This Bananas Foster Cheesecake is a banana cheesecake batter baked in a buttery oatmeal crust. A dark rum, brown sugar caramel, and a whipped cream garnish topping make this bananas foster cheesecake recipe one of the best desserts you’ve ever had.
This riff on one of New Orleans most classic desserts will quickly become one of your favorite foods.
What is Bananas Foster?
For my kiddos’ 10th birthday, we took them to New Orleans, Louisiana. Their birthday dinner was at Brennan’s, which is a NOLA institution. Because you’re at Brennan’s, it’s a given that you will have the bananas foster for dessert.
These days, Brennan’s is a restaurant known worldwide for this dessert. According to our waiter at Brennan’s, Ella and Owen Brennan- and their chef Paul Blangé- thought up a recipe featuring a newly arrived Caribbean fruit: the banana. They came up with this dessert and named it Bananas Foster in honor of the New Orleans Crime Commission Chairman, Richard Foster. They figured if they brown-nosed the commissioner, they’d be looked out for. That’s my theory, at least.
The original bananas foster dessert is made with sliced bananas quickly simmered in a caramel sauce made from brown sugar and butter. Dark rum and banana liqueur are poured into the caramel sauce and set aflame. Finally, the banana-laced sauce is poured over scoops of vanilla ice cream and served to diners at $10 a pop. So, you’re basically paying for the restaurant’s insurance premium.
How Do I Make the Oatmeal Cookie Crust?
To make the crust for this cheesecake, veer away traditional crunchy graham cracker crust and make an oatmeal crust. The key to making a successful cheesecake crust is always starting with a crisp cookie or cracker. Because softer cookies absorb more of the melted butter, using them causes your cheesecake crust to be soggy and greasy. A crunchy cookie like these Oatmeal Cookies is best for these dessert crusts.
Pulse the cookies in your food processor or blender until you have a fine crumb. You can also put the cookies in a freezer storage bag and crush them with a rolling pin until they resemble fine crumbs.
Do I Have To Use Oatmeal Cookies For the Crust?
You don’t have to use oatmeal cookies to make the crust for this cheesecake. You can replace them with regular graham crackers or make a vanilla wafer crust, or one made from chocolate animal crackers or zwieback cookies. All are great swaps for the oatmeal cookies.
The most important thing is to ensure the cookies or crackers you replace the oatmeal cookies with are crisp.
How Long Do I Bake the Cheesecake Crust?
Mix the cookie crumbs and the melted butter in a small bowl until they hold together. Grab a handful of the crust and squeeze your hand into a fist. The crust should remain clumped, and you’re ready to line your 9-inch cheesecake pan with it. If the crust immediately falls apart after you release your fist, add more butter. On the contrary, if butter oozes from between your fingers when you squeeze, add more oatmeal cookie crumbs (a tablespoon at a time) to dry it out.
Use the bottom of a measuring cup to pack the crust into the springform pan. Once the crust is formed, bake it for 10 minutes in a 350°F (177°C) oven.
Remove the pan from the oven and allow the cheesecake crust to cool. Keep the oven on since you still have to bake the cheesecake.
Wrap the bottom and sides in two layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil once the pan is cool enough to handle.
Set the crust aside while you prepare the cheesecake filling.
What Do I Need To Make the Banana Cheesecake?
The ingredients for your banana foster cheesecake need to be at room temperature for the best results. If you don’t have dark rum or banana liqueur, you can replace them with rum and banana extracts. You can also leave them out of the cheesecake batter altogether, but you will need them for the sauce later.
How Ripe Should My Bananas Be?
This recipe’s bananas should look like those in the image above. If they’re darker- meaning more mottled with black spots or even black- that’s fine. The darker the bananas are, the more banana flavor your cheesecake will have.
Begin the cheesecake batter by blending the cream cheese, brown sugar, nutmeg, and salt in a large mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Once the mixture is free of lumps, add the eggs to the bowl one at a time. Blend the batter until the egg is incorporated. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the next egg. Continue adding the eggs, scraping down the bowl, and beaters this way. Add the vanilla, dark rum, and banana liqueur when you add the final egg.
Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl again. Next, add the ripe, mashed, or pureed bananas to the cream cheese mixture. Blend the banana into the batter at low speed, then add the cornstarch. Blend the mixture at low speed until the cornstarch is blended in. Don’t over-mix the batter after adding the cornstarch; it may bake up gummy.
