Hello, Baker!

I just can’t win when it comes to this blog! I’m awful at updating. I love taking the pictures, editing them, and getting them just right, but I hate actually writing up these entries. That was always my problem with making websites. I could spend hours on the web design, but dreaded actually making content. Anyway, I actually completed this challenge at the very beginning the month. I was so proud of myself! For once I would write up my post early and wait for it to automatically post on the magic Daring Baker’s posting day. For once I would be ahead and not scrambling to get this entry done near midnight the night before. However, April also happened to the month of final exams so my early procrastination only left me the last two weeks of April, which were completely dedicated to studying till I died. Of course the need to relax for a bit and finally a summer job got in a the way and well… you know the rest!

The April 2009 challenge was hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

I was relieved the moment I saw April’s Daring Baker’s Challenge. I love the great and beautiful people at DB, but sometimes they choose recipes that are complicated and include so many ingredients that I just can’t afford to participate. April’s choice was perfect! A cheesecake! How simple, right? We were given a basic recipe and allowed to get as creative as we wanted with it. Not only was it cheap because I all I had to buy was cream cheese and then use whatever I had on hand, but it also granted everyone so much freedom to make a billion types of variations.

I made two cheesecakes for this challenge (I actually had planned on another, but never had time for it)! One was a Bailey’s Irish Cream cheesecake with a dulce de leche swirl and devil’s food cake base and the other was Tiramisu because I’m obsessed with that amazing dessert.

Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake

2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs
1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted
2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
1 cup / 210 g sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
1 tbsp liqueur, optional, but choose what will work well with your cheesecake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.
  2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too – baker’s choice. Set crust aside.
  3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy.
  4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.
  5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done – this can be hard to judge, but you’re looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don’t want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won’t crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.
  6. Pan note: The creator of this recipe used to use a springform pan, but no matter how well she wrapped the thing in tin foil, water would always seep in and make the crust soggy. Now she uses one of those 1-use foil “casserole” shaped pans from the grocery store. They’re 8 or 9 inches wide and really deep, and best of all, water-tight. When it comes time to serve, just cut the foil away. I actually used a normal 6 inch cake pan, but buttered the sides of the pan and then lined it with parchment paper. I wanted to make small cheesecakes, but didn’t want to waste money on a new springform pan. Luckily this trick worked perfectly and the cheesecake came out easily!

    Prep notes: While the actual making of this cheesecake is a minimal time commitment, it does need to bake for almost an hour, cool in the oven for an hour, and chill overnight before it is served. Please plan accordingly!

Bailey's Irish Cream cheesecake with dulce de leche swirl

Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheesecake


  • Devil’s food cake crust
  • Bailey’s Irish Cream cheesecake
  • Dulce de Leche swirl
  • Optional whip cream for decoration

The Steps I Took:
Assembling this cake is fairly easy and all needed recipes have been provided below.

  1. Make the devil’s food cake with the recipe provided below. Follow the baking directions exactly and set aside while it cools. I actually think I made the cakes the night before.
  2. To make the dulce de leche, instead of doing that silly can boiling method, I instead poured all of the unsweetened condensed milk into a saucepan and allowed it to cook at around medium to medium-high heat for at least an hour. This way is much faster, safer, and easier do because you can actually see how dark and thick it’s become over time.
  3. In order to make the cheesecake I simply followed the provided cheesecake recipe (skipping the crust of course), excluded the lemon juice, and added about 2 tbsp of Bailey’s Irish Cream. You can decide how much you want to use. I merely did it based on how it tasted.
  4. Now that you have your cheesecake items ready, pour the cheesecake mixture into your pan, then spoon some of dulce de leche on top and use a knife to cut through it and make a marbled effect.
  5. Bake the cheesecake as directed, then let it cool on a wire rack. Once at room temperature you can begin to assemble everything! Take your devil’s food cake base (you can cut it down a bit if it looks too big) and cover it with a layer of dulce de leche. Place the cheesecake on top, then slather another layer of ducle de leche on top of that.
  6. For the finishing touches I took my other small devil’s food cake, made crumbs, and sprinkled them on top of the dulce de leche, being careful to push them down a bit at the end in order to make sure they stuck. I had already placed my remaining dulce de leche in a squeeze bottle (much like those red and yellow ketchup and mustard ones you get at restaurants) and striped the top with dulce de leche.
  7. I felt that it looked a little plain still and whipped up some whip cream with 1 cup heavy cream, 1/4 cup sugar, and a bit of vanilla extract. You can add some gelatin if you want to make a more stabliized whip cream, but I don’t have a recipe for that. You can look that up!
  8. Once fully put together, I put the cheesecake in the fridge to completely chill. Serve as you like.

Devil’s Food Cake

Recipe from the Devil’s Food White-Out Cake in Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.

