An easy, creamy, decadent mango margarita cheesecake recipe with swirls of mango coulis and all your favorite margarita flavors.
Happy Cinco de Mayo y'all!
I'm joining Hola Jalapeno for her annual Margarita Week (my second year!) and this year, I wanted to do dessert rather than add another margarita drink to Margarita Week.
So. Let's talk cheesecake.
Margarita cheesecakes are everywhere, but I wanted to really incorporate that tropical flair (hi, I live in Miami!) so I wouldn't be giving the same ole "Oooh, cinco de mayo, lime margarita!" kind of thing. I mean, everyone has a margarita cheesecake on their site.
But who has a mango margarita cheesecake?
Flipping NOBODY! Literally nobody has a mango margarita cheesecake on their blog. I checked the googles. Nobody.
I don't know why, since mango margaritas are so popular, why no one has put it into cheesecake form?
What's in Mango Margarita Cheesecake?
To make a plain cheesecake into a mango margarita cheesecake, we are doing two things: making a mango coulis, and making the margarita cheesecake itself. The coulis is mixed into the batter and swirled on top of the batter for a fun design.
For the crust, I use Nilla wafers with salted butter. Why salted? A margarita is rimmed with salt, so I figured a bit of that saltiness mixing with something as sweet Nilla wafers would be a great place to bring that "margarita" out a little more.
As for the cake itself, it's sweet, creamy, decadent, and the flavors of the lime and mango go so well together. I developed the recipe multiple times, with and without alcohol, for those of us who do not drink or use alcohol in our lives. Yes, the alcohol bakes out, but I didn't want to exclude anyone who doesn't drink.
It's absolutely delicious either way, so don't worry if you don't use tequila.
What is a coulis?
Coulis is a French culinary term. A coulis is a pureed or strained fruit and/or vegetable sauce (or pureed fish sauce). The fruit coulis are often sweetened and served with desserts.
How do I make mango coulis?
Here, I use frozen mango (which is easily found in the frozen fruits section of your local supermarket), pureed it with water in the blender, strained it and added a bit of sugar as the mango was a little tart. Taste the puree and sweeten to taste, or maybe you want a more tart mango flavor to offset the sweetness of the cheesecake. Do what feels right to you, guys.
More cheesecake and cake recipes!
How about that margarita cheesecake?
I mixed in lime juice, lime zest, and some of that mango coulis into the actual cheesecake batter to give it that margarita flavor. Add the tequila if you want that flavor. The alcohol will be baked out, but for those of us who don't drink alcohol (or those of us who have kids who want cheesecake) the alcohol is optional.
Why do I need a water bath for my cheesecake?
Cheesecake is essentially a rich custard, it needs to be treated with some TLC so it doesn't become a dry, rubbery texture. Eggs need a moist environment so they don't burn and dry out.
A bain marie (or water bath) is when you wrap your springform pan in layers of aluminum foil, then put the pan into a large roasting pan that fits the springform pan inside. You pour hot water into the pan and set it into the oven. The water won't ever get over 212 degrees F (aka it'll evaporate) so the outer parts of the cheesecake won't finish cooking and burn before the middle is ready.
This water bath creates a humid environment inside the oven that will help the cheesecake rise slowly with even heat. This creates that perfect flat-topped cheesecake, so no deflating in the middle as it cools and...
How do I ensure the water bath doesn't leak into my cheesecake?
Nothing is worse than a soggy cheesecake. This is why I literally triple wrap my springform pan in aluminum foil, wrapping all the way up to the top of the pan so no water can get in.
How do I know my cheesecake is done?
In the center of the cheesecake, there will still be some jiggle to about 2-3 inches. You want that, because a completely set cheesecake is overbaked and will most likely be dry and will crack profusely.
Let go over some tips on preventing cracks in your cheesecake
- Make sure your cream cheese and eggs are at room temperature before making the batter. The cream cheese must be softened, because it will be lumpy and difficult to beat into batter while cold.
- Use a springform pan. This is my favorite springform pan, it hasn't ever failed.
- Beat everything well to ensure no lumps, but don't go wild. Add the eggs at the very end and do not beat them too much, just until they are just combined. Eggs can hold air, and air will crack your cake.
- Dollop about ½ tsp drops of coulis and swirl it with a chopstick gently, barely going into the cheesecake. If you swirl too deep, you will cause cracking.