How Long Do I Bake the Cheesecake?
Pour the banana cheesecake batter into the crust-lined prepared pan. Set the foil-wrapped cheesecake pan into a pan that has a larger circumference. Level the batter in the pan to make sure the surface is even.
Pour boiling water into the outer pan to create a water bath, and carefully slide the whole setup into your preheated oven.
Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
After the baking time has elapsed, turn the oven off and prop open the oven door with a wooden spoon. Gradually cool the cheesecake in the oven to avoid a crack from forming on its surface.
After an hour of cooling in the oven:
- Remove the cheesecake setup from the oven.
- Remove the cheesecake pan from the water-filled outer pan.
- Allow the cheesecake to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Once the cheesecake reaches room temperature, cover it and refrigerate it for 4 hours-24 hours before slicing it.
This is the foolproof way to always achieve a perfect cheesecake (without cracks).
How Do I Make the Sauce For Bananas Foster Cheesecake?
To make the rum caramel sauce topping for the cheesecake, you need banana liqueur, heavy whipping cream, brown sugar, cinnamon, salted (or unsalted) butter, and dark rum. If you don’t have salted butter, replace it with unsalted butter and add a pinch of kosher salt when you add the sugar to the pan.
Before you begin, ensure anything flammable is out of range from the pan. You’ll light the liquor on fire later, and I want you to be safe. I also can’t be held responsible for any lack of safety.
How Long Do I Cook the Caramel Sauce?
Add the butter to a sauté pan and melt it over medium-low heat. Once the butter melts, whisk in the brown sugar and cinnamon.
Continue slowly cooking the brown sugar, stirring every 30 seconds to encourage it to dissolve.
How Long Do I Cook the Caramel Sauce?
One thing about making this sauce is that it looks ugly most of the time you’re making it. It will go from looking like a gritty paste to curdled within 2 minutes. Keep cooking and stirring, though.
After 3 or 4 minutes of cooking over medium-low, the sugar will dissolve and mix with the butter.
We’re cooking it over a lower temperature because we don’t want to brown the butter more than necessary.
Once the sugar dissolves and begins to mix with the butter, add the liquors to the pan. Heat the alcohol for 20 seconds. This will help evaporate some of the alcohol, which reduces the flare-up when we set it ablaze.
How Do I Properly Flambé the Sauce?
Check your surroundings. Ensure there’s no cloth (especially your clothes), hair, or flammable materials within (or over) 1 1/2 feet of the pan. If you can- and feel it’s safe- move the pan from under any wood cabinets if they’re less than 1 1/2 feet away.
Turn off the stove and use a long-handled lighter- fireplace lighters are great for this- or a long match to light the alcohol in the pan. Remember to keep your arms and face away from the pan as you light the alcohol!
Allow the liquor to ignite and burn out on its own. Don’t stir it, as the flame can burn you. Pay attention to the pan. If you see what looks like a mirage, that may be a blue flame, which is harder to see than an orange or red flame.
Do I Have to Flambé the Bananas Foster Sauce?
If you’re uncomfortable lighting the alcohol in the pan, you certainly don’t have to. You will have to simmer the sauce for 10 minutes to cook off as much of that alcohol as possible, though. Keep the flame low to avoid burning the sauce.
But, if you did flambé it, whisk the warm caramel sauce again once the flame dies out. The sauce should be a beautiful brown color at this point.
With the heat still off, whisk in the room-temperature heavy cream.
Can I Make the Caramel Rum Topping Ahead?
You can make the caramel rum sauce for the bananas foster cheesecake a day ahead, especially if you like a thick sauce. Once the bananas foster topping is smooth, transfer it to a covered glass jar and store it in the fridge. Just before topping the cheesecake, warm the sauce for 30 seconds in the microwave to thin it before pouring it over the top of the creamy banana cheesecake.
Allow the sauce to cool for 30 minutes to an hour, then spoon it onto the surface of your chilled, de-panned cheesecake.
How Do I Garnish the Bananas Foster Cheesecake?
Garnish bananas foster cheesecake with a garland of vanilla whipped cream after topping it with the caramel rum sauce.
A piping bag fitted with a 1M tip makes the prettiest border on top of the cheesecake.
Arrange dried or fresh banana slices and chopped walnuts on the whipped cream border to complete the decoration.
