Wednesday, April 29, 2009

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

This was a very straightforward recipe, which was nice. This made it very easy to play with the flavorings. My only regret is that I made a plain cheesecake. In hindsight, I would have just made a whole bunch of different flavored cheesecake minis.

It all started like this.....crust:
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

DIRECTIONS: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.

So I went ahead and made a plain ol' cheesecake:

Then the fun began. I knew I wanted to make a pomegranate flavored cheesecake with this little bottle of heavenly scented red liquid that I've been dying to use. I added a tiny bit of food coloring to get the nice pink coloring in this mini.

Next I did a large cupcake pan of cheesecake minis. I started with Lavender. I bought these dried lavender flowers at a health food store and thought this would be a good opportunity to try them out. Then I did a praline/Hazelnut Kahlua, a lime mini with a drop of green food coloring, an almond extract flavored mini, a mango flavored one, and a peanut butter flavored one.

In the picture above, it's Mango, Lime, Kahlua in the top row and Peanut Butter, Almond, Lavender below. Hmmm...maybe I should have combined the Kahlua, Peanut Butter and Almond ones together?

So everything went fairly well in the oven. I used a water bath, lowered the temp to 325 and set the oven to convection bake. This automatically adjusted the temp down to 300 degrees, which was my goal.

I was nice and patient. Really. I let them cool off and didn't even pester them to hurry up. They cool sufficiently, and using my little parchment "handles" I gently remove them from the pan. good little cheesecakes. They were on their best behavior. Then along came Mr. Mango, the rebel of the bunch. He just would not cooperate. He got his just desserts, though. No, wait. Actually I got my just desserts. I.ate.him. Without thinking twice. And I enjoyed every bit of it. Notice the very conspicuous void in the picture? Yea....Mr Mango didn't quite live up to plating standards.

Now there was a lesson to be learned here. Mangoes are tasty, there couldn't possibly be too much of a good thing, could there? I guess I have to accept reality. Pureed mango makes for runny cheesecake when you dont measure it out. LOL! that's okay it still tasted soooo good. In fact it was so good, I'll be making a mango-flavored cheesecake (not too much mango in the batter) with a nice mango glaze. Now if only those darn mangoes would hurry up and grow and ripen so I can pick them!


  1. What a fab post you did and the flavour combination (especially mango a fav for me) are inspired. The photos are so so so professional I really like the black one. Bravo cheers from Audax in Australia

  2. I love all the flavors you came up with!! I love mango too (that's the flavor I did and it really yummy!) Great job!

  3. Eerrr....can I just HAVE IT ALL??? :) Very beautiful photos and flavors! Great job!

  4. Beautiful!!
    The first pic looks like a Lancome palette!

  5. Great job...I got this hilarious image of the once fiesty mango cheesecake cowering with fear as you're about to eat him, lol...I enjoyed reading your post

  6. Gosh.. look at all those fabulous cheesecakes!! choices choices.. They all look great! well done

  7. Superb ideas and flavors. The array of little, colorful cheesecakes look like a paint palette, gorgeous and no doubt delicious! Kudos on some major creativity :)

  8. That's hysterical re: the mangoes. What fun to have so many different flavors to play with--I think there was more pressure to get it perfect with just one. Next time I might try lots of different ones. Yours look great.

  9. I love all the flavors you did, but I have to admit to being most intrigued by the mango! I wonder what the magic amount of liquid is. Let me know if you find out. :)

    Thanks for being a part of the April Daring Bakers Challenge!

    Jenny of JennyBakes