This Millionaire's Cheesecake is a fun twist on the classic Millionaire's Shortbread. No-bake vanilla cheesecake on a shortbread base, topped with gooey caramel and chocolate ganache.
Millionaire's Shortbread is a classic Scottish treat that is loved by many, so I figured - why not turn it into a cheesecake and make it EVEN better? The cheesecake layer in the middle really transforms this from a sweet snack to a truly indulgent dessert. (Cheesecake lovers, rejoice!)
For all my cheesecake lovers out there, this is definitely one to try. You may also enjoy my Baked Chocolate Cheesecake. Or if you're all about that caramel life, check out my Caramel Cheesecake recipe.
What is Millionaires Cheesecake?
This Millionaire’s Cheesecake recipe is a twist on the classic Scottish traybake - Millionaire's shortbread (also known as Caramel Shortcake). The original traybake consists of a buttery shortbread base, with a thick layer of caramel, topped with chocolate. It's delicious and very popular throughout the UK and now other parts of the world. If you would like to make the original traybake version, check out my Millionaire's Shortbread recipe.
I thought it would be fun to turn this classic Scottish treat into a cheesecake! The Millionaire's cheesecake consists of that same shortbread base, then a layer of creamy, no-bake cheesecake, a gooey caramel layer and is topped with chocolate ganache. The chocolate ganache made more sense than a set chocolate as it will be easier to cut through without smooshing the other ingredients.
Butter - We'll use this for both the caramel and the shortbread. It's best to use unsalted butter as we will be adding extra salt into each element individually.
Sugar - You want to use superfine white sugar so that it can easily dissolve into the cream cheese. (Caster sugar in the UK)
Flour - The flour is for the shortbread biscuit base, use all-purpose flour (plain flour).
Cream Cheese - Make sure you buy full-fat cream cheese.
Powdered Sugar - Also known as Icing sugar or confectioners sugar. This will help to thicken the cheesecake filling slightly.
Vanilla - Try to find a high-quality vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste. Avoid using vanilla essence if you can.
Whipping Cream - You can use heavy cream, whipping cream or double cream - basically any kind of cream with 32% fat or higher. Do not use half-and-half!
Light Brown Sugar - Also known as golden sugar. It's the soft, pale brown sugar that looks kind of like wet sand. This will help add to the caramel flavor.
Condensed Milk - Sweetened condensed milk will be the base for our caramel. Do not buy evaporated milk that comes in very similar cans!
Golden Syrup - In the UK we often use Golden Syrup in baking. It's hard to find in other parts of the world, but Golden Corn Syrup is a great substitute and is usually readily available.
Chocolate - I like to use dark chocolate for the chocolate ganache on top of the cheesecake, as it cuts through the other, very sweet elements. But you can use any kind of chocolate you like. Make sure you are using real chocolate for the ganache, not chocolate chips or chocolate candy bars.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to Make the Shortbread Biscuit Base
The shortbread is the only baked element of this cheesecake, but it's super quick and easy. It's a nice change from the usual cheesecake base of crushed biscuits and butter and keeps the dessert more similar to the original caramel shortbread.
- Preheat the oven to 350°C / 180°C. I like to line the base of my cake pan with a parchment paper circle to make the cheesecake easier to remove and serve later, but this is optional. Note: Make sure you are using a loose-bottomed or springform cake tin.
- Put all the shortbread ingredients - flour, sugar, salt, and butter into a bowl and rub the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingers until it resembles bread crumbs. Then you should be able to squeeze the mixture together to form a ball of dough. Alternatively, if you have a food processor it is also super easy to do this in the food processor, just throw the ingredients in and pulse until it reaches the same stage.
- Put the shortbread dough into your cake pan and press it down to form a flat disc.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and let cool while you prepare the cheesecake.
Tip: If you don't plan to serve this Millionaire cheesecake the next day, I recommend adding an extra thin layer of melted chocolate on top of the base of the cheesecake and letting it set before pouring the cheesecake layer on top. This will create a barrier between the shortbread and the cheesecake and prevent the shortbread from going soggy if kept in the fridge for a few days. Just melt about 100g of chocolate in the microwave and pour a very thin layer on top of the shortbread.
