Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Heavenly Cheesecake

I am pretty impressed with myself. I mean, check out how gorgeous this cake turned out. Usually I make things that taste good, but look decidedly homemade. I think this cake almost looks like something you'd pay money for! It tastes as good as it looks too. The recipe is from a woman at work, Masuma, who is a fantastic baker. I hadn't tried her cheesecake, but everybody said it was the best they've ever had, so I got the recipe to make for our friend Jack's birthday this weekend.

The chocolate topping was part of original recipe, which gave me the idea for the chocolate dipped strawberries on top. Next time I make this I think I'll double the cheesecake filling to make for more cheese-cakey goodness, but use a chocolate ganache rather than just melted chocolate on top as the chocolate gets hard and makes the filling squish out when you cut it. I have included these changes in the recipe below. Other variations would be to use pie filling on top (apparently sour cherry is out of this world), or just some fresh fruit.

Serves about 8
I haven't actually tried the ganache topping, but I feel like I have enough baking experience at this point to know that it should work out well. I'll post an update when I make this again and let you know how it turns out. The recipe looks like it has a lot of components, but each is really easy and quick.

  • 1 cup chocolate cookie or graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 bricks cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 cans condensed milk (Masuma says PC brand works best- I trust her)
  • 1/2 tub Cool Whip, thawed
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
Chocolate Ganache Topping
  • 5 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped (or use chocolate chips)
  • 1 1/4 cups whipping cream

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate, chopped and melted (I haven't listed this as a weight measurement as it normally would be because the amount really doesn't matter- you just need enough to coat the strawberries)

Crust:  Prepare a round springform pan by lining sides with foil before putting in bottom of pan (this will make it easier to remove the cake later). Mix crumbs and butter, press into the bottom of pan.

Filling: Beat cream cheese with a stand mixer or electric hand mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Do not over beat. With mixer on medium, add condensed milk a little at a time- if you add too much at once the mixture will get runny. Mix in Cool Whip at medium speed. Add 1/4 cup of lemon juice, mix well. Add remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice, mix well. Pour onto crust and refrigerate at least 4-5 hours.

Chocolate Ganache Topping: Once cake has had it's time in the fridge, bring cream just to a boil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Immediately pour over chopped chocolate. Stir until chocolate is melted. Allow to cool to room temperature. Remove cake from pan, peel off foil, and spread ganache over top- it will spill over the sides and look pretty. Refrigerate cake for another hour to set the ganache.

Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries: Wash strawberries and dry them really well- I spread them on some paper towels after washing and then dry them again with another paper towel just before dipping in chocolate. Holding strawberries by green hats, dip strawberries in melted chocolate halfway up the strawberry. Immediately place on cake. Keep cake refrigerated until serving.

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