PERFECT CHEESECAKE ~ BAKING PARTNER’S CHALLENGE #9

We had many scrumptious choices this month – too many – hard to choose just one. It was a beautiful and classic cheesecake, tangy and sweet, with a velvety smooth and rich texture that I chose.  I added my homemade caramel sauce and served it for Easter.

adapted from Perfect Cheesecake by Simply recipes for Baking Partners GROUP

Crust
2 cups of Graham cracker crumbs (I used a combo of ginger snaps and vanilla wafers)
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch sea salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter (if using salted butter, omit the pinch of salt), melted

Filling
32 ounces cream cheese at room temperature and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/3 cup sugar
Pinch of Sea salt
2 teaspoons PURE vanilla
4 large eggs
2/3 cup regular sour cream
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Topping – I omitted to help cut down on the cholesterol since I was adding the caramel sauce
2 cups regular sour cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

CRUST PREPARATION

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place a 9 inch spring form pan on a large sheet of heavy duty foil.  Smooth foil up the sides rolling at the top edge.  You are basically making your pan water proof.
  • Grind the graham crackers and/or ginger snaps in a food processor until finely ground.
  • In a large bowl stir together the crackers, sugar and salt. With your hands blend in the melted butter until you have a uniform consistency.
  • Press the cracker crumb mixture evenly into the bottom of your prepared springform pan.
  • Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.

FILLING PREPARATION

  • Cream the cream cheese until smooth.
  • Add the sugar and beat for a few minutes more.
  • Add the salt and vanilla, beating until well blended after each addition.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until well blended after each addition.
  • Add the sour cream, beating until well blended.
  • Add the heavy cream, beating until well blended.
  • Scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl scraping up any thicker bits of cream cheese that has stuck to the sides or bottom.

BAKING

  • Place the foil-wrapped springform pan in a large, high-sided roasting pan.
  • Pour about 2 quarts of boiling water around the pan.
  • Pour the prepared cream cheese filling into the springform pan over the cracker crust.
  • Smooth the filling level.
  • Bake on the lower rack of your oven.
  • Carefully pour the hot water into the roasting pan creating a water bath for the cheesecake. Pour enough water to reach halfway up the side of the springform pan.
  • Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.
  • Turn off the oven.
  • Crack open the oven door 1-inch or so, and let the cake cool in the oven for 1 hour. Slow cooling this way helps prevent cracking in the cheesecake.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and discard the foil.
  • With a fresh piece of foil, tent the cheesecake so that the foil doesn’t actually touch the cheesecake.
  • Chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight.

TOPPING PREPARATION

  • In a large mixing bowl cream together the sour cream, powdered sugar and vanilla, until well blended.
  • Chill topping mixture until you are ready to serve the cake.

PREPARE THE CAKE FOR SERVING

  • Run a table knife around the inside edge of the spring form pan to release anything that might have stuck during baking.
  • Remove outer pan ring.
  • Spread the sour cream topping evenly on cheesecake.
  • Drizzle with caramel sauce and serve.
  • Enjoy.

CARAMEL SAUCE
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
3/4 cup sugar
2+ tablespoons water

  • Combine the cream and butter in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently to prevent scorching.
  • Remove from the heat.
  • In a medium saucepan cook the corn syrup over a medium heat until bubbly.
  • Fold in 1/4 cup of the sugar and continue to cook until the edges begin to turn a light amber color.
  • Add in 1/4 cup sugar more and repeat until all the sugar is blended in.
  • Continue cooking until amber color darkens stirring constantly.
  • Remove from the heat and carefully fold in the cream mixture.
  • Cook over medium heat stirring frequently until caramel is bubbling.
  • Serve warm.

Makes 1 1/2 cups. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

NOTE: Microwave20-30 seconds to soften refrigerated caramel before serving

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