I LOVE cheesecake. I love the cheesecake factory. K loves cheesecake flavored ice cream. (M needs the real thing, not just flavored ice cream). I love pretty much any flavor of cheesecake. But you know what my favorite is?
(As you can see, I burned the top of mine a wee bit. Forgive me. Still tastes good.)
Maybe I love it because I only really get it once or twice a year. And I maaaybe make it once a year, because it’s hard to share and then we end up eating the whole thing and all my hard work at the gym goes down the tube and my pants don’t fit. Know what I mean? Just look at how tall this cake is…
Anyways, I mentioned this cheesecake yesterday in my post for K’s birthday, and didn’t want to leave you hangin’ TOO long for the recipe. For me, and possibly some of you, cheesecake is a little daunting to make- especially a reaallly good one. There’s all this hullaballoo about baking it in a water bath…. and changing the temperature throughout the baking process like 3 times…. and using one of those take-apart special pans…. yada yada yada.
You do have to do that stuff, (minus the water bath for this baby) but its really nothing to worry about, given that your results will be wonderfully creamy, fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth delicious cheesecake that tastes like the ever popular Cheesecake Factory goodness. It is sooo worth it.
So K didn’t want to order anything special for her birthday ‘cake’ from me, so our little sister “L” and I decided to go ahead and cheesecake it. And cheesecake it, we did.
We’re talking 5 packages of cream cheese here.
Quick little side note for all ya’ll- the reason lots of recipes suggest baking your cheesecake in a water bath is to prevent the ever notorious ‘cracking’ from happening. I did a water bath for the first cheesecake I made (last year) and it worked!! No crack across the top and it was gorgeous to behold. Some of the water did leak through the pan and soggified my crust a weensy bit but it wasn’t noticeable except by my ‘expert’ and critical eye. I opted NOT to do a water bath this time because it makes the recipe juuuust a little more time consuming and difficult- PLUS the cheesecake will taste equally as good with or without a cosmetic scar. (Why do all my baking endeavors have facial issues???)
Anyways, here’s the recipe, adapted from yet another one of my favorite blogs. I changed around a few things but both recipes are bomb-diggity. Would you judge me if I had a piece for breakfast the other day? For K, of course…. 😉
Here’s the recipe!
P.S. here’s another picture of K when she was little- just for kicks 🙂
Mile High New York Cheesecake
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
serves 12-15 people
Ingredients for VERY tall cheesecake filling
5 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 TBS all purpose flour
5 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp vanilla
Ingredients for crumb crust
8 ounces (about 15 sheets of graham crackers) finely ground graham crackers or cookies such as chocolate or vanilla wafers
8 TBS (1 stick) unsalted butter (I used regular salted butter- no biggie, just don’t add as much salt later)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt (if using salted butter, omit this or add 1/8 tsp salt)
Make crumb crust
Stir together crust ingredients and press onto bottom and up the sides of a buttered springform pan. You can fill it right away but I popped mine into the freezer so it quickly set while I made the filling.
Make very tall cheesecake filling
Preheat oven to 550 degrees**. Beat together cream cheese, sugar, and zest with an electric mixer until smooth. Add vanilla, then eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl between additions; I cannot stress this enough as if you do not, you’ll end up with unmixed stripes of cream cheese (ew).
Put springform pan with crust in a shallow baking pan (to catch drips). Pour filling into crust (springform pan will be completely full) and bake in the baking pan in the middle of the oven for 12 minutes or until puffed. (***Mine got burned here!! So keep a close eye on it!!***) As soon as it is puffed, reduce the oven heat down to 200 degrees and continue baking until cake is mostly firm (center will be slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken)about one hour more.
Run a knife around the top edge of the cake to loosen it and cool the cake completely in springform pan on a rack, then chill it, loosely covered, about 6 hours.