Friday, January 27, 2006

Recipes for Low Carb Cherry Cheesecake Two Ways

When Sam of Becks and Posh announced that for the dieting month of January, Sugar High Friday would be designated as Sugar High (NOT) Friday, I was intrigued. Since I don't really eat sugar, Sugar High Friday was a blog event I was never going to be able to enter. But Sugar (Not) High Friday was right up my alley.

At least it could have been, except for the fact that I'm not especially into desserts. Not that I don't like them, but I like other food much more. This lack of interest in sugary treats may be partly why it was fairly easy for me stick with the South Beach Diet for the last 18 months, losing 42 pounds in the process, and getting my cholesterol level down to where I no longer need medication. Through my experience with this diet, I came to re-think everything I had ever known about nutrition.

In my new paradigm of eating, sugar, white flour, and potatoes are bad, complex carbohydrates are good, and fat is much less harmful than I once thought. Still, even without sugar, either of these cheesecakes are something that I would make only for a very special occasion, maybe once or twice a year. That's especially true of the Atkins No-Bake cheesecake recipe, since, unlike Atkins, the South Beach Diet does advise restricting saturated fat.

I know that some people consider Splenda harmful, but I use it in small amounts, and since I don't eat sweet foods a lot, I'm not worried about it. When you check Google, you can find information on the testing of Splenda and how natural sugar is used to create Splenda. There has also been quite a bit of evidence that buzz about the danger of Splenda came from the sugar industry. You can also find as much as you would care to read about the dangers of Splenda. Using it or not is something everyone should make up their own mind about. I'm not selling it or trying to promote it, but using it in small amounts helps me avoid sugar, a product I consider to be much more harmful.  (Edit 2012:  Nowdays I would probably use Stevia-in-the-Raw Granulated to make this, which might be good news for people who don't want to use sugar.

I used "No Sugar Added" cherry pie filling for the topping, probably not officially approved by either The South Beach Diet or Atkins, but it only had 6 carbs in 1/4 cup, more than enough to give a yummy cherry topping to a piece of cheesecake. I don't count carbs so I'm not attempting to figure out the exact carb counts for these cheesecakes, but both are pretty low.

Low-Carb No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake
(Makes 6 - 8 servings, Recipe given to me by a teacher at school, slightly adapted from Dr Atkins Quick and Easy New Diet Cookbook.)

12 ounces cream cheese, allow to soften at room temperature at least 1 hour
2 packets different sugar substitutes (recommended 1 Splenda and 1 Equal for best flavor.)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup Wilderness No Sugar Added cherry pie filling. (You will not use the whole can. Freeze the rest for another time.)


Beat heavy cream in a bowl until it forms soft peaks. In a different bowl, using electric beater, combine softened cream cheese, sugar substitute, and vanilla. Beat whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture, using low speed of electric mixer.

Transfer mixture to 6-8 individual small ramekins or glass dishes and chill at least one hour. This will keep in the refrigerator for several days.

To serve: Top with 2 T No Sugar Added cherry pie filling.

(Note: The Atkins book claims that when different types of artificial sweeteners are used they "have a synergistic effect, therefore, less is needed." I don't know about that claim, but 2 packets was plenty of sweetener in this for me.)

Fantastic Cheesecake with Cherry Topping
(Makes 12 servings, recipe adapted from Six Ingredients Or Less: Low-Carb Cooking by Carlean Johnson.)

3 T low sugar graham crackers (optional, I'm not sure I would bother with them next time)
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese (softened at room temperature 1 hour)
4 large eggs
3/4 cup low fat sour cream (do not use fat free)
1/2 cup Splenda or Stevia in the Raw Granulated Sweetener
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 can (20 oz.) Wilderness No Sugar Added Pie Filling

Preheat oven to 350F/175 C. Crush graham crackers to get 3 T fine crumbs. Spray 9 X 12" glass casserole dish with nonstick spray, then coat with graham cracker crumbs if using. Discard loose crumbs.

In bowl, use electric beater to blend cream cheese at low speed until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time and mix well. Add sour cream, Splenda and lemon juice and mix until smooth. Pour into pan and bake 35-40 minutes until just barely firm. Don't overbake.

Chill several hours before using. Serve with 2-3 T cherry pie filling on top.

South Beach Suggestions:
Both these recipes are probably more suitable for a traditional low-carb diet plan than they are for South Beach, but if you substititute low-fat cream cheese, they would be a better choice.  As I have already mentioned, I'd consider either of these to be a "once in a while treat" for the South Beach diet, and restricted to phase 2 or 3 due to the fruit and sugar in the pie filling.
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  1. It's looks so good Kalyn!! mmmm...

  2. Cool, Kalyn! I'm glad you were able to participate in SHF, finally! Thanks for the links about Splenda...I've been wondering what all the hubbub was about...

  3. I actually gained a pound just looking at those pictures. Yum.

  4. Very fun -- I'm with Rand on this one.

  5. I wanted to clarify that I am deleting the previous post, not because it is from someone who feels Splenda is harmful, but because I can't allow people to leave links in my comments. When I do people leave links that are too long, and in Internet Explorer it bumps down the sidebar. So if you leave a link, your comment will be deleted. In this case especially, I already had a link in the post from a site talking about the dangers of Splenda, so I feel that I presented both sides of the issue and there was no need for this comment. (It took me two tries to say that without sounding too snarky.)

  6. Your dessert not only looks delcious Kalyn, I want to thank you for leaving all the Splenda discussion links (so I don't have to !!)

    thanks for being a part of the event


  7. It looks like a really delicious dessert!

  8. I made this Sunday night, and finally got to eat it yesterday. Oh it is good. My husband ate some and didn't realize it was low carb at all - no artificial sweetener aftertaste or anything. Really enjoyed this, thank you!

  9. These cheesecake recipes sound and look delish! I'm having a difficult time finding the Wilderness pie filling. What do you think about using a tablespoon of sugar free jam or jelly as a topping for these recipes?

  10. Sheri, I think that sounds like a great idea!


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