I have been dreaming about making this Nanaimo Cheesecake ever since I made these Nanaimo Bars a few months ago.

I basically took all the goodness of a Nanaimo Bar and married it with a cheesecake. And you better believe it’s the most delicious cheesecake you’ll ever consume.

Nanaimo Cheesecake

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Nanaimo (pronounced Nuh-Nigh-Moe) is a city in British Columbia, Canada. That is where the Nanaimo Bar recipe was originated long ago.

The bottom layer of this cheesecake is a combination of cocoa, graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and walnuts. It’s everything you would find in the bottom of the original bar, but made into a crisp and tasty cheesecake crust.

Nanaimo Cheesecake

I made the actual cheesecake portion with a standard vanilla cheesecake base, but I added some vanilla custard powder to the mix. That is an essential part of making a Nanaimo Bar, so I made sure to include it in this cheesecake.

It gives the cheesecake a super creamy texture that just melts in your mouth.

Nanaimo Cheesecake

The chocolate ganache that finishes off the top is also an essential element in a Nanaimo Bar, so I couldn’t leave it out of this Nanaimo Cheesecake. It adds a little bit… ok, a good amount… of sweetness to the top.

Overall, this Nanaimo Cheesecake is divine, delicious, decadent, and ultimately… perfect.

Nanaimo Cheesecake

I’m going to share a secret with you. Because a lot of you had the issue of a cracked cheesecake when you made my Pumpkin Cheesecake. There is a way to make your cheesecake look flawless even after it’s gotten a horrendous crack in it.

And yes- even this cheesecake had a rather large crack on top! But, it was easily fixed using this nifty trick!! Then I was able to pour the heavenly chocolate ganache over top without it seeping into the cheesecake. Watch –

Just make sure you have your cheesecake fully chilled before attempting to fix the crack. My crack was much larger than the one in the video and I was still able to fix it. 🙂

Nanaimo Cheesecake

I made this Nanaimo Cheesecake this past weekend and I had some girlfriends over for a little girl’s  night in, everyone just loved it.

I know you’ll love it too!

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Nanaimo Cheesecake

Nanaimo Cheesecake is everything you would find in the  original bar, but made into a crisp and tasty cheesecake crust.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time5 hrs 28 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12
Calories: 469 kcal
Author: Shawn

Ingredients

For the Crust:

  • 4 tbsp butter, melted
  • 5 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 3/4 cup coconut flakes

For the Cheesecake

  • 4 8oz bricks of cream cheese, softened
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp vanilla custard powder

For the Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For the Crust:

  • Combine the graham cracker crumbs, walnuts, coconut, cocoa powder, and sugar in a food processor and process until fine crumbs. Pulse in the vanilla and melted butter until moistened. Press into the bottom and a little up the sides of a 10 inch springform pan. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven, but keep oven on.
  • Place a 9x13 baking dish on the bottom rack of your oven and fill with warm water.

For the Cheesecake:

  • In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add one egg at a time, beating in-between, and scrape down sides of bowl occasionally.
  • Add the sour cream, sugar, vanilla and vanilla custard powder. Mix until smooth. Pour onto the prepared crust. Bake on the rack above the pan filled with water for 1 hour.
  • Turn off the oven, crack it open slightly and leave in oven for 1-2 hours. Remove from oven and let come to room temperature completely. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge to chill for 2 hours. Fix any cracks, if necessary.

For the Ganache:

  • Place the chocolate chips in a bowl, set aside. Heat the cream in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes, then pour on top of the chocolate chips. Let sit for 30 seconds, then whisk until smooth. Let cool slightly, then carefully pour on top of the cheesecake. Refrigerate again until set. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 469kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 106mg | Sodium: 157mg | Potassium: 254mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 37g | Vitamin A: 549IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 2mg
Keywords: Cheesecake, Nanaimo
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?don't forget to share a picture and mention @iwashyoudry on Instagram or tag #iwashyoudry!
About the author

Shawn is the Owner and Creator of I Wash You Dry. She loves to create and share simple, family-friendly recipes. Mom to 5 adorable children and dwells in the desert of Southern Utah.
114 Responses
    1. Hi Heather, I’m not sure on how much longer it would take. I would say to just keep an eye on it until the center is not jiggly. Then just let it cool like you would per the instructions.

