Monday, August 24, 2009


Today is my daughter's birthday and she is living half way around the world in Seoul, South Korea. I had to make her a cake...what is a birthday without a cake from mom? She usually asks for cheesecake, but I thought I'd make a cute little cupcake just for her until I saw a 4 inch round springform pan in the store. Then the cake would be just for her...a virtual birthday cake. So I took our favorite cheesecake recipe and put a portion into the pan that fits in the palm of my hand. It almost seemed like I was baking in my "Easy Bake" oven and pans of childhood. This cake was so cute it didn't really need much, but since this was a special day I dressed it up. I made a white chocolate ganache to frost it with and sprinkled it lightly with some Lavender Sugar I had just made. I wanted a ribbon to tie around it, and found beautiful organza ribbons at a local store that made me think of the little dresses she wore as a baby.Happy Birthday Sam....I am sending this as a virtual special delivery for you! It tasted, a-hem...I mean it will taste so good when you come back home! We miss you!
Cream Cheesecake

(Adapted from "The Cake Bible", by Rose Levy Berenbaum)

16 ounces cream cheese (low fat or regular), room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
optional: 1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups sour cream (low fat or regular)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Have a roaster pan or 10 inch cake pan ready that will fit an 8 inch round pan. Line the bottom of a greased 8x2 ½ inch springform pan with parchment or wax paper. Use heavy duty aluminum foil, and double wrap the outside of the pan all the way up to the top. This is important so the water doesn’t seep into the pan.

If desired, line the bottom of the pan with a graham cracker crust or crust of your choice.

In a large mixing bowl beat the cream cheese and sugar until very smooth. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition until smooth and scraping down the sides. Add the lemon juice, vanilla, optional cornstarch and salt and beat until incorporated. Beat in the sour cream just until blended.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Set the pan in the larger roaster pan and surround it with 1 inch of very hot water. Bake 45 minutes. Turn off the oven without opening the door and let the cake cool for 1 hour. Remove to a rack and cool to room temperature (about 1 hour). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

To unmold: Have ready a serving plate and a flat plate at least 8 inches in diameter, covered with plastic wrap. Run a thin metal spatula around the side of the cake and release the sides of the springform pan. Place the plastic wrapped plate on top and invert. Remove the bottom of the pan and the parchment. Reinvert onto the serving plate and use a small metal spatula to smooth the sides. Refrigerate until shortly before serving.

~My thoughts and notes:

This may also be easily prepared in the food processor.

The cheesecake is light and creamy, even made with low fat cream cheese and sour cream. I actually prefer it this way. It is firm enough to make without a crust, but is delicious with all types of crusts. I like a graham cracker crust, since I mostly serve it with a fruit based topping. I often use my blackberry or blueberry ginger jam on top. Spoon the jam evenly on the top just prior to serving.

If using smaller 4 inch springform pans, use 4 and bake only ½ hour.

To make a frosted and decorated cake, frost with a White Chocolate Ganache and add flowers, ribbons or any decoration of your choice.

White Chocolate Ganache
(Adapted from “The Cake Bible”, by Rose Levy Berenbaum)

3 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream

Using a double broiler or microwave, melt the chocolate with 1⁄4 cup cream. Remove from heat before chocolate is fully melted and stir until melted. Set aside until no longer warm. In a chilled mixing bowl, beat the remaining cream until traces of beater makes just begin to show distinctly. Add the white chocolate mixture and beat until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised.

Makes 2 cups or enough to frost one 8 inch by 3 inch layer cake. Lasts 1 day room temperature or 1 week refrigerated.

Cream Cheesecake recipe (pdf)
White Chocolate Ganache recipe (pdf)

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Linda in Houston said...

I love your little cheesecake! I will have to send the link to my daughter-in-law. My son's family loves cheesecake and I started giving my grandchildren cooking equipment for Christmas last year. Among the things they each received was a 4" springform pan. At 3 & 4 years, they both like to help in the kitchen and will have a riot helping to make this! I may have to go visit just to get in on the fun.

Karen @ Mignardise said...

So sweet, in so many ways.
Happy birthday to Sam!

Mari @ Once Upon a Plate said...

Happy Birthday to Sam ~ such a beautiful baby, and now a beautiful young woman!

That cake is a jewel, I adore the way you decorated it. Thank you for sharing the recipe... I'll be dreaming of it while I'm here baking "healthy" muffins. *sigh*

Great job on a lovely post (as ALWAYS!) xo

lisa said...

Happy Birthday, Sam! You're lucky to have such a sweet and talented Mom!

La Table De Nana said...

You gave me Goosebumps:) Beautiful.. as a baby and all "grown up"~

The wee cake too..I love those little springforms by the way:)

A Bowl Of Mush said...

What a beautiful post!
And what a beautiful cheesecake!
You're a lovely Mother :)

Kathy Walker said...

Wonderful post. Happy Birthday to Sam! The cake looks delicious.

Daniela said...

Complimenti per questo dolce dev'essere squisito. Ciao Daniela.

Hornsfan said...

What a beautiful b-day tribute!

2 Stews said...

Thanks to all for such kind words and Birthday wishes!

Ry @ Sotto Il Monte Vineyards said...

Happy Birthday to your daughter. They grow up so quickly!

Mary Bergfeld said...

What a beautiful young woman! I'm sure she'll be as thrilled by the thought as she'll be by the cake when she returns home. We adopted 2 of our children from Korea.