(I couldn't find my camera. So you get mediocre cell phone pics instead.)
My first thought was: "We should buy an extra piece to share with family." My second was: "I have GOT to make this gluten free." Fortunately, my birthday is not long after our anniversary, giving me an excellent reason to make a cheesecake. I googled recipes, tinkered with them, and got to work. Unfortunately, it didn't turn out quite like I wanted it to. Don't get me wrong . . . the cheesecake I made for my birthday was good. It just wasn't right. It was too lemony and took AGES to make. So, since it was my sister's birthday and since she said that a lemon cake sounded good, I decided to try again. My main inspirations for this try came from here and here, and then I just adjusted the recipes as I went along.
This time . . . Oh, my Heavens. It was just right. Also, it was rather easier to make than the first one. I took pieces to 7 or 8 neighbors afterward (with half of a 10 inch cheesecake left, there was nothing else to be done - I most certainly would have eaten it all). It was a universal hit. (Yes, I made everyone taste it while I stood there watching. Big eyes and rapidly empty plates ensued. Also, several little boys saying: "Oh, my gosh, that's good!")
So . . . Gluten Free Lemon Raspberry Cream Cheesecake recipe, anyone?
Lemon Raspberry Cream Cheesecake
Vanilla/Raspberry Cake Base
¾ c. butter, softened
1 ¼ c. sugar
1 (3.4 oz.) pkg. instant vanilla pudding mix
2 c. Featherlight mix
½ c. GF mix
1 tsp. xanthan gum
2 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
1 ¼ c. milk
½ c. frozen raspberries
Raspberry Sauce (You'll want to make two different batches of this)
4 Tbs. seedless raspberry jam (I used Smuckers)
¼- ½ c. frozen raspberries
1 - 2 Tbs. water
2 lb. regular cream cheese (slightly softened)
1 1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. EGF all-purpose flour mix
1 c. sour cream
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 Tbs. vanilla
1 tsp. fresh or dried lemon zest
Lemon Mousse Topping
2 tsp. unflavored gelatin (Knox)
2 Tbs. cold water
6 Tbs. lemon juice
1 (4 oz.) bar white chocolate*
8 oz. regular cream cheese, softened
2 c. heavy whipping cream
2 Tbs. sugar
3 Tbs. powdered sugar
*Don't use white baking chips . . . they are seldom actually made of white chocolate
So. The first thing you want to do is make sure that you have a round cake pan that is the same size as your springform pan. I, in fact, did not own a round cake pan that was the same size as any of the three springform pans that I own, so I borrowed one from my neighbor. The pans I used were 10" in diameter. If you are going to be using 9 inch pans, you will have to increase your baking times by 5 - 15 minutes. Keep an eye on your baking to make sure things don't burn (or underbake).
This cheesecake will be assembled in layers. The first time I made it, I tried partly baking the cake (in the springform), then adding the cheesecake layer and baking it for the rest of the necessary time. I thought it would be easier that way, but I've changed my mind. It really was quite easy to put the layers together. The first layer you want to bake is the cheesecake, as it needs to cool for at least 4 hours before you eat it. (This is, by the way, a long process, but most of it is down time while things are chilling in the fridge. The actual mixing/baking time is probably about 15 minutes for each of the three layers.)
Preheat the oven to 475 F. Place a large shallow pan in the oven with about 1/2" of hot water in it. (I used a 13x18 cookie sheet pan that has about 1" sides.) Make sure that your springform pan will easily fit into the pan, as this will be a waterbath for the cheesecake.
Set a large shallow pan or skillet filled with 1/2-inch of water into the oven. The cheesecake pan should be able to fit inside easily. - See more at: http://www.copycatrecipeguide.com/How_to_Make_the_Original_Cheesecake_Factory_Cheesecake#sthash.VVMKQt7K.dpuf
To make the cheesecake, place the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer. mix until smooth. (This is the reason for letting the cream cheese soften slightly - when the cream cheese is cold, you have to mix it harder to ensure that all the lumps are gone, but this can mix a lot of air into the cheese, which can later result in cracks in the top of your cheesecake. That's the story I've heard, anyway.) Once the cream cheese is smooth, mix in the sugar and flour, and then the sour cream and lemon juice. Add the eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest. Mix gently until the eggs are thoroughly incorporated.
Pour batter into a 10 inch springform pan. Place the pan in the oven, inside the waterbath. (You may want to submerge the bottom of your springform pan into a waterbath before you fill it, just to make sure that it doesn't leak. One of the recipes suggested that you wrap the bottom of your pan in foil to keep the water out. I tried it, but the water leaked into the foil so it was rather useless.)
Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 F and bake for another 50 - 60 minutes or until center is mostly set. Remove from oven. Cool. When cool, place in refrigerator and chill. Chill for at least an hour before assembling layers. (If you don't, pieces of your cheesecake may break off while you are layering things. Go ahead. Ask me how I know.)
Now that the oven is empty again, it is time to bake the cake layer. Increase oven heat to 375 F. Line the bottom and sides of a 10 inch round cake pan with a single piece of parchment paper (this will make it easier to assemble the layers later).
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter, sugar, and pudding mix. Add flour mixes, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt. Mix until well blended. (The mixture will look like small crumbs.) Slowly mix in milk and vanilla, beating on medium speed until smooth. Add eggs and mix on medium-low speed until combined. Stir in raspberries.
Pour about 1" of batter into a 10" round cake pan. (I split my cake batter between the 10" pan and a 7 1/2" round pan I own. (What a weird sized for a cake pan to be, right?)) Place in oven and bake for 20 - 30 minutes, or until cake is golden brown on top, set in the middle, and starting to pull away from the sides of the pan. I know that's a really long window of time, but adding the frozen raspberries just before baking really throws the times off. Just keep an eye on it.
Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool.
Once the cake and cheesecake are cool, make a quick raspberry sauce. Combine the jam and water. Stir well. Heat for 20 - 30 seconds in the microwave, just until warm. Stir in raspberries.
There are a couple of possible ways to assemble the first two layers. First I'll tell you what I did, then I'll tell you what I plan to do next time. You can choose which one sounds easiest. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, then turn the cake upside down onto the lined cookie sheet (using the parchment paper lining around the cake to help lift and turn things). Remove the parchment paper liner from the baked cake. Spread raspberry sauce over the top of the cake, leaving about 1/2 inch of plain cake around the edges.
Whew. That looks like a lot of work when typed out, but it really wasn't that bad. However, I was thinking it through this morning and I realized that it would probably be much easier to do it this way: Loosen the cheesecake from the sides of the springform pan. Release the tension on the sides of the pan, but do not remove the sides. (Or you could move the sides out of the way if you think it would be easier.) Spread raspberry sauce on the top of the cheesecake, leaving 1/2 inch of plain cheesecake around the edges. Carefully turn the cooled cake onto cheesecake. Remove the parchment paper liner from the baked cake. Refasten the sides of the springform pan and return it to the fridge to continue chilling. When you are ready to add the final layer of lemon mouse, you can remove the sides, and turn the whole thing over onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet or just a big 11" Lemon Raspberry Cream Cheesecake displayer-type thing. (I would do that by placing the displayer upside down on the cake layer, placing one hand under the springform pan base and on hand on top of the displayer thing, and then flipping the thing over. Then you can remove the base of the springform pan from the cheesecake.)
Okay. Lemon Mousse. This takes several bowls, but not a lot of time. Sprinkle gelatin over cold water and stir gently. While gelatin is absorbing water, heat the 6 Tbs. of lemon juice until boiling. Pour over the gelatin mixture and stir until gelatin has dissolved. Allow to cool slightly (I put a couple of ice cubes in a second bowl and placed it underneath my lemon gelatin bowl, then removed it once the gelatin was no longer hot).
Beat the cream cheese until smooth. Melt the white chocolate bar in the microwave until warm and stir-able (this took about 45 seconds on 50% power in my microwave). Beat into the cream cheese. Add the lemon gelatin to the cream cheese mixture and blend thoroughly.
Add the sugar and powdered sugar to the cream and stir them in very gently until dissolved. Place the cream in the bowl of a stand mixer and whip until it stands in stiff peaks. Gently stir in the cream cheese mixture until well blended. At this point you can taste the mousse. If you find that it isn't quite lemony enough, add another Tbs. or so of lemon juice. (I just whipped the extra juice in with my stand mixer.)
Spread over the chilled cheesecake (and down the sides, if desired) and chill. (The cheesecake needs to be chilled for at least 4 hours before serving. Trust me on this. The flavor and texture just get way better with time.)
You may pipe extra whipped cream around the edges of the cheesecake before serving, if desired. Serve drizzled with raspberry sauce (just whip up another small batch of it) and whipped cream. Share leftovers with your neighbors. Bask in the "Holy Cow, That's Good!"s that will flow your way.