  1. zoe

    This looks soooo delicious!
    I cannot wait to try it.
    Thank you for sharing the recipe 🙂
    Is it ok if I prepared it earlier and kept it refrigerated for 24 hours before serving? Or you think it will not taste as fresh?
    Another question.. is the water pan necessary? I have only one rack in the oven but I have a big pan that fits in the rack place, so can I pour water in that pan and fit it in the lower part of the oven or does it have to be the pan size you mentioned?
    Thank you 🙂

  2. vicki

    This looks fabulous! Recipe doesn’t say when to release from spring firm psn. Before refrigerator chilling or after?

    1. Hi Vicki, I like to keep the spring form on while it’s chilling in the fridge. I’ll run a knife around the edges just to make sure nothing is sticking and then carefully release the form. Cover it with the ganache and then I store it covered in the fridge with the spring form back on. I like to think this protects the cheesecake from anything bumping it in the fridge. Hope that helps!

      1. vicki

        Yes..thanks so much for the details! I haven’t made a cheesecake in years and remember the pan removal being the trickiest part. Looking forward to making this!

  3. Debbie

    This looks devine! I am going to try halving the recipe to make in my mini cheesecake pan for a treat size piece , it usually calls for 2 boxes of cream cheese and takes 15 minutes to bake

  4. I made this for desert for Christmas dinner…Everyone just loved it..of course those of us that are choco-holics loved it even more…actually have another one one in the oven as I type this…. DELICIOUS !!!!!!!

  5. Julene

    Do you think it would turn out just as tasty if I put mint flavouring in? Nanaimo Bars are a huge family favourite, though with mint in the middle. This looks like a really yummy spin on an old favourite though I’m not sure how the mint would be with cream cheese.

  6. If I don’t have a food processor, am I out of luck for the bottom layer? I make and love Nanaimo bars and can see how the traditional, chunkier bottom layer wouldn’t work as a cheesecake crust, but I’m stumped as to how to get the nuts and coconut small enough without a food processor.

    1. I think if you put each component (coconut, graham crackers, nuts) in a blender and processed it until it was a fine crumb and then mixed them all together with the butter and other ingredients it would work as well. If you don’t have a blender you could try putting the graham cracker and nuts in a zip close bag and crushing them with a rolling pin till they are a fine crumb. Then chop the coconut as best you can and then mix with the remaining ingredients. Hope that helps! 🙂

  7. Genevieve Morrone

    This is a seriously deadly cheesecake! It has made my family rave about it for weeks! I will definitely be making it every year!

  8. This recipe sounds fab. I think I’ve found my Christmas dessert. I’ve been using vanilla powder in my recipes for a while now and never thought to put it in cheesecakes, duh!! I use it in cookies, cakes, even pancakes and the flavor makes my recipes even better. Good thinking girl. I’m off to the store to get cream cheese. Thanks.

  9. B Young

    Nanaimo here too and thats the stuff we use. Never used pudding just custard powder. Gives traditional Nanaimo Bars the yellow color.

  10. DEE

    I found the Birds custard powder in Market Basket. wasn”t even looking for it and there it was. Going to have to make the cheesecake soon. I live in Massachusetts.don”t know if there is any Market Basket supermarkets in any other states

      1. Bill Baker

        If you can’t find custard powder they equal amounts of corn starch to custard powder and a touch of vanilla is the equivalent.

  11. Diana

    I just made this cheesecake for tonight’s company and it went together really easily! Although I live in Nanaimo and my husband was born and raised here, I’ve never made Nanaimo Bars! My bad!! Just happened to have the Bird’s Custard Powder so all was well… I don’t have a Food Processor but I do have a little Braun Multi head thingy that has a tiny food processor attachment… I just ground all the crust ingredients up separately, threw them in a bowl and added the butter and vanilla and mixed it up by hand.. worked like a charm! Also, my husband is Celiac so I had to use gluten free graham crackers for the crust! Can’t wait until dessert!

