Where’s the itsy bitsy spider?

(My project to document my observations of past bakes)

Here’s the web, but where’s the spider?

Well, I was trying to display my artistic talents in decorating the cheesecake lol… This was achieved by pouring alternate layers of batter into the centre of the pan and then using a toothpick drawing lines from the centre to the sides to create a spider-web effect.

This is a cranberry swirl cheesecake that I baked for my mother-in-law who requested for a citrusy cheesecake. As I had Crabtree & Evelyn cranberry sauce, I decided to make use of that. I adapted a recipe on the Epicurious website which had good reviews.

Well cheesecakes are really capricious….One time it baked nicely without any cracks…another time, it cracked despite having the same temperature etc. Wonder whether I had overbeaten the mixture 😦

The above picture was my first attempt…smooth top and crack-free…but I wasn’t so fortunate for the second attempt…

The cross-section… pardon the untidiness….

This was also the first attempt…I didn’t manage to take pics of the cross-section of the spider-web cake…

Looks aside, the taste was great: smooth, creamy….yummy! Hubby, mother-in-law and sister-in-law liked it…I think I will use this recipe as my base for future cheesecakes…

Here’s the recipe I used, which is adapted from the Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake with Cranberry-Raspberry Compote recipe on the Epicurious website:

Base

200g Chocolate biscuits, without the crème (I used Oreo brand)

50g melted butter

Line the base of an 8″ springfoam pan with aluminium foil. Wrap the outside of the pan with another layer of aluminium foil.

Crush the chocolate biscuits finely. Mix melted butter with crushed chocolate biscuits. Press biscuit mixture onto the pan. Place pan in the fridge.

Filling

750g cream cheese, at room temp

170g caster sugar

4 eggs, each weighing about 60g – including the shell, at room temp

230g sour cream (I used “light” with no adverse results)

60g whipping cream

1tbsp vanilla essence

Zest of 1 orange, finely grated

16 oz ready-made cranberry sauce ( I used Crabtree and Evelyn brand)

Cube the cream cheese. Beat it using a mixer at low to medium speed till the cheese flicks easily off the spatula. Scrape down the sides and bottom of mixing bowl frequently.Add in caster sugar and beat at low to medium speed. Make sure that there are no lumps.

Add in sour cream, whipping cream and vanilla essence. Mix till just combined at low to medium speed and ensure that there are no lumps.

Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix till just combined at low speed.

Transfer 1/3 of batter into another bowl. Add cranberry sauce and mix till just combined. Add orange zest to the remaining 2/3 batter and mix till just combined.

Remove pan from fridge. To create the concentric effect shown in the first picture, pour in alternate layers of the cranberry and vanilla batters into the centre of the pan. When all the batter is poured into the pan, hit the pan on the kitchen counter-top to remove air bubbles. Prick any visible air bubble that rise to the top of the cake with a toothpick and smoothen surface.

Boil water. Place pan into a roasting pan. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan till it covers half the height of the cake pan. Remember to top up the roasting pan with boiling water during the baking.

Bake at 150 deg C for about 2 hours. To test whether the cake is done, shake the pan gently, the sides should be firm while the centre is still wobbly. Switch off oven and leave the cake in the oven for at least an hour (You may remove the water bath, or you can leave it in the oven). Remove the cake from the oven – the centre should no longer be wobbly – and complete cooling on the cooling rack and thereafter keep it the fridge overnight. Remove the cake from the pan the next day.

Bon appétit!

Note: The cooking time and temperature actually depends on individual oven. For my oven, although the dial is at 150 deg C, the oven thermometer indicates about 100 deg C – perhaps it’s due to the steam from the water bath. It took about 2 hrs of baking time for the cake to be done.