Sugar Dish Me

"if you can read, you can cook" -my momma

Sweet Tart Cheesecake

with 31 comments

sweet and sour cheesecake
This cake is full of Sweet Tarts for my sweetheart.

Yesterday was his birthday.

In my brain full of thoughtful things, some slight delusions of grandeur, and a Black Visa card, I imagined throwing this man the party of all parties. Streamers, balloons, an open bar. I envisioned a party catered by someone other than myself. Music. A mud bog.

Dr. Pepper to his heart’s content.

A buffet of sour candies.           With a side table full of Reese’s cups.

He deserves it, you know.

Not only does he tolerate my slightly moody overtures and quick tempers, but he does things for me. All the time. Like on my birthday when he built me a garden and made me a pie. That pie was sooooo worth a party.

Sadly, though, I don’t have an unlimited Visa card. And if I raided our bank account for party funds I’d really only be spending Chad’s hard-earned wages. If I’m being completely honest here, I don’t think he much cares that there was no throwdown in his honor. His birthday requests were quite simple:

  1. hot wings
  2. potato skins
  3. cheesecake

And so I obliged.

sweet tarts candies

Sweet Tarts are Chad’s grab-n-go gas station candy. Anything sour, really. But you can be sure that if he stops somewhere for a bottle of water or runs in to pay for gas, he will return with a roll of Sweet Tart candies in his shirt pocket.

Sweet Tarts are the perfect blend of sugary sour. They make Chad smile more than a party. So I put Sweet Tarts in the cheesecake.

I am in this photo... can you find me?

press the crust into a spring form pan
When I met Chad, candy was his excuse to stop and talk to me. I worked in a little store near his job. He bought A LOT of candy.

lemon bar cheesecake
I started with a lemon bar cheesecake poured into a Nilla wafer crust. Then I doused the baked, cooled cheesecake in raspberry sauce. Lemons and raspberries are sweet and tart. But not as sweet and tart as Sweet Tarts.

Which I put in the food processor.

Sweet Tarts candies coat strawberries
Then I tossed the powdered candies with a pint of chopped fresh strawberries.

I highly recommend doing this with any and all fruit.       Highly.

sweet and sour strawberry topping
I covered the cheesecake in in the sweet-tarted berries, and then served it up birthday style, complete with candles and a song.

cheesecake birthday
Sweet Tart Cheesecake (adapted from Fine Cooking)

For the Crust:

  • 1 (12 ounce) box of Nilla wafers
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

For the Cake:

  • 3 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest (roughly the zest of 2 lemons)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature

For the Topping:

  • 1 recipe Raspberry Sauce
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 roll of Sweet Tarts candies (10-15 pieces)

To Make

Pre-heat the oven to 350. Pulse the Nilla wafers in a food processor until they are crushed into fine crumbs. In a medium bowl combine the Nilla wafer crumbs, granulated sugar, and melted butter. Press the crumbs into the bottow of a 9-inch springform pan, and halfway up the sides.

Bake for 7-8 minutes. Set aside to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 225.

In a large bowl beat together the cream cheese, ricotta, flour, and salt on medium speed, about 4-5 minutes. Beat in the sugar and when the batter is smooth add in the lemon zest and vanilla. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating in between each one until they are just incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared crust and bake for 3 hours. Turn the oven off and let the cheesecake cool INSIDE THE OVEN. When the oven is cold, refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 2 hours,

Spoon the raspberry sauce over the top of the chilled cake, reserving at least half for serving.

Crush the Sweet Tarts in a food processor or cut them into a powder using a very sharp knife. I left some larger chunks of candy in tact for color.

Toss the chopped strawberries with the crushed Sweet Tarts and spread them evenly over the top of the entire cake.

Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.

Happy Birthday!!!



Written by Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

July 19, 2012 at 6:48 pm

31 Responses

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  1. Awww that is the cutest idea ever – Happy birthday I bet he loved this!