  • 1-1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/4 sticks (10 tbs) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk or whole milk, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 4 oz semisweet or milk chocolate, finely chopped or 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8×2 round cake pans (I used two 6×3 inch cake pans) .
  2. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  3. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy.
  4. Add the sugars and continue to beat for another 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Don’t be concerned if it looks curdled!
  5. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in melted chocolate. When it is fully incorporated, add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, adding the dry in 3 additions and the milk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients). Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix only until the ingredients disappear into the batter.
  6. At this point, the batter will be thick, like frosting. Still working on a low speed, mix in the boiling water, which will thin the batter considerably.
  7. Switch to a rubber spatula, scrape down the bowl, and stir in chopped chocolate.
  8. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the tops with the rubber spatula.
  9. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating pans at the midway point. When fully baked they will be springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the center will come out clean. Don’t worry if tops have small cracks.
  10. Transfer to a rack to cool for about 5 minutes, then take it out of the pan and let cool to room temperature.

The remaining slice of the Bailey's cheesecake. Notice the bottom layer of dulce de leche oozing out!


Tiramisu Cheesecake


  • Chocolate Teddy Graham crust
  • Kahlua Cheesecake
  • Lady Fingers
  • Espresso syrup to dip the ladyfingers in
  • Cocoa powder
  • Tiramisu Cream
  • Optional whip cream for decoration

The Steps I Took:
I wnated this cheesecake to resemble tiramisu so the steps are very similar to that. All needed recipes have been provided below.

  1. To make the Teddy Graham crust use the crust recipe provided, but substitute chocolate Teddy Grahams for the graham crackers.
  2. Follow the cheesecake recipe and set the cheesecake mixture aside. You’re going to put all of the components together before baking.
  3. If you haven’t done it already, line the pan you want to use with the crust and bake as directed.
  4. Once done dip each side of the ladyfingers in espresso syrup and arrange in a single layer on top the crust. Break up pieces as needed to make it fit.
  5. Pour half of the cheesecake mixture on top of the ladyfingers, then dust with a layer of cocoa powder.
  6. Repeat the process by making another layer of  dipped lady fingers, cheesecake, and cocoa powder.
  7. Bake as directed, then set on wire rack to cool. Once at room temperature remove from pan and chill.
  8. If desired, decorate with whip cream and sprinkle cocoa powder on top. Enjoy!


Inside view of the tiramisu cheesecake to show off the layering.

Both recipes came from the Cook’s Illustrated Tiramisu recipe.

Espresso Syrup

  • 1 cup brewed espresso, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum

Tiramisu Cream

  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 pound mascarpone (I used cream cheese)
  • 3/8 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum

I halfed this recipe, That’s why it ended up with 3/8 cup heavy cream. Double it if you want the regular amount.

  1. For the espresso syrup: combine both ingredients and set aside.
  2. For the Tiramisu Cream: In bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat yolks at low speed until just combined.
  3. Add sugar and salt and beat at medium-high speed until pale yellow, 1-1/2 to 2 minutes, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula once or twice.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons rum and beat at medium speed until just combined, 20 to 30 seconds; scrape bowl.
  5. Add mascarpone and beat at medium speed until no lumps remain, 30 to 45 seconds, scraping down bowl once or twice. Transfer mixture to large bowl and set aside.
  6. In now-empty mixer bowl (no need to clean bowl), beat cream at medium speed until frothy, 1 to 1-1/2 minutes.
  7. Increase speed to high and continue to beat until cream holds stiff peaks, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes longer. Using rubber spatula, fold one-third of whipped cream into mascarpone mixture to lighten, then gently fold in remaining whipped cream until no white streaks remain. Set mascarpone mixture aside.

Tiramisu slice. Notice the custard like Tiramisu cream on top!

Sadly, I didn't realize my memory card wasn't in my camera when I took photos of the Bailey's cheesecake. When I finally realized only this small piece was left.

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  1. ingrid on May 27, 2009 11:05 am

    Both of them look amazing! Great job! I especially love the tiramisu one! Definitely printing that one out to try.

  2. JennyBakes on June 4, 2009 4:33 pm

    For a baker with not a lot of time on your hands, you did an amazing job with this challenge – two versions, both look delicious!!

    Jenny of JennyBakes

  3. Cheesecake Recipe on June 7, 2009 1:45 am

    That looks great, I’ve got more recipes here if your interested.

  4. Rebecca on July 4, 2009 1:25 pm

    Just testing my avatar

  5. Brandy on July 20, 2009 1:22 am

    Both of those look delicious! I will be starting the daring baker challenges next month but I might have to go back and try some of the old challenges. :-) Yum!

  6. Dirt Cake Recipe on May 27, 2010 2:40 am

    This recipes looks amazing. I can’t wait to bake it this friday during my weekly bake night!

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