There are so many different cake tins called for in the Baking Bible recipe for the Fourth of July Cheesecake, I had visions of Rose conducting a wild symphony of tins flying around her kitchen, a la Mary Poppins. This recipe is not for the easily daunted. The individual components are not difficult by themselves, but there are an awful lot of them. I chose to skip a couple of steps so it wasn't quite as complex. I also thought that icing wasn't necessary on a cheesecake, although it does look delicious.
My final cake didn't look as spectacular as the picture in the book, but after a night in the fridge it turned out to be truly delicious. I took it to work and it was a great success. I halved the recipe for the cheesecake but made the whole recipe for the red velvet cake. The red velvet cake was more brown coloured since I left out the red food colouring and added a bit more cocoa. I probably should have cut it in half because it made quite a thick layer but in the end it melded very nicely with the cheesecake. I decorated the top with whipped cream and fresh blueberries.
When I went shopping for ingredients, I bought 1kg of cream cheese and 1litre of sour cream. Once I got home I realised that it was ridiculous to make the whole quantity of the cake since I didn't have anything special to do with it. I also decided not to make the icing. This left me with a lot of unused cream cheese and sour cream. Thank goodness for freezers.
The cheesecake batter was easy to put together in the stand mixer; with cream cheese, egg yolks, sour cream, lemon juice, vanilla and sugar whizzed up to a thick cream. Since I made half quantity I baked it in a 20cm tin. I struggled with the water bath and at one stage I thought the cheesecake might float away. Luckily the water leaks didn't seem to have a deleterious effect.
The real gem of this recipe is the cheesecake. I hadn't made one of Rose's baked cheesecakes before and I was impressed with the ultra creamy texture and light lemony flavour. I'll definitely be making this again.
I made the red velvet cake the day after the cheesecake. It was very simple and easy to pull together in the stand mixer.
It has butter, canola oil, flour, cocoa, sugar, vanilla, buttermilk and egg whites. I noticed after I took this photo that the buttermilk made a map of Australia shape in the flour.
The cake turned out to be quite solid with a fairly dense texture. I trimmed it to match the size of the cheesecake.
The successful composition of the final cake does call for some conjuring and a couple of abracadabras. Rose has a complex but obviously well thought out procedure for putting the two cakes together (involving more cake tins than any one person possesses). But I couldn't get the hang of all the cake tin substitutions and instead dangerously flipped the cheesecake onto the cake, with only one small crack to show for it (and a lot less washing up).
I wasn't sure about the cake when I first made it but a night in the fridge allowed the components to blend together. If I made it again, I would make the bottom cake layer a bit thinner, like the recipe suggests. I might even go for the red food colouring. But I would stick with the whipped cream and unadorned fruit topping.