This Valentine's Day tell your sweethearts how you feel by adding personalized messages to brightly colored, rich, and creamy, Conversation Heart Cheesecakes. This fun twist on a holiday classic is sure to win the hearts of your loved ones. See the new Video Tutorial at the end of this post.
I've heard people, including my husband, say, "I've never met a cheesecake I didn't like." Well, I can't say the same.
I've been known to pay upwards of $10 for a slice of cheesecake take one bite and shove it aside.
To me, cheesecake should be lusciously creamy and smooth with a bit of crunch from the graham cracker crust. I love it when it just melts on my tongue. It should taste delicately rich with just a hint of tang from the cream cheese. I won't settle for dense, spongy, crumbly, and or sour cheesecake; it better be good if I'm going to indulge. If it's not perfection, I don't want it.
Do you feel the same?
I have the perfect cheesecake recipe for you.
Many years ago, after many failed attempts at finding a cheesecake with just the right texture and taste, I discovered Tyler Florence's Ultimate Cheesecake. It is the best I've ever tried. I've perfected the recipe and shared tips and tricks for making it creamy and smooth. You can see my Classic Cheesecake Recipe, here.
I've used his cheesecake recipe dozens of times and my family and friends all rave about it.
You can imagine how they reacted when I turned that wonderful dessert into cute Conversation Heart Cheesecakes for Valentine's Day.
Be sure to watch the video in this post to see how to make these cute Valentine's Day desserts.
Each sweet little dessert was brightly colored and personalized with a special message printed on the top just like the candy conversation hearts.
The cheesecake hearts made for the perfect ending to a lovely Valentine's Day meal.
Graham Cracker Crust
graham crackers - You need 1 cup of crumbs. If you crush about 15 graham cracker squares, you'll get about 1 cup of crumbs.
butter - Use salted or unsalted butter to make your cookie crust. Either will work fine.
cinnamon - I like adding a small sprinkling of cinnamon to the crust. It's optional, though.
cream cheese - Use full-fat cream cheese for the best texture and flavor. I recommend using Philadelphia Cream Cheese. I think it tastes best! Soften your cream cheese at room temperature for at least 3 hours if not more.
sour cream - Adding this to the cheesecake will add a nice tangy flavor and will give your cheesecakes a super smooth and creamy texture. Set the sour cream out an hour before you mix the filling.
eggs - Use room-temperature eggs.
vanilla - Pure vanilla extract adds a nice vanilla flavor but artificial extract will work too.
sugar - Use granulated sugar to add sweetness and structure to the cheesecakes.
To make these heart-shaped cheesecakes, you will need three Heart-Shaped Silicone Molds. The molds are the perfect size to make an individual serving of cheesecake.
I only had 2 of the molds at the time I made these hearts and ended up using the extra cheesecake filling to make some mini cheesecake hearts. The bite-sized treats were cute, but I would have preferred having 3 of the larger hearts in each of the six colors.
Items I used to create this project are available on Amazon.com (commission earned for sales).
stand mixer or a mixing bowl and handheld mixer
3 Heart-Shaped Silicone Molds
fine tip paintbrush (new or food-only brush)
roasting pan big enough to fit your heart-shaped molds
You will need a water bath to bake your cheesecakes, so either set your roasting pan in the oven filled with enough water to go halfway up the sides of your heart molds and allow the water to heat along with the oven or bring some water to a boil in a teapot or the microwave then pour it in the bottom of the pan.
My roasting pan has a flat rack that fits inside. I set two heart molds on the rack, filled them, then used the handles to help me lower the molds into the hot water.
After the cheesecakes bake it's so easy to lift them out and cool them on the rack.
Make the mini cheesecake crusts in a heart mold.
- Once you have your molds ready to fill, equally divide a mixture of graham cracker crumbs, butter, and cinnamon in the bottom of the heart-shaped cavities.
- You'll use about a tablespoon of crumb mixture in each heart cavity. Press the crumbs down making an even crust. Refrigerate until ready to fill with the cheesecake mixture.
- You can bake this crust for 8-10 minutes if you want it to be a bit crisper. Either way works fine.
Make the cheesecake filling.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a mixing bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium-high until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Be sure to scrape the cream cheese out of the mixing blade as well. You don't want lumps in your cheesecake.
- Add sugar and beat for one minute.
- Add eggs and beat until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl once.
- Add the sour cream and vanilla and mix just to combine.
Color the cheesecake filling.
- Equally divide the filling among 6 bowls.
- Add food coloring to create the colors you'd like.
- The colors will intensify a bit once baked, so make them a little less bright than you want them. I was not happy with how intense the blue cheesecakes turned out. I would only a few drops of blue.
