April 27, 2009

The Vacationing Baker

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

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 also omitted the vanilla and added a tablespoon of tequila and a tablespoon of triple sec.

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.
As you can see, after following the directions (for a change!) the cheesecake came out 100% crack-free. I took a picture just in case she decided to crack overnight.


The next day I gussied her up for showtime:

Isn't she beautiful?

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.


The full recipe is on Jenny Bakes' blog...just click over to give it read.

I'd be happy to email 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!

31 comments:

Purple Flowers said...

That is a very creative cheesecake. I also follow Jen Yu, who participates in the monthly Daring Bakers challenge. Check hers out if you can.
www.userealbutter.com

But overall, this girl wishes she was tasting your cheesecake right about now! Congratulations on being so daring!! :)

stacilynfeldman said...

sounds yummy! you're so creative in the kitchen! (i'm lucky to just follow a recipe... i once was on the phone while baking a six-spice oatmeal raisin cookie, and put an 1/2 tsp. of cayenne in the cookies, instead of an 1/8th... CLEARLY, they weren't very good!)

desiree said...

Cheesecake is my favorite. Yours looks beautiful and yummy! Great job.

Blondie's Journal said...

Laura,

This looks really good. I am both a cheesecake and key lime pie fanatic so please rush me the recipe (blndy9@yahoo.com).

Have a great time on vacation!

xoxo
Jane

j.cro said...

MMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Lorrie said...

Excellent job with the cheesecake Laura. It looks delicious. I am a big fan of cheesecake, so it's making my mouth water!

Joyce said...

Laura! This sounds so goood.... I'm so impress you little stinker. I think you can quit your day job now. xoxo

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Oh, Laura! My niece doesn't live far from the place where they have jazz fest. I wish I had known you were going. They have a fun party every year, and I would have told her about you. Next time!

XO,

Sheila... who thinks your dessert looks smashingly good!

Tina said...

Love this. Looks soooo yummy. I'm more of an eater than a baker, but I may share this with my hubby and beg him to make it for me.
T

black eyed susans kitchen said...

I may have to take you up on the offer of this recipe. So glad to hear that you are having a good time!
♥, Susan

thelaundryisneverfinished said...

Oh.my.word.
I'm salivating!
You go girl!

Debra said...

You have no idea how this post has effected me! I must have something sweet and delicious right now!!! I would love this and will try it out possibly this weekend~ thank you!

tam said...

Freakin YUM! That looks and sounds so tasteeeyyyy!!! Great idea on the funky twist my friend!~Smiles~Tam!

Kwana said...

Looks yummy and pretty. what a fancy one you are.

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Hey, Laura, I know I told you we were coming to NYC in May & you probably think, yeah right, but it will probably be later now. The date of hubby's conference interfered with Mother's Day, so it will probably be June before we make it up that way. I will let you know though, when it is booked!

heidi said...

omg. YUMMM!!!!!!

Jen r. said...

Oh yum! That looks awesome!Jen

Lisa said...

Laura, for some reason I thought you made a chocolate cheesecake and commented on it, but that was another Laura, and I can't beleive my mind blanked and I actually thought Laura=Laura (???) Must be the pain meds! lol

Anyway, your cheesecake not only looks delicious, it looks dazzling! Perfect for summer with the tangy, tart lime! Kick ass job! :)

Sue said...

Hi...I have missed stopping by and what a better time to come back then to a cheesecake...My favorite dessert of all times and lime to boot!! I love the pretzel crust idea...that whole salty sweet thing...and how cute to put the whipped cream in a big cocktail glass....You did good...Have fun in Vegas.

please sir said...

Oh my goodness that look so good!!!

Maureen said...

That looks delicious!

Fifi Flowers said...

OOOOH yummy to cheesecake and cream in a margarita glass!!!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Wonderful DB cheesecake, Laura! I like the flavor combinations you used and I'd like to try them someday.

Back one day and I already miss my little guy...all this rain makes me even sadder.

Hope you had fun on your vacation!

sarah @ abeachcottage said...

hi Laura

sigh this is one good cheesecake, if only I could make one, I LOVE it but have never really attempted to make it, maybe I will after this great inspiration

so creative...

sarah

Julia @ Hooked on Houses said...

Wow, am I impressed! Looks delish.

Laura @ Shoot-Scoop said...

That looks ridiculously delish!

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Laura, have fun on your excursions! This recipe looks absolutely decadent, just my kind of good. :)

A Day That is Dessert said...

Now I feel hungry!

Renovation Therapy said...

WOW! Am super impressed. You'll be baking this again, when?

pve design said...

You just made me "pucker" up - I love anything lime!
w o w!

Jenny said...

I didn't see that many comments about cracks, but I think a lot of those were people who skipped the water bath step. It really does help! As does the slow cooling. Thanks for being a part of the April Daring Bakers Challenge! I am sorry to be so late in replying, but I'm determined to get to every blog.

Jenny of JennyBakes