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What Is Sweet Potato Cheesecake?

Allison Boelcke
By Allison Boelcke
Updated May 17, 2024
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A sweet potato is a type of starchy root vegetable. Although it grows in a variety of colors, the most commonly used sweet potato variety tends to be the dark orange. Sweet potatoes are generally considered to have a mild flavor and are often used in both savory and sweet dishes. One type of sweet dish the vegetable may be used in is sweet potato cheesecake, a dessert usually consisting of a crumb crust, topped with a sweet cream cheese and mashed sweet potato filling.

Sweet potato cheesecake recipes tend to call for roasted sweet potatoes that are then mashed once they are cooked through enough to soften. Canned sweet potatoes may also be used and typically do not require any other preparation. Although traditional plain cheesecake tends to use a graham cracker crumb crust, recipes for the sweet potato version of the dessert often recommend using a richer crumb, such as crushed pecans or gingersnap cookies, in order to add extra sweetness to the dish.

One of the commonly recommended pieces of baking equipment for preparing sweet potato cheesecake is a springform pan. A springform pan is a round pan with removable sides. The crust is usually pressed across the bottom and up the sides of the pan, and then topped with the filling. The pan is usually kept intact while baking, and then the sides tend to be removed prior to serving in order to fully display the sides of the crust.

Sweet potato cheesecake is often baked in a water bath, which is a process in which the springform pan is placed into another dish that is partially filled with water. As the water heats in the oven, it is thought to add moisture to the cheesecake filling and prevent the top from cracking. The cheesecake is usually baked until the middle still moves just slightly when shaken, and then the center is allowed to firm up at room temperature in order to keep the outside of the cheesecake from overcooking.

Since sweet potatoes are starchy and more mild in flavor on their own, sweet potato cheesecake tends to be less sweet than other types of cheesecake. Recipes often recommend serving the cheesecake with a sweet topping in order to balance out the mildness of the sweet potatoes. Dollops of plain whipped cream or drizzles of caramel topping may be added to the dessert. Sweet sauces with a bourbon base also commonly accompany the cheesecake.

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Discussion Comments

By nextcorrea — On Mar 12, 2012

Can you use sweet potatoes to make cheesecake less fattening? It seems like sweet potato would be a good and relatively healthy filler that could replace some of the cheese and sugar.

By ZsaZsa56 — On Mar 12, 2012

Sweet potatoes are so underrated. I feel like they make just about every dish they are in better but I know so many people who say they don't like them.

Actually, I was at a dinner party just a few weeks ago and our host made sweet potato pie. One of the guests actually declined to try it because they were so averse to sweet potato. It is such a nice and unoffensive flavor. I don't know how anyone could not love them.

By jonrss — On Mar 11, 2012

I love cheesecake in all its forms but I think that sweet potato cheesecake is my favorite. The subtle flavor of the sweet potato is a wonderful compliment to the rich and sharp flavor of the cream cheese.

I have a great recipe for it from a bakery here in town that is kind of legendary for it. It is not an easy recipe to make and it definitely takes longer than just your average New York style cheesecake. But the results are worth it.

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