The month of May has brought me the opportunity to participate once again with the lovely baking group called, The Cake Slice Baker's. You may recall that a few months back I made a delicious Old Fashioned Pound Cake along with an Applesauce Spice Cake. Both of these cakes I made through the Cake Slice Baker's group. This is a group of food bloggers that get together once a month and bake from Carole Walter's Great Cakes cookbook. I love this cookbook! Almost as much as I adore and treasure the Cake Slice Baker's. Unfortunately, my blogging has taken a couple steps down on my list of priorities (due to life as a working mommy) and I haven't had the chance to bake along side the CSB's for quite a few months now. I have also been working really hard at loosing weight and have been careful with the amount of carbs and sugar that I consume. BUT because my love for baking makes my heart sing, I have to every once and awhile take time out from crazy, busy life and my diet and treat myself (and others) to a yummy baked treat made with love from my kitchen to their mouths.
That being said, out of four options from the Great Cakes cookbook that was presented to the CSB's I choose to make the Manhattan Cheesecake. I was super excited for this recipe as it was different than any other cheesecake recipe that I had ever made before. Beaten egg whites, freshly grated lemon peel and orange peel were added into a beautiful batter of cream cheese, sugar, heavy cream, vanilla extract and egg yolks. What could be better?! The cake came together lovely. I followed each step to. the. tee. The batter tasted divine. I decorated the cooled cake full of happiness with strawberries and raspberries that were gently glazed with an apricot glaze. BEAUTIFUL all around. But then, I cut into the cake. And the cake was completely a mess. I could have cried!! Even though I had followed each word of instruction with careful attention - I added all the right ingredients at all the right times. I baked the cake at the required temperature and timing. Yet still the cake was completely too soft. I have no pictures of the sliced cake due to my sadness over it being undone. I do highly recommend this recipe as it was delicious but please make sure you bake it for longer than 40 minutes. I would suggest at least an hour rather than 40 minutes.
Invite some friends over and serve up this master piece. They will love and worship you after the first bite.
Manhattan Cheesecake with Strawberries
(recipe from Great Cakes by Carole Walters)
10 double graham crackers, or enough crackers to make 1 1/2 cups of crumbs
2 Tbsp sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature (24 oz - 3 blocks of cream cheese)
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
5 large egg yolks
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon rind
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated orange rind
3 large egg whites
3/4 cup apricot preserves
1 Tbsp kirchwasser or Grand Marnier
3-4 cups large, deep red strawberries
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Generously grease a 9" springform pan - set aside.
2. Make crust by putting broken graham crackers into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add in sugar and pulse to make fine crumbs. Add in melted butter and pulse for another 5-10 seconds so all ingredients are blended together.
3. Pour crumb mixture into prepared pan. Using a spoon or the bottom of a glass press crumbs onto the bottom and up against the sides of pan. Refrigerate when done.
4. Prepare filling by placing cream cheese into clean bowl of food processor. Add in sugar and process for 15 seconds, then scrape down the sides of the bowl and process again for another 5 seconds. Add in egg yolks while processor is running through the feeder tube and run for 10 seconds. Add in heavy cream and the lemon and orange rinds. Process for 10 seconds all together.
5. Beat egg whites in a large bowl of an electric mixer. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form and then add in 1/4 cup sugar - 1 Tbsp at a time, beating until the whites are shiny. Fold in 1/4 of the filling batter with a large spatula, turning for about 10 times until mixture has lightened. Add in remaining batter, taking an additional 30 turns.
6. Pour batter into prepared pan. Set pan on a 18" square of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Mold foil around the sides of the pan to catch any batter that might leak. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes - (This is where I would recommend that you bake for longer than 40 minutes as my cake was under cooked at this timing.....55 minutes to an hour would be my recommendation).
7. At the end of the baking time, turn off the oven and place the handle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep it ajar. Cool the cake in the oven for 1 hour before taking it out, removing the foil and cooling to room temperature for at least 3 hours. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours before putting the strawberry topping on the cake.
8. Prepare topping by heating preserves and liqueur in a medium size sauce pan over low heat. Bring to a slow boil and continue to cook until preserves are completely melted. Remove pan from heat and strain mixture through a fin strainer to remove the large pieces. Return to saucepan and set aside.
9. Wash, hull and dry the strawberries. Slice them in half lengthwise.
10. Arrange the berries cut sides down around the edge of the cake, with the points of the berries facing outward. Arrange a second circle inside the first, with the points of the berries extending inward. The bottoms of the berries should touch. Fill in the center randomly and then make a second layer of strawberries over the first. Cake can now be refrigerated until ready to serve.
11. Once ready to serve remove cake from refrigerator 1 hour prior to serving. Just before you plan on serving the cheesecake, warm the preserves over low heat and then with a pastry brush, gently coat berries with glaze. Serve with happiness!!
Happy Manhattan Cheesecake with Strawberries Baking!