Not so long ago in the Land of St. Honore’, the fairy godmother received an urgent summons from the castle.
Cinderella, now called Ella to distance her from her sordid past, was on the board of a charity. As is often the case these days just being a do-gooder wasn’t enough. She had been “asked” to provide a “Spectacular” dessert for an upcoming event and it was supposed to be something that she had baked herself. Now she had been a whiz at cleaning everything from the chamber pots to the fireplaces at her stepmother’s place, but no one had trusted her with baking since the fiasco of the well burnt cookies.
Her fairy godmother arrived and heard her tale of woe. “What did you have in mind”, she asked?
“Well, the only things in the castle kitchen include some plain cream cheese, plain cream, plain sugar, plain eggs, plain butter and the usual pantry items like crackers. I suppose there are some fresh strawberries, too. I can’t imagine that anything grand enough to be a centerpiece could come of all that.”
Ah, she certainly was a forgetful princess, wasn’t she? Didn’t she remember the transformations necessary to get her to the ball, all those years ago?
Wasting no time, “Bibity-bobbity-boo!”, cried the fairy godmother with a swirl of her magic wand. This time there were no gourds involved, but instead Ella saw a glorious cheesecake, crowned with strawberries and decorated with whipped cream stars appear on the counter in the kitchen.
“I’m sorry I doubted you”, she said breathlessly. “Now how do you suppose I’m going to carry that to the event in my Pumpkin SUV?”
But her fairy godmother had flown off to her yoga class, leaving Ella to call for her footmen. Surely they would figure it out. A cheesecake like this isn’t created every day.
The additions I used to make Ella’s fairy godmother’s version include adding 1 teaspoon of lemon zest to the batter, not using any liquor, and adding ½ teaspoon cinnamon to the crust mixture. The top is decorated with sliced strawberries.
Small stars of whipped cream are piped on the sides
and a swirl is piped on the top near the center. I didn’t wave a wand or cry any magic words, but this cheesecake is an easy one and really doesn’t require magic, just careful attention to the recipe and a few hours of your time.
For the water bath part, I used a double layer of heavy duty foil to wrap the bottom and sides of the springform pan and that was successful. No water infiltrated the foil, so the crust was dry and delicious.
This is a truly spectacular cheesecake, not just because it looks awesome, but because it isn’t too sweet, it has a rich, soft and creamy texture and, if left almost plain, has true cheesecake flavor. Try it and see!
Since the challenge this month encourages imagination, do visit other Daring Bakers’ blogs to see what magic has been created in hundreds of ways! Click here for the blogroll.
A huge ‘Thank you!’ to Jenny for choosing such a great challenge recipe!