Fill the silicone heart mold with the colored filling.
- Pour the colored cheesecake filling into the heart-shaped cavities in your Wilton silicone molds.
- If you are using 3 heart molds and making 18 cheesecakes, equally divide each color among 3 hearts.
- The cavities will be a little over ¾ full.
- I filled mine completely, as I only made 12 of this size. I then used the remaining batter to make some mini hearts (see the image below.)
Bake in a water bath.
- Bake the cheesecakes in a water bath for 18-22 minutes.
- When baked thoroughly, the cheesecakes should still jiggle, but not look wet
- Use a roasting pan with a removable rack to make it easier to remove cheesecakes.
- You can set your heart molds in your roasting pan, then carefully pour boiling water around the heart molds.
- If baking tiny cheesecakes, bake for 10-14 minutes.
- If you bake one large heart-shaped cheesecake, it should take between 42-50 minutes.
Cool then freeze the heart-shaped cheesecakes.
- Remove your baked cheesecakes from the oven and water bath and allow them to cool at room temperature for an hour.
- Then cover the mold with a piece of paper towel and wrap it in plastic wrap.
- Freeze for at least 2 hours or up to several weeks.
- It's easiest to remove the cheesecakes if they are frozen solid.
Un-mold the heart-shaped cheesecakes.
- Remove from the freezer, uncover, then push on the underside of each heart mold, releasing the cheesecakes.
- Carefully lift them out of the mold. If they don't pop right out, you need to freeze them longer.
Personalize the conversation heart cheesecakes.
- To add the conversation heart phrases, squeeze a few drops of red food coloring into a small bowl.
- Use a fine-tip paintbrush to paint the words onto each cheesecake heart.
- Traditional conversation heart sayings are printed in all capital letters.
- Don't worry if your words are off-center, as many conversation hearts are printed that way.
- If you have too much food coloring on your brush, your letters will bleed.
- The food coloring will dry if you refrigerate your cheesecakes for a while.
If you prefer to use natural coloring, you can either purchase bottles of natural food coloring or use fruit and vegetable purees.
You can make naturally colored conversation heart cheesecakes using fruit purees (pictured above.) The cheesecakes are flavored and colored with blueberries, raspberries, lemon, and orange/carrot.
If you enjoy fruit-flavored cheesecakes, this is a wonderful, natural, alternative. They taste great and, although the colors are a bit more muted than the original cheesecakes, they look equally festive.
You will also notice, the lettering on those conversation heart cheesecakes is a lot nicer. Check out the other tutorial to see how to achieve this really clean look using cookie stamps.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to several days or freeze for up to a month.
- I suggest storing them in an airtight container. To keep the condensation from developing on the tops of the cheesecakes, set a piece of paper towel, that is larger than the container's lid, across the underside of the lid. Close and seal. The moisture will get wicked up by the paper towel.
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 15 squares)
- pinch of cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter, melted
- 16 ounces (2 blocks) cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 pint sour cream (1 pint = 16 ounces or 2 cups of sour cream)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- food coloring - pink purple, blue, green, yellow, and red
Fill a roasting pan with enough water to come halfway up the sides of the silicone heart molds.
Set the roasting pan in the oven.
Heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mix together the graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon, and melted butter.
Equally divide the crumbs among 18 heart-shaped silicone mold cavities.
Press the crumbs into an even layer and refrigerate until needed.
Beat cream cheese until creamy and smooth.
Add sugar and beat until incorporated.
Beat in eggs then add sour cream and vanilla and mix just to combine.
Equally divide the cheesecake batter into 6 bowls.
Color one bowl of filling pink, lavender, yellow, orange, green, and blue using food coloring.
Equally divide each color of filling among 3 heart cavities.
Bake cheesecakes in a water bath for 18-24 minutes until the edges look set but the center is jiggly but not wet.
Remove from oven and water bath and allow to cool at room temperature for an hour.
Freeze for at least two hours then remove and un-mold.
Paint conversation heart phrases onto the tops of the cheesecakes using red food coloring.
Store your conversation heart cheesecakes in the refrigerator for up to several days or freeze them for up to a month. I highly recommend you wait to decorate the cheesecakes until the day you plan to serve them.
More Valentine's Day Recipe Ideas
If you are looking for other treats or gifts to make for Valentine's Day, you might like these other recipes too.
Reese's Cup Teddy Bear Cupcakes • Conversation Heart Piñata Cake
Creamy Coconut Candy Hearts • Chocolate Buckeye Bears
Mozzarella Cheese filled Heart Pastries • Sweet Chocolate Cherry Bombs
Warm Fuzzy Cake Balls and Cupcakes • You Make My Heart Roar Lion Cupcakes