Cake 50: Raspberry Cheesecake with Vanilla Peaches

I was stuck for inspiration on cake this week, but I went back to that food holidays page that I mentioned in the pina colada pineapple upside down cake recipe and saw that yesterday was National Cheesecake Day and that today is National Raspberry Cake Day so I combined the two. When researching what I wanted to do for this cake, I realized that most “raspberry cheesecake recipes” are actually plain cheesecake topped with fresh raspberries or a raspberry coulis, which isn’t quite what I wanted since I’ve done a similar recipe with my Thin Mint cheesecake recipe. I really wanted to have a raspberry cheesecake for heaven’s sake. I also wanted to do something special with peaches, per my husband’s recommendation and suggestion that peaches and raspberries complement each other well, so I tossed fresh slices of peaches with the grains from a Madagascar vanilla bean pod to take it to the next level. When I was done getting the grains out of the vanilla bean pod, I tossed it into my jar with homemade vanilla extract – look how dark it’s getting! I’m sure it’s ready or almost ready to use by now.

Raspberry Cheesecake Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup ground pecans
  • 2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup raspberry preserves

Raspberry Cheesecake Recipe Directions

Grind about 1 and 1/2 cups in a food processor to get fine graham cracker crumbs, and using a spice grinder do the same with the pecans. With a spatula or even your hands, mash together the graham cracker crumbs and softened butter until the butter is completely mixed in and you have a crumby mixture. Press your pecan graham cracker crust into the bottom of your cheesecake pan. Put your oven rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put a cake pan filled with water on the bottom rack. In your kitchen mixer, beat the cream cheese with the paddle attachment until it’s light and fluffy, and add the sugar gradually, beating until smooth. Mix in the milk, then add the eggs one at a time beating just until blended (don’t overbeat). Add the Greek yogurt, raspberry preserves and vanilla extract and beat until blended. Pour over your graham cracker pecan cheesecake crust. Bake for 1 hour, or until the middle is just a little jiggly and doesn’t seem quite set. Turn off the oven and let it set for about another half hour. Remove from the oven and cool completely at room temperature. Chill for 6 hours.

Vanilla Bean Coated Peach Slices Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 peach, peeled and sliced
  • Grains of 1 vanilla bean pod

Vanilla Bean Coated Peach Slices Recipe Directions

Wash and peel your fresh peach, which should be ripened to the point that it’s firm but allows you to squish a little bit with your fingers. Slice the peach thinly. (I need to learn some knife skills – I would love to have had much thinner slices!) Get the grains out of the vanilla bean pod. Here’s a tutorial on how to use vanilla beans. Toss the peach slices with the vanilla bean grains, then adorn the completely cooled cheesecake with the vanilla bean coated peach slices.

Cake 46: Carrot Cheesecake with Bittersweet Chocolate Drizzle

Sorry it took me so long to post this. My move to Kansas City has kept me very occupied as you can imagine. I made this cake last week to serve at an Independence Day dinner at my grandparents’ house, and it was a hit! I sort of combined my recipe for New York cheesecake with my carrot cake recipe and added some nutmeg. I used fresh carrots from my own garden! I really enjoyed this cake, and am glad the idea came to me at the last possible second before the event. I’m a happy camper about it.

(Also – holy smokes, I only have 6 weeks left of the 52 cakes project. Just wait till you see what I have in store for week 52 – though admittedly, it may take me several weeks to even pull off what I have in store for the grand finale. After that, I plan to take a breather for a while, and then I think I may start a 52 cookies project!)

Carrot Cheesecake Recipe with Chocolate Drizzle Ingredients

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups milk
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups grated finely chopped carrots
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 4 ounces melted bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon oil

Carrot Cheesecake Recipe Directions

Put 8 sheets of graham cracker in the food processor to grind until you get 2 cups of fine crumbs for the cheesecake crust. Melt 1/4 cup of butter. In a small bowl, mix the two with a spatula, and then press into a prepared 10″ round spring form pan. I prepared my spring form pan with butter and flour, as well as a 9″ round parchment paper sheet that I had on hand. (This makes a LOT of batter, and I had enough to make a tiny crustless cheesecake with the leftover. If you use a 9″ spring form pan, you may wish to reduce the amount of graham cracker crust and carrot cheesecake batter you make or you’ll end up with enough for two whole cakes!) Press the crumb mixture firmly into the bottom of the pan. Put your oven rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put a cake pan filled with water on the bottom rack. In your kitchen mixer, beat the cream cheese with the paddle attachment until it’s light and fluffy, and add the sugar gradually, beating until smooth. Mix in the milk, then add the eggs one at a time beating just until blended. Add the Greek yogurt, vanilla extract and flour and beat until blended. (I bet you could leave out this flour and be just fine if you’re going gluten-free.) Stir in the finely grated carrots, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour over your graham cracker crumb crust. Bake for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and cool completely at room temperature. Melt the bittersweet chocolate with a teaspoon of oil in a double boiler, stirring constantly over low heat. Drizzle over the cooled cheesecake. Refrigerate the cheesecake and chill for 6 hours.

