Bulls Eye!

Bulls Eye!

The daring baker challenge this month was cheesecake. We were given total creative freedom in this challenge, which I love! The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

I ended up using a slightly different recipe, as I prefer to add sour cream instead of heavy cream to my cheesecake. Also, I wanted to make the bulls eye design that results from two different colored batters. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a pic before I cut into it… duh! But it still looks really cool with the layers. Lastly, I always bake my cheesecake at a low temperature (325 degrees)in a waterbath. I detest overcooked cheesecake!

Bulls Eye Cheesecake Recipe

32 oz cream cheese
1/4 c sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp salt
4 eggs
2/3 c granulated sugar
2/3 c dark brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tsp instant coffee (powder, not granulated)
3 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 c graham cracker crumbs

1. Adjust rack 1/3 up from the bottom of the oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees. Carefully butter an 8 inch springform cheesecake pan all the way up to the rim and including the inside of the rim itself. You will need a larger pan to use as awater bathwhile baking. Wrap the bottom of the pan with one large piece of foil. Make sure the foil comes at least 2 inches up the sides of the pan to avoid water getting into the cheesecake.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cheese until it is soft and smooth, frequently scraping the sides of the bowl(with a rubber spatula) and the beaters themselves to be sure the cheese is uniformly smooth. Beat in the sour cream, then the vanilla and almond extracts, and the salt, then the eggs, one at a time. Keep scraping bowl occasionally and beat after each addition until it is incorporated.

3. Remove the bowl from the mixer. You will have about 6 cups of themixture. Place half of it (3 cups) in another bowl that is large enough to allow you to stir in it. Add the granulated sugar to one bowl, and the brown sugar to the other bowl, stirring with a rubber spatula until incorporated and the mixtures have thinned out.

4. Remove about 1/2 c of the brown sugar mixture and add the cocoa and powdered coffee. Stir well to dissolve the powders. Add this mixture back to the brown sugar bowl and stir well.

5. Now you will have about 4 c of each mixture. The two mixtures will be placed alternately in the pan to create the design. Each segment will be about 1 cup of mixture. I use two 1-cup measuring cups, one for the dark, and one for the light mixture.

6. It doesn’t matter which color goes first. Pour one cup of one mixture into the center of the pan. It will spread by itself to cover the bottom of the pan. Then pourone cup of the other mixture directly into the middle of the first mixture. (That will spread out too.) Now pour one cup of the first mixture in the center. Keep continuing until all of the batter is used, four additions of each mixture.

7. Now handle the pan very carefully in order not to disturb the design. Place the cheesecake pan in the larger pan and place in the preheated oven. Carefully, pour enough hot water in the larger pan to come 1 1/2 inches up the sides of the cheesecake pan. Bake for 1 1/2 hours.

8. Remove the cake pan from the hot water and set aside to cool at room temperature. When cooled, cover the pan with plastic wrap and then refrigerate for several hours (the longer the better, at least 8 hours.) Remove the springform sides and place a flat plate or large plastic cutting board on top of the cheesecake. Carefully flip the cheesecake and remove the bottom of the springform pan.

9. Sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs over the bottom of the cake. This will keep the cake from sticking to the plate. Cover with your serving plate and flip again, leaving the cake right side up. Dip your knife in hot water before making each cut.

Makes about 10 servings