Cadillac Margarita Cheesecake Bars with Graham Cracker Pretzel Crust

Tequila Treat Treasure

Cadillac Margarita Cheesecake Bars with Graham Cracker Pretzel Crust


Tom’s birthday this year falls on National Tequila Day.  Since it is also a work day (for some of us at least), instead of downing some margs, I decided to make him the Top-Shelf Margarita Cheesecake found in Booze Cakes, Confections Spiked with Spirits, Wine, and Beer.  This recipe book was a gift from our friends, Dan and Linda, whose favorite booze cake is Tom’s Famous Black Russian Bundt Cake.  I have marked many cakes in this book that I would like to try but this is the first one I’ve made. 

The recipe calls for a cornmeal crust, but I just couldn’t envision a margarita rimmed with a savory crust so I went with a Graham Cracker Pretzel Crust, as I prefer a salty/sweet rim on a margarita.  Now, speaking of tequila, the recipe was silent on what kind to use other than “top-shelf.”  Recently, Tom has been preferring silver tequila to gold so that is what I used in this recipe.  I don’t think I would go so far as to spring for an expensive sipping tequila, especially as you are only using a few tablespoons, but if you’ve got it on hand, why not? 

I used a combination of Cointreau (you can also use Triple-Sec) and Grand Mariner (just like a Cadillac Margarita!).  The  Cointreau and Grand Marnier add a bit of orange essence to the cheesecake.

Lastly, I made this into bars so it is easier to serve but you can make it into a cheesecake if you prefer. 

There is a great margarita whipped cream topping which would also be fabulous spooned over fresh berries (or better yet, just eat it with a spoon!).  

Happy Birthday, Tom!

Directions (ingredients listed below):

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line a 9×9 square pan with foil leaving a little hanging over the sides to use as handles to lift the bars out of the pan.


Graham Cracker Pretzel Crust

1 c. ground pretzels with salt (approx. 10 large,family-style pretzels)
1 c. ground Graham Crackers ( approx. 7 whole sheets of Graham Crackers)
1/2 c. sugar
12 T. unsalted butter, melted
pinch of Kosher salt

In a blender or food processor grind the pretzels and graham crackers until fine.  Pour into a medium bowl.  Whisk in sugar and salt.  Combine the crumbs with the butter and press into the bottom of the prepared pan. Use a small ramekin or flat bottomed measuring cup to pack down and smooth the crust.  Bake for 9-10 minutes until fragrant and beginning to brown around the edges.  Set aside to cool on a wire rack.  Be sure it is completely cooled before adding the cheesecake filling.


Cadillac Margarita Cheesecake Filling

3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese at room temperature
1 c. sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 or 2 fresh limes (1/4 c. juice)
2 T. high quality Tequila (we prefer Silver)
1 T. Cointreau
1 T. Grand Marnier
Zest from 1 lime


In a medium mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and sugar and beat until smooth and completely free of lumps, scraping down the sides, 3-4 minutes.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Stir in the remaining ingredients.  Pour the mixture into the cooled crust and bake 45-50 minutes until the cheesecake has set up and the edges are lightly browned.  Remove from the oven and cool at room temperature for at least an hour on a wire rack.  Cover.  Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 5 hours or overnight.  Using the foil handles, lift the bars out of the pan and cut into squares.  Top with a dollop of Margarita Whipped Cream and lime slices or lime zest. 

Margarita Whipped Cream (Optional, but highly recommended)

1 c. chilled, heavy cream 
1/2 c. confectioners’ sugar
1 T. fresh lime juice
2 T. high quality Tequila
1 T. Cointreau
1 T. Grand Marnier

In a mixing bowl combine all the ingredients; starting on low speed and gradually increasing to high, beat until soft peaks form, 2-3 minutes.  This will not form stiff peaks like regular whipped cream due to all the liquid.

Makes 9 large servings or 16-20 smaller bars.

Recipe adapted from Booze Cakes by Krystina Castella and Terry Lee Stone.



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Recipe Name
Cadillac Margarita Cheesecake Bars
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