Thursday, October 8, 2009


Cheesecake is a beautiful thing. People are so impressed by it, but it's so darned easy to make--maybe 5-10 minutes of active work, and then you just bake and chill. Sure, you have to make sure you bake at just the right temperature for just the right time so that it doesn't crack (see my picture below), but even if it does crack, it's still going to taste good.

Now, this Bulls Eye Cheesecake is a bit more complicated than your average cheesecake because it involves two colors of batter, poured carefully into the pan to form a bullseye pattern. Pretty darned fancy. But not that hard. If I can make this swirl, so can you.
I had some rather negative notes on this one from the last time I made it--the batter was "too liquid" and there was "too much almond." I'm guessing I used light cream cheese only for the first, since I didn't have that trouble this time, and I did cut down on the almond extract.

Maida wanted a one-piece cheesecake pan. I didn't have one, so I used this silicone pan. It was a good size, but I should have sprayed it with Pam or something.

Oops--cheesecake cracked. Look how it cracks along the bullseye lines. Isn't that weird?

I've had these amaretti in the freezer since we were in Italy oh, 2,3 years ago. Finally I had a recipe that called for them. They were a lot softer than the mega-expensive Amaretti di Saranno. Maybe that's the freezer time...

My cake did not unmold beautifully. Doesn't exactly look like the one on the cookbook cover. Guess I should have greased the pan.

The cheesecake still looked pretty darned cool and tasted very good, though I should have cut back on the sugar a bit more. Sami said it made his throat hurt, it was so sweet (I blame that on the amaretti). But still, this thing disappeared pretty darned quickly.

Here's the recipe I made.

Bulls Eye Cheesecake

2 lbs. cream cheese, room temp (I used half regular and half light)
1/4 c. (2 oz.) sour cream (I used light)
1 t. vanilla
1/8 t. almond extract
1/4 t. salt
4 large eggs, room temp if you think about it
scant 2/3 c. sugar (maybe 4.3 oz.)
scant 2/3 c. brown sugar (same)
1 t. powdered instant espresso
1 T. cocoa powder
About 1/4 c. crumbs made from graham crackers or Amaretti or Nilla Wafers or whatever's in your pantry (Oreos? Pecan Sandies?)

Heat the oven to 350 and grease well a springform pan (wrap it with aluminum foil first) or deep cake pan. Also find a large roasting pan or something that the springform fits in without touching the sides.
Dump the cream cheese into your mixer bowl and beat it until it's nice and smooth. Maida feels strongly about this, so scrape your bowl down and beat it well. Now add the sour cream, vanilla, almond, and salt, and then the eggs one at a time, scraping and beating well after each addition. Now put half the batter into a different bowl. Add the white sugar to one bowl, and add the brown sugar, instant coffee, and cocoa to the other. I pushed those through a sieve. It was fussy, but you don't want a giant lump of instant coffee/brown sugar in your cheesecake! Make sure both mixtures are nice and smooth.
Now comes the fun part. Get out two 1-cup measures. If they have spouts, you're in luck. If not, just do your best like I did. Pour one cup of one kind of batter into the middle of the cake pan (bullseye!). Then pour a cup of the other kind right on top. It will spread out and make rings. Keep alternating until all the batter is gone.
Pour hot water into the large pan that your springform is going to sit in. The water should go up about 1-1/2 inches. Put the springform in there, if it's not there already, and then CAREFULLY put the whole thing in the oven. Let it bake for 1-1/2 hours. Then CAREFULLY take the pan out of the water and let it cool to room temp. Maida says to wait until the bottom is room temp. Then invert the cake onto a plate, but not the plate you want to serve from. Sprinkle the crumbs over the top (which will soon be the bottom), and then flip the thing over. Try your best not to squish the poor thing. Then chill the cake (probably at least 4 hours; I chilled it overnight) and be ready for cheesecake time!

1 comment:

  1. My mouth is watering! Interesting how the Bulls Eye is created. Weird how it split at the two colors.