Monday, April 27, 2009

Orange & Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

I love being a Daring Baker, but there are some months when I LOOOOOOVE being a Daring Baker. Love, loff, LURVE.

April is one of those months. Our host, Jenny of Jenny Bakes, gave us a base recipe -- "Abby's Infamous Cheesecake" -- and let us adapt the hell out of it.

It was awesome.

I knew I wanted to serve this cheesecake as part of Easter Brunch, so I wanted to keep the flavors light and bright. Orange was a natural choice (and afforded me the opportunity to try my hand at candying oranges for decoration, too). I added the seeds from a vanilla bean, too.

The result is seriously delicious cheesecake; creamy and dreamy, with a perfect balance of orange and vanilla. (And no cracks on the top!) We devoured it.

One note: this cheesecake isn't as firm as others I've made, but I'm not sure if that simply what the recipe yields, or if I should have baked it a tad longer.

No matter: it's a delicious cheesecake, a wonderful recipe ready for endless adaptations, and one of my favorite DB challenges. Thank you Jenny for a great challenge!

Check out hundreds upon hundreds of other cheesecake variations through the Daring Bakers' Blog roll.

Orange Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs
1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted
2 Tbsp. / 24 g sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
1 cup / 210 g sugar
2 Tbsp. grated orange zest
3 large eggs
1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
Seeds scraped from 1 split vanilla bean

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Set crust aside.

Combine cream cheese, sugar and zest in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, and orange juice and blend until smooth and creamy.

Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. Wrap bottom of pan tightly with aluminum foil to prevent leaks.

Pan note: The creator of this recipe used to use a springform pan, but no matter how well she wrapped the thing in tin foil, water would always seep in and make the crust soggy. Now she uses one of those 1-use foil "casserole" shaped pans from the grocery store. They're 8 or 9 inches wide and really deep, and best of all, water-tight. When it comes time to serve, just cut the foil away.

Bake cheesecake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top.

After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill (preferably overnight). Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.


Snooky doodle said...

this looks delicious! I m not a very big cheesecake fun but I bet with oranges it must be fantastic.

Ps regarding my blog the coconut bites featured I decorated them with royal icing and baked them on rice paper which later I removed :)

breadchick said...

Laura Rebecca, this looks so nice and light for the early summer!

I'm glad you found the cheesecake a little less firm than normal too. I just thought it was the frozen cookie dough I had in mine. But apparently it is part of the recipe.

Jo said...

Great job on your challenge! The flavours sound so refreshing.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

One of the mysteries of so many bakers on the same recipe get different results. I thought the firmness in this was just right.

It was creamy and dreamy! Beautiful with the candied orange peels.

anna said...

Mmm, vanilla and orange sound like such a great combination for this!

Namratha said...

Simple and neatly done.

ice tea: sugar high said...

yumm.. citrusy flavour combined with the aromatic taste of the vanilla. great combo.

creampuff said...

I can't imagine a better combination for Easter brunch! I loved this cheesecake too ... definitely a keeper!

Hilary said...

I love how you continued your crust up the sides of the cake - it looks great! Next time I make a cheesecake I'm going to try that.

Chantal said...

Yummy combo

Lauren said...

Mmm, your cheesecake looks amazing!! I love your flavour combo =D.

Shayne said...

yum yum orange sounds good too

Susan said...

This is delicious thank you for the recipe! my kids love it

Unknown said...

Oh yum, I am salivating over your cheesecake. I just love citrus with this recipe but I haven't had a chance to try orange yet. I'm glad you liked the recipe. Thanks for being a part of the challenge!

Jenny of JennyBakes

Thistlemoon said...

That is one good looking cheesecake! :)

Just wanted to let you know that you won a giveaway through We sent you a message but did not hear back from you. Please contact us at :
support (@)

Thanks! :)

Elyse said...

Sorry that I've been a bad commenter for the past couple of weeks; I just finished law school exams and am just now getting to my google reader! This cheesecake looks stunning. Man oh man, how totally delicious! I love the flavors that you opted to put into your cheesecake. Great job.

Max mickle said...

This orange vanilla bean cheesecake looks so beautiful with the colors, I'm sure it'll be a big hit with the kids! nice colors! Although I'm to a big fan of orange vanilla bean cheesecake, this sure looks yummy! I'm normally the one that will say no to orange vanilla bean cheesecake.