April came and April went and I managed to completely forget to make the Daring Bakers challenge. It was post day when I finally remembered that I needed to make it but was busy working on projects and studying for finals. I was able to escape to my kitchen for a few hours today and decided I would make the cheesecake. The recipe this month was for a basic vanilla cheesecake. The daring bakers were challenges to be creative and come up with a very unique and delicious treat. After mulling over many choices I landed on making a Neapolitan cheesecake with a coconut, macadamia nut crust. The additions I made were very easy and only took a few extra minutes to put together.
After tasting this cheesecake I am really glad I decided to use all the flavors that I did. The layers of flavors along with the nuts and coconut in the crust really gave this cheesecake an outstanding flavor. This would definitely be an impressive dessert to serve to guests.
The 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge. Don't forget to head over to the new Daring Baker webiste to see what the rest of the ladies made.
Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake
(The grey lettering is what was changed from the original recipe.)
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup toasted coconut
1/4 cup diced macadamia nuts, toasted
1 stick butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 (8 oz) blocks of cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
4 ounces chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
1 vanilla bean
1 cup strawberry puree, strained of seeds
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.
2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Set crust aside.
3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and blend until smooth and creamy.
4. Divide the batter into thirds. Mix melted chocolate with one-third of the batter and pour onto crust. Add the innerds of the vanilla bean to a third of the batter and pour over chocolate batter. Add the strawberry puree to the final third of the batter and pour strawberry flavored batter over the vanilla layer.
5. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.
5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.