Rum-Soaked California Prune Cheesecake with Salted Caramel Sauce

This boozy swirled cheesecake tastes like a holiday celebration. Juicy California Prunes are first soaked in a heady mixture of spiced rum, orange zest and orange juice, puréed then swirled on top of a rummy cheesecake filling. As if that wasn’t perfection on its own, each slice is then topped with a rich, salted caramel sauce. It’s the cheesecake of your dreams. The water bath and extra cooling time in the oven ensure that the top of the cheesecake doesn’t crack, so make sure to follow those steps!


  • California Prune Swirl
  • ¼ cup spiced rum (or apple juice + ½ teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice)
  • Zest from one orange (approximately 1 T)
  • Juice from one orange (Approximately ¼ cup)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup California Prunes
  • Cheesecake Crust
  • 300 g graham cracker crumbs (approximately 2 cups)
  • 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Cheesecake Filling
  • 4, 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 ⅓ cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • ⅔ cup heavy cream
  • ⅔ cup sour cream
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons white rum (optional)
  • Salted Caramel Sauce
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter, room temp and cut into cubes
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ½ cup of heavy cream
  • Pinch of sea salt


Make the California Prune swirl. Put California Prunes, spiced rum (or juice and spices), orange zest, and orange juice in a bowl. Let soak for at least one hour, up to overnight. Pour the mixture into a heavy bottomed, small saucepan. Add the sugar and the water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the liquids thicken. Remove from heat and cool. When the California Prunes are just warm to the touch, purée until smooth in a food processor or blender. If the California Prune mixture seems too thick, add water so it’s about the consistency of a loose jam.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F).

Make the crust. Place the graham cracker crumbs in a bowl. Pour in the melted butter and mix with a fork until the crumbs are evenly coated. Add the salt and cinnamon and mix to combine. Press into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees (F).

Make the filling. While the crust is in the oven, beat the cream cheese in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment for 4 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for 4 minutes more. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Beat until thoroughly combined. Add the heavy cream and sour cream and beat until smooth. Add the vanilla and rum and stir until combined.

Carefully wrap the bottom and sides of the springform pan with a large sheet of heavy duty foil and place in a larger baking dish (such as a roasting pan). Boil 2 quarts of water for a water bath.

Pour the cheesecake mixture into the crust and smooth the top. Carefully dollop the California Prune purée around the edge of the cheesecake, about 1 inch apart. Using the edge of a knife or a skewer, swirl the purée decoratively over the top of the cheesecake.

Place the roasting pan with the cheesecake on an oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Carefully pour the hot water in the corner of the roasting pan, until it comes up the sides of the cheesecake pan about 1 ½ inches. Bake the cheesecake for 90 minutes, or until it’s puffed on the edges and slightly jiggly in the middle.

Turn off the oven and crack the door. Let the cheesecake cool in the oven for about an hour.

Chill the cheesecake in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before serving, preferably overnight.

Make the salted caramel sauce. Pour the sugar into a heavy bottomed 2-3 quart saucepan. Heat over medium high heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the sugar is melted and turns a burnished bronze color. Add in the butter all at once, stirring vigorously. Remove from heat and stir in the heavy cream. Be careful because it will splatter and froth a bit. Keep stirring until the mixture is smooth. Add a good pinch of sea salt. Cool slightly before pouring over the cheesecake. This sauce keeps for two weeks in the refrigerator.

Slice and serve with warm caramel sauce.


Alison Needham of A Girl Defloured.