Cheesecake with Strawberry Balsamic Sauce

Nowadays, other people’s birthdays are far more exciting than my own.  Does that happen to you too? I think that’s what happens when you pass the age of 21.

I love other people’s birthdays, because I love getting other people gifts and I love making them birthday cakes.  Ok really, that last reason is the most important one.

Yesterday  was Jesse’s birthday.  In the past I’ve written an embarrassing post in his honor, but this year I’ll mostly spare him.  I made him an epic cheesecake, because while I love layer cakes, I know he’s a fan of cheesecake.

jessecake1

On someone’s birthday, you should probably make what they like, not what you like.  Remember, it’s the time to be giving.

cheesecake2

Cheesecake with Strawberry Balsamic Sauce

cake adapted from All Recipes (strawberry sauce my own)

9 graham crackers, crushed
1/4 cup butter, melted
4 (8oz) packages of cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup flour

For Topping:

1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup whipped cream (sweetened with a few tbsp sugar), optional

For Sauce:

1lb fresh strawberries
1/2-3/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 325F.  Grease 9inch springform pan and wrap in aluminum foil (this is to keep water from getting in when you bake in a water bath). In a bowl, mix together graham cracker crumbs and melted butter.  Press into bottom of springform pan.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Using a mixer, beat together cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in milk and eggs, one at a time until just combined.  Add in sour cream, vanilla and flour and beat until just combined.  Pour batter into prepared pan.

Place pan in a larger baking dish, a roasting pan if you have one (I used a jelly roll pan because that’s all I had), and fill baking dish with hot water.  Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  After that time, turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven for another hour, then crack the oven door and let it sit for another hour or two.  The goal is to make sure the temperature doesn’t drop too quickly.  That way you’ll get a smooth cheesecake with no cracks.

While you’re waiting for the cake to cool, is the perfect time to make the topping.  Dice strawberries and place in a sauce pan with sugar and balsamic vinegar.  With regards to the amount of sugar, start with half a cup, after it’s been cooking for a while, taste the sauce and add more if you’d like.  I didn’t, but I could see where some would want it sweeter.  Cook on medium heat about 10 minutes.  Allow to cool.  At this point, you can leave it with chunks of fruit or you can blend to get a smooth sauce.  I blended it, but whole chunks of fruit could also be delicious and beautiful.

strawberry balsamic sauce2

The topping can be made in advance and refrigerated.  Feel free to serve it warm or cold.

cheesecake

Now back to the cake… Once the cake has cooled, refrigerate a few hours or overnight.  A few hours before you’re ready to serve, prepare topping.  Mix together sour cream, sugar and vanilla.  Spread over top of cake.  Pipe whipped cream around edges (this is optional, just for decoration).  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

strawberry balsamic sauce1

Serve with strawberry balsamic sauce and enjoy!

I hope Jesse enjoyed it!  His birthday was pretty low key.  We had sushi, ate cheesecake and then proceeded to spend the rest of the night in a food coma.

cheesecakeslice

That might be one of the most awesome ways to spend a birthday.

Happy Birthday, Jesse!

I know I said my other people’s birthdays are more exciting than my own, but next week is my birthday and let’s be honest, making a birthday cake for yourself is always exciting.

I have many ideas in mind and it involves lots of fresh fruit.

What’s more exciting: your birthday or someone else’s?

Advertisements

Why Making Your Own Birthday Cake is Awesome

Yesterday was my birthday, and I made my own birthday cake.   Some seem to think that’s wrong, because on your birthday you should not do the work.  But let me just tell you… making your own birthday cake is actually awesome.

IMG_8461

 

Obviously if you hate making cakes, it’s not awesome. But if you like baking, you should consider making your own birthday cake because…

  1. You can make it as ridiculous as you want.  I wanted a tall cake, so I decided 4 layers was essential. Let’s be honest, 4 layers is really unnecessary, but hey, it’s my birthday.  4 layer cake it is!

  2. It will be exactly what you want.  I love lemon.  8 lemons went into my cake with lemon cream filling and raspberry whipped cream.  I’m not sure who else would take the time to do that if not me.

  3. If you mess it up, it’s ok.  It’s your cake.  No one can hate you because it’s your birthday.  My cake was slightly crooked.  Eh! I’ll survive.

