Did I mention that I'd like to start making a little money with my baked goods? Lucky me, my friends are being supportive. Especially Julie. She's ordered pies from me and the cake I'm about to share with all of you.
There is always added pressure when baking for other people... I didn't want to disappoint Julie or her guests - especially her sister since this was going to be her birthday cake. So I pestered Julie for information and was warned (1) chocolate - NOT important (2) cheese - VERY important. Yep, a cheesecake was the order of the day!
As you know, my cheesecake baking experience is pretty limited: I've baked 2. The Margarita Cheesecake (April DB Challenge) and then a Triple Chocolate Cheesecake. Both of which were hits, but I wanted to try another recipe just to see how using sour cream would change things... I know, I'm never happy with just the one recipe I have, I always have to try something new... but that's the beauty of baking right? So many options!
I have to say, this is probably the easiest recipe ever: resulting in a fluffy, light and very creamy cake. As Julie's nephew exclaimed, "this isn't cheese, it's cream!"
1 1/2 c. graham crumbs
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp melted butter
2 x 8 oz pkgs of cream cheese, room temperature
1 c. sugar
5 eggs, divided and at room temperature
1/4 c. sabra liquor (or replace with 1 tsp each vanilla and lemon juice)
2 c. sour cream
Preheat your oven to 300 F. Grab a 10 inch springform pan and line the outside of it with tinfoil so that the base is sealed shut (I also sprayed the inside with non-stick spray). Set aside.
Mix the melted butter, crumbs and sugar together and then press evenly into the base of your pan (If you want a thicker base, use a smaller pan). Set aside in your fridge.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl at the lowest speed (kitchenaid speed 2) beat the cream cheese until smooth. Slowly incorporate the sugar.
Increase your speed just a little (Stir speed) and add each egg yolk individually. You just want everything to be incorporated. Add the sabra and the sour cream, 1 cup at a time. Remember to scrape the sides - I did that before incorporating each cup of sour cream.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they are stiff (high speed of your beaters). You're then going to fold the egg whites into the batter (do it quickly so that the air isn't lost) and then pour the batter over the graham crumb base.
Bake the cake for 1 hour in a bain marie (the cake pan is placed in a larger pan that has about 2 inches of warm water in it). This prevents the cake from cracking on the top.
Once it's done baking, open the oven door and allow the cheesecake to sit for another 30 minutes. Once it's cooled down, remove it from the oven and place in the fridge. I chilled mine over night.
I know I'd been told that chocolate wasn't important, but I'd also been informed that fresh berries weren't a popular option with the birthday girl - so I decided to make a chocolate ganche to spread
on top of the cake. I mean you can't leave it plain!
100 g dark chocolate, melted
1/4 c. heavy cream
In a double boiler over simmering water melt the chocolate. Once the chocolate is completely melted, whisk in the cream and continue stirring it until you get a smooth consistency. If you need more cream, use more cream, make this ganache as thick or thin as you like.
Once you reach your preferred consistency, remove the chocolate from the heat and allow it to stand at room temperature for a minute or two.
Take the cheesecake out of the fridge and remove the sides from the pan. Now pour the ganche on top of the cake and use a flat blade (I used a large knife) to spread the ganche evenly over the surface.
The result is a super fluffy cake with a beautiful chocolate topping. A HUGE success. Thanks Julie for supporting my baking addiction. This is the continuation of a beautiful friendship ;0)