- Low temperature is key to no cracks. I said 300 degrees F (150 degrees C), I mean it.
- Bang the cheesecake repeatedly on your counter (as in carefully lift it a couple inches and then drop it onto the countertop. Don't spill it!). You'll be surprised at how many little trapped air bubbles will be coming up to the surface. Pop them. Bubbles cause cracks.
- Don't be nosy and don't be banging around while your cheesecake bakes. What I mean is, don't open the door because drafts and sudden temperature changes will cause your cake to deflate and crack. And don't bang around when a cake is baking, didn't your mama tell you that? (Mine did.)
- When you pull the cheesecake out of the oven, keep it in the water bath pan. This helps cool the cheesecake slowly instead of rushing it from a hot oven to the cool air of your home. Again, trying to prevent cracking.
- Let cool to room temperature before chilling in the fridge.
How do I store my mango margarita cheesecake?
Keep it in the fridge, covered, for up to 3 days.
Can I freeze the cheesecake?
Yes, you can freeze your cheesecake. Remove any toppings you have before you do.
Take your thoroughly chilled cheesecake out of the springform pan, and off the bottom (use a knife to gently remove it from the bottom) onto a baking sheet and freeze, uncovered, until completely firm. Wrap that cheesecake in heavy duty foil and put into a freezer safe zip top bag. It can be frozen for 3-4 months.
To defrost, thaw it overnight in your fridge.
Looking for more Cinco de Mayo recipes to complete your party? Check out the Cinco de Mayo recipe index!
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- 4-6 oz frozen mango cubes
- 2 tbsp (30g) water
- 2 tbsp (25g) granulated sugar
- 1 ¾ cup Nilla wafer crumbs
- ⅓ cup (68g) salted butter, melted
- 3 pkg. (8 oz each) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- Zest of one lime
- 2 tbsp lime juice (about 2-3 limes)
- 2 tbsp (28g) tequila
- 1 cup (192g) sour cream
- 2 tsp (9g) vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 4 cups boiling hot water
- Whipped cream, fresh fruit, to serve if desired
- In a blender, blend all the coulis ingredients together until pureed smooth. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a container. Cover and set in the fridge.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Mix Nilla wafer crumbs and melted butter together well in a small bowl. Press crumb mixture evenly into the bottom of your 9-inch springform pan.
- Bake crust in oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the crust is lightly browned. Remove from oven. Turn oven temperature to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
- Beat cream cheese with a hand mixer until smooth with minimal to no lumps. Add in sugar and beat until well combined. Mix sour cream, 2 tbsp coulis, lime zest, lime juice, tequila if using, and vanilla in thoroughly. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating on low speed after each addition just until blended. Do not over mix. Pour evenly over crust.
- Wrap the underside and outside of the springform pan with three layers of aluminum foil, wrapping up to the top edge to ensure that no water can leak into the foil barrier and into your cheesecake.
- Using a ½ tsp measuring spoon, dollop some of the mango coulis in dots around the top of the cheesecake batter. With a toothpick or chopstick, gently swirl the coulis around the top of the cheesecake, don't push it into the cake as it will cause cracks.
- When done swirling, give the cheesecake some taps by lifting it a few inches above the work space and dropping it (don't spill!) to bring any bubbles up to the surface. Do this repeatedly, popping any bubbles that rise up.
- Place the cake into a large roasting pan that can hold the springform pan. Pour the boiling hot water into the roasting pan, making sure no water gets onto the cheesecake. The water should never be higher than about ¾ inch.
- Bake 60-70 minutes or until center is almost set but still jiggly. Pull everything from the oven and let the cheesecake cool inside the water bath to room temperature, about 1 ½ to 2 hours. Cover with plastic wrap and let chill in fridge for at least 4 hours.
- To serve, run a butter knife around the rim of the pan to loosen the cake from the pan. Use the same knife to gently loosen from the bottom of the springform pan and slide cake onto a serving plate.
- Top with more mango coulis, whipped cream, or fruit. Serve room temperature or chilled.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 119Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 71mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 1gSugar: 11gProtein: 2g
Eden Westbrook is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Sweet Tea and Thyme. A classically trained chef, Eden has inspired home cooks into the kitchen with cultural comfort foods, easy family-friendly eats and sweets, and glorious spreads for date night and entertaining since 2015.