Tell me that’s not the most gorgeous dessert on this side of Bourbon St!
How Do I Serve Bananas Foster Cheesecake?
Slice the and serve the bananas foster cheesecake with chicory or regular coffee, milk, or tea.
The oatmeal crust is pretty hearty, so press down through the cheesecake firmly to cut through it.
What’s the Best Way to Store Cheesecake?
Keeping cheesecakes refrigerated until you’re ready to enjoy them is essential.
Depending on how fluid the caramel sauce was when drizzled onto the cheesecake, it may drip in the cool air. I guard against spills by setting my cheesecake on a larger platter.
Press a piece of wax or parchment paper against the cheesecake’s exposed sides to keep it from drying out and becoming gummy in the refrigerator.
Store the cheesecake in the refrigerator, lightly covered, for up to 3 days after cutting or 4 days after baking.
Can I Freeze Bananas Foster Cheesecake?
You can freeze Bananas Foster Cheesecake before topping it with the rum caramel and decorating it.
Remove the cheesecake from the springform pan after it’s completely chilled and wrap it in 2 layers of plastic film. Store it in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw the cheesecake completely in the refrigerator before topping it with the caramel and whipped cream garnishes.
If you’re looking for a dessert for banana lovers, this amazing Bananas Foster Cheesecake is perfect. Be sure to pin this creamy cheesecake recipe to your desserts board, and let me know what you think of it in the comments below.
Bananas Foster Cheesecake with Oatmeal Cookie Crustat Sense & Edibility
- 9-inch springform (cheesecake) pan
- long handled lighter or match
Oatmeal Cookie Crust
- 2 cups (355 grams or 27 oatmeal cookies (or graham crackers)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar optional
- 1/2 cups (113 grams) unsalted butter melted
- 4 8-ounce packages (904 grams) cream cheese room temperature
- 1 cup (205 grams) light brown sugar lightly packed
- 1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- 1 tablespoon dark rum (or rum extract)
- 1 tablespoon banana liqueur (or banana extract)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups (350 grams or 3 large) bananas very ripe, peeled and mashed
- 1/2 cup (60 grams) cornstarch
Caramel Rum Sauce
- 4 tablespoons (57 grams) salted butter (or unsalted butter and a pinch of kosher salt)
- 1/2 cup (110 grams) brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) dark rum
- 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) banana liqueur
- 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) heavy cream room temperature
- whipped cream recipe linked in post
- chopped walnuts
- dehydrated banana slices
Prepare the Oatmeal Cookie Crust
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (177°C).In a mixing bowl, use a rubber spatula or your hand to combine the oatmeal cookie crumbs, sugar, and melted butter until they hold together.
- Grab a handful of the crust and squeeze your hand into a fist. If the crust holds together firmly, transfer the mixture to a 9-inch springform pan. If, on the other hand, the crust immediately falls apart after you release your fist, add more butter until it reaches the proper consistency. On the contrary, if butter oozes from between your fingers when you squeeze, dry out the mixture by adding more of the oatmeal cookie crumbs (a tablespoon at a time).
- Use the bottom of a measuring cup to pack the crust into the bottom of cheesecake pan creating a 1/4-inch side border as you form the crust. Once the crust is formed, bake it for 10 minutes in the preheated oven.
- After the crust is baked, remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool. Keep the oven on for baking the cheesecake.
- Once the pan is cool enough to handle, wrap the bottom and side in 2 layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Set the crust aside while you prepare the cheesecake batter.
Make the Banana Cheesecake
- Once the mixture is free of lumps, add the eggs, one a time, to the bowl. Blend the batter until each egg is incorporated before adding the next egg. Continue adding the eggs, scraping down both the bowl and beaters in this manner.
- Add the vanilla, dark rum, and banana liqueur with the final egg. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl again. Add the mashed bananas to the batter. Blend the banana into the batter at low speed, before adding the cornstarch. Blend the mixture at low speed just until the cornstarch is blended in. Don't over-mix the batter after adding the cornstarch, or it will result in a gummy texture.
Bake, then Gradually Cool the Banana Cheesecake
- Pour the banana cheesecake batter into the cooled oatmeal cookie crust. Level the batter in the pan to make sure the surface is even. Set the foil-wrapped cheesecake pan into a pan that has a larger circumference. Pour boiling water into the outer pan and carefully slide the whole set up into your preheated oven. Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour 15 minutes.
