Image by : lifeloveandsugar.com

The cheesecake layer of the cake is not entirely unlike this wonderful cheesecake, although this one comes with a crust, vanilla bean and mousse. It speaks for itself.

The crust is your typical graham cracker crust with a little sugar and enough melted butter to glue it all together. The crust is cooked, then the pan prepped for a water bath. I absolutely understand if you’re thinking water baths suck. They are. They’re a hassle. But they are SO worth it! You get a more creamier and beautiful cheesecake. Because of this, cheesecakes tend to crumble and crack when they’re baked without it. I mean, that’s alright, but not exactly optimal for the time you put in. Take the additional few minutes to perform the water bath — it’s worth it.

Vanilla beans and vanilla essence are used in the cheesecake filling to give it a rich taste. I prefer to utilize both. I don’t find vanilla bean to offer a really strong vanilla taste one it’s own, but when paired with vanilla extract, it intensifies the vanilla and produces the most pure and wonderful vanilla flavor. I’m a fan.

When combining the ingredients for the filling, simply be cautious not to combine everything together at a rapid pace. That may integrate more air bubbles into the batter, which can rise to the top while baking and form cracks.

Ingredients

CRUST

  • 2 ¼ cups (302g) graham cracker crumbs
  • ½ cup (112g) salted butter, melted
  • 3 tbsp (39g) sugar

CHEESECAKE

  • 24 ounces (678g) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup (207g) sugar
  • 3 tbsp (24g) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (230g) sour cream, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature

MOUSSE

  • 1 cup (172g) white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup (240ml) heavy whipping cream, divided (1/4 cup in the ganache, 3/4 for whipped cream)
  • 6 tbsp (44g) powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

WHIPPED CREAM

  • 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup (29g) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Strawberries, optional
  • Sprinkles, optional

Instructions

CRUST

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C). Line a 9-inch (23cm) springform pan with parchment paper in the bottom and grease the sides.
  2. Combine the crust ingredients in a small bowl. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan.
  3. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool.
  4. Cover the outsides of the pan with aluminum foil so that water from the water bath cannot get in (see how I prepare my pan for a water bath). Set prepared pan aside.

CHEESECAKE

  1. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F (148°C).
  2. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and flour on low speed until well combined and smooth. Be sure to use low speed to reduce the amount of air added to the batter, which can cause cracks. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  3. Add the sour cream, vanilla bean paste and vanilla extract and mix on low speed until well combined.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing slowly to combine after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is well combined.
  5. Pour the cheesecake batter into the crust.
  6. Place the springform pan inside another larger pan. Fill the outside pan with enough warm water to go about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. The water should not go above the top edge of the aluminum foil on the springform pan.
  7. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. The center should be set, but still jiggly.
  8. Turn off the oven and leave the door closed for 30 minutes. The cheesecake will continue to cook, but slowly begin to cool as well.
  9. Crack the door of the oven for 30 minutes to allow the cheesecake to continue to cool slowly. This process helps prevent cracking.
  10. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and water bath wrapping and refrigerate until firm, 5-6 hours or overnight.

MOUSSE

  1. Place the white chocolate chips in a small heat proof bowl.
  2. Heat 1/4 cup of the heavy whipping cream in a glass measuring cup just until it begins to bowl.
  3. Pour the hot liquid over the white chocolate chips and allow to sit for 2-3 minutes, then whisk until smooth. If it doesn’t get completely smooth, microwave in 10-15 second increments, whisking between each, until smooth. Set ganache aside to cool to room temperature.
  4. Place remaining 3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, vanilla bean paste and vanilla extract in a large mixer bowl and whip on high speed until stiff peaks form.
  5. Gently fold about 1/3 of the whipped cream into the cooled white chocolate ganache.
  6. Gently fold the remaining whipped cream into the ganache into two parts, until well combined.

ASSEMBLY

  1. Remove the cheesecake from the springform pan, then spread the mousse on top of the cheesecake. Run an offset spatula around the edge of the cheesecake to smooth out the overhang of mousse around the edges.
  2. To make the whipped cream for the swirls on top, add the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract to a large mixer bowl and whip on high speed until stiff peaks form.
  3. Pipe swirls of whipped cream around the edge of the cheesecake. Top with strawberries and sprinkles, if desired.
  4. Refrigerate cheesecake until ready to serve. Cheesecake best for 3-4 days.

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