Tequila for the Kids, Key Lime Cheesecake with Patrón Sauce

Call off the Department of Social Services. The kids don’t actually drink tequila in this story. For the third year in a row, I had the tremendous honor of making dessert for the East Central Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Fire & Ice gala in Brookings, S.D. The fundraising event benefits children who have been victims of abuse and neglect.

The menu description for my Key Lime Cheesecake with Patrón Sauce: Like a margarita sitting in the sand, tart Key lime filling nestles into a graham and vanilla crust. The cheesecake is topped with whipped cream and served with juicy Key lime cream spiked with Patrón Silver 100% Blue Agave Tequila.

Key lime cheesecake with Patron Sauce

Two years ago for Fire & Ice I made raspberry white chocolate truffle cheesecakes, and last year I made Italian Tuxedo Parfaits stacked full of amaretto brownies, silky white chocolate cream and fresh strawberries. This year we went tropical and from what I could tell, these babies were a hit. It might have something to do with the pre-gala Bel Brands VIP Reception — it added an extra hour of wine drinking before the meal. *Wink. Wink*

On the other hand, how often do you eat cheesecake with a shot of juicy Key lime Patrón sauce drizzled over the top?

Shot of Patron Sauce

The sauce is simple to make — a sweet mix of sour cream, sugar, Key lime juice, lime zest, and tequila.

Patron sauce ingredients

People often ask me how I make baby cheesecakes. The cuteness comes from these Chicago Metallic pans

mini cheesecake pans

The first 50 or so didn’t turn out so well. I believe weather can sometimes affect your baking. This happened…

the ones that sunk

…because this happened on baking day:

April snow storm

So to ease my frustration, I went outside and took pictures of a female woodpecker that knocked herself into a no-fly zone after hitting her head on our French doors. The pesky robin kept photobombing the picture!

woodpecker with photobombing robin

And then I went back in the house and baked more than 260 beautiful baby cheesecakes.

I want to give a shout out to Mike, Ben, Chris, and Evan at the Hy-Vee grocery store in Brookings. Mike (not pictured) is the produce manager and for the last three years, he has hooked me up with fresh, juicy raspberries, strawberries, and Key limes for my Fire & Ice desserts. When I went to pick up my limes this year, Mike was gone and Chris, Evan, and Ben (pictured from left to right) made sure I had the best-looking bunch of Key limes. So I took their picture – the best looking bunch in the produce section. You know the tune, “Where there’s a helpful smile in every aisle.”

Chris Evan and Ben at HyVee

I had so many limes leftover that we ate Lime Chicken Street Tacos for a few days and now we’re crunching through a batch of our favorite Chicken Black Bean Salsa.

Thank you also to the Brookings High School Honor Society and the event staff from SDSU Catering. The kitchen was a harmonious frenzy that night and you helped pull off the dessert presentation and service with swift and gracious style.

Lastly but most importantly, to Julie Wermers, Executive Director East Central CASA, and Darilyn Odegaard, President East Central CASA, and to the East Central CASA Board of Directors, staff, volunteers and Fire & Ice committee — thank you for giving a voice to children who would otherwise be unheard, and for giving them hope for the future.

Save the date for 2014

Key Lime Cheesecake with Patrón Sauce

A 9-inch springform pan will give you 12 slices. If you are using the mini cheesecake pans, this recipe will make 24 babies. 


3/4 cup vanilla wafer crumbs

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs

3 tablespoons sugar

5 tablespoons butter, melted


3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened to room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

5 tablespoons sour cream

5 teaspoons flour

4 eggs, room temperature

1 egg yolk, room temperature

1/2 cup frozen limeade concentrate, thawed to room temperature

1/3 cup Key lime juice, either fresh or bottled – I use Nellie and Joe’s

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Key limes for garnish

whipped cream for garnish

Key Lime Patrón Sauce

1 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons Key lime juice

1 teaspoon lime zest

1 to 2 teaspoons Patrón Silver 100% Blue Agave Tequila, or tequila of your choice (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix crushed wafer and graham cracker crumbs with sugar and melted butter. Stir until well combined. Spray a 9-inch springform pan or two mini cheesecake pans. Press crust evenly into pan(s). For 9-inch pan, bake for 10 minutes. For mini cheesecake pans, bake 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

If you are using mini cheesecake pans, reduce the oven temperature to 250°.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until soft and smooth, making sure there are no lumps. Add the sugar and sour cream, beating until smooth. Beat in the flour. At this point, make sure the cheesecake filling is smooth because once you add the eggs, you don’t want to beat it too hard.

With the mixer on low speed, beat in the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, scraping down the sides after each one.

Add the limeade concentrate, Key lime juice, and vanilla. Mix well.

Pour the filling into the cheesecake pan(s).

For 9-inch cheesecake: bake at 350° for 15 minutes and then turn the heat down to 200° and bake for another 60-70 minutes. The center should be a little jiggly, but it shouldn’t look wet.

For mini cheesecakes: bake at 250° for approximately 25 minutes or until the tops just begin to look done.

For all cheesecakes, cool on wire rack for at least 1- 1/2 hours. Place in refrigerator in the pan. After a few hours, you can remove the cheesecake from the pan and cut into slices but it should chill again in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours for the best flavor. Cheesecake is actually best a couple days after it’s made. When ready to serve, remove from the refrigerator about 1/2 an hour before eating.

Serve with tequila sauce on the side or drizzled over the top. To make the sauce, simply stir together the sour cream, sugar, Key lime juice, lime zest, and tequila. Top with whipped cream and tiny slices of Key limes. They are even prettier with a little lime zest sprinkled over the top. You can find the 1-ounce shot glasses at most party supply stores.

Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Cheesecake can also be frozen for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator a day or two before serving.

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  1. Hi Katharina – the good thing is, you made this cheesecake and even if they sunk a little, they will taste great! Just hide it with a little whipping cream. I swear the weather can have something to do with how these turn out. (Just look at the picture of mine when they sunk. It had to do with the blizzard.) A couple other things it could be – be really gentle with the eggs. Don’t over beat the batter once you add the eggs. If the batter is beaten too much after the eggs are added, there is too much air in it and the cheesecakes could sink or crack. It’s also important with the mini cheesecakes to bake at only 250 degrees. Otherwise, it gets too hot and they rise and then sink. Watch them closely when they are in the oven – the middle needs to look just set and then they are done. If we bake them too long, they will puff up and sink down. I hope this helps and you give it another try. 🙂 Staci

  2. Hi.. I just tried to make these. While they’re in the oven, they look delicious, but once I take them out of the oven, they fall and become a bit hollow. I’ve tried to just turn of the oven and leaving them in there to cool a bit, but that didn’t make any difference.
    Do you have any idea what it is that I am doing wrong?


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