How to Make the No-Bake Cheesecake
- Whip the cream to stiff peaks using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl with an electric whisk The cream must reach stiff peaks or the cheesecake will not set properly. If you only whip to soft peaks then the cheesecake will not be firm and will be messy. Transfer to another bowl and set aside.
- Whip the other cheesecake ingredients - cream cheese, white sugar, powdered sugar, and vanilla, together until creamy and smooth. The trick to making a smooth cheesecake without lumps is to use room-temperature cream cheese.
- Once everything is combined and smooth, gently fold the whipped cream into the cheesecake mixture, just until combined.
- Pour the cheesecake into the cake pan, on top of the cooled shortbread base.
- Smooth the cheesecake out with a palette knife and put it in the fridge to chill while you prepare the caramel.
How to Make the Gooey Caramel
- Put the light brown sugar, butter, and golden corn syrup (or golden syrup) in a small saucepan over medium heat. Keep stirring until the melted butter and golden syrup have fully coated the light brown sugar.
- Bring the mixture to a boil. Once the mixture starts to froth, remove from the heat and add the condensed milk and salt. Stir until combined.
- Return to the heat and bring to a boil again. Boil for 1 minute, the caramel should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl to cool.
- Let cool for about 90 minutes. By this point, it should still be slightly warm to the touch.
- Remove ¼ of the caramel and set it aside (we'll use this later for serving and/or decorating) Pour the remaining caramel over the cheesecake and spread it out to cover the cheesecake evenly.
- Put the cheesecake back in the fridge.
How to Make the Chocolate Ganache
Traditionally for caramel shortcake you would pour melted chocolate over the caramel layer and let it set hard to create a 'snap' when you bite into it. Because the cheesecake is a soft base, it makes more sense to use a chocolate ganache topping so the cheesecake and caramel aren't squished when putting your fork into it. But you're not fussed about messy slices, by all means, do a solid chocolate layer instead - I'd just try to keep it on the thinner side.
- Chop your chocolate into small pieces and place in a bowl.
- Heat the heavy cream in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- Once the cream is scalding (starting to steam and show tiny little bubbles on the surface), remove from the heat and pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate.
- Let the chocolate and cream sit for a minute, then begin mixing until all the chocolate has melted and you have a glossy, smooth ganache.
- Cover with plastic and let cool completely at room temperature. This will take a couple of hours, by which point your caramel layer should be completely cool and slightly stiff.
- Once the ganache is completely cool, pour it over the top of the caramel layer and smooth it out with a palette knife or the back of a spoon. You can also make some nice shapes or wavy lines in the ganache if you like.
- Put the whole cheesecake back in the fridge and leave the whole Millionaires Cheesecake to set overnight.
How to Remove and Serve
As mentioned above, it is essential that you use a springform tin or loose-bottomed cake pan to make this cheesecake (or any cheesecake, really).
- Once the cheesecake has chilled overnight, remove the cake pan from the fridge and let it sit on the counter for five minutes.
- Remove cheesecake from the pan. If you are using a springform pan this will involve releasing the sides. For a loose-bottomed pan, it will mean pushing the base up through the top of the pan. Be very gentle so you don't damage the cheesecake.
- The caramel may droop down the outside of the cheesecake a little as you remove it, don't worry, I think this adds to the overall look, and it should still be set on the inside.
- If you want to, remove the cheesecake from the base of the cheesecake pan and transfer it to a serving plate.
- Heat the reserved caramel from earlier in the microwave for 20 seconds, then drizzle over each slice of Millionaire's cheesecake before serving for an extra touch.
Millionaire's Cheesecake Bars - If you would prefer to make Millionaire's cheesecake bars instead of a round cheesecake, you can make the recipe exactly the same but into a 10-inch brownie pan or traybake pan instead.
Set Chocolate Top - As mentioned above, the traditional caramel shortcake has a set chocolate topping. I changed this to a ganache for the cheesecake to make it easier to eat, but you could replace the chocolate ganache with melted chocolate and let it set hard. Just make sure you. keep it a relatively thin layer so you can still get your fork through it!
- Loose-based cake pan or springform pan.
