Monday, October 18, 2010

Classic Cheesecake

Ahhh cheesecake! I accomplished one of my culinary goals this week by making my first cheesecake! It was so much fun! And I'm happy to say that in spite of a few oopses (I think I just made that word up), it turned our great!

Classic Cheesecake
adapted from Taste of Home Cookbook
Prep: 35 minutes / Bake: 45 minutes + chilling
Yield: 12-14 servings

1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
6 T butter, melted
3 packages cream cheese (24 oz. total), softened
1 cup sugar
2 T flour
3 eggs
2 T heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Combine first 3 ingredients. Press into bottom and 1 inch up the sides of an ungreased 9-inch springform pan. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 400 for 8 minutes. Place pan on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Reduce oven to 350.

2. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Combine sugar and flour; add to cream cheese and mix well. Add eggs all at once, beat on low speed until just combined. *Don't overbeat the eggs. If you do, the cheesecake will puff and then crack when it cools.* Stir in cream and vanilla, pour into crust.

3. Place springform pan on baking sheet and bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes or until center is almost set. *To check if cheesecake is done, remove from oven and tap the side of the pan with a spoon. The cake is done when the center (about 1 inch in diameter) jiggles slightly when tapped with a spoon. Note: My cake didn't really jiggle, but I could just tell by looking at it that about a 3 inch area wasn't cooked, so I put it back in for 5 more minutes. Do not test with a knife because it will crack the cheesecake. The remaining middle will cook while the pan cools.*

4. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife along the edge of the pan to loosen cheesecake. Continue to cool on rack for 1 more hour. Refrigerate, uncovered for at least 3 hours. When cheesecake is cold, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight. This helps the cheesecake set and will make it easier to cut.

5. Remove cheesecake from fridge at least 15-30 minutes before serving time. Unlatch pan and carefully lift the rim straight up. *Letting the slices sit at room temperature brings out maximum flavor.* Top with strawberries and whipped topping if desired.

Nutrition facts: Very unhealthy and bad for the hips but very delicious!
*These tips are from my Taste of Home Cookbook*

The crust. Note to self: make crust even!

The filling. My batter was lumpy, I was nervous, but it worked!

I baked it a little too long, it cracked :(
But it still looked pretty good!

My Review
  • Preparation: 3
    • This took about an hour and a half start to finish, but there's down time while it's baking.
  • Taste: 4.5
    • It was really good! My crust got a little overdone, so we didn't eat the edge. The filling was delicious, my husband said it was just like Cheesecake Factory (This would be the ultimate compliment, I'm not sure if he somewhat joking, I don't think he was, but I didn't pursue the doubt in my mind, so we will assume that he really meant it)! BUT, I do think that I could do better, so I couldn't give it a 5. And the crust flavor wasn't my favorite.
  • Cost: 5
    • This surprised me. The ingredients seemed expensive, but after I divided it by the 13 servings we sliced, it was only $1.29 per serving! Cake ingredients (that I had to buy) cost $11.30, toppings cost $5.50.
  • Clean-up: 3
    • A foothill of dishes (see review scale). 3 bowls and the springform pan, plus some measuring cups and such.
  • Changes
    • The crust, it wasn't my favorite. Not sure what I would change but I will try a different one next time. I would make sure that the edges were even, see photo. The recipe I adapted from said to bake it for 10 minutes but it got too done, so I reduced it to 8 minutes on this post.
    • My filling was lumpy. I admit my failure in this area. My cookbook says to soften cream cheese at room temp for at least 30 minutes, which I did, but it was still lumpy after I mixed it. And the book says that it cannot be de-lumped (another word I made up, I'm on a role) after blending, this is true. SO, I had lumps; a big globby lump of cream cheese at the bottom of my mixing bowl. Yikes! Upon discovering the lump I grimaced, withheld the ominous blob (which I soon still tasted good!), and hoped that my cheesecake would not turn out too weird. In the end, I never even noticed!
    • I baked it for 40 minutes, checked it, and there was about a 3-inch center that was jiggly/not done. I put it back in for 5 minutes. This time there was about a 2-inch(ish) undone looking area, so I put it back in for 4 minutes (I was paranoid about having a runny, gooey cheesecake, eww). But after those 4 minutes were up, I pulled out my cheesecake and it was cracked! I whimpered and whined, it had been perfect until then! So I think I could have done without the last 4 minutes. Good thing is that the crack sort of resealed itself a little bit once the cheesecake cooled. Cover it with a big dollop of Redi Whip and you won't even notice!
  • Summary
    • This is a good cheesecake for the first-timer. It was still super delicious, even with some mess-ups! I hope to try out more cheesecake in the future, so keep your eyes open!

1 comment:

  1. Yum! This looks really good! Close up shots make me hungry! And I bet J was serious about the compliments! And LOL @ giant glob of cream cheese. In February, if you make one of these, you might have to fight me for that giant glob. I can take ya...;)