  4. Your birthday is a pretty darn good reason to make a cake, and it’s fun!

  5. It’s basically a gift to yourself.  You’re awesome.  Celebrate you with cake!

  6. You won’t be disappointed, because you know exactly what to expect.

birthdaycake

So if you’re birthday is coming up.  Consider making your own birthday cake.  I promise, it’s more awesome than it seems.

Of course, if you make a cake for yourself, don’t eat the whole thing yourself.  Make sure people sing to you…

photo (2)

then slice it up and share with the world!

Thanks for everyone who wished me a Happy Birthday and Happy Birthday to everyone celebrating their birthday as well!

What’s your ideal birthday cake? 

July: Birthday Month

Happy July 1st and Happy Canada Day to all my readers in Canada (Thanks for the reminder, Krista!)

July is also my birthday month.  You know me.  Normally the most important part of any birthday is cake

bananacakecaramel1

Oh and piePie is very important.

 

blueberrypie2

And I definitely don’t want to forget those two things.  But for my birthday month, I want to concentrate less on cake and pie and more on health.

I’ve decided this year to give myself the gift of wellness (and a new computer), because those are things no one else is going to do for me.  That’s not to say that health and wellness shouldn’t be a priority all the time.  They are, but recently I’ve caught myself slipping.  What better way to celebrate my birthday than to jumpstart my health.

My birthday is July 30th, but  this is not a 30 day challenge (we all know I don’t do well with those).  But I have a few goals for next month (that hopefully will go beyond 30 days):

1. Aim to exercise 5-7 days a week.  This is not an outrageous goal, but recently I found myself only working out 2-3 days a week.  Better than nothing but not ideal.

2.  Make sure sweets are a treat, not a way to fill me up.  Won’t a big piece of birthday pie taste amazing if I didn’t have a big fat piece the day before? Absolutely.  I’m going to aim for 1 sweet treat per week (as opposed to my current 1 sweet treat per day).

3.  Exfoliate 3-4 times per week.  I know this is totally a weird thing to strive for, but I forget to exfoliate all the time.  It’s good for your skin.  I should do it more often.

4. Hot Water with lemon.  At least 1 cup per day.  Cleansing and tasty!

5.  Think nice things about myself.  I’m my own worst critic.  This month, I’m going to stop myself from criticizing parts of my body or not believing in myself, because that’s just silly.  I have a few major things I want to accomplish and I think this is a great month to get started and be fearless in the process.

So that’s pretty much it.  Nothing too crazy, but I think these small changes will be great gifts to myself.

How about you? Do you have a birthday coming up?

What’s your gift to yourself this month?

Banana Birthday Cake for My Mom

Today is Memorial Day, but it’s also my mother’s birthday.  While you’re all probably grilling and pie-making, I made a cake to celebrate a very special lady.

IMG_3156

My mom claims to not like cake and dessert, but really I know she’s just picky.  She loves certain desserts and she loves everything banana.  No crazy combinations here, because of her picky palate, I went the simple route.

I made a simple banana cake like the little banana cake I made before (recipe doubled for a full cake), but with a few changes to the filling

bananabirthdaycakeassembly

I whipped up a ton of whipped cream with sugar and a touch of vanilla for filling and frosting, fried some bananas with rum and added some slivered almonds.

bananabirthdaycake2

and ta-da! A birthday cake just for my mother.  I added some fresh flowers for a pop of color.

bananabirthdaycake1

Happy Birthday Mom!

Is your mother picky about desserts like mine?  I feel like that’s one thing my children will never have to worry about.  I’ll pretty much enjoy anything.

Birthday Cake in a Jar

Remember how I made a blueberry pie for myself instead of a birthday cake?

I couldn’t really pass up making a birthday cake.  Luckily, two friends had birthdays last week as well.  We had what I like to call a “collective cumpleaños” celebration and I wanted to make a cake.  Here was the problem.  Our collective gathering involved a bonfire on the beach.  Not really conducive to a huge layer cake.

Instead, I had an idea.  Birthday cake in a jar.

I made it with layers of spicy chocolate cake, spicy chocolate mousse and cinnamon buttercream.  Then I put in a jar, wrote happy birthday on top, taped a candle to it and put a bow on top.

Instant and highly-portable gift!

Ok I promise I’ll try to stop putting things in jars for a while.  My sister gave me an ice cream maker for my birthday.  That might be my next kick.

Got any ice cream recipe suggestions?

Oh and don’t forget to enter the Stonyfield Summer in a Box giveaway!