Bon Appetit #2: Cheesecake

It’s a headliner week for me and my baking journey–I made another recipe from my Bon Appetit Desserts cookbook on Thursday and it was more complicated than chocolate chip cookies…It was another Italian-themed food day at Mike’s work so instead of sending my usual tiramisu brownies I thought I’d be brave and different and send cheesecake. Cappuccino cheesecake to be exact (page 184). It was a two whisk recipe so I figured I could tackle it. It was doable, but it was quite a challenge.

Starting the crust

The crust wasn’t too bad and I was pretty excited to get to use my new springform pan. I was pretty pleased that things were going so well to start with and felt more confident to make the filling.

The tasty ingredients for the filling

Yes, that is four blocks of Philly Cream Cheese you see. And a pint of heavy cream….I’m glad I didn’t follow the recipe and try to “blend until smooth” with a hand mixer. I decided to use the big mixer. Very smart move on my part!! The filling was very thick and creamy and required a lot of stopping, scraping and stirring. I’m pretty sure I was stopping every three minutes for about half an hour to scrape and stir and slowing blend in eggs, vanilla or the heavy cream mixture.

The filling with two tablespoons of flour before blending session #248

The stirring became more of a chore when I had to add in the chocolate chips. I’m glad I had a long handled wooden spoon, but I really wish I still had my French wooden spoon!! Then it was time for the scary part–pouring alllllllll that filling into the springform pan. It was at this moment I was thankful the mixer bowl had a pour spout because without it, my cheesecake filling might have been all over the place. I also realized why I needed a springform pan with about three-inch high sides…

That's A LOT of filling...

The baking process was nerve-wracking. I’m never sure what the cookbooks mean when the filling is supposed to be “puffed and cracked on the edges but still set in the middle.” Plus, our oven is a little wonky so I was worried it’d be overbaked, or worse, underbaked. Or burned on the top. I monitored it and decided to pull it out a little early (then I prayed I made a good decision) and set it on the rack to cool. From then on, it was a waiting game of various cooling stages: on a rack for half an hour, in the fridge until cold uncovered then covered. Last night before bed, I double checked it for about the millionth time, recovered it, hoped for the best and gloomily set my alarm for 7:20 A.M. to do some last minute prep before sending it off.

A little brown on top, but it looks and smells good!

This morning I carefully cut around the pan to loosen the cheesecake from the edge and packed it up. It seemed safer to leave the “rim” on the pan for the car ride and being stored in the fridge. I was fairly terrified about the whole unlocking the ring and unmolding the cake. I had visions of the filling not being set up and pooling out all over the place. Or the ring ripping off massive chunks of the cake so it looked like a crater and not a classy cheesecake. I gotta say I was impressed with the results:

It's a miracle! It's still fairly in tact!!!!

Even better, people said it was tasty (but a little messy). In fact, none of it will be coming home–if that doesn’t scream “success!!” I don’t know what does. Sure, I’m a little sad I didn’t get to try it, but I’m happy it went to someone who really wanted it. I guess this means I’ll have to make more cheesecake!

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