My “take that, Martha!” cheese cake – breaking all the rules. Low-fat, no water bath, kinda high baking temp. It will all work out. Just don’t over mix and don’t over bake. The end! But this IS a soft (note cakey!), mildly indulgent, sweet and tangy cheese cake.
Ohhh, cheese cake. How can I even dream of tasting you when just a flash of your likeness sends pounds to my inner thighs? For my grandpa’s – Baba – birthday, he gently held my hand, removed his glasses and with a youthful bat of his lashes, requested a cheese cake for his 88th birthday. Cheese cake is so personal though. Some people like it dense and indulgent. Others feel that always ends up too dry and prefer a lighter, softer cheese cake. Although some enjoy a sour tang in theirs, others desire a gentle sweetness smoothing over their tongue. So, I began pouring over articles about water baths, over baking, and the dreaded cheese cake cracking. I bought a spring form cake tin. I read low fat recipes, yogurt recipes, cottage cheese recipes. I purchased over 1,000 grams of cheese products. Look, I love cheese cake – in any texture, density or consistency. But I simply cannot deal with the guilt of eating a slice. Plus, it just irritates me that so many recipes out there have hundreds of extra calories worth of sugar and fat that just take up space! If you’re not contributing to the flavor, then get out!
So, I called Adam’s mom. With some guidance and small changes, this cake turned out fantastic, and I felt guilt-free afterward. Astute readers will observe that there is no raspberry drizzle in the above photo. I got a little carried away with it, to be honest, and my mom and I had to quickly shave some chocolate to hide the puddled raspberry globs all over the perimeter. Though it tasted FANTASTIC, it looked slightly less than the dancing swirls of chocolate and raspberry that I envisioned. So, drizzle with discipline.
Within moments, the cake was almost gone. The kids ate it, the old folks ate it, and all the women ate it. How could they resist? Pulverized oreo cookies for the crust dusted with cardamon, blends of low fat cream cheese, mascarpone and sour cream with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and topped in raspberry and chocolate… this is definitely a cake I will make again.
Just a warning though. This is not your usual cheese cake recipe because in almost everything I read, the cake shouldn’t be exposed to sudden changes in temperature. Kind of like me. But, after 20 minutes, this cake is removed from the oven, a second layer of a cheese mixture is added and then placed back into a slightly hotter temperature for another 20-25 minutes. Unusual? Yes. But it works!
Just one beginning note about the crust. I used Trader Joe’s Regular Oreo cookies, but you can use regular Oreo cookies, chocolate wafers, graham crackers with cocoa powder, or ANY other cookie you like. Feel free to take liberties, although I think Oreo goes best here.
What you need:
In one bowl:
3 1/2 c pulverized Trader Joe’s regular oreo’s; wipe out the insides (this is about 1/2 of the box)
6 tblsp melted butter
1/2 tsp cardamon powder
1/2 c sugar
2 tblsp regular white flour
juice from 1/2 a lemon
500 g low fat cream cheese (the softest kind you can find)
300 g low fat sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
In another bowl:
1 tsp vanilla extract
250 g mascarpone cheese
2 tblsp sugar
Raspberry Chocolate Sauce:
1 c frozen raspberries
1/2 c sugar
2 oz dark chocolate; shaved (about two squares)
Another 2 oz or so of chocolate to melt for drizzling
How to do it:
Bring all ingredients to room temperature and preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Drop all your cookies into a food processor. Transfer them into a bowl and pour the melted butter over it so it gets all wet and sorta sticky. Press the cookies into the bottom of a cake tin and press as much as you would like up the sides of the tin. Then sprinkle the cardamon on top. Combine all the ingredients of “bowl one” together, BUT mix the eggs separately and then add them. Do not over mix – just enough so there aren’t too many lumps. Pour this over the crust. Bake for 20 minutes. Very gently remove from the oven, up the heat to 380 and pour/spread (very gently!) “bowl two” over the cake. Return to the oven for another 25 minutes or so, or until the cake begins to brown. Remove from the oven, gently take a knife and run it around the edges of the cake, not going all the way down. Let sit for 15 minutes and place in the fridge until serving for best results.
For the raspberry chocolate drizzle sauce:
You want to do this right before you decorate the cake, otherwise you will run into the same disaster I had which was the result of waiting too long and then putting the sauce in the fridge. It thickened and was a bad idea. So, if the time is right, melt all the ingredients over medium-low heat, constantly stirring for the first few minutes. When they’ve formed a drippy sauce, it’s ready! In another bowl, melt another few ounces of dark chocolate and drizzle it with a spoon back and forth over your cake. Then drizzle the raspberry to create a contrasting design over the dark chocolate. Enjoy!