Monday, April 27, 2009

Baking a Cheesecake With the Daring Bakers

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

I was very pleased that we would be baking a cheesecake this month as this would be one cake my hubby will certainly enjoy. He’s not partaken of most of my Daring Bakers cakes (other than the savory recipes) as cakes and cookies are “off-limits” to him. Don’t think that this is due to any medical condition rather that he doesn’t fancy it at all. However if it has cheese as a main ingredient, it’s a total ball-game altogether. My brother-in-law is the same too. Both men will complain that the cake is too dense (trust me it is not), too much butter, too much flour, too eggy! My goodness, have you ever heard of such a string of excuses!

I very seldom make a “baked” cheesecake as I usually find them a bit heavier than chilled ones. Chilled ones are much creamier, lighter and has less steps as well. The couple of times I’ve made a baked cheesecake, the recipe did not call for a water bath. So in a way, this is something new to me as well. For this month's challenge I decided to tackle two different types of cheesecake; chocolate and berries. I halfed both recipes below and made them into 4" minis.

Chocolate Cheesecake with Valhora Chocolate Pearls
Make one 8" cake

For the Cheese mixture:

300g cream cheese
200ml whipping cream
120g caster sugar
2 whole eggs
4Tbs Dutch process cocoa powder
4tsp freshly squeeze lemon juice
1/2 cup valhora chocolate pearls

For the Crust:

180g Oreo cookies (w/o filling)
100g unsalted butter

* Cheesecake is best make using a spring form pan or a pan with removable bottom (I use the later).

* You can get your cake sliced just like the one they sell in the cafĂ© by following these simple steps: first soak a knife in a cup of hot water, wipe off with a towel, then cut the cake while knife is still warm. Try to cut it through with only one cut and do not “saw”. Whip off any cake crump/residue and slice again. Just repeat these steps and you will have neat and pretty slices of cake that rival what they sell in the patisseries.


1) Preheat oven to 160 degree C/325 degree F.

2) Wrap the bottom (up to half way) of the pan with 2 layers of foil paper. Boil some water for later use (appx. 2 liter).

For the crust:

Break the cookies into small pieces, then place into a zip lock bag or any heavy weight plastic bag (remove air bubbles), and crush + roll using a rolling pin until cookies become fine crumb. Place butter in microwave and heat for 1 min. over medium heat. Pour melted butter into the bag, remove air bubble and close the bag, then shake it to mix the two. Pour this mix into the pan; using the back of a large spoon, press crumb firmly to pan until packed; set aside.

For the cheesecake:

1) Place the cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Using a whisk, whisk cream cheese until blended; add the other ingredients in the following order, sugar --> cocoa powder --> eggs --> lemon juice --> whipping cream, make sure that each item is well blended before adding another. Strain the cheese mixture then pour into the cake pan. Then randomly drop in the chocolate pearls.

2) Pour hot water (1 inch in depth) into a roasting pan, place the pan inside the roasting pan and bake for 45 - 50 minutes. If the water dried out while baking, be sure to refill with more hot water. Once the center of the cake no longer quiver and the sides begin to pull away from the pan then it is done. Remove from oven and let cool completely on wire rack. Place in fridge for overnight to set.

Dark Chocolate Glazing

100g whipping cream
125g water
40g cocoa powder
160g granulated sugar
10g leaf gelatine


1) Pre-soak gelatine in a bowl of cold water, squeeze out excess water; set aside. If using powdered gelatine, add 2 spoon of water.

2) Place whipping cream, sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat. Then add in the cocoa powder and bring to boil again or till mixture slightly thicken; stir constantly to avoid mixture sticking to saucepan. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes then add the pre-soaked gelatine; stir until completely melted; strain. When cool to lukewarm, pour glazing onto cheesecake and let some drip down the sides. Place back into fridge for another hour before serving.

3) For final dressing, pipe rosettes of whipped cream around the edge of the cake before serving.

Yogurt Berry Cheesecake

Graham Cracker Base

1 1/4 cups wholewheat cracker crumbs (you can use graham)
3 Tbsp sugar
4 Tbsp butter
1 tsp of cinnamon

Cheesecake Filing:

8-oz cream cheese, room temperature 113g
16-oz citrus flavoured yogurt (or natural yogurt), room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 Tbsp of lime zest
1 tsp lime juice
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
pinch salt

Method for the Crust:

1)) Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and stir until well combined. Press into a 9-inch springform pan, pressing the crust slightly up the sides if you don’t wish to have a thick crust on the bottom.

2) Prebake a graham cracker base into a 9-inch springform pan; a 9-inch graham cracker pie crust should work fairly well, too. This cheesecake can also be baked without a crust.

Method for the Filing:

1) Preheat oven to 350F (176C)

2) Wrap the bottom of the pan with double foil paper. Boil some water for later use (appx. 2 liter).

2) In a food processor, blend cream cheese, yogurt, sugar, eggs, zest, juice, vanilla extract and salt until mixture is very, very smooth.

