Saturday, September 17, 2011

White Chocolate and Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake

Looking back over my posts, I can't believe that I haven't baked a cheesecake since the beginning of July, when I made a lime cheesecake with blackberry sauce for my grandfather's birthday. Granted, I have baked plenty of other goodies since then but no cheesecakes, something I used to bake quite often when I first started out in the kitchen. Luckily, this week we celebrated another birthday in the family and I took my chance to create a new cheesecake for the event.

I decided to pair white chocolate with raspberries, creating one batter base and then dividing it in half and mixing in the separate flavors. Since I'm always looking to create not only new flavors but new designs as well, I decided to try a swirl design. I have been to many a restaurant and seen cheesecake served with an interesting swirl on top. Curious, I looked up how to create the swirl and found out that the technique is actually quite easy. The basic concept is to place several polka dots of whatever you want to swirl in on the top of the cake and then use a toothpick or knife to drag it through. This creates a swirl design, so long as you don't mix it around too much. Unfortunately, I think I placed too many polka dots because once the cake went into the oven my swirls kind of blended together and disappeared from the middle. However the edge still showed the design and even though the cheesecake cracked, it actually contributed to the look of the cake.

As for the was divine! The cake turned out velvety smooth and the white chocolate balanced the slight tartness of the raspberries perfectly. Normally when I bake cheesecakes, or any cakes for that matter, I use a large pan because of the size of my family. Still, there are usually plenty of leftovers because in today's diet conscious world no one wants to take too big of a slice. This time there was no such problem; everyone wanted big pieces and even couples who often share a slice each took their own instead. I think my brother was most disappointed because he always loves having the leftovers of my cakes for several days afterward but this time there was only one piece left. I am so happy that I came up with such a winning combination and hopefully, with more practice, I'll be able to master the technique of swirling in the near future.

Update: I recently made this cake again for my mom's birthday, as per her request. However this time I made a design of concentric circles with hearts instead of the swirl and it looked very nice. To achieve this, I made little dots on the top of the cake with the raspberry sauce going around in a circle. I repeated this until I had several circles and then I used a toothpick and dragged it through the center of each dot along the circle, not lifting the toothpick until I completed the circle. In the end it created little tails that resembled hearts going around the surface of the cake.

White Chocolate and Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake

For the crust:

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and then transfer to an 11" springform pan. Gently press down all along the bottom and sides and then bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.

For the cheesecake:

  • 2 lbs (4 blocks) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 100 grams white chocolate, melted
  • 2 cups frozen raspberries, thawed
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  1. To create the raspberry sauce, combine the thawed raspberries with the tablespoon of sugar in a small saucepan over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium once the mixture starts to boil and continue to heat until the raspberries break down completely. 
  2. Strain the seeds out of the sauce using a fine mesh sieve and set it aside to cool. Reserve about 1/8 cup of the sauce for the swirl at the end.
  3. Beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed for about a minute, until smooth.
  4. Beat in the cup of sugar and then the eggs, one at a time, at low speed. Scape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  5. Beat in the sour cream and then the vanilla and zest and mix on medium speed until everything is well incorporated.
  6. Split the batter in half. To one half, add the melted white chocolate and mix well to fully incorporate. To the other half, add the raspberry sauce and mix well to combine.
  7. Pour the raspberry batter into the cooled springform pan, making sure it doesn't reach over halfway up the sides. Place the pan in the freezer for about 10 minutes, allowing the raspberry layer to firm up a little before pouring the white chocolate layer on top.
  8. Pour the white chocolate layer on top of the raspberry. Then, using the reserved raspberry sauce, dot a ½ teaspoon of the sauce in a few dots over the cheesecake filling. Make sure not to create too many dots otherwise they will blend together in the oven. Use a toothpick or a knife to lightly swirl and create a marbled effect.
  9. Bake the cheesecake in a water bath, or with a pan of hot water on the lowest rack, for 50 minutes at 325 Fahrenheit.
  10. Without opening the oven door, turn off the oven and let the cake sit there for another 1-1/2 hours before removing. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate at least 4 hours, though preferably overnight, before serving.

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