Sunday, April 18, 2010

Easter Experiment: Strawberry Cheesecake

*Blogger's note: I'm sorry that I didn't live up to my promise and post this Friday.  You know how Thursday was "one of those days?"  Well, this weekend was "one of those weekends."  So, after spending 15 hours in a theater Saturday, here you have it...

Here we are… the final installment of Easter Delight 2010. I saved the new recipe for last because… well just because I could, I guess. My friend Heather came home with me for Easter (because she is from Vegas and it’s very difficult to go all the way across the country for a weekend) so we wanted to make a new dessert for the holiday.

Normally, I would find something chocolate and decadent, but we were in a spring-y, fruit-craving mood, so we decided to go in a different direction. So, I looked up recipes for strawberry cheesecake and found this user-submitted recipe online. It seemed easy enough, so I figured I’d give it a shot.

I learned several important things while making this cheesecake…
  • One: You have to bake cheesecake. Who knew?
  • Two: Cheesecake is not hard to make. I really thought it would be weird and the wrong texture… but it wasn’t.
  • Three: I need a Kitchenaid standing mixer very badly because I cannot take pictures with a handheld mixer. So, I’m sorry, but I didn’t right away. If anyone wants to donate one to me, I promise this will never happen again.
So, here you go: The Easter Experiment: Strawberry Cheesecake.

What you’ll need:
  • 1-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 2 10-ounce packages of frozen sweetened strawberries, thawed
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese
  • 1 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 eggs
How to make it:

1. Take the graham cracker crumbs and mix them together with melted butter. Press into bottom of a round ungreased spring form pan tightly to form the crust and refrigerate 30 minutes. Also, preheat oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.  First, we’ll start the sauce.  Put both thawed containers of strawberries into the blender.  Add in cornstarch and blend until smooth.

3.  Transfer to a saucepan and heat to boiling.  Turn down heat to medium-low and simmer for about two minutes. Remove from heat to cool. (If you’re me, you accidently forgot about the sauce and let it boil for ten minutes. This is okay too – just don’t include the burned parts on the bottom when you serve it)

3. Now for the cheesecake part.  Beat cream cheese until fluffy.  Then, while the mixer is on low, add in sweetened condensed milk gradually.

4. Add in lemon juice.

5. Finally, add eggs, one at a time.  The mixture should be thick and creamy, without lumps.

6.  Pour half of the mixture into the round pan.  Tap around the edge in order to spread it evenly and remove bubbles.

7.  Now for the picture part: Drop small spoonfuls of cooled strawberry sauce on top of the layer. You’ll probably use anywhere from 1/4 to 1/3 cups of sauce here.

The recipe called for less strawberry, but we felt this was about right!

8.  Gently spoon the other half of the cheesecake filling into the round pan. Tap the pan again to make it smooth.

9.  With another 1/4 to 1/3 cups of sauce, drop spoonfuls onto the top layer. Using a knife, swirl the top layer – as if you’re going to “stab” it, stick the knife in the top and cut through the droplets to make a design (you want the knife to be straight up and down).

I forgot to take the picture until it was in the oven.  Sorry.

10.  Bake for 30 minutes, or until center is almost set.

11.  Set on a cooling rack for ten minutes. Then, cut around the sides of the pan to loosen the filling. Cool completely before serving.

This is what the finished product should look like
If you're not going to eat it right away, put it in the fridge!

Aww, man, looks so good!

Recipe Review:

This recipe turned out to be a total hit with my family! I was really happy that it turned out to be the right texture and flavor for cheesecake, which I was worried about.

I did have a couple of criticisms with the recipe, though. The strawberry flavor was definitely not pronounced enough, which I could have expected from the recipe. Next time, I want to make a recipe with actual strawberries in it! The sauce helped, but again, it just didn’t taste authentic enough for me.

Second, man oh MAN was this cheesecake sugary! Halfway through, my teeth were rebelling for exposing them to so much concentrated sugar. I couldn’t even finish the whole piece (and it wasn’t that big!) and I had to brush my teeth immediately after. It was definitely delicious, but it’s best enjoyed in moderation. That way, you’ll keep your figure and your tummy happy.

Overall – this recipe was a B+. It didn’t live up to the “strawberry” part of its name, but I have faith that I can fix that. Also, the sugar was a bit overwhelming, but with smaller pieces, I think everyone would be much happier.

For next time…
  • Use real strawberries! Use another kind of fruit! Just make sure there isn’t too much juice, or it won’t set correctly.
  • Smaller pieces and some light whipped cream on top will help cut the sugar rush

Want to know how my hunger attack last Monday turned out? Check back tomorrow!


  1. I am a huge cheesecake fan..I will definitely have to try this recipe! It looks great!

  2. I love cheesecake as well, and I always have wondered how people make the top of the cake look like that... now I know!
    I definitely would be down for making something like this... and you make everything seem so darn easy, Court!

  3. Ahhh, that looks SO good! I love cheesecake. Great pics, as usual!

  4. Sarah, it's funny, when Heather tried to start doing the design she just started spreading everything around like butter. Let's play, "Which side did Heather decorate?" Haha. And, it IS easy. But it would be easier if I had a Kitchenaid mixer. I keep trying to win one!

    Katelynn and Abby, thanks! It's too bad- I really want to work on my photography this summer with my brother's nice camera, but the class will be over!

  5. CHEESECAKE!!!!!! Looks incredible. Great Recipe.