Not unlike most people, we have a birthday tradition in our house where the birthday person gets to pick the dinner (homemade or out to eat), an event (movie, fishing, laser tag, etc.), and the cake (or birthday dessert). We usually just celebrate as a family, and have a really nice time together. So much so, that the kids haven’t asked for big blowout (school friend) parties since we started this new tradition 5 or 6 years ago!
This year, for my son’s birthday he went rogue and requested a cake none of us had previously made, or even eaten somewhere else. And it was a smash hit!
I bring you the amazing raspberry swirl cheesecake. The bottom crust is a soft vanilla sponge cake, topped with a creamy cheesecake layer, and then swirled with a tart raspberry filling. It’s amazing, and you’re going to love it!
Special equipment/ingredients you’ll need: 10 springform pan, extra large sheet cake pan for a water bath (mine is 12 x 18 inches)/ or a large roasting pan, parchment sheets, a medium-sized sieve and extra large eggs.
Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Adapted from Junior’s Cheesecakes
Yellow Sponge Cake Crust
1/3 c. cake flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
2 extra large eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 drops of lemon extract
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Line a 10-inch springform pan with parchment (cut to size, or use a parchment sheet). I have sheets of parchment, so I lay the sheet of parchment on top of the base of the springform pan and then clip the ring to the base, with the remaining parchment sticking out the sides – I use the extra parchment to grab onto to easily unmold the cake from the bottom after it’s chilled.
Then wrap the outside of the pan with 1 large sheet of foil – it should cover the bottom, and sides of the pan. If you use multiple short pieces of foil, there’s a good chance that the water (from the water bath) will seep through those gaps into your cake. Yuck!
Set the wrapped cake pan aside, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Set aside. In a small microwave safe bowl – melt the 2 Tablespoons of butter, and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer – beat the eggs on high for 3 minutes (set a timer!) – with the whisk attachment. Add in the salt – with the beaters still going.
Then, with the mixer still running on high, add in the cream of tartar, and the 1/3 cup of sugar a little at a time, until all the sugar has been added. Beat another 5 minutes (set the timer!) on high speed. The egg mixture will become thick, and light yellow.
With the mixer still running, add in the extracts. Turn off the mixer, and remove the bowl from the stand, and fold in the flour mixture, just until combined.
Pour in the melted butter, and fold in – just until combined.
Spray the springform pan (that was set aside above) with nonstick spray and pour the batter into the pan. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the cake is puffy and a cake tester comes out clean, or with a small crumb attached.
Set the cake aside to cool while you make the raspberry puree, and the cheesecake batter.
10 ounces frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed, but not drained
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Place the thawed raspberries in the pitcher of a high powered blender, and puree on high until blended into a liquid.
Pour the puree through a sieve set over a bowl, and press to remove all the liquid. You’ll have about 3/4 cup liquid. Discard all of the pulp from the sieve.
Add the cornstarch into the bowl of strained raspberry puree, and whisk well to get rid of any white (cornstarch) lumps. Set aside. You may have to whisk multiple times to remove any lumps, it’s also helpful to let the raspberries sit for a bit in between to soften the cornstarch. Set aside.
*If your raspberries are still frozen, you can speed up thawing by warming them in the microwave in a glass bowl on defrost. Unfortunately, any hot liquid will prevent the cornstarch from blending smoothly. So be sure to let the raspberry puree cool before trying to whisk in the cornstarch.
3 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 extra large eggs
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup cornstarch
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
In the bowl of a stand mixer using a paddle attachment, beat 1/3 cup of sugar with 1 package of cream cheese, the cornstarch, and the salt on medium speed (about a 4). Beat for 3 minutes (set the timer!) – it’ll go from crumbly to creamy in minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add in all of the remaining cream cheese, and 1 cup of sugar, and the vanilla.
Beat until combined. Then add in the eggs on low speed, beating after each addition. Scrape the bowl.
On low speed, beat in the heavy cream, just until combined. Don’t over mix!
Scrape the bowl one last time to make sure everything is combined. Pour the cheesecake batter on top of the slightly cooled sponge cake. Then top the batter with dollops of raspberry puree. Using a knife swirl the raspberry puree into the vanilla batter using a circular motion – try not to over-swirl, because the cake will turn pink.
Place the cheesecake in the center of the sheet cake pan, and place it on the middle rack of the oven. Pour hot tap water around the cake until it reaches about 1 inch up the side of the cheesecake pan.
Close the oven, and bake the cheesecake for 1 hour. At this point, your cheesecake will have risen completely – straight across the top (no sunken middle) and jiggle like almost set J-ello when moved.
Using oven mitts, carefully remove the cake from the water bath and place it on the counter to cool undisturbed for 2 hours – to prevent cracking.
Leave your baking pan full of water in the oven until it has cooled completely before moving it to drain. You don’t want to burn yourself, or anyone else!
After 2 hours, remove the foil from around the cheesecake and discard. Leave the cheesecake in the springform pan, and place a paper towel over the top of the cheesecake pan, and place the cheesecake in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day, remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator, discard the paper towel, and while holding the bottom of the cheesecake pan flat against your palm, with your other hand, unlatch the springform clip. The ring should come loose and fall around your arm like a bracelet. Set the cheesecake down on the counter, and carefully lift one side up with the extra parchment, and remove the base.
Then, while holding the cheesecake in your palm, carefully pull back 1/2 the parchment from the side you’re going to place on your serving dish, and place the side you just remove the parchment from down onto your serving platter, and simultaneously remove the rest of the parchment while setting the cake down onto the platter.
Place the cheesecake (uncovered) in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve. Once served, wrap the cheesecake platter up in plastic wrap. It’ll stay fresh and tasty for about 4-5 days in the refrigerator – if it lasts that long!