custom cakes/cookies

Monday, April 27, 2009

Lavender-Infused Cheesecake with Crystalized Lilacs

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge. My first attempt ever to make a cheesecake came from a cooking light magazine. Bad idea. While I don't mean to discredit the magazine entirely, there are definitely some things that taste better without Neufatchel cheese. I really never tried again after that. My mom makes cheesecakes. I was perfectly happy to eat hers. Thank you, Jenny for sharing this recipe. Mom now has a new resource for cheesecake baking!
We were given complete freedom in regard to flavor choices. I wanted my cake to evoke the freshness of spring. At first I thought of making a carrot cheesecake complete with miniature marzipan carrots as decoration. It looked like a huge project, though, to which I had little time to commit. Then I remembered I just happened to have 200 or so crystalized lilacs stored in my pantry--intended for a party that never happened. Of late, I've had quite an obsession with lavender. This is how my flavor choice came about.
It really is a lovely recipe. Wonderfully smooth texture and good density. I wanted to post it so that you could try it too!

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 stick butter, melted
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream (heated to a simmer and steeped in 2 tbsp. lavender buds for 15 minutes; strain lavender before using)
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Set crust aside.

3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, and lemon juice and blend until smooth and creamy.

4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.

5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.


mcfavfam said...

awesome, i am looking forward to mouth watering reads! i am wondering if you would like a food blog i follow: "pinch" i am an aspiring foodie (not enough motivation), but am proud to say i currently have 4 flours in my pantry ;) and i am DONE with box cake mixes!

Heidi said...

Only one flour in my pantry! LOL! But happy to be related to a great baker especially when we get samples! The cheesecake turned out beautifully and we heard it was delicious as well! Look forward to more posts!

Anonymous said...

Wait, you keep flour...I always have to go buy some whenever I actually have a recipe that requires some. You are truly talented & I can't wait to see what you come up w/next!!

Jenny said...

This looks beautiful, what a centerpiece with the candied lilacs. Thanks for being a part of the April Daring Bakers Challenge!

Jenny of JennyBakes

Olivia said...

Thank you for the kind words everyone! I really appreciate your support.
mcfavfam, thanks especially to you for the link. She's quite an entertaining blogger.

Michael said...

hi olivia, look forward to friday!!!
thanks for your efforts,sincerely michael