    1. Hi Angela! Yes, you certainly can! Just make sure to whip the cream cheese until it’s light and fluffy, and proceed like you would with the recipe directions. 🙂

  12. recipe ask for vanilla custard powder…sells in England..dont think its available in USA…wondering if I can use something else…like vanilla pudding mix we have in envelopes??? this cake looks so yummy 🙂

    1. Hi Ana, another commenter mentioned they were able to buy it at Cost Plus World Market, and the link in the recipe will take you to where you can purchase in on Amazon for just $6. And it lasts forever, so you won’t have to worry about wasting ingredients. 🙂

    2. Christy

      Hi Ana, I am from Nanaimo and have never used custard powder to make Nanaimo Bars. We have always used vanilla pudding mix and it works just fine for our Nanaimo Bars so I’m sure it will work well for the cheesecake.

        1. B Young

          Nanaimo here too and thats the stuff we use. Never used pudding just custard powder. Gives traditional Nanaimo Bars the yellow color.

      1. Connie

        Christy, do you use the instant or cooked version of the vanilla pudding in this recipe? Really want to make this, looks great. Thanks Christy and Shawn.

    3. Candy R

      My grandmother made nanaimo bars at christmas time when I was a kid over 40 years ago….she used vanilla pudding powder as well…..works just fine if you can’t find custard powder…..I actually made a nanaimo cheescake when i used to sell cheesecakes about 10 years ago….looked just like this one…and it is so amazing!!!

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  14. Dine and Stitch

    I am from British Columbia and Nanaimo Bars are part of our Christmas celebration. This cheesecake will be on my table this year for Christmas . I have a friend here in Teacapan who is over the moon for Nanaimo Bars !!

  15. mary beth

    This looks delish! Is there a substitute for the custard powder, or just not use it–do you think it def. needs to be used for authentic flavor? Thank you!

    1. Hi Mary, You can leave it out, but it does add just that little bit of custard flavor and texture which is specific to the Nanaimo Bar. I’m sure the cheesecake will still taste great without it. 🙂

      1. Naomi

        I grew up with nanaimo bars and make them often, everyone loves them.
        As a Canadian, most women I know have a can of Bird’s Custard Powder in their cupboard, just to make nanaimo bars once a year or so!

    1. Karen

      so the chocolate topping was disaster! Don’t actually know what heavy cream means so I used 18%. It ran off the pie like water. I tried putting in a salt/ice bath to cool but never did eat solid

      1. I’m sorry Karen! Heavy cream has between 35% – 40% milk fat, so it’s about double what you used. You could try using regular milk, but start with just 1/2 cup and whisk until combined. If it’s too thick just add a little more until you get the right consistency. Hopefully the cheesecake was still delicious!

          1. Danielle

            My topping was also a disaster. I used 33% whipping cream and with only one cup of chocolate chips (as per the recipe), it was like water. I ended up melting another cup and a half (so, 2.5 cups total) of chocolate chips in order to thicken it. Next time I will only use a half cup cream… Not sure why our ganaches would vary so greatly. Everything else about this cheesecake turned out great. Its our Easter Supper dessert for tomorrow. <3

          2. That’s a bummer that the topping didn’t get thick for you. I’m glad you got it figured out by adding more chocolate chips. It must be a difference in the creams and chocolates, because that ratio always works for me? Hope you enjoyed the cheesecake! 🙂

        1. Deanna

          I used 35% whipping cream and followed the recipe to a “T”…. it was a disaster…. Next time I would whip the cream and set it aside. Melt the chocolate chips and let cool and then fold the melted chocolate in with the whipped cream. I have a feeling this would work better. Thanks for the recipe and Happy Easter!

          1. Hi Deanna, you’ll want to use heavy cream (36%-40% milk fat) as the recipe suggests for best results. I’m sorry yours didn’t turn out as well. Hopefully next time it will work! 🙂

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Shawn Syphus

Hi, I’m Shawn and I’m a busy mom of five; pretending to live on a budget. I love to cook, and explore new recipes, but they have to be quick and easy with as few dishes as possible.

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