The idea here is to achieve a smooth, lump-free batter without incorporating air to create a dense, creamy dessert. Serve this cake with fresh fruit or fruit compote.
Servings: 16 - 20
- 1/2 cup graham cracker or vanilla wafer crumbs
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 36 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs plus 3 egg yolks
- 1 cup low-fat sour cream
- 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Have ready a large roasting pan and a kettle of just-boiled water.
Spray a 10-inch springform pan with nonstick spray oil and wrap the outside of the pan with aluminum foil. Sprinkle the graham cracker or vanilla wafer crumbs on the bottom to create a base for the cake, pressing them in. Set aside.
Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer on low speed, beat the cream cheese until it is slightly fluffy. Add the sugar-cornstarch mixture to the cream cheese and beat until just incorporated. Add the lemon juice and vanilla extract. With the mixer still on low speed, add the eggs and yolks one at a time, incorporating after each addition. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Still on low speed, add the sour cream, then the buttermilk. Increase the speed to medium and beat the batter for 20 seconds to make sure it is well mixed. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Then place the springform pan in the roasting pan. Transfer to the middle oven rack and pour the boiled water into the roasting pan until it comes halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake the cake in its water bath for 55 to 65 minutes. The cake will rise, feel set in the middle and be barely jiggly when the pan is poked with a fork.
Remove from the oven and cool the cake in its water bath for 30 minutes, then remove from the water and put the cake, still in its foil-wrapped springform pan, in the refrigerator overnight.
To serve, carefully run a warm, dry knife around the sides of the cake to loosen it. Unhinge the sides of the pan and remove. Slide the cake onto a serving platter.
Adapted from Peter Brett (202-302-3383), former pastry chef at the Blue Duck Tavern.
Tested by Jeff Baron.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.