With a hint of lemon flavor and bright hues of purple, green, and gold, these Mardi Gras mini cheesecakes are a perfect addition to any Fat Tuesday celebration.
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About Mardi Gras Mini Cheesecakes
No matter if you’re in Louisana or celebrating from afar, festive Mardi Gras cuisine is a delicious way to perk up the winter months – and these Mardi Gras mini cheesecakes make it easy to add a little more purple, green, and gold fun to this time of year.
What is Mardi Gras?
Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday,” and it typically refers to a carnival-like celebration in New Orleans that occurs in the two weeks leading up to Fat Tuesday. Historically, Fat Tuesday represents the last night of eating rich, fatty foods before Ash Wednesday – and the entire Mardi Gras celebration embodies this with rich cuisine, flashy imagery, and bright colors. You can easily identify a Mardi Gras celebration due to the abundance of round bead necklaces and crown-like masks in rich purple, green, and gold hues.
How to prevent cracks in cheesecake
Cheesecake is always delicious, but nothing can spoil the presentation quite like a crack running straight across the otherwise smooth, pristine top.
Thankfully, there are ways to keep this from happening, and most of the solutions come down to timing. I’ve written most of these out in the recipe instructions below, but while baking, be sure to keep the following in mind:
- Do not overmix the cheesecake batter. This will add more air to the batter, which can make the cheesecake bake unevenly, raising the risk of cracks. This becomes more of a concern the liquid ingredients are incorporated to the batter, like the heavy whipping cream. Whenever you can, get as close to the recommended mixing times as possible.
- Have a bowl of water in the oven while the mini cheesecake bake. This process is written out in the recipe instructions, and the goal is to create the same effect as a water bath (where a stanard-sized cheesecake is baked with the springform pan surrounded by water.) Having the water in the oven creates steam, which helps a cheesecake bake and rise evenly, ensuring a smooth, even top.
- Let the cheesecake “rest” in the oven for the full hour. This recipe only bakes the cheesecakes for eight minutes, and after that, there are two resting stages: sitting in the closed oven at 250 degrees F for 30 minutes, then turning off the oven and sitting for another 30 minutes with the door cracked. These steps are important for gradual cooling, reducing the risks of cracks.
- Allow the cheesecake to cool to room temperature before chilling. Keeping with the gradual theme, be sure to let the cheesecakes cool to room temperature on a wire cooling rack (so air can access both the top and bottom) before transferring them to the refrigerator to chill.
How long are mini cheesecakes good for?
Once prepared, these Mardi Gras cheesecakes can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to five to six days.
Can you freeze mini cheesecakes?
Yes, you totally can! Cheesecakes freeze very well.
To freeze these mini cheesecakes:
- Bake and chill mini cheesecakes per recipe instructions. Note: for best and consistent results, do not decorate mini cheesecakes before freezing. Frosting types and consistency may vary and could impact how long or well the mini cheesecakes will last while frozen.
- Wrap mini cheesecakes in plastic wrap. You can either wrap them individually or arrange the cheesecakes in a group (single layer) and wrap them together.
- Place wrapped mini cheesecakes in a freezer bag or a storage container with a sealable lid.
- Mini cheesecakes can be frozen for up to three months.
Notes & tips for Mardi Gras mini cheesecakes
- When whipping the cream cheese, make sure there are no clumps before moving on to the next step. If needed, you can use a spoon or a spatula to to press any stubborn clumps against the side of the bowl to get them mixed in.
- You can substitute the sour cream for plain yogurt, but doing this will reduce the trademark flavor of cheesecake.
- For the graham cracker crust, it’s okay to use granulated sugar in place of light brown sugar, but keep in mind that the color of the crust will be lighter. You can also use dark brown sugar in place of light brown sugar, but this will also make the crust darker.
More cheesecake recipes
How to make Mardi Gras mini cheesecakes
This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.
Step 1 – Prepare the graham cracker crust by mixing together the graham cracker crumbs, light brown sugar, and melted butter until saturated and crumbly.
Step 3 – Bake!
Step 4 – While crusts cool, make the cheesecake filling by creaming together the cream cheese and granulated sugar until fluffy.
Step 5 – Mix in the heavy whipping cream, sour cream, lime juice, vanilla, and salt, then finish by blending in the eggs and cornstarch.
Step 6 – Divide the cheesecake mixture into three bowls, then mix in the purple, green, and gold (or yellow) food coloring.
Step 7 – Add the cream cheese mixture on top of the graham cracker crusts.
Step 8 – Bake!
Step 9 – Once the cheesecakes have baked, cooled, and been chilled in the refrigerator, prepare the frosting by whipping together the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, lemon extract, salt, and vanilla extract.
Step 10 – Decorate the mini cheesecakes with the prepared frosting, topping them with festive sprinkles.
Step 11 – Serve and enjoy!
Mardi Gras Mini Cheesecakes
Graham Cracker Crust
Purple, Green, and Gold Cheesecake
For the Graham Cracker Crust
- In a medium bowl, mix together graham cracker crumbs and brown sugar.2 cup graham cracker crumbs, 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- Add melted butter to bowl and stir until all ingredients are damp and lightly clumping.1/2 cup salted butter
- Spoon about 1 1/2 tablespoons of crust mixture into prepared muffin pan. Use your fingers or a spoon to firmly press the mixture to the bottom of each cavity in a firm, even layer.
- Bake graham cracker crusts for 10 minutes.
- Transfer muffin pan(s) to a wire cooling rack to cool while preparing the filling.
For the Purple, Green, and Gold Cheesecake
- Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Fill a medium-sized, oven-safe bowl with water, then set aside.
- Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer + large bowl), whip together the cream cheese and sugar until fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.16 ounce cream cheese, 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- Drop mixer speed to low and mix in heavy whipping cream, sour cream, lime juice, vanilla, and salt until incorporated, about 1-2 minutes.1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, 1/3 cup sour cream, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon salt
- Keeping mixer speed on low, blend in the eggs and cornstarch, but only mix until ingredients appear combined, about another 1-2 minutes.3 egg, 1 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
- Turn off mixer and divide cream cheese mixture into three bowls. Mix in purple, green, and gold (or yellow) food coloring until desired hue is reached.food coloring
- Spoon the cheesecake mixture on top of the baked and cooled graham cracker crusts, filling each cavity about 3/4 full. You can either make each mini cheesecake a single color or add multiple colors and do a quick swirl with a toothpick.
- Place filled muffin pan(s) in the oven. Place the bowl of water either between the muffin pan(s) or on the rack directly below the muffin pan(s). Doing this will create steam while baking.
- Bake mini cheesecakes for 8 minutes, then decrease the temperature to 250 degrees F. Continue baking for an additional 30 minutes.
- Turn off oven and prop open the oven door a crack, but keep cheesecakes inside. Allow them to rest in the oven for an additional 30 minutes.
For the Lemon Buttercream Frosting
- Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer + large bowl), whip cream cheese and butter on high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes.8 ounce cream cheese, 1/2 cup salted butter
- Drop mixer speed to low and blend in powdered sugar, lemon extract, salt, and vanilla until incorporated, about 3-5 minutes.1 1/4 cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon extract, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Putting it All Together
- When ready to decorate, fill a pastry bag with prepared lemon cream cheese frosting and a piping tip of your choice.
- Remove mini cheesecakes from muffin pan, then frost each cheesecake in a decorative pattern. If desired, top the frosting with festive sprinkles.
- Serve immediately.festive sprinkles
I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.