Tuesday, March 18, 2008

cheesecake, CHEESECAKE!!

Once in a while, a compound word will come along that truly revolutionizes the very way we think, breathe, live. I’m not talking about those crazy fantastical science lab creations; Beefaroni and the Baconator, for example, or even the cuddly (and spooky) concoctions called Maltipoos and Labridoodles. (And don’t even get me started on the nonsensical dictionary dyslexia necessary to invent wannabe compounds like “Fabulash”, “Girlicious” or, really, the “TenderGrill Crossan’wich”; three reasons why we are becoming a nation of spelling idiots.)

I’m talking old school classy here, from back in the day when compounds actually joined a few ideas into one, descriptive, concise word. Take watermelon, or buttermilk for example. So simple, right? Ah, but deceptively so. Like Voltron, the end result is ever so much greater that its individual parts…

Such, then, is the case for the genius that is cheesecake.

Just think about what an incredible, awesome idea cheesecake is. It’s a cake. Made out of cheese.

Like sunshine and lollipops, like Christmas and your birthday, some things are just better when they happen together. So in the spirit of celebrating magical combinations (as well as a friend’s birthday), it’s time to bust out the springform pan and bring out the Philly!

You will need:

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted

4 x 8 oz packages Philly cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs

(Optional, but totally recommended, caramel topping)
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water

a 9-inch springform pan
parchment paper helps too

Preheat oven to 325°F.



If you have parchment paper handy, line the bottom of your pan now. (No worries if you don't have it, it just makes releasing the finished cake a bit easier.)


Mix together graham cracker crumbs, 3 tbsp sugar and melted butter; press firmly onto bottom of pan. That's it for the crust; so easy!


About the cream cheese. I say you can't beat a classic; it's Philadelphia cream cheese all the way. And none of that light (or, sigh, "lite") nonsense either. You wouldn't want pretend sex; why make a pretend cheesecake?

Anywhoo, make sure your cream cheese is soft/room temp/able to get properly mushed about with your mixer or spatula - lumpy cake is not fun.



Beat cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and vanilla until well blended.


Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition just until smooth and blended.


Pour over crust. Very gently tap it on the counter to get rid of any sneaky air bubbles.


Bake until center is tender bellied, just barely wiggly jiggly, about 50-55 minutes. Crack the oven door open a bit and let your weighty masterpiece hang out, cooling gently in the still warm oven. (She is now like a skittish pony; no sudden moves and that includes extreme changes in temperature. This is to avoid the dreaded Cracked Cheesecake; no less tasty, but gosh, sometimes prettiness counts.)



Run a thin, sharp knife around the side of the pan. (When the cake cools, it will contract from the sides; this, again, helps avoid unwanted crackage.) Let the cake cool completely - patience, padawan, will reward you - before removing the sides. Chill in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight, if you're super disciplined.




If you'd like to add some more tasty goodness to the mix, and I know you do, add some quickie, sticky caramel sauce on top. Bring the brown sugar and water up to a simmer and let it bubble away for a few minutes, stirring now and again. You can check just how thick the glaze sets up by running a tiny drop across a cold plate - let it cool a second before running your finger through it. (You want the caramel to be gooey enough so that it stays on the cake, but not so tacky that it'll rip your fillings out. It's ok, that's a pretty wide margin.)

Carefully (this is burning hot sugar, no testing straight from the pot!) spoon your lovely caramel over your chilled cheesecake.



Please enjoy responsibly…eat it well, and eat it often!


  1. Oh my God, Flo, I LOVE cake made out of cheese. I think I may make one this weekend. In your honour, of course. xxEllen.

  2. hee hee, cheese makes everything happy! Long live the cheesecake! :) xo, f

  3. omg Flo...after reading this, I regret not taking you up on your offer of a piece of it last night.
    that looks AMAZING.
    as you said...it's a cake. made out of CHEESE...mmmm, cheeeese.

  4. Now this is why you were the best roomie ever! I still remember the day I came home and you were making oreo cheesecake in our kitchen on Sherbrooke Est. Ummmmm