Monday, April 27, 2009

April's Daring Baker Challenge: Lemon Coconut Cheesecake with a Showering of Toasted Coconut

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

We were given the recipe and told to be creative with the flavoring...

My take on this cake: Lemon Coconut with a dollop of lemon curd and a sprinkling of toasted coconut.

Decided that Easter dessert would be a great occaision for cheesecake, so I wanted it to be something light and springy. Lemon was the obvious choice for that. Coconut was added because I have another recipe for tartlets that I make during the holidays that uses that combo and I was really craving that flavor.

For the crust, I crushed Trader Joe's Real Vanilla Wafers and added about a 1/2 c of Red Mill Unsweetened coconut.

The cheesecake called for a cup of heavy cream, I halved that and added 1/4 c of unsweetened coconut milk. I also increased the lemon juice to 1/4 cup

Additionally, a half cup of sweetened coconut was added to the cheesecake batter and a tablespoon of lemon zest.

Each slice was topped with lemon curd (I used a recipe from Cook's Illustrated) and toasted coconut.

The results were much better than I had hoped for. This was definately a great finale to our Easter meal. My husband has requested this for his birthday - when someone asks for seconds, you know that you must have done something right!

If you would like to see other great cheesecake creations, click on the Daring Kitchen icon on my site.

Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake:


2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs

1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted

2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract


3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature

1 cup / 210 g sugar

3 large eggs

1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream

1 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)

1 tbsp liqueur, optional, but choose what will work well with your cheesecake

DIRECTIONS:1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.
2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Set crust aside.
3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy.
4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.
5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.
Pan note: The creator of this recipe used to use a springform pan, but no matter how well she wrapped the thing in tin foil, water would always seep in and make the crust soggy. Now she uses one of those 1-use foil "casserole" shaped pans from the grocery store. They're 8 or 9 inches wide and really deep, and best of all, water-tight. When it comes time to serve, just cut the foil away.
Prep notes: While the actual making of this cheesecake is a minimal time commitment, it does need to bake for almost an hour, cool in the oven for an hour, and chill overnight before it is served. Please plan accordingly!


Anonymous said...

This flavor combo sounds GREAT, I love coconut. I'm actually bummed I didn't think to put it in mine! :) I also served mine at Easter and had the same idea of making it "spring-y".

Well done!

Lori said...

This coconut sounds so good. And so funny, we have the same china pattern. My Mom gave me it.

Jill of Jillicious Desserts said...

I really love lemon and coconut together--that must have been a really delicious cheesecake! Good job!!

I commented over on my blog to your comment--email me if you would like more information; I'd be happy to give suggestions, since I've been through the remodel thing before. :)


Madam Chow said...

Wow - what a creative cheesecake, and so glad it was a hit! I will have to try those Trader Joe's wafers - the usual ones I get at the grocery store are not my favorites.

Jenny said...

Wow, the combination of lemon and coconut seem just perfect for spring and for Easter. Lovely. Sorry I'm so late in commenting on your post. I'm determined to make it to every one of the 1k+ Daring Bakers, it is just taking me a while.

Jenny of JennyBakes