Friday, June 29, 2012

Very Berry Cheesecake

Tall One's dear friend Scott is a Navy Supply Corps officer and today, July 2, he is being promoted from Lieutenant Junior Grade to full Lieutenant. He is very dedicated to serving our country and very deserving of this promotion. Since we are Spatularettes, we clearly decided that the only proper way to celebrate was with a cake! And what could be more patriotic than this Very Berry Cheesecake!

The timing of Scott's promotion couldn't be better because this cheesecake recipe is also PERFECT for the 4th of July! We decorated Scott's cake with his name and the signature Navy Supply Corps oak leaf. The other cakes were adorned with fresh berries and patriotic slogans. Neither of The Spatularettes are artists, by any stretch of the imagination, so we couldn't have been happier with the adorable finished products! The cheesecake itself is silky smooth, packed with flavor, and received nothing but rave reviews! When you get the chance, check out this great cheesecake recipe from Gimme Some Oven that inspired us!


-1 1/4 cup chocolate graham cracker crumbs
-1/4 cup sugar
-1/4 cup butter, melted

-3 blocks of cream cheese (8 oz each)
-1 1/4 cups sour cream
-3/4 cup sugar
-3 eggs
-1 cup berry puree

-Whipped cream
-Fresh berries

**Note: we think this works best when we let the ingredients come to room temperature before baking.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and start by preparing your springform pans by spraying them evenly with cooking spray. This recipe will make one 9 inch pan, two 6 inch pans, or seven mini 4 inch pans. The first time we made this we did the full size, but for this occasion we used the 6 inch and 4 inch pans. All 3 styles turned out fabulously!

For the crust, process 1 package of chocolate graham crackers in the food processor to create fine crumbs. This will give you about 1 1/4 cups, just measure them out to be sure. In a medium bowl, combine the chocolate graham cracker crumbs, the sugar and the melted butter. Use a wooden spoon (or your hands) to mix until well combined. Press the crust into the bottom of the spring form pans and bake for 6 minutes. Set the pans aside.

To make the berry puree, simply add about a cup and a half of cleaned and trimmed fresh berries to a food processor. Let it run for about a minute, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides, or until a relatively smooth puree forms. We've only made this cheesecake with strawberries and blueberries, but we imagine that any berry combo would work well. Measure out a cup of puree and set aside.

For the filling, beat 3 blocks of cream cheese in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the the sour cream and continue mixing, just until combined. You'll need to use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl at least once. Next, add the sugar and mix on low speed for about another minute. Once the sugar has been incorporated, add the eggs one at a time, beating them into the mixture after each addition. Finally add 1 cup of berry puree and mix, just until evenly combined.

Pour the filling over the prepared crusts and bake on the middle rack in a 350 degree oven. To minimize cracking, fill a glass 9x13 dish with water and place it on the bottom rack, below the cheesecake. Once the cake is nearly finished (the edges will be well set but the center will be ever so slightly jiggly), turn off the heat in the oven and prop the door open allowing the cake to rest as the oven cools. Baking and resting times vary depending on cake size so check the table below. Once finished, remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool on a wire rack in the springform pan for another 10 minutes. Remove the sides of the springform and let it finish cooling to room temperature. Refrigerate for 8 hours before serving.

9 inch pan 50-55 min 30 min
6 inch pan 40-45 min 20-25 min
4 inch pan 30-35 min 15-20 min

**Note: You definitely don't want to over-bake your cheesecake. You may be questioning if it is completely done when you remove it from the oven, but no need to worry. The cheesecake will continue to set up as it cools. If you follow the baking times above, you will have the PERFECT cheesecake!

There are lots of different ways to decorate a Very Berry Cheesecake so use your imagination! We started by topping each of our cakes with a thin layer of homemade whipped cream. If you do, unfortunately, end up with some cracks in your cakes, this is an easy and pretty way to cover them right up. For the detailed chocolate work, we melted dark chocolate Hershey Kisses with a Tbs of vegetable shortening on the stove top. Once the chocolate was smooth and melted, we turned off the heat and let it cool to room temperature. Then, using a disposable frosting bag and the #1 Wilton tip (a very fine round) we carefully piped the chocolate onto the cakes. Other than that, we just got creative with berries! The options are endless and the decorating is the most fun part!

Celebrate America, freedom, or your favorite member of the armed forces with Very Berry Cheesecake!

Tall and Small

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