Guys, it’s hot. It’s hot, hot. Like it’s hot even for summer in Texas. The last couple of days have had me stuck inside, safe where the AC is blazing high.
So other than doubling my electricity bill this month, I figured I needed to bake something super refreshing and cold and delicious. (Surprisingly, July 30th was National Cheesecake Day so it kinda worked out!)
I didn’t necessarily want anything super fancy, just something refreshing and, of course, delicious. The answer: a simple vanilla cheesecake. Well, almost simple. I mean, what’s the point in baking something that’s been done before? You have to make it your own, right? And if you’ve seen my other recipes, you know that I always give crusts extra attention. Personally, I think crusts are underrated. They’re the foundation to most desserts! They have to hold up to the deliciousness that covers them after all! I’m tired of graham crackers or pastry crusts, been there & done that. There’s just no part of a recipe that should just “be there”, ya know? If you’re going to add something, make it pop. For example, when I wanted to make this dark chocolate tart, I didn’t use a generic crust recipe. I blended oatmeal and almonds and made that crust worthy of the dark chocolate ganache filling on top!
So it’s only fair that this cheesecake deserved it’s own incredible (yet easy) personalized crust. I wanted it to be crumbly and nutty, but also light enough to balance the vanilla cheesecake it would hold. I decided on a blend of coconut flakes and almonds- with just a bit of cocoa powder. It was (totally trying to be modest here), a huge freaking hit! I also gave my friend a slice to take to her husband, so if you don’t believe me, let me just copy + paste his quote:
“That crust is amazing! 10/10 would chop up that crust and snort it!!”
(Not that I’m advising anyone to try that method, but hey, I’ll take that compliment any day!!) Also another friend who tried it has already requested this specific recipe for his birthday- which I am obviously more than happy to oblige (considering I get as many slices as I would like of course).
I baked this cheesecake mid-day on Sunday, let it rest, then let it chill down in the fridge overnight. There were no cracks, no bubbles, no issues. Surprisingly, a pretty easy recipe given that it’s cheesecake! The only not fun part of baking cheesecake is the waiting. Waiting for it to bake, waiting for it to cool, waiting to dive into it with a big fork. Hence when it was ready to decorate, my previous plan of whipped cream and chocolate shavings fell flat. I didn’t want to waste time prepping and whipping and piping- I wanted that cheesecake ASAP. Instead of doing all that nonsense, I decided to get dollies & cooca powder. Laying the dollies on top and sifting the cocoa powder on top- turned out to be an easy decoration- and damn, does it look fancy! I’ve already bought several more dollies and am stocked for future cake decorations! If you haven’t tried that trick yet, I highly advise you to- your guests will be impressed!
- 3/4 cup almonds
- 3/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes
- 3 tablespoons AP flour
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 3 tbsp butter, melted
- 16 oz (2 packets) cream cheese
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tbsp coconut extract
- 2 eggs at room temperature
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a food processor add almonds and coconut flakes. Chop until mixture has consistency of coarse sand.
- Add flour and cocoa powder. Pulse for a few seconds to distribute evenly.
- Pour melted butter and pulse again. Mixture should clump together.
- Pour mixture into a springform pan. Press down with fingers to form crust at bottom and sides if desired.
- Place pan in preheated oven for 10 minutes and then set aside.
- In a stand mixer add the paddle attachment and, on medium speed, blend cream cheese and sugar till smooth.
- Add extracts and keep blending. Add eggs, one at a time. Blend between each egg addition to ensure mixture is smooth. Set aside.
- Once the springform pan is cooled, wrap outer pan in complete foil with 3 separate wrappings. Allow foil to cover the bottom and sides of the pan. This will ensure that no water comes into the pan during the water bath, an essential step in baking cheesecake.
- Place foil-covered springform pan into a larger pan. Pour cheesecake mixture into springform pan.
- Place this into the oven. Add water into the larger pan until half the springform pan is submerged, but making sure foil is well above the water line.
- Bake in oven for 40-60 minutes. Baking time will vary on temperature and pans, but bake until the middle of the cheesecake is still jiggling (like set jello).
- Once cheesecake is baked, turn the oven off but open the oven door a few inches. Allow cheesecake to cool this way for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, remove the cheesecake from oven and larger pan. Also remove outer foils.
- Allow to set to room temperature for another 30 minutes. This slower process of cooling the cheesecake down ensures that no cracks will occur on the surface.
- Once 30 minutes is done, cover with a layer of foil and place in fridge overnight or until set.
- Place two paper dollies (one larger + one smaller) on top of the cheesecake and sift powdered cocoa on top to form an even layer. Then gently remove the dollies and impress everyone with a geometrical and intricate design!