When did THAT happen?
Growing up, birthdays were always a BIG deal in my family. I always loved my birthday! I used to count down til the day when I could blow out my candles and open my colorfully wrapped gifts. (Not to mention, I have a summer birthday, which always meant POOL PARTAY!) And looking back, I’m so thankful that my family liked to celebrate eachother. Its something I hope to always carry with me.
This year, though. This year I did not count down. I was not super excited. And for the first time I felt um…kinda old.
I was being a total grump. Not a good look.
Luckily, I am blessed with the most AMAZING friends and family that went above and beyond to make me feel very loved and extra special. So, I quickly cheered up and honestly, had one of the best birthdays EVER!
Starting with this cheesecake.
Over the weekend, my family had a cookout and a pool party for my mother and I’s birthday. We always celebrate together, because our birthdays are four days apart.
She was born on 6/6/66! CRAZY, RIGHT?
Well, this year I decided we needed cheesecake. And it needed to be the real deal.
However, I have always steered clear of cheesecake because the majority of recipes I’ve found require baking in a water bath. Which means placing the cheesecake pan in the middle of a larger pan, filled with hot water. (This is to ensure that the cake is baked evenly.)
And, I just was not fond of that idea. What if the water leaked into my precious cheesecake?
Then! I stumbled across this recipe from Brown Eyed Baker! No water bath here. Instead, you bake the cheesecake at a higher temperature at first, and then turn your oven way down, to slowly finish it off.
IT. WAS. PERFECT.
I’m talking, Cheesecake Factory perfect. From the creamy, dense texture, to the rich, sweet and tangy flavor, to the beautiful tall, ivory exterior.
And then that perfection was topped with sweetened fresh strawberries, macerated in their own juice.
And I almost died from happiness.
CHEESECAKE WITH SWEET FRESH STRAWBERRIES
graham cracker crust:
1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon sugar
5 tablespoons butter, melted
40 ounces cream cheese, room temperature & cut into 1 inch pieces
1½ cups sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon butter, melted
sweet fresh strawberries:
1 pound strawberries, quartered
1/3 cup sugar
For the graham cracker crust: Preheat the oven to 300. In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Add melted butter and stir until the mixture is evenly moistened.
Press graham cracker mixture into an even layer on the bottom of a 9 or 10 inch springform pan. Bake crust for 12 minutes. Place on a cooling rack while you prepare the filling.
For the cheesecake filling: Turn up the oven to 500. In a large mixing bowl, beat your cream cheese on medium speed for about one minute.
Scrap down the sides of the bowl and add half the sugar (3/4 cup) and salt. Beat for another minute on medium speed. Then, add the remaining sugar (3/4 cup) and beat for another minute.
Next, mix in sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla on low speed for one minute.
Then add egg yolks and beat for 30 seconds on medium speed. Add the eggs, two at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each addition.
Take the melted butter and brush the whole inside sides of the springform pan, without touching the crust. Then, pour the mixture into the pan, filling it about 3/4 of the way full.
Bake for 10 minutes. Without opening the oven, turn down the temperature to 200. Bake for another 80 minutes. Place on a cooling rack for at least 3 hours. And then refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
For the sweet fresh strawberries: In a small bowl, stir together strawberries and sugar. Place in the refrigerator overnight and wait for the magic to happen.
Serve cheesecake topped with a spoonful of sweet fresh strawberries (and whipped cream if you’d like!)
Devour that deliciousness!!!!!!!!!!!!
Inspired by Brown Eyed Baker.