Long overdue, here is the post about the birthday cake I made for my sister at the end of October.
So here we go.
Usually the only rules for my sister's birthday cake are these:
2. No little bits of things in the cake (i.e. chocolate chips, nuts, etc.)
4. And more chocolate
So I was working on that idea, and then I thought...hey, what about cheesecake? She likes cheesecake. Chocolate + Cheesecake should = Fabulous. A quick check with the birthday-girl-to-be, and I was off and mixing.
First, I made the crumb crust. Now, I don't really like a graham cracker crust. In fact, with my cheesecake, the less crust, the better. But still, since some people do like crust, one had to be made.
I had a bag of plain ol' undecorated cookies in the freezer (butterflies, from some time over the summer). I crushed them in the food processor and mixed in some cocoa powder and some sugar and then some melted butter.
And then I pressed the mixture in the bottoms of two buttered springform pans - one was 6" and the other was 10". And I wrapped foil around the bottoms of the pans so there won't be any leaking while they bake.
I baked the crusts for about ten minutes at 350.
Now, onto the fun part. The cheesecake itself.
I used Dorie Greenspan's Tall and Creamy cheesecake as a guideline, but made some changes to suit what I wanted to do.
Here's a list of the ingredients:
2 lbs cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups sour cream
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 12 oz package of frozen raspberries, thawed, pureed, and strained
The cheesecake base is easy to make. First, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Next, beat the cream cheese in a stand mixer, with the paddle attachment, until it is very soft and creamy. Add in the sugar and salt, and beat until the mixture is light. Then add in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down after each egg is fully incorporated. And finally, on low speed, blend in the sour cream.
Now, divide the batter into two bowls - about 2/3 in one bowl, 1/3 in the other.
Pour the melted chocolate into the larger portion of cheesecake base, and combine.
Now pour about half of the raspberry puree into the smaller portion of cheesecake batter and combine.
And now you're ready to assemble the cakes.
Pour the chocolate cheesecake batter into the two springforms, filling them about half-way.
Pour some of the raspberry cheesecake batter onto the chocolate cheesecake batter, and drizzle some of the remaining raspberry puree on top of that.
And then run a knife blade through the batter a few times to create some swirls. Don't overdo it - you don't want to mix it all into one homogenous batter.
Okay, now place the springform pans in larger pans (cake pans work nicely) and set them on a center rack in the preheated oven. Pour water into the larger pans about an inch high.
Bake for about an hour and check the smaller cake - the top should be slightly brown and maybe cracked a bit. Remove it from the oven. Check the larger cake about twenty minutes later, and remove when it, too, is slightly browned on top.
Allow the cheesecakes to cool completely in the pans and then refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
To remove the springform sides, run a thin knife blade around the edge of the cheesecake to loosen. Pop open the spring and remove the sides. Serve the two cheesecakes on separate plates, or set one on top of the other. Garnish with fresh raspberries or a drizzle of chocolate ganache.
Or write "Happy Birthday" or something equally celebratory on top and throw a party!