Cheesecake of the Living Dead!
The client is always right. Right?
When you’re asked to make a special birthday cake or dessert, don’t you always want to create something that’s uniquely *them*? So what if your client is, let’s say…a ZOMBIE??
In this week’s post of hypothetical birthday orders, I ask, “What would a zombie want for their birthday dessert?” I was thinking a cake isn’t gooey enough. Pie? Nah…too boring. I KNOW! What’s gooey, yet decadent and delicious but still appeals to the undead?
How about a Cherry Cheesecake with a Chocolate Crust topped with brains and eyeballs? PERFECT!
I give you “Cheesecake of the Living Dead”
Ok, ok, maybe you don’t like the idea of “gross out” desserts. Well, here’s the beauty! This cheesecake recipe is amazing even without the brains and eyeballs! A chocolate cookie crust, with a rich vanilla cheesecake and a cherry pie glaze, make it perfect for any occasion. Or no occasion at all. Your call!
So let’s start with the crust. A lot of folks will use crushed Oreo crumbs for a chocolate cookie crust. I don’t think that Oreos really taste all that chocolate-y. To me they taste like…well…Oreos. Now don’t get me wrong. Oreos are amazing, but I stumbled on a little thing years ago called Chocolate Teddy Grahams.
My kids loved these cute little snacks, and one day I was baking and didn’t have Oreo crumbs for a crust. So I did what any busy mom would do rather than go to the store: I scrounged in my cupboards. And low-and-behold, the Chocolate Teddy Grahams called out to me. Cue the cheesy inspirational music! Ever heard of a happy accident? A quick turn and pulse in your food processor and there you go!
The rest is pretty standard…a little granulated sugar and melted butter added to the crumbs are perfect to press into a spring-form pan.
I do like to pre-bake my cheesecake crusts for about 8-9 minutes at 375 before I pour in the filling.
Speaking of the filling…you’ll want to soften the cream cheese in the microwave to eliminate any lumps in your finished cheesecake. Once your cream cheese is softened, place it in your mixer with the sugar and beat until smooth.
Next you’ll add the flour, lemon zest and vanilla bean paste:
After you’ve mixed the lemon zest and vanilla, you’ll mix in the eggs and egg yolk, slowly and one-at-a-time. Bonus if your neighbors have chickens!!!!
The last step is to slowly mix in the half-and-half and sour cream.
Now it’s ready to pour into your prebaked crust! Pour half of the filling into the crust and then top with dollops of canned cherry pie filling:
Pour the remaining filling over the cherries and place into a water bath in the oven to bake.
Don’t forget to pull the cherries out of the canned pie filling for gross-out eyeball effect and reserve the glaze for the top for bloody brains!
To make the brains, you can use either fondant or modeling chocolate colored gray-ish and roll it into worm-like strips. Then just zig-zag them together in little bunches to make them look like brains.
For the eyeballs, I used Isomalt cast in a food-safe silicon eyeball mold and squished them into cherries reserved from the pie filling. You could also roll white fondant or modeling chocolate into eyeballs if you don’t have any Isomalt on hand.
Putting it all together – Once your cheesecake has baked, you’ll cool it on the stove and remove the outer springform ring. I like to pop my cheesecakes into the freezer until they are very cold so as to make it easier to remove them from the bottom springform pan. Remember you need to peel off the wax or parchment paper that you lined the pan with!!! Zombies might not care about eating paper, but your human guests surely will!