Manhattan Cheesecake Magic, #The Cake Slice Bakers
The Cake Slice Bakers are a group of bakers from around the world. We vote on a recipe and then bake the sweet from the same cookbook every month. Our current book is Carole Walter's Great Cakes. This month the rules changed. The cookbook remains the same but bakers choose one out of four great cakes. The Ninja Baker's selection is Manhattan Cheesecake! (A mighty fine choice if I do say so myself.)
Magic, miracles, and now Manhattan Cheesecake encourage joy in the journey for this Ninja Baker. How about you? Is it your family? Your passion for the stock market?
Manhattan Cheesecake :
The cherry blossom center is made from a Japanese bento vegetable cutter.
As a small child, I was pretty fearless. (It helps to grow up in a low crime city like Tokyo in the 70s.) Still, somewhere along the way I lost a bit of confidence. So, when faced with a blank page, flying solo or embarking upon a new volunteer position at Peace Awareness Labyrinth and Gardens in LA, butterflies flutter inside. But each time I get brave and embrace the challenge, as if by magic, miracles happen! The post or book chapter gets written; I make new friends; and I am overcome with gratitude for the opportunity to serve as a docent at one of the most serene spots in LA!
Mesmerizing the palate are strawberries and a cheesecake zapped with orange zest!
A similar process occurred when I saw the steps for Carole Walter’s Manhattan cheesecake. Not exactly sure why. Maybe because the black and white drawing of the Manhattan Cheesecake with strawberries piled on top looked so fancy schmancy. However, once I put my mind to making the dessert, it was quite a delightful experience.
Manhattan cheesecake works very well in cupcake form, too.
The graham cracker crust is your standard cookie crumbs, sugar and melted butter. (I’ve learned to always double the crust recipe. No matter the recipe source, it seems there is always extra filling.) One difference is distinct in Carole Walter’s recipe. Instead of baking the crust for five minutes until firm, the pan with the crust goes into the refrigerator. And, yes, it works!
A fantabulous alternative to the standard 9" cheesecake pan
is the mini springform pan.
The filling of cream cheese, sugar, egg yolks, heavy cream, vanilla, and a sprinkle of orange and lemon zest are zapped together in the food processor. Whipping away in another bowl are egg whites and sugar. (From experience, I’ve also learned to always add cream of tartar to encourage the l loose whites to stiffen into a lovely meringue.)
Strawberry jam is slathered on top of cheesecake,
then dotted with whipped cream and a fresh strawberry.
I skipped the easiest part – the suggested strawberry topping with Grand Marnier. (Per the cookbook author, Carole Walter, the sauce will make the fresh strawberries mushy if not served immediately.) Strawberry jam served as the substitute on my mini cheesecakes.
As for the fancy schmancy fresh strawberry design…Well, it turned out to be quite do-able! (Strawberries are sliced in halves.) The trick is to point the pointy parts of the strawberry away from the center for the outer circle. A second circle is formed by touching the bottoms of the strawberries to the bottoms of the outer/first circle gems. The remaining space in the middle is filled in with the sliced strawberries. That’s it! Voilà! A miraculous Manhattan cheesecake masterpiece….
A trio of Manhattan cheesecake minis.
And the taste? Magical. The orange zest truly brightens the batter. Not in an overbearing orange juicy sort of way…It's subtle. I never would have suspected that orange citrus would play so well with strawberry. But, it does! Also, the cheesecake texture is similar to the firmer yet creamy-luscious cheesecakes I’ve enjoyed at Manhattan delis in New York.