May 17, 2010

Baby Lemon Cheesecakes

I love the idea of serving baby cakes at a dinner party. Giving each guest his or her own little treat seems both elegant and personal--sort of like the queen giving you a hug. And these are especially good for parties because they can be made ahead of time. Also, although there are many ways they could be plated, they don't need anything at all--the three layers are neat and visible, and that's really the only decoration you need. Another plus is that if you're running short of time (my daughter Sarah is getting married on Friday, and there are many things to be done, even if you are only MOB),you can use a good bottled lemon curd instead of making your own. Of course, it's not as good, but it is good.
The recipe in the book is a little deceptive because it appears to have only two elements--the filling and the curd. Then, when you read it again, you see that you are supposed to bake a cake first. The first step is to "make one recipe biscuit," from the dreaded Caramel Apple Charlotte recipe. I'm dreading that recipe a little less now because I know that making this biscuit is easy as pie.
It's just a simple sponge cake routine: beat the egg yolks, and then beat the egg whites. Then mix them together.
This biscuit gets spread out in a jelly-roll pan instead of a cake pan, so you end up with a long, thin cake, which enables you to cut out pieces that will fit your muffin pans.
Jim and I are taking care of two cats for a few weeks. Like most cats, they're shy and skittish with strangers and new places, and they spent the first few days hiding under a couch. I knew they felt at home when I came downstairs this morning and saw that they'd jumped up on the counter and nibbled away at the cake.
Don't worry--I cleaned the counter and I only used cake circles that were far away from the cat-tooth circle.
The cheesecake is easy, even if you have a fear of baking things in scalding water.
Eggs, sugar, lemon juice, and cream cheese are mixed until smooth. Then big blogs of sour cream are added until everything is combined.
You can either pipe this mixture into muffin tins (or muffin silicones, I guess), or you can pour it into a measuring cup. Anytime I have an option other than piping, I'm likely to go for Plan B.
I hope this is not the same kind of silicone they use for breast implants.
This silicone withstands very hot water baths, as well as being in the oven, so I suppose that would be somewhat comforting if you had said implants and liked to take hot showers.
I've already admitted to using store-bought lemon curd. This should show that I'm very honest, because I could have just used pictures of lemon curd formerly made, and no one would be the wiser. But I am completely willing to admit that I did not make it.
American Spoon, which makes some very good things, made it. And I just spooned it on top of the cheesecakes.
The color of the store-bought curd is more golden-tan than brilliant yellow, so I think it's marginally less attractive and not fully as delicious. But it's a perfectly acceptable substitute, and, if you didn't bother with the cake rounds, you could whip this up in nothing flat.
These cheesecakes, made with more sour cream than cream cheese, are softer and creamier than the pumpkin and ginger cheesecakes we've made before--more like the no-bake whipped cream cheesecake that we've also made. I don't think that one version is better than the other, although some of you may have your preferences--they're just different.
Oh, I almost forgot. Why is this a Shavuot cake? What does a cheesecake have to do with the giving of the Torah? Because a customary way of celebrating this holiday is to eat dairy foods, and read the Book of Ruth. You're on your own for the Book of Ruth, but I think this little cheesecake is a dairy food par excellence.

TASTING PANEL:

Jim: "I like the three textures together. You might want to mention that I had seconds."
Karen: "The cheesecake is heavenly."
Betty" "Lemon is my favorite. Chocolate is second."

25 comments:

Melinda said...

They look very sweet. I would love this for a dinner dessert. I adore lemon cakes.
I haven't clocked that silicone pan. It looks very useful for just this kind of individual thing and especially good for the water bath baking! Perfect.
I applaud your lemon curd use.

Naughty cats! But I am glad you didn't use the cat epicentre of activity.
This has made me really laugh. Tell us exactly what you said when you saw they had gnawed away at your freshly baked cake.
Picky and dainty little devils in their cake eating. My little Sealy would have eaten the whole caboodle, if only her little legs would allow her to jump on counter tops!
Wishing a wonderful wedding day for Sarah and groom. x (Haldis)

evil cake lady said...

If I didn't know any better, I would have thought Violet made her way to your kitchen counter! Darn cats.

Now that you tell me these cheesecakes differ from Rose's other cheesecakes, I wish I had the time and kitchen accessories available to make these! Darn again.

"Only" the MOB...the MOB is VERY important! I hope the wedding is wonderful, and that Sarah and her (soon-to-be) husband enjoy a wonderful long life together!

Anonymous said...

Best wishes to your daughter and soon-to-be Son in law, I hope you all have a wonderful day! Jeannette

PS. Sorry, meant to say your cheese-cakes look absolutely lovely too!

Elaine said...

I LOLed at your breast implant and hot shower comment :) Congratulations to Sarah, I hope your wedding was amazing.

Monica said...

I thought to pass this one by, I had my BFF coming from Miami to visit us, a Black tie event on Saturday night and a weekend full of activies.. so I really did not have the time for baking.

But after reading this and the others post, I'm thinking that I may just bake them tonight.

Plus it does not help that Tom keep asking "where in the hell were the cheesecakes!".

Congratulations on the upcoming wedding! Best wishes to the both of them.

doughadear said...

Marie,
These little cheesecake really do look lovely. I'd be pretty excited if I were served these little beauties for dessert.

Best wishes to Sarah and soon to be husband.

Marie said...

Melinda,
Well, perhaps I will make these for you if you ever come to Minnesota, which is more likely, I think, since you've become an official fan of Minnesota and have taken a Minnesota name.

ECL,
I was just practicing my gracious MOB smile. My secretary asked me if I was feeling ill. Clearly, more practice is needed.

Jeannette,
Thank you. It's to be an outdoor wedding, and so we're all focused on watching the weather channel, which changes the forecast for Friday on an hourly basis.

