Monday, April 27, 2009

DB: Cheesecake! Delish...

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

I was excited to see Cheesecake as this month's Daring Baker's challenge! As usual every month I get a little apprehensive with the challenges. Always something just a bit out of my comfort zone. Things I like to eat, but not necessarily make. Close to something I know or have tried, but always just out of the reach of familiarity. I've made little cheesecakelets, but never made a whole cake at once, never made the crust, and never dealt with a water bath or a springform pan. The concept of something needing a water bath scares me away from pursuing that recipe. I didn't even have a springform pan until I stole one of my mom's a few months ago because she had two. The pan is a square one, nontraditional, but its what my mom had in her closet. The square pan was problematic when it came to the water bath.

This cheesecake was easy to assemble and bake. Much less complicated than I expected. There was not much clean up and very few steps involved. There were many different variations on the original cheesecake. Part of the challenge was to take a basic Cheeecake recipe and make it our own. We were supposed to put a personal spin on the recipe, so if you read other Daring Bakers you'll see thousands of cheesecake ideas, from vegan to double decker, there's something different for every one! I decided on the Key Lime Cheesecake with a chocolate graham crust. Refreshing and citrusy, perfect for all the hot weather we've been having! Today is supposed to get up to 94 degrees! I made a chocolate graham crust, that ended up being chocolate Teddy Grahams, Graham Crackers and Vanilla Wafers ground. I was short on the Teddy Grahams, and then only had a few graham crackers, and just enough vanilla wafers to make the needed 2 cups. Here's the cake in the pan. You can see a couple spots where the Saran Wrap touched the top and pulled out a divot, and a nibble mark on the side where my mom and I tasted it while it was still cooling. We couldn't wait hours and hours for it to cool down, we needed to know how it was Right THEN!

The side view, you can see the chocolate graham crust. It's a teensy bit soggy, I don't think my springform pan is 100% waterproof.
Yum! the cake is sooo good! When I pulled out the first piece I took a fork and went to town on the cake in the pan. It was delicious! Light, refreshing, creamy summery treat. The lime taste comes through strong but not overpowering.
I will definitely make this Cheesecake again, probably with a different variation, caramel apple sounds good right? MmmMmmm. As always, check out all the Daring Baker's creations, they are truly amazing!

Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake:

2 cups / 180 g graha
m cracker crumbs (Or combo chocolate Teddy Grahams, graham crackers, and vanilla wafers)
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
3 tbsp. Lime juice

Zest of 1 lime

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 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 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.

Pan note: The creator of this recipe used to use a springform pan, but no matter how well she wrapped the thing in tin foil, water would always seep in and make the crust soggy. Now she uses one of those 1-use foil "casserole" shaped pans from the grocery store. They're 8 or 9 inches wide and really deep, and best of all, water-tight. When it comes time to serve, just cut the foil away.


newlyweds said...

Great job, I love Daring Baker for the same reason, it forces me to make things I normally wouldn't.

Shayne said...

lookin good

lisamichele said...

Wow, your cheesecake looks so creamy and refreshing! Isn't Daring Bakers great? I'm already jonesing for the next challange! Hpwever, I need to tackle the Daring Cooks challenge before that! Have you signed up for Daring Cooks? :)

Claire said...

Honestly, I would LOVE to have a square springform cooL! This looks just great and you chose fun flavors.

Jenny said...

Key lime was one of the best versions I made during this challenge. I love the little nibble bites on the picture. Great job on this challenge, and congratulations on your first "whole" cheesecake. I bet you have more in your future!

Jenny from JennyBakes

Y said...

Great cheesecake! Yours looks amazingly creamy.

Arlette said...

I love the lime flavours good for you, I did once a key lime cheese cake and it was awesome , similar to yours...
great job

17andbaking said...

Key lime is a great, refreshing flavor for summer. Looks delicious! I'm just like you, I have to nibble something the MOMENT it comes out of the oven because I can't resist.

nicole said...

I like the square springform pan- so untraditional! I love it! Your cheesecake looks delicious, too :)

JMom said...

Wow, I didn't even know there was such a think as a square springform pan! Your cheesecake looks delicious!

JMom ~ Cooked from the Heart

Debyi said...

Your cheesecake looks great! It looks like it had a wonderful texture. Great job! Oh, and the Key Lime flavor, what a great choice.

Elra said...

Hmmm, Jess, third photo from the top looks really professional, and mouth watering. Well done!