You’re asking yourself right about now “Why 4am?” Well…I’ll tell ya.
Mr W’s birthday was this past week. And Mr W doesn’t like cake.
I’ll pause for a moment while you wonder in amazement at that.
(BTW, he likes frosting…just not cake. But frosting alone is not an appropriate thing to put candles in and then serve to a crowd.)
So I asked him what he wanted for his birthday…non-cake. And he requested cheesecake. This wasn’t an issue for me…cheesecake actually used to be the thing I was known for making. (But then I got lazy and realized people love Cinnamon Rolls and chocolate chip cookies just as much, so I stopped making them. Oh yeah…and I liked not being fat anymore…that was also a good reason.)
Now the challenge with making cheesecake is that the REALLY good cheesecakes take a long time. They are easy…but they take a long time. And in a world where one of my ovens kind of sucks…I have to give consideration to how long I’m going to tie up the oven.
So what I ended up doing was planning to stay up late to make the cheesecake AFTER we’d had pizza night. That meant the cheesecake went into the oven around 8:30 with plans to bake for about 90 minutes and then to sit in the oven as it cooled down for a few more hours. Estimated time of completion? Midnight.
When midnight rolled around, Mr W, his sister and I were playing a fairly entertaining game of Triopoly, so I figured I’d just let it go until 12:30 when we planned to wrap things up and head to bed.
Unfortunately, when I opened the oven at 12:30 to take it out, the center was WAY too jiggly. We’re talking “this thing is going to collapse the moment I cut it” jiggly.
So I turned the oven back on to 200 degrees, put another water bath in the oven for moisture and put the cheesecake back in. I set a timer for two hours and I climbed into bed with Mr W and set to watching a How I Met Your Mother marathon while he dozed off. (I simply can’t sleep when I know I have to get up soon.) Around 2:30, I went down to check on the cheesecake.
Same exact friggin level of jiggly.
So…I turned the oven up to 300 degrees, checked the water in the pan and set the timer for another hour while I knocked out two more episodes of HIMYM. Around 3:30, I wandered downstairs to check on the cheesecake. It was now absolutely perfect. So I turned off the oven, straightened things up, left the oven door propped open and the cheesecake inside to cool and I headed back to bed.
And finally fell asleep around 4am.
And THAT, my dear readers, is why this cheesecake is called 4am cheesecake.
Now, some of you might say “it’s time for another cheesecake recipe.” But here’s the thing. This cheesecake was incredible. Creamy, dense, rich, and not even remotely dried out or cracked. It was honestly one of the best cheesecakes I’ve ever eaten. And if I’m going to do the work of a cheesecake, I might as well…do the work of a cheesecake, right? So I’ll preserve this recipe and try to fine tune the timing and temperature a little bit…for today, I’ll tell you exactly how I made it.
4am Raspberry Cheesecake Recipe
- 1 1/2 c graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 c white sugar
- 1/4 c butter, melted
- 5 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
- 5 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 3/4 c white sugar
- 1/8 c all-purpose flour
- 1/4 c fat free half and half
- 16oz frozen raspberries
- 3 t white sugar
Melt the butter and mix it up with the cracker crumbs and sugar. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9″ springform pan. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Remove to counter to cool.
Make sure ALL of your ingredients are at room temperature. Set the eggs, cream cheese and measured half and half out several hours before you plan to bake. When you’re ready, mix the cream cheese and eggs until very well blended, but be careful not to whip them. (Too much air in a cheesecake makes it crack and dry out.) Some people like to add in the sugar and THEN the flour after the sugar is fully mixed in. I actually like to mix my sugar and flour together and put it in at the same time…I find the flour breaks up more easily in the batter this way. Finally, add the half n half.
Pour everything into the springform pan and bake it at 400 degrees for ten minutes. Then turn the oven down to 200 and bake for another hour. Of course if you are me…you will then turn off the oven and let it sit in the oven with the door closed for three more hours, then turn the eoven back to 200 for two hours and then up to 300 for an hour. All that’s a little exhausting though, so I’d suggest 400 for 10 minutes, then 300 for an hour, then turn off the oven and leave it all sit for 3-4 hours as the oven cools.
Once everything has cooled, pop it in the fridge for at least 8-12 hours to cool.
For the topping, thaw one bag of frozen raspberries and stir in 3 teaspoons of white sugar. Pour this over top of the cheesecake, or reserve and let people put their own topping on. I just like how it looks with topping. 🙂
We had seven adults and five kids and didn’t even polish off half of it. Two days later when I realized leftover cheesecake was going to be extremely dangerous, I took it over to the elementary school office staff and let them enjoy it and the resulting belly bulge instead.