- After the bake time has elapsed, turn the oven off and prop open the door. Gradually cool the cheesecake in the oven for 1 hour.
- After an hour of cooling in the oven, remove the cheesecake from the oven. Remove the cheesecake pan from the water-filled pan, then remove the aluminum foil from the cheesecake pan.Allow the cheesecake to cool at room temperature for a half-hour. Once the cheesecake reaches room temp, cover it and refrigerate it for 4 hours-24 hours before slicing it.
Prepare the Caramel Rum Sauce
- Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium-low heat. Once the butter melts, whisk in the brown sugar and cinnamon. Slowly cook the brown sugar, stirring every 30 seconds or so to encourage it to dissolve. It will go from looking like a gritty paste to curdled within 2 minutes.
- After 3-4 minutes of cooking over medium-low, the sugar will begin to dissolve and mix with the butter.Once the sugar dissolves- it will look like thick gravy- and begins to mix with the butter, add the dark rum and banana liqueur to the pan. Heat the alcohol for 20 seconds.
- Turn off the stove and use a long-handled lighter or match to light the alcohol in the pan. Remember to keep, anything flammable (hair, clothing, cabinetry, your arms and face) away from the pan as you light the alcohol!Without stirring or tilting the pan, allow the liquor to ignite and burn out on its own. Once the flame dies out, whisk the caramel again. The sauce should be a beautiful brown color at this point.
- With the heat still off, whisk in the room temperature heavy cream. Allow the sauce to cool for one hour for a thinner sauce or refrigerate it overnight for a very thick caramel sauce.
Garnish and Enjoy the Bananas Foster Cheesecake
- Remove the collar of the springform pan and smooth the sides of the chilled cheesecake. Spoon the caramel rum sauce onto the surface of the cheesecake.
- Use a piping bag fitted with a 1M tip to pipe a border of vanilla whipped cream onto the cheesecake's edgeArrange dried banana slices and chopped walnuts on the whipped cream border to complete the decoration.
- Slice and enjoy within 3 days of slicing or 4 days after baking. Refrigerate leftover cheesecake.
Oatmeal Cookie Crust Swaps:Instead of oatmeal cookies use:
- Graham crackers
- Vanilla wafers
- Chocolate animal crackers
- Zwieback cookies
Safety Tips to Observe when Flambeing (I am not responsible for any damage or injuries as a result of failing to follow these instructions):
- If you're not comfortable lighting the alcohol in the pan, you cook off the alcohol, instead. Simmer the sauce for 10 minutes after adding the alcohol to cook off as much of the alcohol as possible. Keep the heat low to avoid burning the sauce.
- Check your surroundings. Ensure there's no cloth (especially your clothes), hair, cabinetry or flammable materials within 1 1/2 feet of the pan.
- Make sure you have a fire extinguisher or flour close at hand to douse any unintentional flare-ups.
- Use a long-handled light or match to light your alcohol.
- Move the pan from under any wood cabinets if they're less than 1 1/2 feet away before lighting the alcohol.
- Pay close attention to any invisible flame in the pan. It will appear as a blue flame, mirage or "air waves".
Make Ahead Caramel Instructions (up to 1 week ahead):
- Make the caramel as instructed.
- Transfer the sauce to a glass jar and store it in the fridge.
- When you're ready to cover the cheesecake, warm it for 30 seconds in the microwave to thin it.
- Pour the caramel over the top of the banana cheesecake as desired.
- You can also double this caramel rum sauce recipe and use it as a topping for frozen custard or poundcake or a dipping sauce for churros or fresh fruit.
- Keep the cheesecake chilled until you're ready to serve it.
- Press a piece of wax paper or parchment paper against the cheesecake's exposed sides to keep it from drying out in the chilled air.
- The cheesecake will keep, in the fridge, for 3 days after cutting or 4 days after baking.
- Freeze the Bananas Foster Cheesecake prior to topping it with the caramel rum sauce and decorating it.
- Remove the collar of the springform pan and wrap the cheesecake in two layers of plastic film. Follow the plastic with a layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil.
- Store the cheesecake in the freezer for 2 months.
- Thaw it completely in the refrigerator before topping with the caramel, whipped cream, and your desired garnishes.