for my first daring baker's challenge of course it had to be something i've never attempted before: cheesecake. and i had to get creative to boot? come on now. here's the original recipe, cut and pasted.
Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake:
2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs
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
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.
i actually ended up making two cakes in case one failed and took them to my former hospital of employment. medical records (where i used to work) got the full-fat version, exact from the recipe. radiology (where my mom works) got a cake where the cream cheese was replaced by one part neufatel, one part drained yogurt, and one part pureed cottage cheese. both departments raved about their respective cakes, with no complaints! however, my brother and i taste-tested both of them before transporting... we agreed that the lighter version was nice, but we missed the richness. the 8.5 inch pan i used was too small for the recipe, so there was just enough to make two small ramekins of cheesecake to save for my family. my mom is diabetic so i had to stop her from eating so much of it; she liked it enough to risk her health! (;
though both cheesecakes turned out well, i have to admit i forgot to tap the pan of the first cake to get all the airbubbles out. this is a crucial step if you want a smooth-looking surface. i had to hide the craters with strategically placed pecans and cocoa powder. /:
this cake was made in the beginning of the month in california. now that i'm in denmark, it feels like all the hoops i had to jump through to get here was so worth it. the sun is shining, it's warm outside, everything is turning greener by the day. spring is the side of copenhagen that most tourists see yet i've never experienced before. glad to be back. ^^