[ The Birth of Jesus Christ ] In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. Luke 2:1, 4-5 ESV
Earlier this year my husband spent a week in Manhattan without me. He went to Hephzibah House to help out while the co-directors, Catherine and Russ, attended a conference on prayer. Upon his arrival at LaGuardia airport he rode an Airporter van to Grand Central Station.
Russ met him at Grand Central where they were to get on the subway for the rest of the trip to the upper west side. Having traveled through the lunch hour he was ready for something to eat. He and Russ decided on a sandwich at Juniors located in Grand Central Station.
At the end of the meal they bought a Raspberry Cheesecake to take with them and share with the staff. My adventure-seeking husband’s first call home that evening included a play-by-play description of Grand Central Station along with details of his lunch and especially the outstanding cheesecake from Juniors.
Knowing how much I adore all-things-cheesecake, my sweetie thought all week-long about how he could buy a cheesecake on his way back through Grand Central Station and bring it back home to me.
As you can well imagine, wisdom took the place of sentiment and he decided against this grand gesture.
Fast forward to November when my sous-chef dish-washing mom and I accompanied him back to NYC. It was of no surprise that he planned to take us to Juniors at Grand Central Station.
I love this picture of my sous-chef dish-washing mom (not washing dishes) and our dear friend Catherine from Hephzibah House!
Along with our missionary friends and the Buck Family of Tennessee, we arrived at Juniors between meals but everyone agreed we must have some cheesecake.
It was there that Lee and I shared a piece of Strawberry Cheesecake Cake. It was divine. Sweet, but not too sweet. Strong strawberry flavor offset by the creamy cheesecake. Lovely.
I’ve never combined layers of cheesecake and cake before but I knew I had to give it a try. I surprised my family and friends at a Christmas party last week with my version of Strawberry Cheesecake Cake. This original recipe came from The Recipe Girl which I adapted to our taste.
I used her suggested strawberry cake recipe, but will use this one of mine the next time.
I added a layer of strawberry purée between each cake layer. I think it is a must!
I have baked cheesecakes for many years. But during this process I learned something new that I wish I had learned many years ago. The Recipe Girl says to bake the cheesecake in a pan filled with 1” of boiling water to keep the top from cracking. I haven’t bothered to look up the science behind this, but it works.
The cheesecake layer turned out perfect.
The friends I served it to especially liked the frosting as well. I think it is one of the best I have ever made. I plan to post it as a separate recipe so it will be easy for me to find next time I go looking. Oh yes, and easy for you to find.
This cake takes time because after baking the cake and cheesecake the layers are cooled and frozen. Freezing them really makes assembly easy and they thaw pretty quick while sitting on a dessert table surrounded by lots of ooohs and ahhhhs!
For the chocolate lover I can envision this as a chocolate cake, cherry filling and creamy cheesecake.
Have you ever made a cheesecake cake? What is your favorite?
Strawberry Cheesecake Cake
Author: Adapted by Catherine Daugherty
Recipe type: Dessert
- Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
- ⅔ cup granulated white sugar
- pinch of salt
- 2 large eggs
- ⅓ cup sour cream
- ⅓ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen)
- 3 Tablespoons sugar (unless the frozen strawberries include sugar)
- 12 ounces (1½ packages) cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup strawberry puree (frozen strawberries, thawed and blended in blender)
- 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
- 2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 325 F. Place a large roasting pan on the lower third rack of the oven. Place a kettle of water on the stove to boil. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray. Wrap a double layer of heavy duty foil around the bottom and up the sides of the pan (you want to seal it so the water from the water bath doesn’t seep into the pan).
- In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to blend the cream cheese until it is smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Mix in the sugar and salt and blend for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure all is mixed in. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending after each addition. Finally, mix in the sour cream, whipping cream and vanilla (and food color, if using). Mix until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Set the pan into the roasting pan in the pre-heated oven. Carefully pour the hot water from your kettle into the roasting pan. Pour enough water so that there is about an inch of water coming up the foil along the sides of the cheesecake pan.
- Bake the cheesecake for 45 minutes. It should be set to the touch and not jiggly. Remove the cheesecake from the roasting pan and let it cool on a wire rack for at least an hour. When it has cooled, place the pan into the freezer and let the cheesecake freeze completely (4 to 5 hours or overnight).
- Prepare and Bake two- 9-inch round strawberry cake layers (your recipe preference- see ingredient list and tips for suggestions) Once the cake is cooled it can be placed in the freezer for 4 to 5 hours or overnight. This will make it very easy to put together and frost.
- Puree strawberries and sugar in blender or food processor. Use for topping each layer and for making the frosting. A drop of red food coloring can be added if the color is too pale.
- Prepare the frosting: Use an electric mixer to combine the cream cheese and the butter, and beat until smooth. Add the vanilla, strawberry puree and cream and continue to mix until well combined. Mix in 2 cups of the powdered sugar. Add the third cup a little at a time until you reach a consistency that you're happy with. You may not use it all, or you may use more. Whip until your desired consistency.
- Place one cake layer into the center of a cake plate or platter. Spoon strawberry puree over the layer but not quite to the edge. You do not want the puree running over the sides of each layer. Remove the cheesecake from the freezer, take off the sides of the pan, and slide a knife under the the cheesecake to release it from the pan. Trim the cheesecake, as needed to match the size of your cake layers (see *Tips). Place the cheesecake layer on top of the first cake layer. Add a light layer of strawberry puree. Place the second cake layer on top of the cheesecake.
- Frost the cake: Apply a crumb coat layer of frosting to the cake (see *Tips), and refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes, or until the frosting is set. Apply the second layer of frosting, if needed. Decorate, as desired, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
*If you prefer to use a boxed mix, it will work just fine (just make two layers in two 9-inch pans).
*You can certainly bake this cheesecake in the oven without a water bath, but you run the risk of cracking the top of the cheesecake. The water bath is a safeguard against cracking.
*Measure your cheesecake layer against the cake layers. If the cheesecake layer turns out to be slightly larger size round than your cake layers, move it to a cutting board and use a knife to gently shave off some of the exterior of the cheesecake.
*How to apply a crumb coat layer of frosting: use a long, thin spatula or knife to cover the cake completely with a thin and even layer of frosting. Wipe off the spatula each time you’re about to dip it back into the bowl to get more frosting (this way you won’t be transferring any pink crumbs into the bowl of frosting). Don’t worry at this point about the crumbs being visible in the frosting on the cake. When your cake has a thin layer of frosting all over it, place it into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to “set” the frosting. Once the first layer of frosting is set, apply the second layer.
*If you are serving this cake at a party, it’s perfectly okay to leave the cake at room temperature for a couple of hours (the cheesecake thaws very quickly). Otherwise, keep it stored in the refrigerator. It also freezes perfectly. Freeze it as is, then wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in the freezer until it is needed. Leftover slices may also be wrapped and frozen.
*If there is any leftover it will last in the refrigerator for up to a week without getting dry. Each day it just gets better and better!
This recipe adapted from The Recipe Gir