    Choc Chip Uru

    Choc Chip Uru

    July 19, 2012 at 6:52 pm

  2. I’m pretty adventurous, but sweet tarts in berries on a cheesecake would never have crossed my mind. I’ve considered chocolate on nearly everything, though. Happy birthday to Chad!


    July 19, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    • I wasn’t really sure how to pull it off… I considered a swirl of the Sweet Tart crumblies through the cheesecake but thought it might be too much. I started by crushing a few candies and then dipping strawberries in them. When I couldn’t stop eating those I decided it was a GO. I’ve made chocolate grasshopper ice cream sandwich cookies and double fudge brownies for sundaes in the last 2 days (it is like birthday bonanza over here) so the fruity cheesecake was welcome and refreshing!!

      Heather @ SugarDish(Me)

      July 20, 2012 at 7:32 am

  3. I have never tried that!! Sounds like something Ellie would love!!


    July 19, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    • I googled Sweet Tart cheesecake and came up empty. I flew solo on this one, aside from the basic cheesecake recipe I use pretty often. This cheesecake is very NY style… I love the creamy thick texture. Try crushing some Sweet Tarts on fruit! Blueberries, blackberries… over vanilla ice cream. MMMMM … It turned out really well.

      Heather @ SugarDish(Me)

      July 20, 2012 at 7:35 am

  4. I never thought of doing that!! Ellie would love it. Happy Birthday, Chad!

    • Hey Deanna! It turned out better than I expected 🙂 Try crushing some Sweet Tarts over blueberries or blackberries… on vanilla ice cream (or fro-yo for that slightly tart vanilla flavor!!) Mmmmmmm…

      Heather @ SugarDish(Me)

      July 20, 2012 at 7:38 am

  5. OMG that looks terrific!


    July 19, 2012 at 9:51 pm

  6. Happy Birthday to Chad. Hope to see you guys sometime soon! Miss seeing Andrew and Evan too. I am so beyond jealous at your cooking skills!!! You go girl…..

    Pam Wolfe

    July 20, 2012 at 12:47 am

    • Hey Pam!!! It’s really been forever since we’ve seen you!! Also: If you can read, you can cook. This recipe is easy. I promise. Thanks for your support!

      Heather @ SugarDish(Me)

      July 20, 2012 at 7:40 am

  7. I want to go on saying awww but I will limit it to just one 🙂 Thanks for sharing a bit of your story…the Sweet Tarts represent the beginning of your love in a way! I had forgotten all about them till now, and I used to like them a lot too. This is such an innovative and festive cake. The crumbled candy on top would have added just the right amount of crunch to the berries. Yummy yummy yummy I am craving somethin sweet and sour right now.


    July 20, 2012 at 1:17 am

    • We love sour candy. I looked for that “sour salt” like what you find on sour gummies? But no dice. That on strawberries might have been a little much but the tartness on the berries was soooooo good. Chad spent a ridiculous amount of money in that store when I worked there – candy, drinks, scratch-off lottery tickets… haha he spent a small fortune just to have a reason to talk to me. It was pretty cute. It got serious when he started sharing the candy with me 🙂

      Heather @ SugarDish(Me)

      July 20, 2012 at 7:46 am

      • That is so incredibly sweet! Ooh and I like how things went up a notch with the candy sharing. Wish you guys many more years of love and happiness!!! xoxo


        July 20, 2012 at 7:49 am

  8. Happy Birthday to Chad, Happy Birthday to Chad, Happy Birthday to Chad, Happy Birthday to Chad lol Yay for birthdays!!! I think it’s ADORABLE that candy brought you guys together, what a sweet story (see what I did there? lol)!!! I would have never envisioned adding sweet tarts to cheesecake but I’m totally intrigued!! The cheesecake itself looks amazing!!! The sweet tarts totally intimidate me though haha I like sour things, but I have to really be in the mood for sour candy haha Makes my mouth pucker just thinking about sourness lololol Those potato skins sound yummy though….where’s that blog??? HUH??? haha I’ve decided that once you are well rested and back from vacation, you need to blog way more lol!!!! Thank you in advance hahaha


    July 20, 2012 at 1:43 am

    • Get in the mood for something sour and then try it on some fruit! Or make someone else try it on fruit. Berries in particular. So so so good!!! I was worried it would be weird so I did a few test runs before I made the cake and we ate the cake before I posted this 🙂 The potato skins post is coming!!! I do need to blog more. But I’m picky about how my photos turn out, like when I cook in the evening everything looks blue and not so pretty. Those meals taste good but I don’t bother sharing them. After vacation I will step it up!

