Thursday, May 22, 2014

manhattan cheesecake with chocolate ganache

I have a soft spot for cheesecakes. So when we had a choice from 4 cakes to bake this month at The Cake Slice Bakers, for me, it was a no-brainer.

I chose to bake a Manhattan Cheesecake!
This is a really easy cheesecake to bake because it does not require the cake to sit in a ban-marie (water bath). So it really was a case of put together the base, chill it, blitz the cheesecake mixture, pour onto the base, and bake!

So lets get started!

The first thing I did was to melt the butter. While that happened, I blitzed the graham crackers. It is not easy to find graham crackers in Singapore, so you can substitute this with digestive biscuits. If, like me, you prefer to use graham crackers, you can find them (in of all places) Lucky Plaza.
I added the melted butter.
And blitz again. Until I had what looked like wet-ish breadcrumbs.
This was poured into a greased and lined springform pan.
Using my rice cup, I pressed the crumbs onto the bottom and sides of the pan.
This was placed in the fridge to chill.

In a clean bowl, I added cream cheese and blitzed to soften. Then I added 3/4 cup of caster sugar and blitzed again. Remember to scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula once in a while.
I added the egg yolks, and blitzed some more.
Finally, I added cream, vanilla extract and the zest of an orange and a lemon, and gave the mixture a final good blitz.
You should end up with a smooth mixture.
While all that happened, I whisked the egg whites in a clean bowl until soft peaks formed before adding the caster sugar gradually until the egg whites become shiny.
I added 1/4 of the cheesecake mixture into the egg whites, and folded it in gently before folding in the rest of the cream cheese mixture.
This was poured into the springform pan which was placed on heavy duty aluminium foil (in case anything should spill) and baked.
At the end of the baking time, I turned off the heat and prop the oven door ajar with the handle of a wooden spoon. The cake was left to cool in the oven for an hour.

I chilled the cake over night, then a few hours before serving, I placed chocolate, cream and sugar in a saucepan and stirred this over low heat until all the chocolate had melted. This was left to cool.
Once cooled, I poured the ganache over the cheesecake and used an off set spatula to even out the top.
The cake was placed in the fridge for at least an hour to chill.

Then I removed the ring and garnished it with chocolate curls.
And served the cake.
I am really glad I decided to go with the chocolate ganache rather than strawberries since I was not able to find any strawberries that were pretty enough to be used. That is one of the downside of living in a country where we have to import most things!
If, like the LAM, you prefer softer cheesecakes, then this cake is for you.

The chocolate ganache really went very well with the cake though.

In the words of my 4-year-old, "I REALLY love the chocolate, MOMMY!!"

RECIPE
Manhattan Cheesecake with Chocolate Ganache (Serves 8-10)
Cake adapted from "Great Cakes" by Carole Walters; Topping adapted from Melskitchencafe

Ingredients:
For the Crust:
10 double graham crackers (enough to make 1½ cups of crumbs)
2 tablespoons sugar
⅓ cup (75.6g) butter, melted

For the Cheesecake Filling:
1½ pounds (681g) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup (225g) caster sugar, divided
5 large egg yolks
½ cup (120ml) heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons freshly grated lemon rind
1½ teaspoons freshly grated orange rind
3 large egg whites

For the Topping:
3/4 cup (90ml) whipping cream
6 ounces (170g) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
Chocolate curls for garnish

Method:
For the Crust:
Break the crackers into the container of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the sugar and pulse until you get fine crumbs.
Pour in the melted butter, pulsing just to blend.
Empty the crumbs into the springform pan.  Using a spoon, press a thick layer of crumbs against the sides extending about ⅔ of the way up. Using a flat-bottomed glass, press the remaining crumbs evenly over the bottom of the pan. Be sure to flatten the crumbs with sides meet the bottom. Refrigerate.

For the Cheesecake Filling:
Preheat the oven to 325℉ (150C) and prepare a 9-inch springform pan by wrapping the base in foil.
Wash the processor bowl and steel blade.
Put the cream cheese and ¾ cup of sugar in processor and process for 15 seconds, scrape down the sides of the bowl and process 5 seconds longer. While the machine is running, pour the egg yolks through the feeder tube and process 10 seconds.
Add the cream, vanilla, and lemon and orange rinds. Process 10 seconds longer.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat the egg whites to soft peaks.
Add ¼ cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until the whites are shiny (about 1 minute).
Fold ¼ of the cheese mixture into the whites taking about 10 turns to lighten. Fold in the remaining cheese mixture, taking an additional 30 turns.
Pour the batter into the springform pan and bake in a preheated oven for 40 minutes.
At the end of the baking time, turn off heat and leave the oven door slightly ajar. Cool the cake in the oven for 1 additional hour.
Remove from the oven and place the pan on the cake rack to cool for at least 3 hours, then refrigerate until ready to decorate.

For the Topping:
In a heavy medium saucepan, stir the cream, chocolate and sugar over low heat until all the chocolate has melted. Set aside to cool.
Pout the ganache over the cake, using an off set spatula to even the top. Chill.
Just before serving, top with chocolate curls.

I am also sharing this recipe with Cook-Your-Books hosted by Kitchen Flavours.












12 comments:

  1. Oh my, I'd love a slice of that right now, it looks delicious! Love the chocolate glaze.

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  2. Hi Diana,
    Me too, would love to have a slice of your lovely cake!!
    Did you make the chocolate curls yourself too, I love how you did it . It is so pretty!! Like!!!
    mui

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  3. This looks so delicious! I love it. I'm a huge chocolate fan, and this looks great! Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Love the ganache and chocolate topping! Awesome cake you got there!

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  5. My jaw just hit the floor! It really looks mouthwatering! Ugh!

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  6. Very gorgeous Diana! Love the chocolate curls =)

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  7. Wow, your cake looks like it came straight out of a magazine. That beautiful chocolate ganache topping and the little curls are just perfect.

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  8. Hi Diana,
    Wow, that is one divine looking cheesecake! The chocolate topping looks so good with the creamy cheese. Lovely!

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  9. That ganache is awesome, as are your step by step photos. Everything about this cake looks perfect!

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  10. Love all of your pictures! Very cute nails too! ;) ... Your cake is gorgeous!

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  11. Oh my gosh, your cake looks SO good. Chocolate on the cheesecake is a wonderful idea!

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  12. So glad that you went with the chocolate. I didn't think we were allowed to change the recipes. I did that once and got into a little trouble so I haven't done it since. Great looking cheesecake!!!!

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