So far on this blog, I have devoted my posts to cakes – pound cakes, chocolate cake, carrot cake. The list goes on. This week I am sharing with you a cake of a much different sort. In fact this is not even a cake at all.
Cheesecake is one of the most loved desserts. Its creaminess and richness beat most other forms of dessert. Yet, its simplicity lends it well to a wide range of flavorings and condiments.
Cheesecake is not a cake, but rather a custard. A custard, by definition, is a baked dessert created by combining eggs, milk, and sugar. Cheesecake does not generally contain flour, though some recipes may have a small amount. Flour is usually added for stability, though this recipe needs no flour for texture. When it is refrigerated, it firms up to the most perfect cheesecake consistency, holding its shape while melting in your mouth with each indulgent bite.
You may be wondering why this cheesecake is pink.. Well, for Valentine’s Day, I decided to tint it pink and top it with a Nutella glaze and berries. Yum, utter decadence – as Valentine’s Day desserts should be. Make no mistake, though. This cheesecake is absolutely wonderful without any lavish adornments. If, however, you want to tint your cheesecake, a few drops of gel food coloring will do, mixed in when you add the sour cream to the batter.
Let’s talk about crust. Graham cracker crusts are the norm for cheesecakes. I have recently started to incorporated nut flours into my baking and cooking. Nut flours are a good source of nutrition. They also serve to flavor dishes quite nicely and easily take the place of bread crumbs, flour, and in this case, graham crackers. My version of cheesecake crust takes its flavorings from almond and cashew flour. Mixed with a little butter and sugar, this crust beats all graham cracker crusts by a mile. This crust melds so perfectly with the creaminess of the cheesecake, that once you try it, you will hesitate to return to any sort of traditional graham cracker crust for your cheesecakes.
Basic, Creamy CheesecakeAdapted from Blackberry Cheesecake Squares by Ree Drummond (Yield: one 8″ round cheesecake, about 1″ high. This recipe can be poured into cupcake molds, that have been welled greased, for individual cheesecakes) Filling: 12 oz cream cheese, room temperature 3/4 c granulated sugar 2 eggs, room temperature 1/4 c sour cream, room temperature 2 t vanilla extract 1/4 t salt Crust: 1 c nut flour (or any combination of nut flours – I used 3/4 c almond flour and 1/4 c cashew flour) 2 T granulated sugar 4 T unsalted butter, melted pinch of salt Glaze: 3/4 c Nutella 1/2 c heavy cream
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Spray an 8″ springform pan with non-stick cooking spray and wrap the outside of the pan with aluminum foil, to prevent leakage. If making individual cheesecakes, prepare the tin in the same way. Unless using smaller springform pans, it is unnecessary to wrap the outside of the individual cheesecake molds with aluminum foil. I like to use mini-, regular-, or jumbo-muffin tins for individual cheesecakes.
To make the crust:
In a bowl, combine the flours, sugar, butter, and salt and mix until it a well incorporated mixture forms.
Line your springform pan with the crust mixture or equally divide the crust mixture into your individual cupcake molds.
Press down on the mixture until it is well packed.
Bake in a preheated oven for 10 minutes. Take the crust out of the oven and let it cool on your counter.
To make the filling:
In the bowl of your stand mixer or using a hand-held electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar together for about 3 minutes.
Add the eggs one at a time, allowing the batter to become smooth after each addition.
Next, add the sour cream and vanilla, followed by the salt. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure the batter is uniform throughout. If you are coloring your cheesecake, now would be the time to add a few drops of gel food coloring to your batter and blend well, to your desired color.
Pour the filling into your prepared tins with the cooled pre-baked crusts.
Bake in your preheated oven for:
8″ springform pan: 37-40 minutes
individual cupcake molds: 14-22 minutes (depending on the size of your individual cheesecake molds)
until the cheesecake just slightly jiggles in the center, but everything is set and nothing is loose or looks wet. While the cheesecake is baking, you can make your Nutella Glaze.
To make the Nutella Glaze:
Gently heat the cream to lukewarm (about 15 seconds in your microwave). Add the Nutella and whisk until the glaze is of uniform consistency and nice and smooth. Add a splash of vanilla extract and a pinch of salt and mix to combine. Set this aside until you are ready to use it.
Once the cheesecake is baked, turn the oven off, and leave the cheesecake in your oven with the oven door ajar for about 20 minutes.
Take out the cheesecake and let it rest on your counter until cooled.
Once your cheesecake is cooled, pour your Nutella Glaze over the cheesecake and, using an offset spatula, spread the glaze evenly on the top or drizzle on top for a different effect. Then, transfer the cheesecake to the fridge and let it chill and set up. This process will take between 2 1/2 – 3 hours.
Serve your creamy cheesecake cooled, as is, or topped with berries or a dusting of powdered sugar.
Sweetly ♥ Yours,