      Heather @ SugarDish(Me)

      July 20, 2012 at 7:52 am

      • haha you better! Put your camera on night mode and photo it up!! lol Sharing is caring haha Plus you always talk about amazing dishes you make and never show them…it makes me sad lol I have a Canon Powershot 8 megapixels it takes amazing pics…all the pics I use on here is with my crappy Android phone but if I cared more like you I’d use that camera haha Anyhow the point is, it’s a great camera for both day and night!!! What kind do you have?


        July 21, 2012 at 2:36 am

      • It’s a Nikon Coolpix S6200… it takes great pictures in the daylight, but the rest of the time we don’t get along. The camera I want is like $800… Chad may need a raise lol. And if there’s ever a recipe you need to see, holler!! 🙂

        Heather @ SugarDish(Me)

        July 21, 2012 at 4:20 am

      • lol Now that’s a pricey camera!!! You probably just need to reread the manual to your camera now, there has to be a way to take pretty night pictures too!! haha A recipe huh…hmmm how about…mac and cheese!!! I’d love to live vicariously through a cheesy mac and cheese with yummy buttery breadcrumbs!!! haha Yes, I am officially requesting some yummy Mac and Cheese!!!


        July 22, 2012 at 12:43 am

  9. I’ve never heard of Sweet Tarts – I think they must be similar to refreshers of love hearts in England (love hearts are the cutest, they have little messages on them, some of them are good like “be mine” or “you’re cute”) – I’ll have to try and find something similar for the next time I attempt a cheesecake for Cesar. Hope Chad had a great day, sure he did!


    July 20, 2012 at 3:23 am

    • Hmmmm… we have the love hearts here but they taste more like Necco wafers. They’re not tart at all. You hafta find Sweet Tarts! Like I would make you my Foodie Pen Pal just to share them 🙂 It would be super cute if the Sweet Tarts borrowed the messages from the love hearts. Probably they do around Valentine’s Day. He had a good birthday 🙂 AND he gets to have an official birthday party with my family at the beach!

      Heather @ SugarDish(Me)

      July 20, 2012 at 7:56 am

      • Beach Birthday Party – yay! I am officially on a Sweet Tart mission – I’m not holding out much hope around here, but I’m back in England in a couple of weeks so I shall attempt to hunt them out there! We should definitely do a sweet-swap!


        July 21, 2012 at 5:14 pm

  10. Your husband and I have a lot in common…I used to inhale Sweet Tarts followed by gallons of Dr. Pepper. The good old days.

    Happy Birthday to him! What a great pic of both of you!

    Have a fantastic weekend my friend.


    July 21, 2012 at 6:45 am

  11. I love the way you folded in your love story into Chad’s birthday cake, so sweet of you and creative! Now you have me thinking about making a cheesecake 🙂 yum!!

    • Hey Sandra! My rule of thumb is that if you’re thinking of making a cheesecake, you should absolutely make a cheesecake 🙂 so glad you liked the story

  12. How lovely! I love the way you incorporated Chad’s favourite candy into the pie, great idea!


    July 22, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    • Hey Nickki! Thank you! The Sweet Tarts were inspiring; made me wonder how many ways I could incorporate them at random in all sorts of things. Ideas…

  13. […] This: Sweet Tart Cheesecake Cherry Bourbon Fizz  Veal Stuffed Mini Peppers and Patty Pan Squash Honey-Glazed Grilled Plums […]

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