Say Happy Birthday with a cheesecake. My baby girl turned 15 this week, and she happens to hate cake, what's a mom to do. Don't get me wrong, she is a typical teenager in every way, she can consume more junk food in 24 hours than you or I could in a month. To give her credit, she does like good food, some of it even good for you, but like most teens, she's a bit lazy in the kitchen and will opt for cereal 90% of the time if I let her.
This year I decided on making her a Classic Cheesecake with Raspberry Glaze. I considered strawberry, but raspberry is just so much better! I didn't come up with the recipe, I'm not sure where it came from actually. It's been in my recipe box forever, getting tweaked over the years. For any new bakers, cheesecakes are just about the easiest thing out there to make, and what a WOW factor you'll get, so go give it a try.
Classic Cheesecake with Raspberry Glaze
1 3/4 Cups ground graham crackers
6 Tbs butter, melted
4 Tbs sugar
2 8oz packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cup sugar
zest of one lemon
1 Tbs lemon juice
1/2 Tbs pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbs flour
3 eggs, room temperature
Sour Cream Topping
1 1/2 cups sour cream
3 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
10 oz raspberries, frozen
2 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs cornstarch
2 tsp cherry brandy (or any cognac you've got)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter in a medium sized mixing bowl. Press into your spring form pan, making sure the bottom is covered and pressing up the sides, about 1/2 way up. Place the pan on a large sheet of tin foil, wrapping up the sides (see picture below), this will ensure that if any butter leaks out, it won't burn in your oven, what a mess. Bake your crust for 8-10 minutes, transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Beat cream cheese, preferably in a stand mixer until creamy, about 4-6 minutes. To your cream cheese, add lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt. Beat until smooth, scraping the sides of your bowl often. Taste your mixture, add extra above ingredients if necessary. Beat in flour. Add eggs, one at a time, beating in after each.
Did you know, a water bath is the way to make sure your cheesecake doesn't crack? I've never had a roasting pan big enough to do this before now. And guess what, it worked! I produced my first non-cracked cheesecake, I'm so proud... LOL
Place your cooled crust, still wrapped in tin foil, into a large roasting pan. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan, about half way up the side of your spring form pan. Since you don't want a soggy crust, make sure you don't get any water in the tin foil ;) If you don't have a pan large enough, no worries, this recipe has a sour cream topping which not only tastes amazing, but will hide your cracks! Pour your cream cheese mixture into the crust, filling no more than 3/4 up the sides.
Bake for about 60 minutes. The cheesecake should be puffed and slightly tan around the edges, with the middle still a little jiggly. Allow your cheesecake to cool for about 10 minutes, in the mean time you can make the sour cream topping.
Mix sour cream, sugar and vanilla in a medium sized mixing bow. Beat until smooth. Pour onto your cooled cheesecake, spreading evening. Bake an additional 7-8 minutes to set.
Remove cheesecake and cool for at least 30 minutes. Run a knife around the edges and refrigerate, do not remove the spring form ring until you're ready to serve! Cheesecakes are best the 2nd day, so make yours ahead of time.
Thaw frozen raspberries, drain and reserve the juice. To get the most juice, really smash your raspberries in the strainer. Combine reserved juice, sugar, cornstarch, and about 1/2 of the smashed berries. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Allow to cook until it thickens and is fairly clear. Strain to remove any seeds, make sure you scrape the bottom of your strainer or you're going to lose a ton of raspberry goodness that's just clinging there. Add your cognac and you're done. Drizzle over individual cheesecake slices!
Tip: This cheesecake is just fine plain if you're wanting to skip the raspberry glaze, but I recommend the sour cream topping, especially if you aren't doing a water bath.
I didn't actually get any pictures of my illusive teen with her birthday cheesecake, if she ever decides to make another appearance, I'll give it go!
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