The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.
Jenny’s Instructions: I know some of you will have made cheesecake before, but I’m hoping it is new for some of you. The real challenge this month is to take this basic recipe and play with it. Make it unique. Make a showstopper of a dessert. Add flavor, sauces, decorations – dress it up and show it off. To be clear, I’m allowing for almost any flavor modification within the basic recipe (alcohol, lemon juice, vanilla), changes for dietary needs, and you can also experiment with the crust (graham crackers not essential). And then what you do on top – you have free reign here.
My interpretation: Use any kind of base … use “Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake” recipe … Put anything on top.
My Creation: Carrot Cake Cheesecake … inspired by Junior’s of New York.
I believe I am Daring Bakers Challenge legal!
Bake your cheesecake. Our group used “Abbeys Infamous Cheesecake” recipe.
Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake:
3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
1 cup / 210 g sugar
3 large eggs (I like eggs to be at room temperature.)
1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream (I let the cream set out a few minutes to warm up a bit.)
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean) (I used a good vanilla extract.)
1 tbsp liqueur, optional, but choose what will work well with your cheesecake (I chose not to use liqueur.)
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. (At this time, I generously butter the bottom and sides of a 9 inch springform pan.)
2. 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.
3. Pour batter into prepared pan (I do not use a crust in the pan, so you will be pouring the batter directly into the pan.) 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 use a triple layer of heavy duty foil around my springform pan.)
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.
Carrot Cake Cheesecake Assembly. When you are ready to assemble the cake, take the cheesecake from the freezer and carrot cakes from the fridge and allow them to stand at room temperature while you make the frosting. I used the cream cheese frosting recipe from Junior’s Cheesecake Cookbook.
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (1 and 1/2 pounds)
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream