Cheese Cake Soufflé

Since I was a little kid, before I can even remember, I’ve had cheese cake for my birthday.  According to my mother, the story goes that around my third or fourth birthday (which is in July) she made a cheese cake for President’s Day.  I guess I liked because I declared that I wanted to have cheese cake for my birthday.  Not believing me, my mom made nice chocolate cake.  I’m sure it was great, but that wasn’t going to stop little me from throwing what I hear was an epic tantrum.  So cheese cake became my birthday tradition.

This year, the girlfriend, Meg, offered to make a cheese cake.  We found a recipe in the Red Book (aka The America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook).  The first step starts with cream cheese.  A lot of cream cheese.  I’m pretty sure it was my work here that led us astray.  So apparently the Red Book told me that the two and a half pounds of cream cheese should be cut into nice 1-2 inch cubes before mixing with a hand mixer.  I missing that bit of guidance.  Meg’s old electric hand mixer met not so creamy cream cheese and just couldn’t handle the caloric mass.  After about 60 seconds the right mixer thing (tong? prong? beater?) stopped working and fell out.  

Left with only a half a hand mixer seemed fine.  Slowly but surely, the dying mixer softened the cream cheese and united it with the rest of the ingredients (eggs, vanilla, etc.).  It actually reminded me a little of some of my favorite force improvisational cooking while cooking with friends back in Minnesota.  Everything got mix and poured on top of the gram cracker crust in the spring pan and put in the oven.

But when we opened the oven after the necessary time we had a surprise:  cheese cake soufflé!  The cake and popped up about two inches above the pan and was light and spongy to the touch (see picture).  As we double checked the recipe to see what we missed and the cake cooled it sank in, just like a cooling soufflé.  Then it hit, all of our extra beating from the gimpy mixer must have filled the batter with air.  Though Meg’s pre-war oven might have played some role as well.  Now I just need to see if I can make a real soufflé when I’m trying!

All in all, the cake looked a little strange, but still tasted great.

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