Cake 42: Raspberry Thin Mint Cheesecake

We received a care package from Mark and Deedee’s family in Seattle while my husband was home on R&R and it included two boxes of my favorite Girl Scout cookies – Thin Mints! (Read my attempt at making homemade thin mint cookies.) I have been thinking about it for a while, and finally with the right supplies, was able to make a thin mint cookie crust for a classic New York cheesecake, which also happened to be the type of cake my husband requested for his time home from Afghanistan. Lucky break.

I apologize for not posting this much sooner – we’ve been enjoying two weeks of R&R from his deployment and I even took lots of time off work to spend with him, so I’m just now getting around to it!

Thin Mints Crust Recipe Ingredients

  • 2 cups Thin Mint cookie crumbs
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Thin Mint Crust Recipe Directions

Put enough Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies in the food processor to grind until you get 2 cups of fine cookie crumbs for the cheesecake crust. Melt 1/4 cup of butter. In a small bowl, mix the two with a spatula, and then press into a prepared 9″ round spring form pan. I prepared my spring form pan with butter and flour, as well as a 9″ round parchment paper sheet. Press the crumb mixture firmly into the bottom of the pan.

New York Cheesecake Recipe Ingredients

  • 4 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups milk
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup flour

New York Cheesecake Recipe Directions

Put your oven rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put a cake pan filled with water on the bottom rack. In your kitchen mixer, beat the cream cheese with the paddle attachment until it’s light and fluffy, and add the sugar gradually, beating until smooth. Mix in the milk, then add the eggs one at a time beating just until blended (don’t overbeat). Add the Greek yogurt, vanilla extract and flour and beat until blended. Pour over your thin mint cookie crust. Bake for 1 hour, or until the middle is just a little jiggly and doesn’t seem quite set. Turn off the oven and let it set for about another half hour. Remove from the oven and cool completely at room temperature. Chill for 6 hours.

Raspberry Sauce Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 6-ounce package of fresh raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Raspberry Sauce Recipe Directions

Thanks, mom-in-law, for teaching us how to do this part. Couldn’t be easier. Cook down the fresh raspberries, sugar and almond extract over medium heat in a saucepan, stirring constantly until the raspberries break down. If you wish to have a smooth, seedless raspberry coulis, simply press the sauce through a sieve with a spoon. My husband said he was just fine with the seeds so we kept them in. Pour over the completely cooled cheesecake, garnish with fresh mint (ours is mint from the garden) and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Cake 39: Chocolate Butterscotch Cheesecake

Made this last week. Sorry I didn’t get around to posting it until now. My coworkers will have to attest to the deliciousness of one or both of these chocolate cheesecake recipes. I only intended to make a chocolate butterscotch cheesecake, but the recipe below yielded twice as much batter as I expected so I ended up with one chocolate butterscotch cheesecake, and two smaller Mexican chocolate cheesecakes.

Chocolate Butterscotch Cheesecake Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 4 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups milk
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chips, melted

Chocolate Butterscotch Cheesecake Recipe Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8-inch or 9-inch springform pan. Combine the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter, and press into the bottom of your springform pan. Melt the chocolate in a double-boiler over low heat, stirring constantly. Once melted, remove from heat and begin working on your cheesecake batter. In your kitchen mixer, beat the cream cheese until it’s light and fluffy, and add the sugar gradually until smooth. Mix in the milk, then add the eggs one at a time beating just until blended (don’t overbeat). Add the Greek yogurt, vanilla extract and flour and beat until blended. Pour the chocolate into the cheesecake batter and beat just until blended. Pour over your graham cracker crust. I had some leftover mini chocolate chips I needed to get rid of so I sprinkled them across the top. They’ll sink in some as the cheesecake bakes. Bake for 1 hour, or until the middle is just a little jiggy (won’t seem quite “set”). Turn the oven off and leave the door closed and let the cake cool inside the oven overnight (or about 6 hours if you’re baking in the daytime – I bake at night, so I always just assume the rest of the world does, haha). Chill in the refrigerator until ready to garnish. Melt butterscotch chips on very, very low heat (with a teaspoon of vegetable oil if you like) stirring constantly and drizzle over the chocolate cheesecake.

A few pointers on this chocolate butterscotch cheesecake recipe:

  • My cheesecake sank in the middle, which is typically a temperature-related thing — I honestly don’t care, it tasted great. I’ll put more time and love and attention into it next time.
  • Now, I had about 1 cup I wanted to use so I poured the whole thing in the sunken-in part of my cheesecake – looking back I would’ve sliced it while it was cool OR just drizzled it OR just sprinkled butterscotch chips on it. It was really difficult to cut when it had hardened. Tasted delicious, though!
  • Somehow I ended up with twice as much chocolate cheesecake batter than I thought this recipe would make. So I made two small Mexican chocolate cheesecakes in pie tins that I had laying around by mixing the chocolate butterscotch cheesecake batter with some cinnamon and cayenne. You could easily cut this recipe in half (except for the crust – you’ll need to keep that full size) and have a chocolate butterscotch cheesecake, or make the whole thing and end up with two.
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