Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake

Cover recipe- Cooking Light, Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake: December 2010

I recently got married and one of the things on our registry was a springform pan. I’ve never made my own cheesecake, but I’ve always loved how rich and creamy it is and figured having my own pan would be a great way to make a healthier version of one of my favorite desserts. But after almost one year of marriage, I had yet to pop open the pan. That is, until the latest issue of Cooking Light landed in my mailbox.

Cheesecake is typically high in fat and calories and bursting with flavor. I’ve tried a few healthier versions of cheesecake in the past, but I’ve been disappointed with the taste. So when the cover line from this issue read, “Our richest cheesecake,” I knew I had to try it and see if this Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake not only tasted like a full-fat version, but was also worthy of the coveted cover spot.

Print Print Recipe

Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake

Yield: 12 servings

Prep Time: 45 min + chill time and cooling time

Cook Time: 1 hour 30 min


4 ounces chocolate graham crackers
3 tablespoons canola oil
Cooking spray
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup Chambord (raspberry liqueur)
3 tablespoons water
1 cup sugar
2 (8-ounce) packages block-style 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (4 ounces) block-style fat-free cream cheese, softened
1 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2 large egg whites


1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Wrap outside and bottom of a 9-inch springform pan tightly with a double layer of heavy-duty foil.

3. Place crackers in a food processor; process until finely ground. Drizzle with oil; pulse until combined. Press mixture into bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of prepared pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 8 minutes; cool on a rack.

4. Reduce oven temperature to 325°.

5. Place cranberries, sugar, liqueur, and water in a saucepan; boil. Cook 8 minutes or until cranberries pop and mixture is syrupy. Cool 20 minutes. Place mixture in a food processor; process 1 minute or until smooth.

6. Combine 1 cup sugar and cheeses in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Beat in yogurt, vanilla, and salt. Add whole eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

7. Place 2 egg whites in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until soft peaks form using clean, dry beaters. Fold beaten egg whites into cream cheese mixture. Pour filling over crust. Spoon cranberry mixture over filling; swirl together using the tip of a knife. Place springform pan in a 13 x 9-inch metal baking pan. Add hot water to pan to a depth of 2 inches. Bake at 325° for 50 minutes or until center of cheesecake barely moves when pan is touched.

8. Turn oven off. Cool cheesecake in closed oven 30 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven. Run a knife around outside edge. Cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill 8 hours. Serves 12.


*The recipe called for only 4 ounces of chocolate graham crackers, but if I made this again I would bump it up to 4.5 or at least 5 ounces. The crust got pretty thin in a couple places while I spread it out.
*The cranberry mixture was absolutely delicious and I would consider doubling the amount called for so I could use it for something else (ice cream, on toast, or even alone by the spoonful).
*I would have liked a little more clarification in Step 7: “Bake at 325° for 50 minutes or until center of cheesecake barely moves when pan is touched.” At 50 minutes, the cheesecake seemed almost as jiggly as when I put it in; it was far from “barely” moving. I cooked it for an additional 30 minutes and didn’t notice a change in movement, but the top was getting more and more brown, so I stopped the total time at 80 minutes and continued with the directions.

Nutritional Information per serving:
Serving size: 1 wedge
Calories per serving: 321
Fat per serving: 14.1g
Saturated Fat per serving: 6.1g
Sodium per serving: ,span class="sodium">333g
Fiber per serving: .9g
Protein per serving: 10g
Cholesterol per serving: 81mg
Carbohydrates per serving: 37.8g

SourceCooking Light, December 2010

The results:

I served this to some of my girlfriends who all gave it rave reviews and even asked to take some home to their husbands. But the best part was how it tasted. I love that I could eat a slice and not feel too guilty about what I was consuming. The flavors mingled so well together that nobody would be able to guess this was a lightened up cheesecake.

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?

Oh my, yes! I’ve made several recipes from Cooking Light and applaud them every time for how simple their recipes are, and this was no exception. I thought a cheesecake would be difficult to make, but I was pleasantly surprised by how easy this came together. Not to mention, the beautiful red swirl compliments the chocolate crust and white from the cheesecake—this dessert was made for a holiday get-together.

Jessica Lynn is a New Mexico native transplanted in Georgia thanks to her husband serving in the United States Air Force. She blogs about food, along with her sister-in-law, at The Tale of Two Kitchens ( and newlywed life at Jesstagirl and Her Officer (

16 Responses to “Herbed Cheese Pizza”

  1. 1

    VeggieGirl — October 26, 2009 @ 5:21 am

    Atypical and fabulous! :)

  2. 2

    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — October 26, 2009 @ 7:42 am

    I have that copy of Cooking Light, and I have been thinking about making the pizza. Thanks for testing it out for me. Yours looks absolutely gorgeous!

  3. 3

    Barbara Bakes — October 26, 2009 @ 8:33 am

    I could fall in love with light pizza!

  4. 4

    Louise — October 26, 2009 @ 9:40 am

    This pizza recipe would have been just perfect for the pizza party! I’m really liking your new blog Lori. Very cool…

  5. 5

    Aggie — October 26, 2009 @ 12:27 pm

    Mouthwatering…I loved this on the cover when I got my mag. I’m such a sucker for pizza…
    I like the newer layout of CL too, seems like they are packing it with a ton of great recipes! And it’s cleaner and more organized. Great pick for you to review! Am really enjoying your new blog! :)

  6. 6

    Terri Archibald — October 26, 2009 @ 1:29 pm

    I’m very happy with the recent changes made by Cooking Light also. It is one of the magazines that I get very excited to see in the mailbox! Regarding the pizza recipe, I’m very excited to try it. I’m all about the crust. Thanks for checking it out for all of us!

  7. 7

    wasabi prime — October 26, 2009 @ 1:58 pm

    This looks so delicious! Again, great helpful commentary about the recipe and tips for substitutions. I never have everything a recipe calls for and I usually forget to shop for it!

  8. 8

    Phoo-D — October 26, 2009 @ 2:35 pm

    This looks terrific. I’ll have to scout out that Greek cheese- I’ve never heard of it before!

  9. 9

    Katie @ goodLife {eats} — October 26, 2009 @ 2:39 pm

    Yum! That looks really good. I’ve been enjoying the new Cooking Light as well and this cover definitely caught my eye when I received this issue.

  10. 10

    France — October 26, 2009 @ 4:35 pm

    Your photo should be on the cover of a magazine. This pizza looks so good.

  11. 11

    CookiePie — October 26, 2009 @ 5:27 pm

    Love this! Gorgeous photo, and I love that you tried freezing the dough. And I totally agree about the changes to CL – great magazine!

  12. 12

    jo — October 27, 2009 @ 6:57 pm

    Oh wow – I can already smell pizza in the air. This looks absolutely yummy and would love to have a slice.

  13. 13

    NJ — October 28, 2009 @ 11:15 am

    I recently found and subscribed to your blog. I love the concept and am enjoying the posts. Your photo inspires me to try the pizza more than theirs did. Looking forward to more recipes and pictures.

  14. 14

    Sues — October 28, 2009 @ 11:47 am

    Your pizza looks prettier than the one on the cover! I love a good “light” pizza :)

  15. 15

    Jill — October 28, 2009 @ 9:12 pm

    This is such a great concept for a blog. Loved the spider cake and this pizza looks DELICIOUS and even better than the cover. I’m not sure if it would have caught my attention, but after seeing yours and reading an information post, I think I’ll have to try it too. :)

  16. 16

    Bethany — November 6, 2009 @ 3:30 pm

    That looks amazing!!

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