Baking requires commitment and counter space, neither of which I have. It’s also helpful to have an oven that bakes evenly and doesn’t burn the bottom of your cookies every time you make a batch.
I’ve dreamed surprising my husband, friends and co-workers with chocolaty, chewy, sweet and sugary creations, but have tabled my dreams for now. I still bake, just more carefully, and despite my setbacks, I’ve managed to discover at least a handful of recipes that my oven can't destroy. Cheesecake is one of them.
Let me be clear: I don't actually like cheesecake. I've never been a fan of cream cheese (I'm a butter on my bagel kind of girl), but I have family and friends that can't get enough of the stuff, so I'm happy to make their dessert dreams come true.
Recipe notes: The full recipe will make one 9-inch cheesecake or 4-mini cheesecakes. For the topping, I warmed seedless raspberry preserves in the microwave and drizzled it over the top of each cheesecake, along with some sifted powdered sugar.
Recipe adapted from Giada de Laurentiis
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
2 (8-ounce) containers mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
For the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Tightly wrap the outside of a 9-inch diameter springform pan or 4 mini springform pans with 3 layers of heavy-duty foil. Finely grind the cracker crumbs, and sugar in a food processor. Add the butter and process until moist crumbs form. Press the mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan(s). Bake the crust until it is set and beginning to brown, about 12 minutes. Cool. Decrease the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
For the filling: Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, and sugar in a large bowl until smooth, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
Pour the cheese mixture over the crust in the pan. Place the springform pan(s) in a large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan(s).
Bake until the center of the cheesecake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour 5 minutes (the cake will become firm when it is cold). Transfer the cake to a rack; cool for 1 hour. Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold, at least 8 hours and up to 2 days.