give you an idea…I love the look of yours and it is a must try for me. Now that I am gluten free I am going to eliminate the crust all together. So excited to try this!

    • says

      Oooh, I love the idea of the cider vinegar, Wendy! Nice! And you won’t miss the crust at all, I promise! If you want a bit of crunch, some candied pecans would be lovely with it!

    • says

      Hi, Brenda! I am so happy you stopped by! I love the apple pie jam–I was not expecting the nutmeg, and it was a lovely surprise! I’m sure I’ll be trying more of your delicious jams–I am not a canner at all, so I have to rely on others who are experts! Enjoy the cheesecake–it is delicious. I have it on good authority that it is delightful for breakfast. Ahem. =)

  3. Maggie says

    Question re: crumb crusts, Jenni — The commenter above who mentioned going crustless because she’s gluten-free got me thinking. You know those crispy little sweet rice cakes/crackers, the kind that come in flavors like cheddar and caramel? Do you think it would be possible to crush them up and use them for cheesecake crusts?

    I myself am not gluten-free, but there’s a brand of those crackers (at Aldi) that come in caramel flavor that I’m very, very fond of. Unlike most, they do not taste like cardboard.

    • says

      I think anything you can grind up finely and bind with some butter or coconut oil would make an excellent crust, Maggie! Very good point! Use gf cookies/crackers, use some ground nuts or seeds and just go for it!

      Not tasting like cardboard is a must! =)

  4. Erin R. says

    Nice! I often use buttermilk in place of heavy cream because the consistency is similar and I never have cream in the fridge. What an excellent idea to use it in cheesecake.

    As for my worst thing to have in the house, it’s, er, cookie dough. I know, lowbrow. But every time I make a batch of cookies for my husband to take up skiing, I stand there and eat half the dough with a spoon like I’m eating a bowl of cereal. In your face, salmonella!

  5. says

    Biscotti is a splendid idea for cheesecake crust, Jenni. But equally intriguing is the buttermilk measure in this recipe. Paired with the apple pie jam, you’ve got sensational flavor profiles to swoon over. Another gem, my friend. Thank you for the inspiration!

    • says

      The buttermilk was a bit of a shot in the dark, but I love the texture and the tang! It might be my new go-to, Brooks:) Thanks, as always, for stopping by and for your support and encouragement! <3

  6. Jackie says


    How can you order the apple pie jam, I went on the fogwood farm website, nothing there to order it.

    • says

      I believe it was just something that they tried out to see how it would go over. Not sure if they still make it; I just grabbed a jar through our CSA delivery service, Jackie. If you can’t find it, I’d suggest using apple pie filling with some nutmeg added to it. It would be similar in taste and texture–just blend up the filling so there aren’t any chunks of apple. Hope that helps!

  7. Adrienne W says

    Jennifer, thank you for this awesome non-traditional cheesecake recipe. I was surfing the net looking for a cheese cake recipe using buttermilk (I love the lightness it adds in it’s flavor profile) and I luckily found your cinnamon buttermilk cheesecake recipe. I never did a Biscotti crust, so I’m extremely excited to try this recipe!☺☺☺

    • says

      I do hope you enjoy it, Adrienne! I love buttermilk in cheesecake for the same reason you do. It works really well to make a pretty heavy dessert feel lighter. And I like the tang with the cinnamon. It’s a nice combination. Enjoy!

  8. says

    Hi, thank you for sharing this recipe.
    May I ask does this baking need to use a water-bath?
    Because my cake’s texture turned to be a little bit dried than I have expected. ;-(

    • says

      I did not bake mine in a water bath since the custard was protected from excess heat by the crust. You certainly could bake in a water bath for a creamier, smoother texture if you’d like. The method I choose is generally dependent on the crust, but there are no hard and fast rules. There should be plenty of liquid in the batter to keep it nice and moist. If you liked the flavor and decide to experiment with a water bath next time, please let me know. Thank you for visiting!


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