The Daring Bakers April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.
Oh clap, clap, clap! My first Daring Baker’s challenge! After being a long-time lurker amongst the Daring Bakers and endless drooling at their creations, I’ve finally taken a plunge and joined up…and I already can’t wait for next month!
May I present to you the humble cheesecake. But (big but), I had to add my own flavour to it. Now in my sheltered cheesecake life, I’ve always enjoyed it plain, maybe with the odd dash of something fruity on the odd occasion, but still…plain, in all its glory. Not being the biggest cheesecake fan, I wanted to make a cake that I’d enjoy eating, with flavours that I love in my desserts, rather than try something outrageous. It sounds safe and boring but as a Daring Bakers newbie, I need to ease myself into this!
For avid cheesecake lover Mr S., I gave him the threesome he always dreamed about…..gingerbread, butterscotch and chocolate. Rather than steal the spotlight, the ginger and butterscotch are there to enhance the cheese (after all, the Philly is the star of the show) and chocolate, well, everything needs a layer of chocolate!
I left the recipe below as originally written. I used Arnotts Ginger Nut in the crust and for the filling, I added a teaspoon each of ground ginger and ground cinnamon and one cup (250ml) of homemade butterscotch sauce (recipe at end of post). You’ll also find the recipe for the chocolate glaze at the end.
If you’re going to use a springform pan, line the tin at least three times with foil. After it’s done baking, peel off the outer layers of foil immediately and then let it cool. You can check out my previous cheesecake post for pictures and hints.
As for the recipe, you’ll find the cheesecake batter to be extremely watery but luckily it bakes to a gorgeously creamy filling. The base was however, far too buttery and the addition of vanilla extract probably didn’t help the consistency. It rendered a base that too greasy with butter and soggy, which was a shame to an otherwise excellent recipe. I think in the future I’ll stick to the Mistress of Cheesecakes, Nigella Lawson, who hasn’t put a foot wrong so far in any of her cheesecakes.
Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake
2 cups / 180gm graham cracker crumbs or any plain, sweet biscuit (I used Arnotts Ginger Nut)
1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted (about 113gm)
2 Tbl / 24gm caster 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 Tbl lemon juice
1 Tbl vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
1 Tbl liqueur, optional, but choose what will work well with your cheesecake
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 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.
85gm (3 oz) good quality bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
57gm (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 tsps glucose syrup / light corn syrup / golden syrup
Heat all glaze ingredients in a double boiler or bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth.
Pour over cooled cheesecake (while it’s still in the tin) and tilt the baking pan to coat the top evenly. Chill, uncovered, 30 minutes.
Butterscotch Sauce (make in advance)
160ml thin cream
155g brown sugar
30g butter, cubed
2 tsp vanilla extract
Place the cream, sugar, butter and vanilla extract in a heavy-based saucepan and stir over medium heat for 5 minutes or until well combined.
Increase the heat to high and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until it thickens slightly.
Remove from the heat and set aside for a couple of hours or until cooled to room temperature. Serve or use at room temperature.