I love cheesecake. Joe would say cheesecake is his favorite dessert. Our favorite cheesecake is served at a diner not far from our home.Ã‚ It’s amazing. The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.
I think we might have a new favorite now.
I’ve never before tried to make a cheesecake, and I found the April Daring Bakers Challenge a bit daunting. Jenny from JennyBakes.com proposed that we all make the same cheesecake, but she challenged participants to make their cheesecakes show stoppers.
I tried. How’s that fellow to the right? He’s a show stopper, all right.
I jest. The cheesecake was a little ugly, but I doctored it with a thick layer of chocolate ganache (that I also messed up), and the whole concotion was fabulously delicious.
Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake (Feels like Home style)
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup macadamia nuts, chopped coarsely
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 blocks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz), at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons orange extract
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 6-8 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons butter
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.
3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-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.
*Here’s a side note. I learned (after the fact) that over beating the cheese mixture during step three will lead to an excess of air in the batter, which leads to excessive puffiness during baking and the dreaded chasm across the top when the puffiness falls during cooling. Mix it just enough to incorporate all of the ingredients, and then stop. I mixed my filling until it was well blended, then I decided to add food coloring to make it more orange. That took much more mixing in the mixer. No wonder the Grand Canyon opened up as it cooled.
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.
*I put the water on the rack below the cheesecake, and I think it was a mistake. The cheesecake would have turned out nicer if I’d put it directly into the water bath.
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.
6. While the cake was cooling on the counter, I prepared the chocolate ganache. In order to do this, I heated chocolate chips, butter (cut into small cubes), and heavy cream in a pan in the microwave in 30 second increments. I heated it for 30 seconds, then stirred well, then heated for 30 seconds and stirred well. I did that three or four times, until the chocolate was very smooth and creamy. Unfortunately, the chocolate was much too runny to spread on my cheesecake, so I let it sit on the counter for a while, until it cooled and thickened enough to spread.
7. Once the cheesecake and the chocolate ganache were sufficiently cool, I covered the whole thing with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to chill over night.
8. Once fully chilled, the cheesecake is ready to serve. I had intended to spread a mango-mandarin orange-pineapple glaze on top of the cheesecake, but I couldn’t make it come out the way I wanted. I skipped that part.
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!
I loved this cheesecake.
Chocolate and orange are two of my favorite flavors, and this was a heavenly combination. Joe prefers his cheesecake plain, though, so he asked me to make another one with nothing special added. I’ll get around to it one of these days.
DonÃ¢â‚¬™t forget to stop back on Thursday for GraceÃ¢â‚¬™s Kitchen!
© 2009 – 2013, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.