Elaine,
Yes, that silicone implant bit was an example of what happens with stream-of-consciousness writing. I almost deleted it, but then decided this was a grown-up crowd.

Monica,
How could you deny Tom his cheesecake?

Oriana,
If I do serve them again, I would definitely make real lemon curd, especially since I could make it well ahead of time.

Rozanne said...

Your cheesecakes look so adorable.

Congratulations to Sarah. I hope the weather will be perfect!

Healthy Foods Blog said...

This cake is simply amazing! I think if you are planning to have a house date, this lemon baby lemon cheesecake is perfect to serve for dessert.

Vicki said...

Oh my gosh! Our cat was up on the counter trying to get the bowl of cooling lemon curd every time I turned my back!

I can't believe how calm you are, MOB! So is Woody whipping up her cake? Hahahhhahaha.

Your lovely little lemon cheesecakes look delightful. Your dinner guests are quite lucky folks.

Marie said...

Rozanne,
Thank you--I'd be satisfied with less than perfect weather, if only we don't get massive thunderstorms.

Healthy Foods Blog,
No plans for a house date, but it was a perfect dessert.

Vicki,
Your cat has gourmet taste buds if it likes lemon curd! Our cat guests liked the sour cream, as well as the cake.
Woody spent a lot of time trying to convince me that it would be a good idea for me to bake Sarah's wedding cake, but he finally gave up on me.

Mendy said...

ב''ה

That bottom picture looks terrific!

Congrats on your family wedding. :)

faithy, the baker said...

LOL! Your comment about the breast implant made me laugh. Lovely cheesecakes!

Nancy B said...

My cats have not (yet) expressed interest in any of the cakes left on the counter....or at least I was unable to tell if they have. Unlike the milk-jug caps that disappear from the drain rack before I can get them into the recycling bin.

Hope the wedding goes well on Friday!

gartblue said...

I think those felines are already feeling at home by now ... I really laughed at the hole left by those naughty cats ..and your breast implants.

anyhoo .. yours slip out o fthe silicone perfectly .. i never attempted mine .. but these are just superb!!

Nicola said...

Congratulations MOB and to your daughter and new Son in Law. Are either you or Jim making a speech. Did you make the wedding cake? After all, there are how many wedding cakes in the back of this book?!

Such sweet little cakes. I will make another attempt, this time with some valuable learning to prevent disaster.

Silicon implants and hot water - ha! Though shrinking silicon would never be good - in either situation.

Maria said...

Beautiful cakes!

Congratulations to you and your daughter!

I haven't been able to bake along, like I wanted to. Work and school have had me jumping, and worse than that, my husband is allergic to nuts. Wish I read through more recipes before committing. But I did make some cheesecake ice cream last night. It's delicious and quite rich. (Recipe is from The Perfect Scoop. Maybe we should work our way through that book next. *__*)

Lois B said...

Beautiful cakes, Marie. I'm sorry that I ran out of time and didn't make them (yet).

Enjoy the wedding. You'll be a charming MOB. That might make an interesting blog topic.

Marie said...

Mendy,
Thanks--Jim has started using a tripod to photograph the finished product. This results in better pictures but longer waits to get a taste.

Faithy,
Thanks. I liked yours too, and your orange curd idea. I hope you're done with your series of ailments!

Nancy B.,
I think you'd know if your cats had been nibbling away. I gave them some extra cake because they seemed to like it so much, but they turned up their noses. Apparently they just like the thrill of the chase.

Gartblue,
They slipped out of the silicone pretty well, but I held my breath each time I took one out. I think I'd have to make a lot more before I felt comfortable with the silicone pans.

Nicola,
Yes, Jim and I are both making toasts. Hopefully they'll be short. I hate long, boring wedding toasts. Yes, Woody pointed out that I could make one of the wedding cakes in the back of the book until he finally gave up on me. Maybe I could have done hundreds of cupcakes, but I didn't.

Maria,
I'm also sorry it didn't work out for you. There are a lot of cakes with nuts in them, so I can see that that might be a problem. Glad you're still checking in!

Lois B.,
I think I'll probably write an extra blog post with a few pictures of the wedding, now that you've all been so nice and supportive.

evil cake lady said...

Marie, I would love to hear about the wedding! Maybe you can include copies of the speeches you and Jim make! You know we would all love that. Please, do give us a detailed critique of the wedding cake as well! I love weddings, can you tell?

Saira said...

your cheesecakes look so good! I'm kinda glad I haven't been able to make them yet...was planning to do so today but at the last minute saw that I ran out of eggs! But seems like I have to make these...plus I bought the pans esp for this so I must!

faithy, the baker said...

i think i must have missed out reading something..your daughter's wedding this Friday?! Congrats!!! :)) I'm with Woody, i too thought it would be nice too if you baked your daughter's wedding cake..but then can be quite stressful too.

Marie said...

ECL,
OK, I'll talk about the wedding--but probably not our boring toasts. You're hoping that maybe I'll get drunk and fall on the floor while I'm dancing? That could happen.

Saira,
If you have the pans, you must make these!

Faithy,
It would be nice for someone but not for me. It would also be stressful. Maybe I'll bake them a 5th anniversary cake.

Warren Burstein said...

I read this post right before planning a Shavuot lunch so I decided to make these cheesecakes. I didn't have a silicone muffin tin, so I used 6 oz ramekins, and multiplied the recipe accordingly. I had some rhubarb around, so I made it into a compote and put it in the bottom of each ramekin instead of the cake circles. I didn't try to unmold the cakes, I served them in the ramekins.

I didn't find the oven temperature for the cheesecakes in the book. I guessed 350F which worked.

youmadethatblog said...

Yum these look heavenly, love lemon, it's refreshing.