People love pie, but they adore cheesecake, at least most of us. The cheesecake on a dessert buffet is often the first attacked, and I think a lot of people are drawn to this creamy delight because it is not as sweet as some desserts.
Also, the toppings on a cheesecake look really inviting!
There’s nothing at all wrong with a plain cheesecake, or adorned with a few berries or sauce. But with just a little twist, swapping out Irish cream liquor for the heavy cream in the recipe, you have a delightful variation. It doesn’t scream Irish cream, but tastes like a really special cheesecake. If you don’t tell them, they probably won’t guess your “secret ingredient.”
Our extended family loves cheesecake, probably more than pie or cake. So, at the holidays, it is always a feature on the dessert table. I realized this one Easter when I had a big bowl of macerated strawberries nestled between a basket of shortcakes and a plain cheesecake. The cheesecake and strawberries were devoured and many of the shortcakes remained!
A variation on a variation
This is a variation on my mom’s recipe, which I think she took off the cream cheese package and added the Bailey’s to it! She also made this cake with Kahlúa, one of her favorite ingredients. When she used Kahlúa, she probably made her own homemade spirit.
I’ve made a few of my own changes and swapped out the graham cracker crust for a cookie crust. I’ve made this with both vanilla wafers and Famous chocolate wafers, and they make completely different cheesecakes.
Chocolate or not?
If you use chocolate wafers in the crust, this dessert quite chocolate forward, so if you want more Irish cream flavor and less chocolate, use vanilla wafers here.
Use full-fat cream cheese and sour cream here. This is not a diet food by any means, and the fat is important to the recipe. But it’s rich, so small slices are all you need to satisfy.
Let things really and truly be at room temperature
Leave the cream cheese out on the counter the night before to make sure it is really soft. Cold cream cheese will never blend in and is the failure of many a cheesecake. Leave the eggs out too.
Most cheesecakes call for baking in a water bath to ensure even baking and a creamy texture, but my pan has a large bottom platter that can’t fit in my roasting pan, so I can’t bother with this step! For insurance, I do add a tablespoon of cornstarch to help stabilize the texture, but this cheesecake is incredibly creamy and doesn’t really need that much help!
All that it’s cracked up to be
Cracking happens for a few reason: most likely, the cake was over-baked, the filling was over whipped, or the was cooled too quickly, that is why you shut off the oven and let it set there for another hour.
If I pay attention to all of this and still get a crack or two, it’s about the last thing in the world I stress about.
After all, the topping will hide any cracks!
Sylvia’s Irish Cream Cheesecake with a Cookie Crust
Make the crust:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter a *10-inch springform pan.
In a food processor, pulse until grainy:
- 8 ounces of chocolate or vanilla wafer cookies
- 6 ounces melted butter.
Pulse these together until combined, then pour into the springform pan. Spread evenly over the bottom and up about a half-inch on the sides, then press down with a flat bottomed glass or measuring cup.
Bake for 15 minutes, remove, cool to room temperature.
For the filling:
In a standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, on low, or with a hand mixer, gently beat until combined:
- 4 8-oz. pkgs. softened cream cheese
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch
Beat these together on low for about a minute to dissolve the sugar. You don’t want to beat extra air into this, so slow is the word.
Blend for a few seconds, then add one at a time:
- 3 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tbsp. vanilla bean paste, or vanilla.
- 1/3 cup Irish cream liquor
Blend just until combined, scrape the bottom of the bowl, and pour into the cooled crust.
Place in the middle rack of the oven, reduce the heat to 300 degrees F. and bake for one hour. The middle of the cake should just jiggle a tiny bit, but the rest will be set.
Turn off the oven, and leave for an additional hour with the oven door closed.
Chill for at least four hours.
Make the ganache layer.
In a metal or glass bowl over simmering water combine:
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
- 1 tbsp. light corn syrup
- ½ cup heavy cream
Once melted, slowly stir with a wooden spoon to smooth. It will go from a gloppy mess to a beautiful dark chocolate glaze. You can also do this on medium in the microwave, 30 seconds at a time until melted.
Pour over the chilled cheesecake, and let set until cooled.
Now, if you want this to scream Irish cream, just drizzle a few tablespoons of the liquor over your serving. Really, it’s delicious!
*If you use an 8-or 9-inch springform pan, your cheesecake layer will be thicker, so please cook an additional five to 10 minutes, or check to ensure it is set except for a tiny jiggle in the middle before turning off the heat.
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