Monday, April 27, 2009

Daring Bakers April '09 - Café au Lait Cheesecake

I love being a part of the Daring Bakers. Every month presents a new challenge to test my sanity ability. This month? Cheesecake. Haven't made cheesecake before...but why not offer to bring this month's project to a family gathering! What is wrong with me?!?

It's not a quick dessert, mind you - and it has to be refrigerated overnight before you can serve it so do plan ahead. It does freeze well if you happen to have leftovers as I did (wrapped in a several layers of plastic wrap or wax paper and then sealed in a freezer bag).

This is an incredibly, incredibly rich cheesecake. Slice thinly! The full recipe will serve at minimum, twelve to fourteen people - at minimum. We brought it along as dessert for two Easter dinners, shared some with friends and still had a good-sized portion leftover for our freezer. In addition, I had two cups of filling set aside that I couldn't fit into my crust!

I made the café au lait version and we thought it was delicious - even my mother in law, who shies away from any coffee, tried and enjoyed it.

Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla

24 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla or 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 tablespoon liqueur (optional, choose what will work well with your cheesecake)

***cafe au lait cheesecake with caramel: take 1/4 cup of the heavy cream and heat until very hot. Add 1-2 tablespoons instant espresso or instant coffee; stir to dissolve. Add this to the remainder of cream and use as directed below. Garnish cheesecake with caramel sauce***

Preheat oven to 350F. Set a large pot of water on to boil.

Mix all crust ingredients and press into the base of a large, deep springform pan. If so desired, press crust up the sides of the pan as well. Set aside.

Combine room temperature cream cheese and sugar using a mixer and cream till smooth. Add eggs one at a time and waiting till each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next. Scrape bowl as needed. Add the cream, vanilla, lemon juice and liquer (if using). Blend till very smooth.

Pour batter into the prepared crust and tap gently several times to bring any air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a large roasting pan or other pan larger than the springform pan and pour the boiling water around the cake pan halfway up the sides. Ensure your cheesecake pan is airtight - wrap it in several layers of foil if necessary. Test prior to filling with crust and batter if unsure.

Bake cheesecake 45-55 minutes or until nearly done. The cake will hold together but have some 'wiggle' in the center. It should not be completely firm yet! Gently close the oven door, turn off the oven and allow the cake to cool in the oven for 1 hour. This will allow the cake to finish baking and the slow cooling will prevent cracking.

After 1 hour, carefully remove the cake from the oven and lift out of the water bath. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack, then cover and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to serve, cut into slices and garnish as desired.

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

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  1. Your cheesecake looks delicious! I loved this recipe!

  2. Amazing... that texture looks simply amazing. And what a nice flovour combination! I'm a sucker for coffee and caramel! Did you say you could ship by airplane? LOL

  3. I thought about making the cafe au lait cheesecake too. Yours looks gorgeous!

  4. Yummy!!! You'll have to make me some of this in July!

  5. Nice job! That drizzle looks great and so professional.

  6. OMG, that looks so freaking good! I want to lick it off my screen! Great job!

  7. Mmmmm. Cafe au lait. Delicious. Good job, your cheese cake looks great.

  8. Your cheesecake looks ever so perfect and beautiful! I love your choice of flavorings!



  9. That is the most beautiful cheesecake ever! Good job, expert presentation. I will try it as well. I love, love, love cheesecake! auntie M

  10. Thank you all, so much!! LOVED this challenge. So much fun!

  11. This looks stunning. The coffee version was my favorite of the adaptations I made to this recipe. Thanks for being a part of the April Daring Bakers Challenge!

    Jenny of JennyBakes


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