I have been dying to publish a cheesecake recipe since I started this blog, but I can't just make a cheesecake unless I have a reason too! (Unfortunately, my daughter and I are the only ones that will eat it in my house!) So, my church was having a "Spring Bazaar" and needed donations of desserts and baked goods, and thus my opportunity finally arrived! (Yes, you probably think I'm absolutely nuts for donating a dessert of this magnitude, and I am sad that I can't have this to myself, but happy that others will be able to enjoy it.) However, I did of course, get to "sample" a taste, and it would definitely have been too dangerous to have this heavenly dessert in my house! OMG......is all I can really say about this one!!!
I used fudge covered graham crackers for the crust, an incredible espresso and Kahlua laced cheesecake filling, and finished it with a dreamy swirled layer of white chocolate & Pinnacle Vodka "Whipped" mousse, with chocolate shavings, and a dark chocolate piped design. All of those amazing, rich, and creamy flavors of this renowned drink come together in this ultra decadent dessert. Now you understand why I had to give this heavenly cake away??!! I think I gained an easy 20# just looking at it!!! This is seriously a dessert any "White Russian" lover must make.....absolutely incredible!! Now, Kahlua is a premium Mexican liqueur, (very pricey!), so if you need to substitute with another brand, go ahead. I will tell you though from experience, that some of the "cheaper" versions, taste a bit "watered down" in flavor, (in my opinion), so there is a difference in quality. I chose that specific brand of Vodka because of the extra "cream" flavor that just gives it that special touch.
Yield: 1- 9inch cheesecake (Serves 8-16pl)
White Chocolate Vodka Mousse:
1 pint of heavy whipping cream
8 oz. white chocolate chips (Use a higher quality white chocolate if possible)
3-4T. of Pinnacle Whipped Vodka (or another brand of choice)
1) In a bowl, place the chocolate chips. In a small pot, bring the cream to a boil. Remove promptly, and pour over the chocolate in the bowl. Whisk until the chocolate in melted, and fully incorporated with the cream. Add the vodka, and taste. **Adjust the vodka to suit your tastes by adding more, or less. Just be careful not to add too much, as it could effect the outcome when whipping the mousse to finish.
2) Allow the mixture to cool to room temp. Using a stick blender, (or standard blender), blend the mixture for about 30 sec. to incorporate some air. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator to chill thoroughly. (At least 4 hours prior to whipping.)
4 T. of unsalted butter (melted)
2 cups of cookie crumbs (can use shortbread, graham cracker crumbs, etc.)
***Optional: 2 T. of sugar if using plain graham cracker crumbs.
1 1/2 # of cream cheese (softened)
3/4 cup of sugar
1 1/2 T. of cornstarch
1 1/2 eggs
3/4 cup of Plain Greek Yogurt (or sour cream)
3 T. Instant Espresso powder (and a little hot tap water)
4-6 T. Kahlua Liqueur
2- 9 or 10in. cake boards, pastry bag, and large straight tip
****For Garnishing: 1 cup of dark chocolate for piped designs or drizzling, small block of chocolate for shavings on sides, etc.
1) Preheat oven to 350F. For the crust: simply combine the melted butter and cookie crumbs, (and sugar if adding)- mixing until it the crumbs begin to "clump" together. Lightly grease the inside ring of your spring form pan. Press the crumbs into the bottom, and maybe 1/2- 1inch up the sides. Make sure to use a spoon, or something firm, to press the crust in the pan well, so that it's good and flat! Place in a 350F oven for approx. 10min.
Remove the crust from the oven, and set aside. In a small bowl, place the espresso powder, and a few "drops" of hot tap water to make a thick and smooth paste. When the crust is cooled, wrap the outside of your springform in foil to prevent water seeping in during baking. (Trust me, this is a trick I learned many years ago when baking cheesecakes in a water bath! Water can, and will, seep through the base of your pan if you don't take precautions!)
2) For the Kahlua Cheesecake: Turn the oven temp. down to 290F.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese well, (make sure to scrape sides and bottom of the bowl well!) Add the sugar and cornstarch. Scrape sides and bottom!!! Add the eggs- beating until incorporated, then add the yogurt (sour cream), espresso paste, and Kahlua, until batter is nice and smooth.
***Test for taste at this time. Add more Kahlua if necessary. Pour the batter over your pre-baked crust, and smooth out the top with a rubber spatula as best as you can. Place the cheesecake in a shallow pan that will fit, (I used a 1/2 sheet cake pan), and fill at least 1/2 way up the outside of spring form pan with very hot water. Very carefully, place the pan in a 290F oven for 2 hours, or until nice and set. ***You will need to check the water level after 1 hour, and add more if necessary. The cheesecake should not jiggle at all in the center, and will be slightly puffed up when it is done. The water bath prevents "cracking" on the surface of your cheesecake, and is very necessary if you want to achieve a perfect cheesecake! Remove from the oven when done, and allow to cool for about 30min.- 1hour prior to placing in the refrigerator to chill completely. It should be refrigerated for no less than 4 hours prior to finishing!
3) To finish the cheesecake: Remove the white chocolate vodka mousse base from the refrigerator. Using a whip, whip up on medium to high speed until the mixture becomes nice and thick. (It will be a bit thicker than whipped cream.) Set the mousse aside. Remove the chilled cheesecake from the refrigerator. Using a knife, carefully go around the edge to loosen the cake from the pan. Pop off the outside ring. Take a cake board and place it on top of the cheesecake, and invert. Using a knife or flat spatula, carefully go around the outer edge of the crust to remove the bottom of the spring form pan. Place a shmear of mousse on top of a cake board, and place over top of the crust side of cheesecake. Invert cake again, so that it's right- side up. Using a flat spatula, frost a thin layer of mousse over the entire top of cheesecake. Mark your slices at this time. Grab a pastry bag fitted with a large straight tip, and pipe a large "swirly", (or design of your choice!), down each slice. Finish the cake by placing chocolate curls, piped chocolate designs, melted chocolate, etc. on top. Cut each piece with A VERY HOT KNIFE- making sure to rinse between every cut!! ***Cheesecake is messy, and if you don't take the time to cut this correctly, it won't look very nice at all when serving! Enjoy this dessert with family and friends, as you probably won't have much leftover!!