Pink Peppercorn Cheesecake

Pink peppercorns suffuse the crust, filling, and garnish of this creamy cheesecake with their delicate, floral flavor.

Pink Peppercorn Cheesecake

Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Christine Keely

Active Time:
30 mins
Chill Time:
4 hrs
Total Time:
8 hrs 15 mins
12 servings

When pastry chef Natasha Pickowicz is looking to enhance a dessert with gentle heat, she turns to the pink peppercorn. When freshly ground, the berries lift and brighten sweet treats like this silky steakhouse-style cheesecake without overpowering the other flavors. Infusing the custard with freshly ground pink peppercorn adds a delicate fruitiness that balances out its creamy richness. Topped with syrupy sweet amarena cherries, flaky sea salt, and delicate pink peppercorns, each slice of this rich and creamy cheesecake is pure delight.



  • Cooking spray

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (about 2 1/8 ounces)

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground pink pepper (from 2 to 3 peppercorns)

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

Cheesecake Filling

  • 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened 

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature

  • 1 cup sour cream, at room temperature

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pink pepper (from 1 to 2 peppercorns), plus more for garnish

Additional Ingredients

  • Pitted amarena wild cherries in syrup, flaky sea salt, and unsweetened cocoa powder, for garnish


Make the crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in lower third position. Line a 9- x 5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on long sides of pan. Lightly coat loaf pan and parchment with cooking spray.

  2. Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, pink pepper, and salt in a small bowl. Drizzle in melted butter, and gently combine using fingertips until mixture resembles damp sand. Spoon mixture evenly into bottom of prepared loaf pan; press firmly into an even layer.

  3. Bake in preheated oven until crust is fragrant and set, about 14 minutes. Let crust cool completely on a wire rack, about 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.

Make the cheesecake filling:

  1. Beat cream cheese and sugar with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-low speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating on low speed until just combined after each addition. Add sour cream, vanilla, salt, and pink pepper; beat on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds. Pour cheesecake filling in an even layer over cooled crust. Place loaf pan in center of a 13- x 9-inch baking pan. Place baking pan on oven rack. Carefully fill baking pan with hot water to a depth of 1 inch (about 8 cups). Do not splash water on cheesecake filling.

  2. Bake at 325°F until cheesecake slightly jiggles, about 1 hour and 30 minutes, loosely covering with aluminum foil during final 30 minutes of baking time to prevent over-browning, if necessary. Remove loaf pan from water; let cheesecake cool to room temperature on a wire rack, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cheesecake is chilled and set, at least 4 hours.

  3. Run a small offset spatula along short sides of loaf pan and between parchment paper and loaf pan on long sides to release. Using parchment paper overhang as handles, lift cheesecake out of loaf pan, and place on a platter; gently slide parchment from beneath cheesecake and discard. Cut cheesecake into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Garnish with cherries, flaky sea salt, cocoa powder, and additional pink pepper. Serve.

To Make Ahead

Cheesecake can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. Garnish before serving.


Pink peppercorns can come from several plants: Brazilian or Peruvian pepper trees, or the baies rose plant from Madagascar. They can be found at most grocery stores or online at Amarena wild cherries can be found at specialty grocery stores or online at This recipe was adapted with permission from Pickowicz’s cookbook, More Than Cake: 100 Baking Recipes Built for Pleasure and Community.

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