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

This was such a fun challenge. I actually ended up finished within the first two weeks and even contemplated making a second cheesecake because the first one turned out so well. But, I didn’t end up having enough time so I guess I’ll delay that endeavor for another day.

I made the cheesecake for a small dinner that I hosted at my apartment. Stephanie came over and we sipped some nonalcoholic cranberry cider while we waited for Angela to arrive. The menu consisted of

  • Baked Brie
  • Penne Pasta in a light cream sauce
  • Chocolate pots with soy ice cream
  • Cheesecake!! (of course)

Despite the warning on the Daring Bakers forum, I hadn’t anticipated that the cheesecake would take so much time to bake. Basically, it took about 40 minutes to prepare it (crushing oreos, mixing the cream cheese, etc…) and remember, I don’t have any electronic equipment to help me. It then takes approximately an hour to bake, an hour to chill, and several hours in the fridge.

My take is a bit interesting. I had originally wanted a to make a coffee flavored cheesecake and since I didn’t have instant coffee or espresso, I had this genius idea to brew a few tablespoons of VERY dense coffee. I think I put about 7 tablespoons of coffee for only 5 tablespoons of coffee. I mixed that into the cream before I added the cream to the cream cheese and the color turned a bit brown. But, when I tasted it, I couldn’t taste any coffee so I thought, what the heck. I added the juice of half of lemon and after I emptied the batter into the oreo crusted pan, I added some swirls of lemon curd.

daring bakers cheesecake

But without further ado, here is the recipe! I used a regular cake pan, so instead so I had to cut the original recipe by 1/3. The following is my adapted recipe from the Daring Bakers Challenge recipe.

Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake:

Crust:

  • 21 Oreos
  • 1/2 / 2 oz butter, melted

Recipe:

  1. In a zip-lock bag, crush the 21 Oreos until they become very grainy and all the large chunks disappear
  2. Add in the melted butter and mix until butter is well integrated
  3. Mold the crust into the bottom of your pan. Bake for about 3 minutes at 350 degrees (optional).

(I had no zip lock bags 🙁 so I took layered oreo cookies in between two pieces of waxed paper and started banging it with a bottle!)

Cheesecake:

  • 2 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 16 oz) room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • Half of a lemon’s juice
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
  • 5 tbsp. densely brewed coffee
  • 5 tbsp. of lemon curd (store brought)

Recipe:

  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. 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.
  3. Add the brewed coffee to the heavy cream. Blend and add to the cream cheese. After, add 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.
  5. Take a teaspoon of lemon curd and drop over different parts of the surface of the cheesecake. Take a toothpick or a chopstick (or even the end of a fork) and swirl the lemon curd around.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

Now, this is a very interesting cheesecake because of 3 things- the Oreo crust, the coffee flavor, and the lemon. When the cheesecake cooled and I took a bite, I was surprised that the coffee flavor really came out. Surprisingly, it paired really well with the lemon. The flavors aren’t mixed together. Rather, it’s the coffee that hits you first and then the lemon, which melt together beautifully. Of course, the Oreo crust is probably the most delicious part as it goes so well with the playful favors.

It’s definitely a cheesecake that I’d make again. I think that if I ever opened a bakery, this would make it onto the menu.

*Many thanks to Angela Zou, the photographer, for this challenge*