2) Pour hot water (1 inch in depth) into a roasting pan, place the pan inside the roasting pan and bake for about 40 - 50 minutes. If the water dried out while baking, be sure to refill with more hot water. Once the center of the cake no longer quiver and the sides begin to pull away from the pan then it is done. Remove from oven and let cool completely on wire rack. Place in fridge for 3 hours or overnight to set.

3) Cool to room temperature before refrigerating. Refrigerate overnight before serving.

4) To serve top the cheesecake with a mixed berrie (blackberries, raspberries and blueberries) compote and sprinke some lime zest on the top as decoration.


Anonymous said...

very beautiful cheesecakes and elegantly presented.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

What beautiful creations! Really tempting and delicious looking!



Lolah said...

Both of your ceesecakes look fantastic!
A great job.

Angela said...

The chocolate cheesecake looks wonderful, but OMG! The yoghurt-berry cheesecake is amazing! Luscious photographs, too!

Aracne Designs said...

Your cheesecakes are wonderful, yum.
Liked your options and the fact that the berries one has crumbs on the sides too. Well done!

Lisa said...

Both of your cheesecakes look amazing! I love the chocolate pearls, and your photos are lovely! Wonderful job all around!


Congrats on a beautiful job, well done!

dandelion said...

Looking Good! The chocolate one is stunning. Both must have been delicious. Nice work.

linda said...

wow, you even did two versions! they look so delicious!
Glad your husband could finally enjoy a DB challenge ;)

Unknown said...

I'll have one of each, please! :) Great job.

Stacie said...

Great job on the cheesecake. I hoped you enjoyed trying the 'baked' kind and using a water bath! I wish I could try that chocolate one. Love the fruit for spring also!

Elissa @ 17 and Baking said...

Ohmygosh, the chocolate pearl one sounds heavenly... These both look great!

Dragon said...

Your cheesecake is lovely. Great job on this month's challenge.

Maris said...

Wow, I love that you have a rich, chocolate cheesecake and a lighter one (That is, as light as a cheesecake can get!)

Chantal said...

oh wow! you went cheesecake crazy!
I love your rosettes and the berry cheesecake they look, lovely :)

Simones Kitchen said...

Your cheesecakes look delicious! How funny that your husbands doesn't really care for any cakes or sweets! Mine is the opposite really...:) So he is quite exciting about the whole daring bakers challenge!

Deeba PAB said...

Just beautiful.I love berry anything, & I like this a lot!! Well done indeed!

pinkstripes said...

Wow! They both look and sound delicious. I love the yogurt berry one!

BitterSweet said...

I'm a sucker for anything mint-chocolate, so that first one sounds absolutely amazing! They're both lovely, too.

JMom said...

Beautiful cheesecakes! I can't make up my mind which one I would prefer :) They both sound delicious.
JMom ~ Cooked from the Heart

Angelica said...

omg, that yogurt cheesecake looks amazingly fresh! Love how you put the crust on the sides, i always like extra crust on my cheesecakes!

Lot-O-Choc said...

Mmmmm yum!! Both look delicious, I love the look of the chocolate one!

Barbara Bakes said...

Two gorgeous cheesecakes! I love the closeup picture of the juicy berries.

Unknown said...

Aww... so pretty... love your piping decorations :)

Karen | Citrus and Candy said...

Wow, two cheesecakes? Well done! The chocolate one looks divine!

Joy said...

I love the berry compote on top! Great job. :)

I usually make the no-bake or chilled cheesecake, too, because they are much lighter (and guests feel a little more guilt-free for some reason! lol). I like this cheesecake, but definitely not something I would serve to the weight-conscious. I have to eat half of the cheesecake myself. So sad!

Ingrid_3Bs said...

Those turned out great! Loved your photos. I wish I had the same "problem" your hubby does. I'd be soooo much slimmer if I always had a problem with what I baked.

lemon tart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lemon tart said...

I love the idea of using Valrhona Pearls! Did they melt in or keep their shape? I can just imagine the bubbly cross section. I always have Valrhona pearls in my purse. They are my chocoalte fix during the day. Just a couple at a time:)

Jo said...

Hi all, thanks for dropping by. I had great fun with April challenge and my hubby was extremely pleased too (grin from ear to ear)! Surprisingly the yogurt berry one looked dense but after a first bite, I realized it was actually very smooth and light.

Hi Lemontart, the valhora did not melt. You get that extra choc crunch when you bite into the cheesecake. In fact you can use the valhora into any choc cakes as well. It's especially great if you are making a choc ginger cake!

Aparna Balasubramanian said...

Both your cheesecakes look gorgeous. This was my first time making a baked cheesecake.

Cristina {Teenie Cakes} said...

Your cheesecakes look beautiful. I think I'll have to try to make your Yogurt Berry Cheesecake. Beautiful presentation.

Laura said...

They both look so yummy! Wonderful creations.

Maggie said...

I love the idea of the yogurt and berry cheesecake! Both look perfect!

Unknown said...

I'm about a month late, but these look beautiful. Hope your men enjoyed the less-sweet dessert. :)

Jenny of JennyBakes

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