Today is two of my really good friends’ birthday. They are roommates, look alike, and have the same birthday – they seriously could quite possibly be twins. Last night we decided to throw them a party in our room. Our main course was sushi, which we made, because they are both part Japanese. Sushi is really quite simple to make, although I did burn 2 batches of rice before I figured out at what temperature it needed to be. In addition to the sushi, we also had THREE cakes! I kid you not. There were only 9 of us, but three cakes. We had two cakes from Amy’s Bread (which I must go to – I have a gift card) and then I made a cheesecake! It was quite a sugar rush, but I think everyone thoroughly enjoyed it.
I have never made a cheesecake before, so I was hesitant at first because I didn’t want to make a fool of myself at a birthday party. All my stress turned out to be unfounded. Not only was this cake easy to make, it turned out to be delicious. It was a much lighter and fluffier cheesecake than I was used to. I guess I usually imagine cheesecake as being dense, almost like sticking a fork into an actual block of cream cheese. This cake was much lighter, more like a mousse. It’s important to whip the cream cheese for a good 8-10 minutes if you want this fluffiness, and I guess the extra cup of sugar I accidently added doesn’t take away anything either 😉 I kind of ad-libbed the crust with choclate tedddy grahams that didn’t turn out so well, but I don’t think it was any loss to the cake itself. Next time I’ll try and make a more stable crust. This was really a super easy cake to make, although it does need to sit in the fridge for at least 4 hours if not overnight. I made it the evening before to ensure it chilled long enough. Using the blow dryer might seem ridiculous, but it really does work.
(Adapted from Baking: From My Home To Yours)
- 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 pounds (four 8-ounce boxes) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 1/3 cups sour cream
1) Butter a 9-inch springform pan—choose one that has sides that are 2 3/4 inches high (if the sides are lower, you will have cheesecake batter leftover)—and wrap the bottom of the pan in a double layer of aluminum foil; put the pan on a baking sheet.
2) Stir the crumbs, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Pour over the melted butter and stir until all of the dry ingredients are uniformly moist. (I do this with my fingers.) Turn the ingredients into the buttered springform pan and use your fingers to pat an even layer of crumbs along the bottom of the pan and about halfway up the sides. Don’t worry if the sides are not perfectly even or if the crumbs reach above or below the midway mark on the sides—this doesn’t have to be a precision job. Put the pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven.
3) Center a rack in the oven, preheat the oven to 350°F and place the springform on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Set the crust aside to cool on a rack while you make the cheesecake.
4) Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.
1) Put a kettle of water on to boil.
2) Working in a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until it is soft and lives up to the creamy part of its name, about 4 minutes. With the mixer running, add the sugar and salt and continue to beat another 4 minutes or so, until the cream cheese is light. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one by one, beating for a full minute after each addition—you want a well-aerated batter. Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in the sour cream.
3) Put the foil-wrapped springform pan in the roaster pan.
4) Give the batter a few stirs with a rubber spatula, just to make sure that nothing has been left unmixed at the bottom of the bowl, and scrape the batter into the springform pan. The batter will reach the brim of the pan. (If you have a pan with lower sides and have leftover batter, you can bake the batter in a buttered ramekin or small soufflé mold.) Put the roasting pan in the oven and pour enough boiling water into the roaster to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
5) Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, at which point the top will be browned (and perhaps cracked) and may have risen just a little above the rim of the pan. Turn off the oven’s heat and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Allow the cheesecake to luxuriate in its water bath for another hour.
6) After 1 hour, carefully pull the setup out of the oven, lift the springform pan out of the roaster—be careful, there may be some hot water in the aluminum foil—remove the foil. Let the cheesecake come to room temperature on a cooling rack.
7) When the cake is cool, cover the top lightly and chill the cake for at least 4 hours, although overnight would be better.
Serving: Remove the sides of the springform pan and set the cake, still on the pan’s base, on a serving platter. The easiest way to cut cheesecake is to use a long, thin knife that has been run under hot water and lightly wiped. Keep warming the knife as you cut slices of the cake.