Happy Belated Cheesecake Day!
ICYMI, Tuesday was a day of pure glory and gluttony. To make matters
worse better, The Cheesecake Factory offered slices at half-price, ensuring that my that dinner was adorned with cream cheese and Snickers chunks.
Even though the cheesecakes from this eponymous restaurant are very heavy, I will forever love them simply because I will forever love cheesecake.
And speaking of desserts, I had the opportunity to showcase my lust for sugar through Hyperallergenic’s “Revealing Your Inner Selfie” feature. It’s always fun to hone my writing skills, and this piece allowed me to further push what I try to do here – make private moments available for public consumption…literally.
In a combined effort to celebrate National Cheesecake Day and bring out the best in what I love to eat, I whipped up some classic versions of this magical dessert.
This is straightforward recipe with tons of room for modifications. The addition of flour stabilizes the cake so it travels well and will hold up to whatever you choose to add to it. I kept it simple with chocolate ganache and fresh strawberries from the farmer’s market, because I’m classy like that (if only that were true).
Use this recipe to reveal a bit of yourself, whether it’s in the crust, filling, or topping. It doesn’t happen very often that we get to be ourselves so candidly, so take advantage and nom on!
Cream cheesin’ it.
3 packages chocolate graham crackers
4 Tbsp butter (1/2 a stick), melted
16 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp flour
1 cup chocolate ganache or chocolate sauce
1 pint strawberries, sliced
- Spray the bottom and sides of a 13×9 pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper. Allow for enough overhang so you can lift the cheesecake out of the pan once it’s done baking.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. In a food processor, grind the graham crackers until they turn into a fine powder. Place in a bowl, add melted butter, and mix with a fork until it resembles wet sand. Spread in prepared pan and pat it down so it is distributed evenly. Put pan in the freezer until ready to use.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time. Add in vanilla, salt, and flour and mix until just combined.
- Remove pan from freezer and pour cheesecake over the crust. Use a spatula to spread it out evenly; it will be thin, so be careful not to work too quickly or you risk poking through to the crust and ruining the bottom.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the middle is bare jiggly. Cool completely on a wire rack. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.
- When ready to assemble, remove cheesecake from the fridge. Make sure you have enough counter space before the next step.
- Firmly hold the parchment paper overhangs and lift the entire dessert out of the pan and onto the counter. It is important that the cake is cold for this step so it holds together and doesn’t break while you lift.
- Keep a tall glass of hot water near you. Take a serrated knife and dip it into the hot water. Wipe it clean with a towel and slice your cheesecake into 16 pieces, taking care to dip and wipe your knife before each subsequent cut. This ensures that the slices look clean and there aren’t stray crumbs everywhere.
- Once cut, take your chocolate ganache or sauce and make sure it is pliable. Warm it up in the microwave for a few seconds if you have to. Using a pastry bag, Ziplock with a whole in it, or simply a spoon, carefully spread stripes of chocolate over the cake.
- Top with sliced strawberries. Refrigerate until ready to serve.