Cheesecake 2014 (Bailey's Chocolate)
The October 24th Birthday cheesecake has become a tradition in the BRAnderson household. We try to do something a little different every year (albeit, I do believe we did something simlar to this last year).
A couple of cheesecake pointers:
We like cheesy cheescakes. So, we don't even consider a recipe that contains less than three packages of cream cheese. Typically, if the recipe calls for 3 packages of cream cheese, we add one more to make it four, and add an extra egg.
Free Tip It seems to work well if there is one egg per each 8oz pacakge of cream cheese.
Keep it Steamy. We usually create a regular suana in the oven, when baking. It seems to work pretty well to fill a shallow cookie pan full of water. The moisture keeps the cake from cracking. Some people say to actually give the cake a bath, and I did that once. However, I've found that to be a bit complicated, messy and no more effective than simply adding a tray of water to the oven and steaming it up.
Stay Cool (and don't overcook!). Most cheesecake recipes have you start the bake at a high temp, adjusting to a lower temp after about 10 minutes. I do that. The other little oven trick we do is to turn the oven off when the cake is about 15 minutes from done, then let the cake finish with the oven door cracked. I don't know what the chemistry of this is, exactly; but it seems to work. An dry overcooked cheesecake is not good. It ends up all crumbly and of a poor consistency. It's important not to overcook.
With that, here is how I (Bernie) made this one. There are three parts to this. An Oreo cookie crust, the cheescake body and a chocolate ganache, combined into delisciousness.
Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees.
The Oreo Cookie Crust
- 1 Package of Oreo Cookies (Don't settle for generic cookies. There's a difference)
- 1/4 Cup melted unsalted butter
Use a food processor (or a rock and plastic bag) to crush the Oreo cookies into tiny little crumbs. Mix with the melted butter and press the mixture into a 9 inch (or so) spring-form pan. Bake the crust for about 10 minutes.
When you pull the crust out of the oven, push the oven temp up to 450 degrees.
The Cheesecake body
- 4 8oz packages of soften cream cheese (again, I'd avoid generic here. Go Philadelphia)
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1/4 cup of dark unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 T flour
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup Sour Cream
- 1/2 cup Bailey's Irish Cream
- 1 t vanilla extract
Use a large mixing bowl and cream the cheese with sugar. Add the cocoa and the flour and mix until well blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending well between each egg. Turn the mixer to a lower speed add the sour cream, the Bailey's and the vanilla.. Mix until just incorporated. Then, pour it on top of the crust.
I like to let the batter rest for a few minutes. It's also a good idea to gently drop the pan on the counter (gently, mind you), just to get any stray air bubbles out.
Pop the cake in the oven for about 10 minutes at 450 degrees. Then drop the temperature to 250 for 60 minutes. After 60 minutes, turn the oven off. Give it about another 10 minutes (check to see if it's firm) and open the oven door and let everything cool off like that for about another hour or so.
Then add the chocolate ganache.
The Chocolate Ganache
- 1/2 Cup heavy whipping cream
- 4 oz chopped Dark Chocolate (I'd say anything over 60% cocoa is good - whatever suites your taste)
- 1 t vanilla
Heat the cream to near, but not quite, boiling. In a small bowl, pour the heated cream over the chocolate, add the vanilla and stir until creamy. Note: I would avoid the temptation to add Bailey's to the Ganache. While Bailey's is indeed Irish goodness in a bottle, I think the flavor in the cake itself is strong enough and a strong Bailey's flavor in the ganache ends up being overkill. But ... hey ... to each her own. That's just my opinion.
Pour the ganache over the top of the cheesecake, and put it all in the fridge to chill.
I like a cheesecake to sit for a good 15-24 hours. But sometimes you just can't wait that long.
Bernie likes some whipping cream over the top. Renee' likes her's straight up. Either way, this cheesecake is light, yet rich, has a nice Irish Cream/Chocolate flavor, and is super creamy. Give it a shot (pun totally intended), and let us know how it comes out.
Happy Birthday to my Renee'.