Saturday, April 30, 2011


Brace yourself for the attack of the cheesecakes. I give you not one, not two, but three variations of cheesecakes, all equally scrumptious in their own right. I had to wait to complete this post until now since I lost my picture of the last featured cheesecake. I finally had the chance to make it again this weekend so I have all that I need to do it justice.

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen Blogs
The first cheesecake I ever made was a chocolate cheesecake that I baked in the 1990s for my Dad's doctor who was also his best friend since they were in grade school. If my Dad was sick, he visits his friend, the late Dr. Salvador and viola, free checkup.  I never really knew how that cheesecake tasted as I gave the whole cake away. Since that time, I have not made another cheesecake since I could not find a good enough recipe to create a personal favorite, the blueberry-topped cheesecake nor did I have a usable kitchen in Manila. I baked the chocolate cheesecake while on Christmas vacation at home. Away from home, the Red Ribbon bakeshop in Manila did the baking for me to ease my craving of all things cake-related. 

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen Blogs
Fast forward to 1997 in Florida, I was able to purchase 12 volumes of a Women's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery for 50c per volume. On the entry for cheesecakes, there it was, a recipe for blueberry cheesecake. What was missing was a ring of whipped cream rosettes (which is something I'm able to do with my eyes closed) but that was it. Everything else looked exactly how I imagined a blueberry-topped cheesecake should be. When I moved to Michigan, a cult following was started  headed unabashedly by my Indian friend, Vasudha. She loves it as much as I love her chai coffee and if were not not for logistics, since we are always at different parts of the country, we'd be eating cheesecakes and drinking chai coffee everyday. As far as I know, I owe her 2 whole blueberry cheesecakes or probably even more. 

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen Blogs
Another cheesecake that I recently tried was the London Cheesecake by Nigella Lawson. This was her response to the classic New York cheesecake which I personally find to be too dense. Nigella's version being the domestic goddess that she is, is much lighter and yet packs a punch in terms of flavor. It is heavenly and very pristine to say the least. I have to say that there is a time for really dense cheesecakes, especially if you are visiting a big city and you bump into the Cheesecake factory. They sell cheesecake that looked like it was on steroids (based on how huge they are) in any flavors you can imagine. However, I still do prefer the much lighter and airier version for prolonged consumption purposes. 

Surprisingly however, Nigella has been the recipient of bad press from purists since there is actually a confection which is also called London Cheesecake. The catch is that it is technically neither made of cheese nor a cake. It is a puff pastry-based dessert with layers of frangipane and jam and topped with sugar icing and strings of young coconut meat. Personally, I prefer Nigella's version but I might one day try the other version which is in a word, intriguing.
Yet still another rediscovery is the chocolate cheesecake from another cooking goddess, Stephanie Jaworski of the fame. I made her Chocolate Cheesecake for my New Year's eve dinner party and those who tasted it really enjoyed how intensely chocolatey (is this a real word?) it was. I have modified the recipe just a tad to suit my preference but the original recipe I'm sure is divine in its own way. Stephanie for sure has kitchen-tested her recipe and I trust her recipes completely so you are in good hands.

So now, you have the hard task of deciding which of the three you want to try out first. Between the three though, you cannot go wrong with either one. All of them are quite different but oh so delicioso!

*Blueberry-decorated Cheesecake - Adapted

Crumb crust

11/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup white sugar

Mix all ingredients thoroughly and press firmly on bottom and sides of a buttered 9-inch springform pan.


2 packages cream cheese (8oz each)
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp flour
¼ tsp salt
4 eggs, separated
2 tbsp melted unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp grated lemon rind
1 cup full fat sour cream

1. Soften the cream cheese by beating it with the paddle attachment at 
    low speed. Gradually add in the sugar, then add the flour and salt. 

2. Add the eggs yolks, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each 
    addition. Beat in the butter, vanilla, lemon rind and sour cream.

3. Fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites. Pour into pan and bake in 
    preheated very slow oven (275°F) for 1½ hours or until firm. 

4. Remove from oven and cool on rack away from drafts. 

Blueberry Topping

2 cups fresh blueberries
2 tsp unflavored gelatin dissolved in ¼ cup cold water
2 tbsp water
3 tbsp sugar

To make topping, put 1 cup of blueberries in a saucepan with 2 tbsp water. Bring to a rolling boil. Press though a food mill or a sieve and return to saucepan with 3 tbsp sugar. Heat and add the softened gelatin and stir until dissolved. Chill until slightly thickened and spread on top of the cake and decorate with the rest of the berries. 

Alternatively, you can use the canned blueberry filling but I suggest you warm it up and add a tsp of vanilla and a tbsp of rum. It enhances the flavor and kills the processed flavor. 

To garnish with rosettes of whipped cream, take 1 cup of heavy cream and 2 tbsp of confectioner's sugar and a tsp of vanilla and whip to stiff peaks. Pipe rosettes using a pastry bag attached with a star tip.

*Women's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery Volume 3, Fawcett Publications, Inc., New York, 1966

Nigella Lawson's London Cheesecake

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen Blogs
The recipe for this cake is available on Nigella's website so there is no need for me to rewrite what is already a clearly described set of instructions. I followed the recipe religiously except for one crucial step. I let the cake cool completely before removing the sides of the pan. I also added an extra layer of whipped cream on top of the sour cream layer but this was just a personal preference. I've made the cake as is and it was wonderful. I prefer to serve this cake straight from the fridge. For some reason, room temperature cheesecakes just don't do it for me. 

Chocolate Cheesecake - adapted from

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen Blogs
Just like Nigella's cheesecake, the recipe for the Chocolate Cheesecake is available online at the website. There are a couple of things that I modified. The first revision I did was to change the crust. I've made two different versions of the crust the first being similar to that of the blueberry-decorated cheesecake with the addition of 2 tbsp of cocoa powder. The second version  was by using Oreo cookies (minus the filling) instead of the chocolate wafer crumbs as listed in the recipe. The second revision was the amount of chocolate ganache I used. I doubled the amount and added 2 tbsp of coffee liqueur. After covering the top with an even layer of the chocolate ganache, I whipped the remaining ganache until it was thick to allow me to pipe chocolate ganache rosettes all around the sides of the cakes.


  1. Tin, Thanks for commenting! It reaffirms that my blog does not exist in a galactic black hole.

  2. ... maybe the people who visit your site are just too shy to comment... because you're so good... hihihi... :-D