You know that scene from A Christmas Story where the father descends into the basement to battle the furnace and a cloud of gray smoke mingled with garbled obscenities seeps through the floor vent? That’s kind of how things go at our house when things go wrong with the plumbing. You’re probably wondering how plumbing and cheesecake are remotely related, allow me to explain. About a year ago we had a bad luck streak with plumbing. Every time we’d fix a problem a new, bigger problem would arise until our bad luck climaxed with the pipes in our basement oozing sewage while we had house guests. A good chunk of money and a bladed auger were finally able to tame the problem. When the plumber left we were all exhausted and traumatized from the plumbing apocalypse. Really the only reason why we were able to carry on at all was because we had some leftover white chocolate macadamia nut cheesecake in the refrigerator from our National Cheesecake Day celebration the day before.
National Cheesecake Day is nearly upon us once again (July 30th!) and thankfully there is no indication that there is anything wrong with the plumbing. (Although I do have recurring nightmares about having to replace our entire sewer line. It turns out my nightmares have become boringly realistic now that I’m a bonafide adult.) I’m really hoping that this year we can enjoy cheesecake drama free, but even if that’s not the case we’ve already proven that this recipe is a stress buster. (Stressed is desserts spelled backwards after all.) This cheesecake is my recreation of the Cheesecake Factory’s version. It is definitely a special occasion level cheesecake and should be shared or frozen in slices so you can enjoy it for weeks. I have not dared to calculate the calories per serving in this rich dessert, but trust me your tastebuds will overrule the tiny part of you that cares about things like that. Besides, I’m of the opinion that mediocre desserts are a waste of time and calories. If I’m going to eat something that’s “bad” for me it better taste pretty darn good and this cake more than delivers.
White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cheesecake
Blonde Brownie Crust
- 1/4 C Coconut Oil (butter would also work, but coconut adds a nice flavor if you have it)
- 1 C brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 egg
- 3/4 C flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 C chopped Macadamia Nuts
- Grease (I used coconut oil) your springform pan and wrap the bottom in a double layer of aluminum foil. I tend to go a little overboard with the foil as I’m paranoid about soggy crusts.
- Cream coconut oil with sugar in mixer. Add egg and vanilla. Mix in remaining ingredients, then spread in the bottom of the pan. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until it just starts to turn golden. The crust won’t be cooked all the way through.
- 2 pounds (four 8-ounce boxes) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 1/3 C sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 1/3 C heavy cream
- 4 ozs of white chocolate chunks (Good quality chips also work)
- 1/2 C chopped Macadamia Nuts
- Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Beat the cream cheese at medium speed until it is soft and creamy, about 4 minutes.
- With the mixer running, add the sugar and salt and continue to beat another 4 minutes or so, until the cream cheese is light. Beat in the vanilla.
- Add the eggs one by one, beating on high speed until each is fully incorporated. Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in the heavy cream. Turn off your mixer and fold in the white chocolate and macadamia nuts.
- Scrape the batter into the springform pan. The batter will reach the brim of the pan. (I have a smaller springform pan so I always have a smidgen of extra batter. I generally use it to make a smaller, shallow cheesecake.) Put the whole thing on a rimmed baking sheet and fill a large measuring cup with water. Put the baking sheet with the cheesecake in the oven and pour enough water into the pan so it goes about an inch up the side of the cake.
- Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, at which point the top may be slightly browned (and perhaps cracked) and may have risen just a little above the rim of the pan. Turn off the oven’s heat and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Allow the cheesecake to luxuriate in its water bath for at least an hour. (I left mine in the oven overnight and it was the most beautiful cheesecake I’ve ever made.)
- Carefully pull the setup out of the oven. Lift the springform pan off the baking sheet and remove the foil. Refrigerate. Remove the springform sides when you are ready to eat. If you want a complete recreation of the Cheesecake Factory version, top with caramel sauce (I use this salted carmel sauce) and whipped cream.
Note on slicing cheesecake: Using a good sharp knife that has been dipped in hot water after each slice can really help your slices look nice. I’ve found that freezing the cheesecake for 30-60 minutes can also really help the slices keep their shape.
Note on freezing cheesecake: If you aren’t freezing the whole cake cut into individual slices and freeze on a baking sheet just for 30-60 minutes. Wrap each individual slice in parchment paper or wax paper and then store in a tupperware or ziploc in the freezer. Thaw at room temperature.