Zebra Cheesecake

chocolate caramel cheesecake

Another Daring Bakers Challenge completed!

Copy (1) of IMG_0415

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


Necessity is the mother of invention. I made this in a small food processor and had to divide the batter into three batches. I flavored one batch chocolate, one batch caramel, and one vanilla. I had only 1/3 cup plain sugar, so I had to use dark brown sugar for the chocolate and caramel layers. I didn’t want to use graham crackers because the brands I saw had corn syrup. I used 1 package of cappucino flavor Kedem brand tea biscuits and 1/2 package of vanilla flavor (to make up 180 g. total). It made a whole lot of crumbs for the deep dish foil pan, so I pressed it up the sides.

I poured the chocolate batter in first, then the caramel, which pooled in the center, making a bulls-eye (like Maida Heatter’s famous bulls-eye cheesecake).

bull-eye cheesecake batter

I added the vanilla to the center. Then I swirled the very top to make a marble pattern.

marbelized cheesecake batter

I had a little bit of extra batter, which I baked in a small ramekin.

ramekin cheesecake

I gave some of the cheesecake from the ramekin to my mom after drizzling on some homemade caramel sauce and chocolate syrup.

caramel chocolate cheesecake

I take great pride in my regular cheesecake recipe (which is heavy on the sour cream), but this one was super smooth and creamy and my mom said it was the best she ever had. 

cheesecake bite

Zebra Cheesecake
for crust, combine:
1 whole package of Kedem cappucino tea biscuits (120 g), or 31 crackers
1/2 package of Kedem vanilla tea biscuits (60 g.), or 15 crackers
1/2 cup melted butter
2 Tbl. dark brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Press crumbs on bottom and sides of 8″ or 9″ deep dish foil pan (4″ deep). Set aside.
Make chocolate batter by pureeing together:
8 ounces cream cheese (I only found whipped, which may be the reason I had too much batter:  extra air)
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg
Melt together and add to batter:
1/3 cup cream
2 ounces chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. Godiva chocolate liqueur
Pour batter into crust.
Make brown sugar layer.
8 ounces cream cheese
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. Godiva chocolate liqueur
1/3 cup cream
Pour batter over chocolate layer.
Make vanilla layer.
8 ounces cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/3 cup cream
Pour vanilla batter over brown sugar batter. Pour any extra batter into ramekin.
Bake in a water bath in a 350 degree oven for 45-55 minutes. Let cool in oven for an hour. Refrigerate overnight.


Copy (1) of IMG_0416

Here is the original recipe, as posted by Jenny:

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
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!
Some variations from the recipe creator:
** Lavender-scented cheesecake w/ blueberries – heat the cup of heavy cream in the microwave or a saucepan until hot but not boiling. Add 2 tbsp of lavender flowers and stir. Let lavender steep in the cream for about 10-15 minutes, then strain the flowers out. Add strained cream to cheesecake batter as normal. Top with fresh blueberries, or make a quick stovetop blueberry sauce (splash of orange juice, blueberries, a little bit of sugar, and a dash of cinnamon – cook until berries burst, then cool)
** Cafe au lait cheesecake with caramel – take 1/4 cup of the heavy cream and heat it in the microwave for a short amount of time until very hot. Add 1-2 tbsp. instant espresso or instant coffee; stir to dissolve. Add this to the remainder of cream and use as normal. Top cheesecake with homemade caramel sauce (I usually find one on the food network website – just make sure it has heavy cream in it. You can use store-bought in a pinch, but the flavor is just not the same since its usually just sugar and corn syrup with no dairy).
** Tropical – add about a half cup of chopped macadamias to the crust, then top the cake with a mango-raspberry-mandarin orange puree.
** Mexican Turtle – add a bar of melted dark chocolate (between 3 and 5 oz., to taste) to the batter, along with a teaspoon of cinnamon and a dash of cayenne pepper (about 1/8 tsp.). Top it with pecan halves and a homemade caramel sauce.
** Honey-cinnamon with port-pomegranate poached pears – replace 1/2 cup of the sugar with 1/2 cup of honey, add about a teaspoon or more (to taste) of cinnamon. Take 2 pears (any variety you like or whatever is in season), peeled and cored, and poach them in a boiling poaching liquid of port wine, pomegranate juice/seeds, a couple of “coins” of fresh ginger, a cinnamon stick, and about a 1/4 cup of sugar. Poach them until tender, then let cool. Strain the poaching liquid and simmer until reduced to a syrupy-glaze consistency, then cool. Thinly slice the cooled pears and fan them out atop the cooled cheesecake. Pour the cooled poaching syrup over the pears, then sprinkle the top with chopped walnuts and fresh pomegranate seeds.
Some variations from Jenny (from JennyBakes):
**Key lime – add zest from one lime to sugar before mixing with cream cheese. Substitute lemon juice, alcohol, and vanilla with key lime juice.
**Cheesecakelets – put in muffin tins, ramekins, or custard cups. Try baking 20-35 minutes, or until still a little jiggly, and cool as before.

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7 Responses to “Zebra Cheesecake”

  1. Audax Artifex Says:

    Seems like you had fun doing this challenge. I just love the small one covered in caramel and chocolate. Great work on this challenge. Yours from Audax in Australia.

  2. pragmaticattic Says:

    Thanks Audax!

  3. Leona Says:

    Your cheesecake sounds delicious. I am always making due when I’m out of stuff. I look forward to seeing some of your other work. THX for your kind remarks on my cheesecake too. 🙂

  4. sara Says:

    Mmmm, this looks absolutely delicious! Wow. 🙂

  5. pragmaticattic Says:

    Thanks Leona and Sara!

  6. JennyBakes Says:

    I love the bulls eye concept, and I’m glad your Mom liked the recipe.

    Thanks for being a part of the April Daring Bakers Challenge! I am sorry to be so late in replying, but I’m determined to get to every blog.

    Jenny of JennyBakes

  7. New York Style Cheesecake « Pragmatic Attic Says:

    […] (Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake): for a denser, less tangy cheesecake, use 8 ounces of heavy cream and 24 ounces of cream cheese […]

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