Where did the name come from? I have no idea. It’s been passed down from my grandmother, and that’s about all I know.

Well, that and it has been my Mom’s favorite cake for the last 30 or so years. The woman knows her way around desserts (I came by it honestly!) so clearly that means that this cake is a good one.

We’ve traditionally done either a cherry or pineapple topping, so I included the recipes for both. As you can tell from the pictures, the madre’s favorite is the cherry, which I highly recommend.

The cake is so much easier than a traditional cheesecake, and it also just has a lighter, brighter taste. There’s no need to bother with water baths or springform pans- just pour the filling into the crust, bake, and add the topping!

Some say that simplicity is delicious and this cake might just prove it. Enjoy!

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Crust Ingredients

  • 18 single graham crackers, crumbled (which is 4.5 sheets, or 1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted

Pie Ingredients:

  • 1.5 packages regular cream cheese (12 oz), softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

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Topping Ingredients (Cherry):

  • 2.5 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup Morello cherry liquid*
  • 1 cup Morello cherries, drained
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract

Topping Ingredients (Pineapple):

  • 1 cup crushed pineapple with juice
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice

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Destructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F.
  2. Mix all crust ingredients in a bowl until they come together. Press into a 9″ baking pan, making sure the crust is an even thickness on the bottom, and comes up fairly evenly around the sides of the pan.
  3. Beat cream cheese in a stand mixer or with a handheld mixer until smooth. Add in sugar, and continue beating until completely combined. Add in eggs, one at a time, then vanilla, ensuring that each ingredient is thoroughly beaten into the batter before adding in the next one.
  4. Pour the cream cheese mixture into the prepared pie crust and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the outside is slightly browned and the middle is just set enough that a toothpick or knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  5. While the cheesecake is baking, make one of the two toppings (either pineapple or cherry). For the cherry topping:
    1. Stir together cornstarch and sugar until combined. Over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, cook with cherry liquid until the mixture is clear and thick.
    2. Remove from heat and stir in the cherries, lemon juice, and almond extract, and set aside to cool while cake finishes.
  6. For the pineapple topping:
    1. Cook pineapple and cornstarch over medium-high heat until mixture is clear and thick. Remove from heat and stir in 1 Tbsp lemon juice. Set aside to cool while cake finishes.
  7. Once the cake and topping have both cooled, spread the topping evenly over the top of the cake- it should form one layer of fruit. Enjoy immediately, or refrigerate for up to three days (if it lasts that long!)

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Notes:

  • *My family likes the Morello cherries from Trader Joe’s. Otherwise you can use canned tart cherries or black cherries in syrup. For the latter, you can use 1 Tbsp sugar instead of two.

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