Turtle Cheesecake With Homemade Caramel Sauce

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Sara Lee Desserts, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #SaraLeeDesserts http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

It happens every single time! Whenever I invite friends or family over for dinner, the first question is, “What’s for dessert?” No one ever fails to show up when they know Turtle Cheesecake and Homemade Caramel Sauce is on the menu. It’s fun to let guests create their own masterpiece, so I always have a Top Your Own Cheesecake Bar.

A Top-Your-Own-Cheesecake-Bar is a perfect ending to a dinner party.

Throughout the years, I’ve perfected the dinner party. I’ve learned that pretty much everyone loves cheesecake. If you’ve been here a while, you know that all my dinner parties are semi-homemade. Sara Lee Cheesecake is the star of my Cheesecake Bar! Homemade Caramel Sauce is always a favorite topping. It’s fail-proof and easy to make. I bet you have all the ingredients on hand right now.

Sara Lee Cheesecake

There are several reasons I rely on a Top Your Own Cheesecake Bar for dessert.

  1. It’s easy!
  2. It’s pretty!
  3. Everyone can pick their fave topping!

Turtle Cheesecake with Homemade Caramel Sauce

I mentioned earlier that everyone at my dinner parties like cheesecake. That’s a given. It’s the toppings where my guests have differing opinions. Some like toasted pecans but hate toasted coconut. I like them both! One guest may want a fruit topping while the other wants a bit of everything. It’s all good!

Turtle Cheesecake Bar featuring Homemade Caramel Sauce

I like to showcase my Top Your Own Cheesecake Bar on a side buffet – away from the dining table.

Sara Lee Cheesecake

I have plates, spoons, forks, napkins and everything my guests need to create a cheesecake masterpiece.

Turtle Cheesecake with Homemade Caramel SauceA Cheesecake Surprise

You know how most dinner guests bring a hostess gift? I like to give a gift in return. So, we usually play a game to determine who gets to take home their own Sara Lee Original Cream Classic Cheesecake with Chocolate Sauce and Homemade Caramel Sauce. I always remember to buy two Sara Lee Cheesecakes when I’m shopping at Food Lion.

Helpful Hint: Be sure and use the instant redemption coupon on your Sara Lee Original Cream Classic Cheesecake package for $1.50 off the purchase of one cheesecake good through 3/31 while supplies last.

A Fun Game to Play During Dinner

One fun game to play is Phrases. Write down a different phrase for each guest and place it beneath their plate. When everyone sits down, have them look at their phrase and memorize it. During the dinner conversation, each guest has to try and slip their phrase into the conversation without anyone else noticing. The one who is most convincing wins!

Examples of phrases: I went skydiving last summer. I ate 5 apples yesterday. I’m thinking about taking a karate class. I recently read a book that completely changed my life.

I like to surprise the winning guest (whether it’s family or friends) with a cheesecake in an awesome carrier. This vintage pie/cake carrier is perfect! Seeing my guest’s face light up when he or she finds out she gets a Sara Lee Cheesecake to take home is priceless! And it’s always fun to give to others.

Turtle Cheesecake with Homemade Caramel Sauce

Then I add the caramel and chocolate sauce in small resealable containers.

Top Your Own Cheesecake Bar featuring Turtle Cheesecake and Caramel SauceVintage Container for Turtle Cheesecake and Homemade Caramel Sauce

Speaking of caramel sauce, once you taste this easy-to-make sauce, you’ll wonder why you haven’t made it before.

Homemade Caramel Sauce

Combine brown sugar, half & half, butter and a pinch of salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk for 5-7 minutes or until mixture thickens.

Homemade Caramel Sauce

Add vanilla and whisk for another minute. Remove from heat, let cool and refrigerate. That’s it!

Homemade Caramel SauceTurtle Cheesecake with Homemade Caramel Sauce

4.7 from 9 reviews
Homemade Caramel Sauce
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup half & half
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  1. Mix first four ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk continually for 5-7 minutes or until the mixture gets thicker (It will not be extremely thick).
  2. Add vanilla and whisk another minute until it gets a little bit thicker. Remove from heat, cool and then refrigerate. It will thicken even more as it cools.
  3. I usually make it the night before and then refrigerate it overnight.