- Stand mixer or electric whisk
Store the Millionaire's Cheesecake in the fridge in an airtight container. It will be good for 3 days. If you won't be eating it within 1 day, I recommend adding the extra chocolate barrier between the base and cheesecake to stop it from going soggy. (See 'shortbread base' section above and recipe notes).
Some more cheesecake recipes you might enjoy...
For the Shortbread Base
- 1 cup All-purpose Flour 125g
- 1 stick Butter 114g
- ¼ cup White Sugar 50g
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
For the Cheesecake
- 3 ¼ cups Cream Cheese 740g (room temperature)
- ½ cup White Sugar 100g
- 3 tablespoon Powdered Sugar
- 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream 240ml / 240g (must be 33% fat or higher)
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
For the Caramel
- 1 cup Light Brown Sugar 200g
- 2 sticks Butter 227g
- ⅓ cup Golden Corn Syrup 100g
- 1 can Condensed Milk 397g
- 1 teaspoon Salt
For the Chocolate Ganache
- 1 cup Dark Chocolate 175g (chopped)
- ½ cup Whipping Cream 120ml / 120g
Make the Shortbread Base
- Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C.
- Put the flour, butter, salt, and sugar in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. If you don't have a food processor you can also rub the butter into the flour and sugar with your fingertips1 cup All-purpose Flour, 1 stick Butter, ¼ cup White Sugar, ¼ teaspoon Salt
- Squish the mixture together into a dough and press into the base of a round, loose-bottomed cake pan. Tip: I like to line the base of my pan with parchment paper cirlces to help the cheesecake come out easily later.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
Make the Cheesecake
- Whip the cream to stiff peaks, then set aside.1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
- Whip the cream cheese, white sugar, powdered sugar, and vanilla together until creamy and smooth.3 ¼ cups Cream Cheese, ½ cup White Sugar, 3 tablespoon Powdered Sugar, 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture, just until combined.
- Pour cheesecake mixture into the cake pan, on top of the cooled shortbread base. Smooth out the top and place in the fridge to chill whil you prepare the caramel.
Make the Caramel
- Melt the light brown sugar, butter and golden corn syrup in a pan and bring to a boil.1 cup Light Brown Sugar, 2 sticks Butter, ⅓ cup Golden Corn Syrup
- Keep boiling, stirring constantly until the mixture begins to froth.
- Remove from the heat and add in the condensed milk and salt.1 can Condensed Milk, 1 teaspoon Salt
- Return to the heat and bring to a boil again. Boil for 1 minute, at this point the caramel shoud be thick enough to coat the back fo a spoon well. If it isn't, keep boiling for another minute, then remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl to cool.
- Let cool for about 90 minutes. By this point, it should still be slightly warm to the touch. Remove ¼ of the caramel and set it aside (we'll use this later for serving and/or decorating) Pour the remaining caramel over the cheesecake and spread it out to cover the cheesecake evenly.
- Put the cheesecake back in the fridge and let it chill overnight.
Make the Chocolate Ganache
- Measure out your chocolate and chop into small pieces (if not already). Put into a medium bowl.1 cup Dark Chocolate
- Heat the heavy cream in a saucepan over medium heat until it is scalding (steam coming off the milk and very tiny bubbles starting to appear).½ cup Whipping Cream
- Remove the cream from the heat immediately and then pour over the chopped chocolate. Let sit for 1 minute.
- Stir the chocolate and cream together until a glossy, smooth ganache is formed and there are no more unmelted lumps of chocolate.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let cool completely.
- Once cooled, spread ganache over the top of the chilling cheesecake, then let it continue to chill.
- Once the cheesecake has chilled overnight, remove it from the fridge and carefully remove it from the cake pan.
- Heat the reserved caramel in the microwave for 20 seconds and drizzle over each cheesecake slice before serving.
- Once your shortbread base has completely cooled, melt a small amount of chocolate in the microwave and pour a very thin layer of chocolate over the whole shortbread base. This will set to create a barrier between the shortbread and the cheesecake and prevent it from going soggy.
I do not recommend using carnation caramel in Millionaire's Cheesecake as it is a lot runnier than the caramel in this recipe and will likely not hold its shape.