Before you kiss this summer goodbye, go out with a blast on Labor Day with several servings of this perfectly sweet, low carb zebra cheesecake. The fancy zebra pattern is a real eye catcher, and after the first bite it’s even more impressive.
I made my first cheesecake 10 years ago. My colleague, Melissa, a big fan of cheesecake, introduced me to this rich and creamy dessert. She would use the store-bought pre-made cheesecake/pie crusts and fill them in with her favorite ingredients. However, I had to find an alternative to those convenient crusts due to our gluten-free diet.
Thankfully, making gluten-free cheesecake crust isn’t hard at all. In fact, I consider cheesecake to be one of the simplest gluten-free desserts to make. Our family loves both dairy and non-dairy cheesecake. I can’t tell you how many times I made this low carb zebra cheesecake for parties. Both the wheat eaters and the gluten-freers are enjoying it. Upon many requests from my friends, it’s time to write and release the recipe.
I know you’re probably itching to know how to create the zebra pattern. Here is how, with some tips:
- Prepare two different types of cheesecake fillings, regular (the white one) and dark (the chocolate one). Be sure to make the consistency similar.
- Pour some of the regular filling into the center of the prepared cheesecake crust. Then pour some of the dark filling into the center of the regular filling that you just poured in. The dark filling will push the regular filling outwards.
- Continue alternating between pouring these two fillings until they’re gone. Gently shake and tap the baking pan and let the cheesecake filling spread out evenly. Getting the consistency of each filling as close as possible helps the layers to spread out better.
By the way, did you notice that in many cheesecake recipes, sugar and condensed milk are commonly used? Do you want to cut down on the extra calories? To make a healthier version with lower carbs, I used pure stevia extract as the main sweetener and 2 tablespoons of coconut sugar to balance the taste. You’ll be surprised by how much more enjoyable the cheesecake is without all the added sugar. Now it’s a cheesecake instead of a sugar cake, right?
I have known some folks who didn’t care for cheesecake. I said, “didn’t”! After trying out this low carb zebra cheesecake, they now love cheesecake. It’s perfectly sweetened, rich and creamy, and gluten-free.
- 1⅓ cup (200 grams) All-purpose Gluten-free flour (see note for grain-free option)
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon pure stevia extract powder
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 16 oz (454 grams) light cream cheese, soften at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- ¾ teaspoon pure stevia extract powder
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1½ cups light sour cream
- 3 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, special dark preferred
- Preheat oven to 350 °F. Lightly grease the springform pan with butter or cooking spray.
- Mix all the dry ingredients in a food processor. Add melted butter and mix again until the mixture just comes together.
- Transfer the crust into the greased springform pan. Spread evenly on the bottom. Press with hands to compact the crust mixture. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from the oven, and then set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, use a hand mixer set at medium speed to beat cream cheese until it is fluffy. Approximately 2 minutes. Add coconut sugar, stevia, vanilla extract, and sour cream. Beat using medium speed for another 2 minutes until it’s well mixed. Add 2 eggs, one at a time, and beat for 2 more minutes.
- In another mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining egg and cocoa powder. Transfer approximately half of the cheesecake filling into the bowl. Use the hand mixer set on medium speed to mix the chocolate cheesecake filling until smooth.
- Pour some of the regular (white) filling into the center of the prepared cheesecake crust. Then pour some of the chocolate filling into the center of the regular filling that you just poured in. The dark filling will push the regular filling outwards.
- Continue alternating between pouring these two fillings until they’re gone. Gently shake and tap the baking pan and let the cheesecake filling spread out evenly.
- Preheat oven to 350 °F.
- Place 2 layers of aluminum foil under the springform pan and continue wrapping it up the sides of the pan. Place the springform and the baking pan together onto the middle rack of oven. Fill the baking pan with boiling water, approximately 5 cups. The aluminum foil will prevent the water from leaking into the spring form.
- Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Do not open the oven door during baking.
- Once it’s baked, let the oven door open slightly and let the cool air in slowly. This prevents the cheesecake from cracking on the surface.
- Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let it cool completely at room temperature before moving it into the refrigerator. Refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving.
To reduce carbs further, you may replace the gluten-free flour mix with 11/4 cups of almond flour and 3 tablespoons of coconut flour, which also makes the cheesecake grain free.