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Cheesecake that isn't like a block of cream cheese

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DS has requested a cheesecake for his birthday celebration.

Anyone have a recipe for a cheesecake that doesn't taste (or weigh) like a block of cream cheese?

Maybe an italian type cheesecake would fit the bill?


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  1. I've had luck with Japanese style cheesecake from bakeries. It has the flavor of cheesecake, but I don't know how they get it so fluffy. Maybe others know?

    Italian cheesecake is made with ricotta instead of (or in addition to?) cream cheese. It's good, but to me it tastes drier, more crumbly, and isn't really the same thing at all.

    1 Reply
    1. re: nooodles

      A very easy, light delicious cheesecake is the 3 Cities of Spain cheesecake on Epicurious. I usually double it so that the presentation is more dramatic. You can top it with the sourcream as suggested or fresh raspberries, with a raspberry coulis on the side.

    2. I've often made this crustless cheesecake for holiday parties, and it's always gotten great reviews. I think the sour cream mixed in really helps in the lightness of the cheesecake mixture. Make sure your oven temp is correct, and do NOT peek while it's in the oven baking or for the 2nd hour.

      Oh - and to prevent cracking, make sure you cool it completely on the countertop before refrigerating.

      Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake
      12 Servings

      1 bag (12 ounces) fresh cranberries, picked over
      1 1/3 cup sugar PLUS
      2 Tbsp. sugar
      2 lb. cream cheese, at room temperature, cut into 8 pieces
      2 tsp. vanilla extract
      4 eggs, at room temperature
      1 pt. sour cream, at room temperature

      In a medium nonreactive saucepan, combine the cranberries and 3/4 cup water. Bring to a boil over moderate heat and boil, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries burst and the mixture reduces
      to 1-1/4 cups, about 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 1/3 cup of the sugar until dissolved. Strain the mixture through a coarse sieve and let the puree cool completely.

      Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-by-2-3/4-inch springform pan. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese with the remaining 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar and the vanilla at low speed until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating until just blended. Stir in the sour cream.

      Spoon half of the cream cheese mixture into the prepared pan. Drop 8 or 9 rounded teaspoons of the cranberry puree randomly over the top. Spoon half of the remaining cheesecake mixture evenly over the first layer and dot with half of the remaining puree. Repeat with the remaining cheesecake mixture and puree. (Avoid dropping puree in the center of more than 1 layer.)

      With a blunt knife, cut through the batter in a swirling motion to distribute the cranberry puree. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake in the lower part of the oven for 1 hour. Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in for 1 hour longer. Transfer the cake to a rack and let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate overnight before serving.

      1. I make a chocolate cheesecake where the filling turns out more like mousse than a dense cheesecake (although it is far from a light dessert). The recipe is at home, so let me know if you want it.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Chilanga

          Sounds lovely!
          I'd love the recipe.


          1. re: Chilanga

            This is from a Baker's chocolate ad.

            Bittersweet Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake

            Preheat oven to 350F.

            1 1/3 cups chocolate wafer crumbs
            1/3 cup butter, melted
            Combine wafer crumbs and melted butter, press evenly on bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Refrigerate while preparing filling.

            8 oz cream cheese, softened (see note at end)
            1 cup sugar
            3 eggs
            1/4 cup cold coffee or liqueur
            8 squares bittersweet chocolate, melted
            1/2 cup sour cream
            Beat cream cheese with sugar until blended and smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in coffee or liqueur and then melted chocolate. Blend in sour cream. Pour into prepared pan; smooth top. Bake at 350F for 40-50 minutes or until center is just set. Cool completely on wire rack and then refrigerate overnight. Run sharp knife around edge of cake to loosen.

            Ganache Topping:
            4 squares bittersweet chocolate
            1/2 cup whipping cream
            Bring cream to simmer over low heat. Add chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Spoon over cooled cake.

            My notes: I use regular fat, spreadable cream cheese. Mix the ingredients on lowest speed possible to avoid incorporating too much air which may lead to cracks. With my oven it's usually ready at 39 or 40 minutes, so watch carefully. 4 hours in the refrigerator is plenty, you don't need to leave it overnight. Don't skip the ganache, it's really good and also hides any cracks if they do happen. Put back in the refrigerator for an hour to let the ganache set. It serves 16 but if you store in the refrigerator it will easily last 4 days.

          2. The older versions of Joy of Cooking have a cheesecake that is quite mousse like. It is no bake but you do have to cook. The base is a custard with gelatin mixed in and also whipped egg whites and whipped cream. It is quite rich but light as cn be on the tongue.

            1. The peanut butter mousse cheesecake on epicurious is light, fluffy and yummy. You could probably adapt the recipe to a non-peanut butter base.

              Link: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

              1. I quite like the central European version from Rick Rodger's Kaffeehaus called Topfentorte/Farmer's cheesecake. It's made from farmer's cheese and is light but not airy/mousselike. Will post if interested.

                1. Sunset Magazine's Grand Prize winner for holiday recipes this year was a roasted sweet potato cheesecake that was to die for. Very creamy and not like a heavy block of cream cheese. I made it twice for 2 events, and it got raves each time. Here's the recipe:

                  Roasted Sweet Potato Cheesecake w/Maple Cream
                  2 dark-skinned yams (jewel or red garnet), about 1-1/2# total
                  1T melted butter
                  2t lemon juice
                  24 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
                  3/4C sugar
                  1/2C brown sugar
                  4 eggs
                  1/4C whipping cream
                  1/4C sour cream
                  1/4C maple syrup
                  1-1/2t cinnamon
                  1t nutmeg
                  1/2t ginger
                  1/4C coarsely chopped pecans
                  1-1/4C graham cracker crumbs
                  2T sugar
                  5T melted butter
                  3/4C whipping cream
                  1/4C maple syrup

                  Heat oven to 375. Peel yams and cut in half lengthwise. Place in 9x13 pan and brush with melted butter. Bake until soft when pressed, 45-55 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare crust; whirl pecans in processor until finely ground. In bowl, mix pecans with remaining ingredients. Press into bottom of 9” springform pan. Bake in oven with yams 10-12 minutes until lightly browned.

                  Scrape any charred bits from yams. Whirl in processor with lemon juice until smooth. Reserve 1C and save remainder for another use.

                  Reduce oven to 325. On high speed, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in sugars, scraping down sides of bowl, until smooth. Beat in one egg at a time until blended. Add yam mixture and remaining filling ingredients. Mix on low until well blended.

                  Wrap bottom of springform pan with heavy-duty foil, pressing it up sides. pour batter into crust. Put cheesecake in 12x15 roasting pan at least 2” deep. Set pans in oven and pour enough boiling water to come halfway up sides of cheesecake pan. Bake until cake barely jiggles in center when gently shaken, about 55 minutes. Remove pans from oven. Put cheesecake pan on rack and cool completely, about 1 hour, then chill until cold, at least 1-1/2 hours or up to 3 days. (Cover once cold.)

                  Up to 6 hours before serving, cut around rim of cheesecake to release sides of pan. Whip the cream until stiff peaks form, then beat in maple syrup on low speed until blended.

                  Serve cheesecake with maple cream.

                  12-16 servings

                  1. about 20 years ago NY mag ran a cheesecake recipe contest. I still have the recipe for one of the winners...made with whipped cream cheese and sour cream...no crust. So good! Let me know if you'd like the recipe.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Uriel

                      Please post.