It's my blog!!
haha..... I'd been looking forward to my blogversary for a while for no other reason than that it's been one year and that sounds exciting! In reality, it doesn't really mean much- I'll just be blogging and blabbing as normal but who would have thought a whole year would have passed so quickly?? It seems only yesterday that I excitedly told my friends I wanted to start a blog and to ask them to help me think of a name for it =D
I knew that my blogversary was sometime near the end of August, but with my trials and all that, August passed extremely quickly and before I knew it, I had a look at the calendar and then back at my blog and BAM! It was only a couple days off.
So I didn't have time to make anything particularly special or memorable for my blogversary as I've seen many others do, but I thought it'd be sorta fitting to share with you this cheesecake I'd made- because it's a cake =] And because the first recipe I posted on this blog was a blueberry cheesecake- my first ever cheesecake, which turned out surprisingly good. This was my second cheesecake....hmm....maybe I should celebrate all my blogversaries with a cheesecake ;)
I still remembering pondering over whether or not to start a blog. I'd been reading them for a little while, and I knew I liked food, but I only occasionally baked. I'd tried once to start a blog, in secrecy, all the way back in 2008, and only managed half of my first post (which was an introductory one.....), before giving up and realising my hate of writing. Which is why my first post is dated all the way back to 2008- I rewrote the first post without realising that the date remained the same as when I first created it.
A year later, I tried again, after discovering more food blogs. It wasn't easy at first- I've always been a terrible writer and everything I write never seems to sound good to me. I still remember writing my first blog post and wondered what I'd write- I just had a permanent mind blank. Nowadays, I open up a blog post and words just sorta come pouring out. Infact, I have so much to say that I can never quite get everything I want to say onto the page in time- my fingers don't quite work as fast as my mind :)
It's funny how much has changed since the beginning. I'd started taking photos at restaurants at first, just for the fun of it. At first, I was hesitant to take my camera out, scared that someone would tell me that photographing food was not allowed. But I got used to it and it slowly became addictive. But not quite as addictive as baking ;)It's hard to remember how much I baked before blogging, as I didn't always photograph my bakes- especially as they were mostly failures. I probably only baked about twice a month, sometimes less and the idea of blogging once every week seemed a little extreme. Nowadays, I bake whenever I get the chance and I love making more than one thing at once- to get through the huge list of things I want to make!
To be honest, I hadn't expected anyone to read my blog other than the school friends which I'd told about. I'd probably still be blogging if no one read this blog, but the comments people leave just make blogging so much more fun!! I know a lot of people say this, and most express this a lot better than I do, but I love knowing that out there, there's someone reading what I'm writing and I love love love your words of encouragement! So.....thankyou to all you lovely readers out there =]
Moving on from my fail attempt at expressing my graitude (If this were me last year, I would have deleted that paragraph) and onto the cheesecake itself! I chose a different recipe this time- opting for the one from the Daring Baker's challenge way back. I'd seen so many awesome cheesecakes from this recipe I just had to try it! Without the sour cream, this was less sour than the one I made last time (duh!)- more like the cheesecakes I buy from the cheesecake shop than the one I ate at a cafe once.....
I made my own graham crackers for the base, which turned out too sweet and really hard, but that was okay because I was only using it for the base. The cheesecake itself was easy peasy. And once again, my baking advantures are not complete with a stupid mistake- this time because I used a pullman bread tin instead of a normal loaf tin (I figured it had straighter sides so it'd look better...) without realising that it actually had holes in the corners, so water seeped into the base, making it slightly wet and stiff. Thinking it was an utter failure (once again), I was surprised to find that the base didn't taste too bad, and the cheesecake was really really good! My mum thought it was just as good as the storebought ones, whilst I would have liked it a little lighter but was still overall very pleased with the result.
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.
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.
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!