When my son Elliot comes home for a visit, his first request is usually cheesecake. So when I read the Daring Baker's Challenge this month and found out it was cheescake, I wished Elliot was here to taste it. Of course I always wish Elliot was here ( he is at the University of Calgary) but especially when I make cheesecake. Dan, on the other hand has never been that enthusiastic about it ... until now! It seems we have turned a corner...he loved it! For the challenge, I made a café au lait cheesecake with chocolate drizzles on top. Yummy! We each had a piece and I froze the rest for Elliot's visit next month. Yes, it can stay for a month in the freezer! YAYYYYY!!!!
The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.
Thank you Jenny!
Here is the recipe. I baked the crust first and followed some of the techniques from Alton Brown. Watch his YouTube video below for some interesting cheesecake tips.Crust:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (I bought the crackers and crushed them myself so I would have some that weren’t crushed completely)
1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream
1 tbsp instant espresso or instant coffee
1 tbsp vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
1 tbsp Baileys, optional, but choose what will work well with your cheesecake
1 oz semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate
2 tbsp heavy cream
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F . Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.
2. Brush some of the melted butter around a 9 by 3-inch cake pan. Adhere parchment to the bottom and the sides.
3. In a small bowl, combine crumbled graham crackers, the remaining melted butter, sugar and vanilla. Press 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of the parchment-lined pan.
4. Place remaining crumbs on a sheet pan and bake both the crust and the remaining mixture for 10 minutes. Reserve additional crumb mixture for sides.
5. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer with a paddle attachment (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.
6. Heat ¼ cup of the heavy cream in the microwave for a short amount of time until very hot. Add 1 tbsp instant espresso or instant coffee and stir to dissolve. Add this to the remainder of cream.
7. Add heavy cream, vanilla and Baileys to batter and blend until smooth and creamy.
8. Pour batter into prepared crust and twist the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface.
9. 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. See video below for more instructions.
10. 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, and still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage.
11. Turn the oven off and open the door for one minute. Close the door for one more hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top.
12. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and place in the refrigerator for 6 hours to completely cool before serving.
13. When ready to serve, place the entire cake pan into a hot water bath for about 15 seconds. Unmold onto a cake round or serving dish. Take the remaining graham cracker mixture and press into the sides of the cake.
14. Melt chocolate - add 2 tbsps heavy cream and drizzle over cake
15. To slice, place your knife into a hot water bath and wipe dry each time you make a pass through the cake.
This cake freezes very well. Wrap it in plastic then in aluminum foil. You can keep it in the freezer for a month.
Until we bake again...