Nanaimo Bar Cheesecake

Sometimes you just know something is going to be a hit. Or at least, you buy the 4 bricks of cream cheese and a bunch of chocolate and whipping cream and hope like crazy you aren’t disappointed about moving up a pants size.

Nanaimo Bar Cheesecake

I am not the least bit disappointed. Of all the crazy things, I even went and added some more butter to the original recipe, because if we’re going to make Nanaimo Bar Cheesecake, we’re not gonna have a crumbly crust, we’re gonna make it RIGHT.

Nanaimo Bar Cheesecake

I will always love Nanaimo Bars, but they still feel like Christmas baking to me, so when Easter came and 20+ people were coming with it, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to give Nanaimo a new look for a different holiday. The entire thing got devoured, save this one not-so-pretty piece I stole away and hid in the fridge for picture-and-secret-eating purposes. So. Good.

Nanaimo Bar Cheesecake

Next time you need a dessert to feed a crowd, this is your answer. It is SO easy to make, if you can get past the absurd amount of cream cheese you need to buy. Just give yourself time, or make it a day early – I started around noon with people eating it around 6:30, and it worked but I definitely skimped on the chilling time, which would have made the slices more perfect when cut. But at least you know in a pinch…go ahead and cut the recommended chill times in half :) Whoever said baking is a science clearly had too much time on their hands – it’s definitely a free-flying art.

(Note: Custard powder is one ingredient I get asked about regularly for regular Nanaimo bars, and you need it again here. I always use Bird’s Custard Powder, which is in the baking aisle at any major grocery store or available online.)

Nanaimo Bar Cheesecake
Total time
A perfectly fluffy, lightly sweet cheesecake that feeds a crowd!
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 16
  • CRUST:
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 5 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ¾ cup shredded coconut (I used unsweetened)
  • 4 (8oz) bricks of cream cheese, softened
  • 4 eggs
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 Tbsp vanilla custard powder
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. For the crust, melt butter in a medium saucepan or microwave in a medium bowl. Stir in the cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla, graham crumbs and coconut. Press into the bottom and a little up the sides of a 9 or 10 inch springform pan. Bake for 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, for the cheesecake, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. Add one egg at a time, beating in between each, and scrape down sides of bowl occasionally.
  4. Add the sour cream, sugar, vanilla and vanilla custard powder. Beat until very smooth. Pour onto baked crust.
  5. Fill a 9x13 baking dish half full with water and carefully place on the bottom rack of your oven. Bake cheesecake on the rack above the pan filled with water for 1 hour.
  6. After 1 hour, turn OFF the oven, crack it open slightly and leave cheesecake in oven for another hour to fully set.
  7. Remove from oven and fix any cracks, if necessary, by gently smooshing warm cheesecake together with the back of a damp spoon or offset spatula. Don't worry if it doesn't look perfect, we'll be covering it with chocolate! Let come to room temperature for about 2 hours. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge to chill for 2 hours.
  9. Place the chocolate chips in a bowl, set aside. Measure cream in a microwave-save measuring cup and microwave for 1½ minutes at full power, then pour over top of the chocolate chips. Let sit for 20 seconds, then whisk until completely smooth. Let cool slightly (5 minutes), then carefully pour on top of the cheesecake. Be prepared for drips :) Refrigerate again until set (about 30 minutes).
  10. Like all cheesecakes, the cake slices best when chilled. Enjoy!

Adapted from I Wash, You Dry, where you can also find a handy video to explain fixing cracks in cheesecake if you prefer a visual!



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