The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.
This being my first time participating in the Daring Bakers, I was very excited to see that the challenge for the month was cheesecake. We were given a lot of freedom to do what we wanted with this recipe, so while keeping the majority of the ingredients the same I did take a few liberties and created a Tiramisu inspired cheesecake. The result was a super silky, creamy cheesecake with just a hint of coffee flavor.
While I varied the ingredients slightly, I did follow the directions exactly and I have to say it turned out pretty well and my cheesecake did not crack, which is definitely a plus. The only thing I will mention is that for those of you that try to make this using the water bath method, make sure your springform pan is pretty secure, or wrap it tightly with foil. The recipe suggested to use a foil casserole pan that is about 8 or 9 inches wide and really deep. However, when at the grocery store, I totally spaced that part and had to use my springform pan. My crust did get a little soggy, but it was still delicious :)
For the crust you will need:
- 2 cups crushed lady fingers
- 1 stick butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon Kahlua or other coffee flavored liqueur
For the cheesecake you will need:
- 2 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 (8 ounce) container of mascarpone cheese at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon Kahlua or other coffee flavored liqueur
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.
2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too – baker’s choice. Set crust aside.
3. Combine cream cheese, mascarpone and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy.
4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.
5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done – this can be hard to judge, but you’re looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don’t want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won’t crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.
To top this cheesecake I simply used some whipped cream and chopped Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate bar sprinkled over the top.
Prep notes: While the actual making of this cheesecake is a minimal time commitment, it does need to bake for almost an hour, cool in the oven for an hour, and chill overnight before it is served. Please plan accordingly!