i love it when a recipe comes out right, the first time. trust me, there have been some failed attempts and it’s no fun to bake away your afternoon and have nothing tasty to show for it. (damn you, mojito cupcakes! that’s why i have to buy mine from kickass cupcakes.)
on sunday, i made mini raspberry cheesecakes for our vp’s (belated) birthday and they were surprisingly delicious. call me crazy, but i didn’t realize it takes a whole lotta cream cheese to make cheesecake desserts. i found the recipe on annie’s eats (she’s got some great ones on there), which had been adapted from a recipe in martha stewart’s cupcakes. can’t go wrong with martha… at least not in terms of baking.
one tip before you start: read the whole recipe. your cream cheese and eggs need to be room temperature. luckily, i was baking in a hot box of a kitchen that is heated by bright sun for most of the day, so i was in luck by the time i needed to use those ingredients.
makes 32 cupcakes
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
(i used sweet cream butter that was in the fridge and it came out just fine)
3 tbsp sugar
6 oz. fresh raspberries
2 tbsp sugar
2 lbs cream cheese, at room temperature
(4 packages of cream cheese, if you don’t want to do the math)
1 1/2 cups sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp of vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line cupcake pans with paper liners. in a small bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar until well blended. press a tablespoon of the mixture into each cupcake liner and use the bottom of a glass to press the crumbs down evenly. bake until set, about 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
next, combine the raspberries and sugar in a blender or food processor to make the strawberry puree. i can tell you from experience that a blender does not seem to work as well, but then again, i have a ghetto blender. at any rate, process it until smooth and pour it into a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds. to get the most raspberry bang for your buck, you’ll need to use the back of a spoon and push the raspberries through the mesh.
for the filling, add all of the cream cheese to a bowl and beat until fluffy using an electric mixer (medium high speed). this is why room temperature is key. blend in the sugar gradually and continue until smooth. add in the salt and vanilla and combine. add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. spoon 3 tablespoons of the batter over the graham cracker crust into each cupcake liner.
now comes the fun part. add about 1/2 a teaspoon of the raspberry puree over the cheesecake filling, making 3 dots on each. use a toothpick (or a chopstick) to swirl the raspberry with the filling, creating a marble effect.
bake in the oven at 325 degrees, about 22 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. when you remove them from the oven, they will look puffy, but they set quickly.)
let them hang out in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer each cupcake to a wire cooling rack to cool to room temperature. transfer them to a dish (or a few dishes) and chill them in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. i’d recommend covering them with saran wrap after they’ve cooled slightly. and when serving, they’re tasty right out of the fridge, but even better when they’ve had a second to get closer to room temperature again.
they were a hit at work (“you’re my new best friend.” “omigod.” “these are little bits of heaven.” “can i have the recipe?”) and quite easy to make. sure beats dragging out a springform pan and making the real thing. try it!