Zebra Cheesecake

Sometime ago while surfing the web I ran across a zebra cake (regular yellow/chocolate cake). I filed that idea away in my mind for future cake making use. You may have seen the checkered cakes and other fancy type cakes that appear to require super-baking skills and talent, but this is a very simple technique with a very impressive result. When you finally see how these cakes are created, you realize it is definitely do-able and may only require practicing a few times to really have it down. 

Since, I don’t usually make a cake, I make cupcakes (yes I know this is a fad, but I do it for other reasons – cupcakes are easier to share, travel well, are more versatile and fun to decorate). This weekend I am have created what I am calling “Appetizer and Wine Extravaganza!” as a (belated) birthday dinner for Shawnee, and this idea was perfect for her – my zebra-print loving friend (note my daughter recently chose zebra-print and hot pink to decorate her room, so I will please the masses with this one). As I write this I have a half hour left on the clock for the cake and I’m on pins and needles waiting to see if it works…it will be several hours before I can cut into this baby and I am very anxious to see it! (Note: as you can see above it came out looking cool and stripey, BUT I am going to do another take on this because it wasn’t quite what I wanted. Keep ya posted!)

The rest of the menu goes like this:
Spicy Seared Ahi on greens with soy sauce and Shriacha

Spicy Avocado Eggrolls

Empanadas (a true authentic Argentina family recipe) – thanks Lucy!

and WINE!

Shawnee and I recently decided that once a month we would try a new wine together (this could spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E)…but for the Extravaganza! We added a new wine to try – Francis Coppola Cabernet Sauvignon (Diamond Collection) was a great smooth red. Not too dry (I don’t like too dry). Definitely to-buy again!

Now let’s begin backwards and start with dessert!

ZEBRA CHEESECAKE

3- 8oz. pkgs cream cheese (softened)

3/4c granulated sugar

1T vanilla

5 eggs

1/8 cup heavy whipping cream

1tsp lemon zest (optional)

BEAT cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until combined.

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Add eggs one at a time and make sure incorporated.

Beat in whipping cream and zest.

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Split the batter in half and sift in 1/4 cup of good quality powdered coco. (NOTE: there is no crust in this cake, I didn’t think that the batter would spread well with a crust – let me know if you try it out and how it works).

Now is the toughest part (and it’s not even that tough) – place 3 tablespoons of the vanilla cheesecake in the middle of the pan.

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Place 3 tablespoons of the chocolate cheesecake on top of the vanilla…the batter will spread as you go, let it spread on it’s own.

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Now place 3 tablespoons of the vanilla…

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Here is what it looks like at three layers.

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Now it’s ready to bake!

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. In a pan large enough to set the cheesecake pan inside of it. Fill the pan with 2” inches of water and set in the oven to preheat.  I wrap the spring-form pan in two layers of foil to make sure the water doesn’t seep into the cake (made a cake once and only used one layer and my crust was soggy from the water getting into it).

Reduce the oven to 300-degrees, bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 5 min (or until the middle is set).

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