Velvety smooth, rich and creamy, this cheesecake is divine. Its decadent taste and texture belie the fact that it is relatively easy to make. Cream cheese, sugar, eggs and cream are beaten together and then poured into a cake pan lined with a traditional graham cracker crumb crust. The cake is then baked in a water bath to ensure a custardy texture and smooth surface.
Although all that is needed to garnish the cheesecake is a sprinkling of confectioner’s sugar, there are endless topping possibilities—such as raspberry, blueberry, strawberry and pineapple fruit sauces; or chocolate, caramel and peanut butter glazes.
Since cheesecake is arguably one of America’ favorite desserts, it is only fitting to have one on hand for the Fourth of July. In honor of Independence Day, I garnished the cake with a red, white and blue marbleized candy melt glaze.
Happy Fourth of July!
Before you begin: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and have ready an 8-inch by 3-inch spring form pan, sides sprayed with Pam and bottom lined with parchment paper. Wrap the outside of the pan tightly with a double layer of heavy duty aluminum foil. Bring to a simmer several quarts of water in a teapot. Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature.
In a mixing bowl, combine all the graham cracker crumb crust ingredients.
Place into the spring form pan and press crumbs evenly along the bottom and halfway up the sides. Place in the refrigerator to cool while you are mixing the cheesecake batter.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well. Add the vanilla, almond extracts, salt and sour cream and beat until well combined.
Pour the cheesecake batter onto the prepared crust. Place into a larger pan and pour in simmering water until it reaches one inch up the sides of the pan. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, turn off the oven and leave the cake in the oven for one hour. Do not open the oven door.
After one hour, remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
When ready to serve, unmold the cake and a sprinkling of confectioner’s sugar is all you need to garnish this cake.
If desired, you can surround the base of the cake with blueberries and raspberries.
If desired, you can glaze and marbleize the top of the cake.
Place white chocolate and Crisco in a heatproof bowl and microwave for 1 minute at 50% power. Remove and stir with fork or whisk. Repeat process until totally melted and smooth.
Place red candy melts and 2 teaspoons Crisco in a heat proof bowl and microwave at 50% power for one minute. Repeat until fully melted.
Repeat microwave process with blue candy melts.
Pour ¼ to ½ cup of the melted white chocolate onto the top of the cake in a circle, leaving a one-inch border of cheesecake showing. Place the melted red and blue candy melts into squeeze bottles and drizzle overlapping loops of each onto the white chocolate glaze. Using the tip of a toothpick or wooden skewer, make a series of bisecting strokes over the loopy scribbles to marbleize the white chocolate and red and blue candy melts.
Allow the marbleized glaze to set before serving or refrigerating.
Makes 10 to 12 servings.