Note from the shore house: If Abbey's cake is "infamous," isn't that a bad thing? Wouldn't Abbey want her cake to be famous, and not one that has an extremely bad reputation? Food (literally) for thought.
Despite that, I baked up this devilish little concoction for Easter. There was a lot of talk on The Daring Baker message boards about cheesecake cracking, and many bakers said that no matter how hard they tried (water bath, cooling for an hour in the oven, etc.) it still cracked. I have to say, this is only the second time I baked a cheesecake and neither cracked. I think...and I could be wrong...it may have to do with my low fat substitution. I used neufchatel, that 1/3 fat variety of cream cheese. Mostly because every time I read the ingredients used in cheesecake, I feel like I need to have preventative angioplasty! So I trim the fat, so to speak, where I can. The cheese has more of a creamier consistency than full fat cream cheese, and when you pour it into the pan you can almost tell it's not going to crack from the texture of the batter.
We also were instructed by our Daring Baker leader to do something funky (not sure that was the words they used) with it to make it our own. So, I went for a margarita. Ole!
I used my favorite spelt pretzels in lieu of graham crackers for the crust. I crushed up about half a bag (3 to 4 ounces) of them along with a tablespoon or so of sugar. I used 6 tablespoons of melted butter to bind it together. I thought the pretzels would be a nice salty rim for my cocktail-themed dessert.
Then, in place of the lemon the original recipe called for, I used the juice of one lime and its grated zest. When I'm using zest, I go organic by the way. Just seems prudent.
I did bake it in a water bath, something I hadn't done before, and the message boards were right on this one -- no matter how tight you wrap your springform pan in multiple layers of aluminum foil, there will be seepage. Which makes for a soggy crust. My crust wasn't too bad at all (apparently my springform has a nice, tight seal) but wow was there a LOT of water in the foil. Next time, I think I would trying buying a deep, disposable pan and putting the springform inside of that, then placing that in the pan of water.
The next day I gussied her up for showtime:
I actually baked something that I would buy!
I "plated" my whipped cream in a margarita glass. I debated adding more lime zest to that, but was glad I didn't. The one lime's juice and zest made the cake very limey -- almost like a key lime pie taste. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I was just surprised how much one pretty small lime affected the flavor.
I'd be happy toemail you mine with my modifications if you want to give my Happy Hour version a whirl.
Vacation update: After a weekend of Jazz Festing in New Orleans, we're heading out later to Vegas. Good times are being had by all...
See you soon!