Three is magic number. Yes it is. It's a magic number. -Schoolhouse Rock
What a great three years it's been!
This past year has been so full of amazing opportunities and milestones, it's really made me step back and evaluate things - both with this blog and in my personal life. There's simply too much I want to do! I want to keep creating beautiful desserts but I also want to start painting again. I want to connect more with readers of this blog and with other bloggers. I want to spend more time with the people I love. I want my laundry pile to shrink. I want my bathroom to not look like a disaster area. I want to find two earrings that match.
See, this year has made me acutely aware of the balance I lack in a few areas of my life. My best friend calls me a professional plate spinner. I usually have so many things going on at once that I become extremely disorganized, my attention is divided and it's a miracle that anything gets done. So, I've decided to end the madness and say goodbye to my day job. It's a bittersweet decision to leave a job that I've had for nine years (and I adore my coworkers), but it's time. I'm following my heart, and I'll be blogging full time beginning in November. I'm so excited for things to come!
As for this cheesecake? It's a little no-bake flavored with vanilla bean and all gussied up with buttercream and confetti sprinkles. I wanted to give a happy surprise when the cake is sliced, so I created pastel layers. Tinting and layering cheesecake was a first for me, but I really love the effect. I'll definitely try this again with different colors!
Yield: One 6-inch cheesecake [click for printable version]
At my house birthdays = buttercream, but if you're not crazy about the idea then you may choose to cover this cheesecake with sweetened whipped cream. You'll find it easiest to cut partially frozen, and the remaining cake must be kept refrigerated.
This is a small 6-inch cake, and I used three 6-inch springform pans to make the layers. It can be made in an 8-inch pan, but the layers of color will be much thinner.
Special equipment: Three 6-inch spring-form pans.
Line the three springform pans with a circle of parchment paper in the bottom. Set aside
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tbsp. sugar
Pinch of salt
4 tbsp butter, melted
- Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Pour in melted butter and stir until mixture resembles wet sand.
- Press crust into the bottom of one of the lined spring-form pans. Set aside.
Vanilla bean cheesecake batter:
1 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
10 oz. cream cheese softened but still cold
2 tsp vanilla bean paste (vanilla extract can be used)
1 tsp powdered gelatin
1 tbsp cold water
- A few drops of each: red or pink liquid food coloring; blue food coloring; yellow food coloring
- Whip heavy cream in a stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment. When mixture begins to thicken, gradually add the sugar. Whip to stiff peaks then switch to the paddle attachment. Add in cream cheese a little at a time until well incorporated. Beat in vanilla.
- Sprinkle powdered gelatin over the cold water in a small microwaveable bowl. Wait 3-5 minutes until gelatin is absorbed. Microwave mixture for 7-10 seconds, or until gelatin is completely melted. Let cool slightly. Fold liquid gelatin mixture into the cheesecake batter.
- Divide cheesecake batter evenly into three bowls. Fold food coloring into the batters creating a blue, yellow and pink batter. Pour the blue batter over crust. Pour the yellow batter in a 6-inch pan and shake to level. Repeat with the pink layer. Freeze layers solid. They will be easiest to work with when completely frozen.
- Remove frozen layers from freezer and press a towel warmed with hot water around the edges of the pan to help release. Remove the spring-form collars. Transfer blue layer with crust to a cake stand or serving plate. Invert the yellow layer over the blue layer and use a knife to coax the parchment paper off the spring-form base. Peel off parchment. Repeat with pink layer. Smooth edges with an off-set spatula. Refrigerate cheesecake while you prepare the frosting. I recommend frosting the cake while it's still frozen/partially frozen.
Vanilla bean buttercream:
I used thick layer of buttercream on this cheesecake. You can certainly half the amount in this recipe and still have plenty.
1 cup of unsalted butter, softened
2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar - the finest you can find (usually 10x)
2 tsp. vanilla bean paste
Milk or heavy cream, optional
- In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix together the butter and confectioners’ sugar. Begin mixing on low speed until crumbly, and then increase to high and beat for 3 minutes.
- Add vanilla bean paste and beat again for another minute until light and fluffy. Beat in food coloring a little at a time until the desired color is achieved. If you find the buttercream is too stiff, you may add milk or heavy cream 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is spreading consistency.
- Frost cheesecake with buttercream using an off-set spatula. Pipe stars along the top edge of the cake with Wilton star tip #2D, and then pipe an undulating border around the bottom edge using the same tip.
- Sprinkle borders with confetti sprinkles. Refrigerate or store in freezer. Slices are easiest to cut when cheesecake is partially frozen. Serve slices chilled but not frozen. Cheesecake batter is very soft at room temperature, so be sure to keep this cake chilled!