Dec 26, 2010

Cranberry Crown Cheesecake

Once you have your ladyfingers for a cheesecake lined with ladyfingers, the rest is pretty much a walk in the park. As you may have guessed, I am unwarrantedly proud of my ladyfingers. I haven't yet stopped strangers on the street to tell them of my accomplishment, but I've come pretty close to it. So you may see a number of pictures of cheesecake that may look more like pictures of ladyfingers.

What a clever idea it is to make the ladyfingers so they spread together and make a solid line of cake. If you have such an unbroken line, you can shave off the bottom of the ladyfingers and tuck them in the pan so they form an unbroken circle. They don't fall over, nor do they lean precariously. They are so well-mannered you'd think they'd been attending a school for cake etiquette.

Granted, they don't fit so neatly in the bottom, but they can be cut and gently stuffed in holes so they make a pretty fair base for the cheesecake. No one complained that there was a hole in the bottom of the cheesecake.

In fact, no one did any complaining at all. I really do think that Rose's cheesecakes are the best on earth. At least they're the best I've sampled so far in my many years on earth, and I've tasted a fair number. This one is no exception--a basic cheesecake made only with cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, sugar, fresh lemon juice, and vanilla--it's rich, light, and flavorful.

With three cups of sour cream (compared to two cups in the coconut cheesecake and two cups of sweet cream in the pumpkin cheesecake), you may think it's going to be too light and not cheesy enough. But it's just right.

It goes in a hot water bath. A 9-inch springform pan set in a 10-inch silicone cake pan set in a large, heavy skillet works perfectly for me. You do have to pay attention when you're pouring the hot water in the pan.

45 minutes later, you turn off the oven. An hour after that, you open the door and remove the cheesecake. Even after all that time in the oven, you will notice what is NOT on the top of the cheesecake: not a gap, a crack, a canyon, or a chasm. I've made cheesecakes in the past that tasted good but were nearly split in two by such imperfections. Of course, you can tell yourself that it doesn't matter because it will be covered by some topping, but in your heart, you know it's wrong.

No apologies are necessary when you serve this cheesecake. And there's just the right amount of cranberry topping that's just the right tart-sweet blend. (I made a cranberry cheesecake a few years ago that I was really looking forward to, but the cranberry topping turned out to be an overly sweet, cornstarchy mess.)

I took this to an office potluck for the project I've been volunteering for, and it was the star. Jim was convinced he'd never get a piece of this cake, but, fortunately, I was able to bring home a few pieces for him. I think otherwise he was going to take his camera and go to the basement and pout.


Julie: "This was really good. I don't even like cheesecakes-they're so heavy--and I just took a piece to be polite. But then I had to take another piece because I liked it."
Bridget: "You know, she made the ladyfingers. She makes everything."
Rachel: "I really liked it. I thought it was cherry topping because it wasn't too tart. Now that I know it's cranberry, I'll have to take another piece."
Erika: "It's delicious!"
Jim: "It really tastes good. The cranberry sauce is not too sweet or too tart, and the cheesecake was light but still rich. It's also quite pretty."


ButterYum said...

Looks great Marie. I like the comment about you "making :)

Lois B said...

Beautiful, Marie!

Monica said...

I totally lazy out this past weekend and did not bake at all (ok, I did but only an easy, breezy cake)... I just could not bring myself to do complicated stuff.

But Oh Marie.. yours look just like the one in the book, minus the ribbon... it looks so good (and I'm not a cheesecake fan!)... smooth and not a crack on the top... excellent... and your lady fingers... ROCK!

Hope you and Jim had the best Christmas... now on to new years!

faithy, the baker said...

i have a LOT to catch up!! Your cheesecake looks wonderful..i have to try cos i LOVE cheesecake!

Jenn said...

Beautiful Marie! Love the 1st picture, the cranberry sauce looks so yummy.

We also love this dessert, even if we're not big cheesecake fan.

doughadear said...

This cheesecake is a real showstopper! The mistake I made when I made ladyfingers for the Tiramisu Cake was not piping them closer together so they would be attached to each other. To my defence the recipe stated to buy ladyfingers so there was no instructions.
I wish I could be on your tasting panel.

Hanaâ said...

Wow, that’s what I call a perfect surface. No cracks or sinkage :o) It looks super creamy too. I was going to make it last week but then that didn’t work out. If I have time tomorrow night, I’ll make half a recipe, like Jenn did.

Marie said...

If people know you bake, they get an exaggerated picture of what you can do.


This isn't complicated stuff, so it's perfect when you're feeling lazy, especially if you just go out and buy the ladyfingers.

Then you will love this!

Rose does that to you--like my husband who says he hates coconut, but likes Rose's coconut cakes.

You'd think you were supposed to keep them part, wouldn't you? Especially if you're baking with no instructions.
I also wish you could be on my tasting panel!

It's a good thing you didn't take this to your pot luck. It would have upstaged the other cheesecake, and the person who brought that one might never have forgiven you.

evil cake lady said...

I love your cheesecake--it looks so fancy! The skillet is a brilliant idea. Mine is doing the refrigerator rest right now; we'll break into it tonight. I can't wait!

Hanaâ said...

Marie, congratulations on being mentioned in Tara Snyer’s “The Tope 50 Bread Making Blogs” blog post. Rose had mentioned this blog post on her blog and of course is also mentioned in that list. But as I was perusing through the entire list, I saw “Bread Basket Case”. Congrats!!! You can find the article here:

Marie said...

I hope you love it! I'd rather have something that tastes good than something that just looks good--but when you get both, it's great!

Thanks. She sent me an email and told me about the list--I was going to mention it next time I blogged on the bread blog, which I haven't done for a while.

Baking Sorceress' Apprentice said...

Fantastic!!!! It looks so elegant and perfect! Now that I am catching up after Xmas, I want to make it. So beautiful - what a great job you did.

Monica said...

Marie.. is not that simple to find ready-made lady finger around my town...and after trying the real thing, it would be sort of like cheating my palate.

Rachelino said...

Marie- Your beautiful ladyfingers DO warrant pride! Beautiful!

Andrea said...

Beautiful cheesecake! I love your comment about Jim going to the basement to pout if you didn't save him any cheesecake. My husband gets pouts a little when I take a cake to work though I always save him at least one slice.

jini said...

the first view of the pan looks like a veritable crown of lady fingers! good job marie. i think it's perfectly reasonable to stop strangers on the street to tout this feat! hey.....they'll be mn nice and just smile, not even a scary smile amongst them! i am impressed! i can say that as a strange minnesotan. :)

Marie said...

Thanks. Do make it--it's really a lovely dessert.

Thanks. It's possible that they don't warrant quite as much pride as I feel, but so what.

Going to the basement to pout is a standing joke at our house. It has happened.

I think it might try the patience of even nice Minnesotans to be accosted on the street by a strange woman babbling about ladyfingers.

Sarah the Bear said...

Marie, your cake is beautiful--that's amazing that it didn't crack. And I'm glad to hear it was a big hit. I specifically didn't tell my fiance about this one because he would absolutely love it, and after a 36-hour Christmas trip from LA to Boston, the cake was not on the priority list. Very soon, though!

Vicki said...

Very pretty Marie! I'm quite impressed with your Ladyfinger baking ability.

Mendy said...


Looks terrific! Now I am wishing I had made those lady fingers.