In celebration of my brother getting into medical school, I made a cheesecake–or rather, my mother suggested it and got the ingredients for me. For the record, he has made it before and it actually did look and taste like an actual cheesecake, which is why I think my mom wanted me to make that specifically. What that also means is that he’d naturally compare mine to his, so there’s that pressure point.
Looking at the recipe, I’m proud to say that I have finally completed a dish that The Food Network itself has claimed “Intermediate”. I’m not quite sure what determines difficulty level. I mean, it’s The Food Network, so obviously they have high standards, which means they know what they’re talking about. Picturing myself going through each step and then actually doing it, I found it to be easier than most of the recipes I’ve done in the past.
Obviously, cheesecake was for dessert. Dinner was nothing special. Just the usual chicken salad. Only this time, instead of strawberries, I added an orange. It wasn’t really by choice though; mostly because we don’t really eat oranges, but the recipe for the cheesecake included orange zest. That’s why my mom told me to buy just one single orange from the store.
So I assume we all know what a classic cheesecake looks like, but here’s an image anyway: Why? I noticed that this particular recipe includes a topping, which I thought was weird because usually, the cheesecake is just the cake part and the crust. In this case, I actually noticed there’s a whiter layer on top, which I thought was part of a typical cheesecake. Why shouldn’t I? It’s literally called “Classic Cheesecake“.
- Trying to mix the solids with the butter, I expected it to be more…moist. That’s why I used a mini whisk. Didn’t really work. I ended up just mixing it up with a spoon like I would Korean bowl dishes with rice (i.e. sashimi bowl, a.k.a. my personal favorite).
- This is the second time I’ve used the 9-inch springform pan. The first was my mother’s red velvet birthday cake.
- Spreading out the graham cracker crust was actually pretty fun. I have no clue why. Just was. I used the same spoon I used to mix, to flatten the crumbly layer.
- I baked for 15 minutes and just assumed it was a good shade of golden brown.
- You know, when my brother first told me how making the cheesecake was, he mentioned that there was so much cream cheese involved. I’d forgotten, but went ahead with it anyway. Two pounds equals 32 oz. That means four 8-oz. sticks.
- I didn’t do as much ingredient prep as I’ve advised to, but it didn’t really matter. The recipe wasn’t time sensitive, so I took my time measuring and adding ingredients.
- Still on the mixer step, one thing I forgot to use the scraper to make sure I got all the cream cheese stuck on the sides that the beaters couldn’t reach. I don’t think it was that big a deal though. I realized it sooner than later, so I managed to mix it with the rest of the cheesy “batter”. Looking at it though, I think it was still in clumps, which isn’t very cheesecake-like.
- When we first read the step about the boiling water, my mom had never heard of that when making a cheesecake. The recipe she uses didn’t mention it yet she always found that the ones she makes always break apart. We agreed that the boiling water was probably a key factor in keeping it together, but later, it says, “[The topping, I assume] minimizes the risk of the dreaded crack in your cheesecake.” I don’t know, maybe that’s just the outside of the cake instead of the entirety.
- That being said, I don’t think the topping was absolutely necessary. Before that, it at least looked perfectly fine. Next time, I’ll skip that step. And besides, the cake had way too much sugar and I think the topping was a factor in that.
- Speaking of an excess amount of sugar, according to my mom, you don’t have to substitute sugar if you plan on using less of it. If you want to reduce the amount of sugar, just do it. That being said, I think I’ll cut it down to 75% and see where that goes. Looking at the recipe, I might have to figure out 3/4 of 1 1/4 cups… I don’t math very well, but I think I get fractions: 3/4 times 5/4? Right, since “of” means to multiply? 15/16, which reduces to… Nope, I don’t want to do that. Never mind. I can’t math.
- Because I started this entire process at 2PM and my brother arrived at around 8PM, I knew that I wasn’t going to refrigerate it for “at least 8 hours” as the recipe wanted. As expected, when we ate it, it was lukewarm.
Next time, I want to add fruit. My mom went to the store and bought strawberries, blueberries, grapes, different fruits that could work with a cheesecake (I’m questioning the grapes though). I think I’ll go with strawberries next time, just because it’s already a common addition to the dessert. I might need strawberry syrup to go along with it though.
This experience wasn’t too bad. I’d recommend this to a friend (therefore I recommend it to you). As usual, my biggest piece of advice is to always plan ahead. I didn’t get enough of a heads up in order to do this perfectly, but that doesn’t matter. There’s half of that cheesecake left in the fridge and tomorrow, I’m finishing my slice for breakfast. Because I am turning 23 in three days. So I can do whatever I want. Don’t judge. I’m adult.