All you need for these fuss free, gluten-free cheesecake cupcakes are a few simple ingredients including light cream cheese, an egg, sugar, lemon zest, oats, and walnuts. Cheesecake Cupcakes with Oat & Walnut Crust are a hand held and better-for-you mini treat that you can top with Greek yogurt, fresh berries, and mint. They look oh-so fancy, but they’re surprisingly easy to make.
Cheesecake has a reputation for being really rich, and I’ve never been a big fan. But my slimmed-down mini cheesecake creations won me over for several reasons. For starters, the oat and walnut layer on the bottom is healthier than a traditional butter-laden crust.
I created the crust with half a cup of old-fashioned oats and half a cup of walnuts. I placed them in a mini food processor and processed until the mixture resembled course sand. I added just 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, half a teaspoon ground cinnamon, and a tablespoon each of extra virgin olive oil and butter. I gave the mixture another quick whirl in the food processor until everything was combined. (If you have coconut oil in your pantry, you can use that in the crust instead.)
The cheesecake filling is lightened up as well, and it’s also super easy to make. In a bowl, just whisk or beat together light cream cheese, a quarter cup granulated sugar, 1 egg, lemon zest, and vanilla extract.
- ½ cup old-fashioned or quick oats
- ½ cup walnut halves or pieces
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 pinch salt
- One 8-ounce package light cream cheese, room temperature
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- ½ tablespoon corn starch
- Zest of half a lemon
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
- Fresh berries: Sliced strawberries, raspberries, blueberries
- Fresh mint
- Toasted coconut flakes
- Sliced almonds
- Lemon zest
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Line a standard cupcake pan with 8 paper baking cups and set aside. (This recipe makes 8 cupcakes, not 12, so leave 4 empty.)
- Place the oats and walnuts in the bowl of a food processor (I used a mini processor) and pulse until coarsely ground. Add the olive oil, butter, sugar, cinnamon, and salt and pulse until until evenly moistened and combined.
- Press a heaping tablespoon of the mixture firmly onto the bottoms of the 8 cups. Bake 7 minutes, until cooked.
- Meanwhile, place the cream cheese and sugar in a medium-size bowl and beat or whisk together until smooth and creamy. Add the egg, corn starch, lemon zest, and vanilla and continue to beat or whisk until well combined.
- Spoon the mixture evenly into the muffin cups. Bake 20 to 22 minutes, until the cream cheese mixture is set. Remove from the oven and cool in the tins, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Place in the refrigerator and chill completely before serving or decorating with the optional toppers.
Kid cooking tip: Set out a bunch of toppings and let the kids decorate their own cheesecake cupcakes.