Monday, April 27, 2009

Daring Bakers April 2009 - Cheesecake Centerpiece

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.  This month I was ready to get back into the Daring Bakers Challenge since I missed the last once. I decided to make this cheesecake passover friendly so I could bring thing to a group of people and not eat the whole thing myself. The cheesecake was a hit and this is a recipe I will go back to for years to come. Make sure to check out the other Daring Bakers postings! 

Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake:


2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs ( I did not use graham crackers since I made this as a desert for passover. I used chocolate chip coconut macaroons.)  

1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted                                                                                                               

2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar                                                                                                                   

 1 tsp. vanilla extract

3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature

1 cup / 210 g sugar

3 large eggs

1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream

1 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)

1 tbsp liqueur, optional, but choose what will work well with your cheesecake ( I did not use this)


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. I used the food processor to make the crust for my cheesecake. The chocolate chip macaroons made a great crust


Crushed Macraroons

Crushed Macaroons with Sugar
Crushed Macaroons with Vanilla extract
Crushed Macaroons with Margarine
Final Product next time when I put it in my springform pan I wont spread it so high up the sides. I think mine came up a little to high. 
3. Combine cream cheese 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

I brought the cheescake to my boyfriends family seder. Craig requested a strawberry topping. I used fresh strawberries some sugar and lemon juice and lemon zest. I  cooked it until the strawberries got soft and then removed the strawberries. I then reduced the liquid until it got a nice and thick texture and added the strawberries back in. I put this in a container and let it sit in the fridge where it chilled and got even thicker. 

I had a hard time removing the springform pan the crust was sticking and caused the cheesecake to crack ,but when I added the strawberry sauce you could no longer tell.  I think it may have stuck because it was chilled for two days in the fridge and I should have let it sit out a bit longer before trying to remove the springform pan. No matter what it looked like the cheesecake was a huge hit and I would 100% make this again. 

As you can see there wasn't very much left! 

Craig's Corner 

"The cheesecake melted in my mouth and made me forget it was passover and the strawberry topping put it over the top."