Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Daring Bakers: Cheesecake

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

My first challenge for The Daring Bakers. I debated this for a long time; I asked for friends’ favorite flavors, pored over my cookbooks, searched Flickr for inspiration. I finally decided to make it while I was on vacation, visiting friends that shared my love of dark beer, so I made Chocolate Stout Cheesecake. And I made it not in my own kitchen, where my modest collection of kitchen gadgets and ample counter space reside, but the kitchen of my friend Ryan, an unmarried 30-something who keeps his refrigerator stocked with just yogurt, energy bars, and beer, and doesn’t own measuring spoons or mixing bowls. Baking in such primitive conditions was the challenge; making my first cheesecake, not so much.

I had originally planned to make an oatmeal cookie crust, but when I went shopping for ingredients the day before Bake Day, all I could find were oatmeal-raisin cookies, so I opted for a chocolate wafer cookie crust.

One of the recipes I used as reference called for the beer to be opened and degassed, so I did that while making the crust. I needed only one cup, so Ryan and I shared the rest (for breakfast).

I was worried that adding an extra cup of liquid would mess with proportions, so I added 8 oz. additional cream cheese and one extra egg.

To create the marble effect, I melted 5 oz. dark chocolate…

…then added that to one cup of the vanilla-beer cheesecake batter and poured that over the unbaked cheesecake before marbling it with a knife.

The baking of the cheesecake was the next challenge. I went back and forth over baking methods, and finally ended up using a water bath. I wrapped the springform pan in two layers of foil, set it in a roasting pan, and filled it with boiling water. (One cool gadget Ryan does have is an electric kettle.) Into the oven it went. I set the timer for 45 minutes.

Ryan also has a nice pool table that occupies a prominent spot in his living room, so while we were waiting for it to bake, I took this photo for my Macro Monday Flickr group challenge, “color spot”.

The cheesecake browned pretty quickly, but it seemed to take forever for the edges to firm up, so I kept it in another 10 minutes before turning off the oven to let it set up.

For some reason the chocolate sank to just below the surface before I could marble it, so it wasn’t visible until I cut into it.

I have to say, it was a beautiful thing – aside from the fact it browned a little more than I would have liked, it was silky smooth. I didn’t think the stout taste was prominent enough, but it was described by others as having a caramel flavor. My first cheesecake, a success!

I had leftover batter, so I made a smaller cheesecake in a disposable pan that was recommended in the challenge recipe. Oddly enough, the chocolate didn’t sink, so I got a beautiful marbled top.

I'm very much looking forward to next month's challenge. Ryan's girlfriend was right -- "Cooking in Ryan's kitchen is like cooking at a campout". But it was fun, and I'd do it again. Thank you, Ryan, for putting up with my relentless teasing and occasional eye rolls.


  1. Congrats chocolate Stout Cheesecake what a first challenge! And in a strange 'un-equiped' kitchen. Bravo on your great first effort. I noticed that the stout was chocolate flavoured never seen that here in Australi. You have a talent with the pixs. I hope you have many more happy challenges with DBers. Yours from Audax in Australia

  2. Ahhh that looks SO good. My dad would LOVE this. I'll have to try this variation some time. Excellent job and great photos too!!

  3. Mmmm, chocolate stout :) This looks and sounds really good! Great job!

  4. What a great take on your first challenge! I once had a Goya Malta chocolate swirled cheesecake, but it didn't look as good and probably taste as good, as yours! Well done! Welcome to DB!

  5. Chocolate stout sounds super delicious and those swirl make the cake looks pretty too. Well done on your 1st challenge :)

  6. Welcome to the Daring Bakers. You just never know what challenges will present themselves - a sparse kitchen is surely one. I am intrigued by this idea of using stout, and I'm glad it turned out. Thanks for being a part of the challenge!

    Jenny of JennyBakes

  7. mmm.... I have been needing cheesecake for about a week now. The cheesecake I made for this challenge was the best cheesecake I have ever tasted, so I decided to check out other DB's cheesecakes for my quick fix. :)

    This one looks and sounds great! I think I'll try a marble next time.