Last week, I baked 6 desserts. My social calendar happened to blow up on the same week. A few burfdays to celebrate, a dinner soirée, a bbq and lastly, a Game of <f**king> Thrones premiere party. Each event needed a baked item (or three) by yours truly, and I was happy to oblige. Here's the breakdown of my week o' baking.
Monday: Dessert menu planning, ingredient gathering
Tuesday: Bake Vanilla Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream Frosting
Wednesday: More dessert planning and ingredient gathering
Thursday: Bake Lemon Bars
Friday: Bake Lemon Ricotta Cookies
Saturday: Bake Lemon Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust
Sunday: Bake Ginger Molasses Cookies and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars
'Twas a lot of baking, which meant there was a lot of "quality controlling" on my end. #nomnomnom Time to hit the gym and channel McConaughey, he seems to have that workout thing down. Sidenote: Does that guy even own a shirt?
The dessert highlight for me was the Lemon Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust. It was like a really good handshake- positively satisfying. It was rich, creamy and had the perfect amount of lemon. The gingersnap crust was a compatible compadre too.
Sigh. If only I loved making cheesecake as much as I loved eating it. It's, unfortunately, a royal pain in the ass to make. It's so high maintenance with it's water bath, two rounds of baking and lastly, the obnoxiously long cooling process that starts outside the fridge and continues inside the fridge. I admit though, I could make my life easier by making a few changes. I could buy a bigger water bath pan (mine is barely a few inches bigger than my cheesecake pan) and I could also not start baking at 8pm. Starting at that hour means I'm up past midnight waiting for that f**ker to cool enough to put it in the fridge. Luckily for my sweet cheesecake, it's always been worth the hassle in the end.
Lemon Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust
Recipe from Epicurious.com
Yield: 16 servings, but it all depends on your slice size!
For the crust:
2 cups ground ginger snap cookies
6 tablespoons butter, melted (you could probably get away with 4–5 T)
For the filling:
5, 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
7 large eggs, room temperature
3 cups (24 ounces) sour cream
2 tablespoons (packed) finely grated lemon peel
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
For the crust:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Stir cookie crumbs and butter in medium bowl until evenly moistened. Press mixture onto bottom of 9-inch-diameter removable-bottom cheesecake pan with 3-inch-high sides. Bake crust until deep golden, about 12 minutes. Cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
2. Stack 3 large sheets of foil on work surface. Place same cake pan in center. Gather foil snugly around pan bottom and up sides to waterproof. See my Pro Tips below for another way to waterproof your pan.
For the filling:
1. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese in large bowl until smooth and fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar, then salt. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in sour cream, grated lemon peel, and lemon juice. Pour filling into pan.
2. Place wrapped cake pan in large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into roasting pan to come halfway up sides of cake pan.
3. Bake cake until filling is slightly puffed and moves only slightly when pan is shaken gently, about 1 hour 25 minutes. See Pro Tips below on how to tell doneness. Remove cake pan from water bath; remove foil. Cool cake in pan on rack 2 hours. Chill uncovered until cold; cover and keep chilled at least 1 day and up to 2 days.
4. Cut around pan sides; carefully loosen pan bottom from sides and push up pan bottom to release cake. Place cake (still on pan bottom) on platter.
• Grind the gingersnaps in the processor or place them in a heavy-duty plastic bag and finely crush them with a rolling pin.
• I personally like using crockpot liners to keep the cheesecake pan waterproof vs wrapping in aluminum foil.
• Don't forget to do the "Jiggle Test" I've mentioned before in order to tell doneness of the cheesecake. "Jiggle it, just a little bit!"