Blood Orange Cheesecake with Macadamia Vanilla Crust

Here’s some food for thought: is cheesecake cake or pie?

At first the answer might seem obvious — cheesecake is cake, that’s why it’s called cheesecake.

But last March the quasi-feminist fashion blog, Jezebel, had a cake vs. pie tournament and the winner was — you guessed it — cheesecake!

Not my favourite dessert, which is all well and good and whatever, but the funny thing was that cheesecake won (beat out red velvet cake, which I love) in the pie category.

Cheesecake competing as pie? Uh, cheating much?

This is at least what I thought at first, but their argument for having cheesecake as a contender for the pie side of the tournament was rather convincing.

Cheesecake has a crust — pies have crusts; cakes do not.

Cheesecake doesn’t need baking soda because cheesecake doesn’t rise — pies don’t rise; cakes do.

So cheesecake really isn’t cheesecake after all…

I’ll admit I was a little choked over the results, partly because I don’t love cheesecake with the same psychotic ferocity that everyone else seems to do, and also because I’m on team cake, all the way.

However, I can also admit that if there was ever a cheesecake that could sway me to the pie side of life, this would be it.

Blood Orange Cheesecake with
Macadamia-Vanilla Crust

*original recipe by Christine



  • 1 cup toasted macadamia nuts
  • 2 cups crushed Nilla Wafer cookies
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted


  • 1 big tub of cream cheese (400g /14 oz)
  • 1 cup soft goats cheese (270g /9 oz)
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup blood orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon blood orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract

Syrup (Optional)

  • 1/2 cup blood orange juice
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup white sugar


Before you begin, know that it is essential to have both your goats cheese and cream cheese at room temperature. I take my cheeses out of the fridge about 6 hours before I start, so you should, too!

Position your oven racks accordingly: one in the middle of the oven, and one in the bottom of the oven.

Preheat the oven to 325°F (or 160°C). Line the bottom and the sides of a 9-inch spring form cake pan with parchment paper.

First, make the crust: in a food processor, pulverize enough Nilla cookies to make approximately 2 cups of crumbs. Grind 1 cup of macadamia nuts. Combine the cookie crumbs, ground macadamia nuts, and flour in the food processor and pulse together a few times.

Turn the crumb and nut mixture out into a bowl and drizzle with melted butter.

Stir with a fork until the butter is evenly distributed, then press into the bottom of the prepared spring form pan, completely covering the bottom and pressing the crust mixture up the sides of the pan a little, too.

Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

To make the cheesecake: in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and goats cheese together until completely smooth.

Mix in the sugar, and beat until completely dissolved. Beat in the zest and extracts.

Whisk in the eggs, adding one at a time and beating vigorously after each addition. Whisk in the blood orange juice and lemon juice.

Place the spring form pan on a baking sheet. Pour the cheesecake batter over the cooled crust.

Now, before you put the cheesecake in the oven, fill an oven-safe pan or dish with water (I used a 9 x 9 inch baking pan) and place it on the bottom rack of the oven.

Bake the cheesecake for 70 ~ 75 minutes, or until the sides are set but the center still appears wobbly. Turn off the oven, open the oven door a crack, and let the cheesecake rest in the oven for another hour.

After an hour has passed, remove the cheesecake from the oven and place it in the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

Because it benefits from extra chilling time, this dessert is great to make a day ahead!

I garnished mine with an edible hibiscus flower and hibiscus syrup, but it’s good with or without anything extra on top.

But, if you would like an easy syrup to garnish your cheesecake with, simply simmer 1/2 cup blood orange juice, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and 1/4 cup white sugar together in a sauce pan over medium heat.

Reduce the liquid by half, remove from the heat, and let cool before using.


This cheesecake… the tangy-ness of goats cheese, the tartness of blood orange, the sweetness of macadamia and vanilla, the lusciously soft texture… total winner.

If you love cheesecake, you have to make this before blood oranges go out of season.

Still need more convincing?

Everyone who had a slice of this dessert either responded with, “Damn, this is good!” or “I’m not normally a cheesecake-person, but… wow!”

Team pie? It could happen. Yum!

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3 thoughts on “Blood Orange Cheesecake with Macadamia Vanilla Crust

  1.!!! Your Cheesecake looks FABULOUS!! I love how you used Vanilla Wafers in the Crust! Yum! 🙂


  2. Brandon says:

    I’m gonna start calling it cheesepie! Wait. That sounds so gross. Oh, whatever.

    This look so elegant. You always find a way to make your presentation truly refined and appealing to the eye. I’m amazed at all the exotic ingredients you can put together too!

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