Along with the Sara Lee Cheesecake and Caramel Sauce, I add toasted pecans, toasted coconut, chocolate sauce, and mixed fruit topping to complete my Top-Your-Own-Cheesecake Bar.

Turtle Cheesecake

Have you ever created a Top-Your-Own-Cheesecake-Bar for dessert? What’s your favorite topping?

























About Alli

Southern, Morning Person, Jesus Girl, Frugal Party Planner, Writer/Blogger, Mom, Nana, Wife, Beach Bum Wannabe - Let's Have a Party!


  1. Cheesecake is my favorite dessert ever. I absolutely love a good plain, if topping strawberries is one of my favorites.

  2. Yum! I love the idea of a cheesecake bar! I think a cheesecake bar would be a huge hit for my next get together. 🙂 Oh and that caramel and chocolate sauce. Delicious!

  3. This is such a fabulous idea! My family LOVES anything that’s Build Your Own. I know that dessert would be at the top of their favorites list… somehow beating tacos!

  4. I don’t think I will last in my current diet if I keep coming over here and stumbling upon such deliciousness. Cheesecakes are my weakness big time and this looks delicious and the caramel sauce oh boy.

  5. Seriously, Alli, I wish I was one of your guests. That cake, the toppings, and that awesome vintage cake carrier. I would love to win the winner at one of your parties:) I am not sure that I have ever created a cheese cake bar; I usually just ask whether they want topping or not and then just add a few things from the fridge. I like the idea of a bar. I will have to try out the Sara Lee cheese cake since cheese cakes take too long to make. I once tried their pound cake after seeing all your lovely Fall posts about her pound cakes.

    Anyway, I am pinning that caramel sauce, too. Last night I had some apple pie and wish I had a little caramel drizzle but did not think of making it. Once I made some and it turned out terrrible!

  6. I’m totally making this for my sister. I’m taking full credit and I will never speak of this post. lol Turtles and cheesecake are two of her favorite things. Hello Best Little Sister Ever Award.!

  7. I have never thought of creating a “choose your own cheesecake topping” bar before but now I’m desperate to try it. I think my friends and family would love ut and the kids would be in their element!

  8. I always love Sara Lee products, and adding a homemade element makes it even better. I love the idea of a choose your own cheesecake topping bar.

  9. I love cheesecake and now I have to make a detour off my calorie watching plan because I haven’t had a good piece of cheesecake in a while. Looks amazing

  10. This is such a cool idea, being able to pick your own toppings on a cheesecake is brilliant! Everyone loves cheesecake and customizing their treats.

  11. I enjoyed looking at your photos. You sure know how to arrange things. Great recipe! I’d love to try it.

  12. Goodness gracious that looks awesome. I’ve never thought to add my own toppings before but I’m going to try your recipe.

  13. Rebecca Swenor says

    This sounds like a great caramel sauce recipe. I love Sara Lee desserts are so delicious. The cheesecake would be perfect to make the turtel cheesecake with for sure. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  14. This looks incredible! I love the combination of chocolate and caramel. Add in cheesecake or ice cream and you have a surefire winner!

  15. Oh yum. I’ve never had a cheesecake before but I adore turtle so I feel like this one is a must for me. This looks so good! I will have to give it a try.

  16. I have never thought of creating a “choose your own cheesecake topping” bar, but now I need to try it. I think my family would love it!

  17. OMG! I’m drooling over here! That looks so delicious! So making this on the weekend! Thanks for the recipe!

  18. Yummmm…. Cheesecake is my favorite and it looks so good in pictures!! I would love to try it!!

  19. What a brilliant and fun idea for something different. Plus it’s simple. I like that you can just pull out the Sara Lee cheesecake and then personalize it depending on the kind of topping you choose.

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