Honeyed Yogurt Cheesecake
Quick note: Hi! If you're visiting my site after having watched The Kitchen, thank you and welcome! How awesome to have you here. I'm thrilled and crazed to discover that Amazon is actually out of stock for Real Sweet! We are on the case and more copies will be available through Amazon within days--they are gloriously quick about resolving stock issues. You can still place an order now and it will go out to you within the week. You can also check these other lovely online book sellers, or support your local brick-and-mortar bookstore and get a copy of the book in your hot little hands immediately. Thank you again for stopping by! And now back to our regularly scheduled blog post....
Oh, helllooo. I'm just sitting here, still basking in the glow of last week, which was decidedly more exciting and glamorous than my regular life. By that I mean I kissed my babies goodbye, and got on a plane to New York for a series of media hits for the new book with nothing but a bunch of carefully curated outfits and a book I'd been trying to read for months. Not a packet of Goldfish or juice box in sight. It was an event, I'm telling you. However, any time I embark on a trip out of town without my kids, I figure that it takes a solid 18 hours to wind down from the grind of motherhood and realize that I am actually, truly on my own. For example:
• On the plane ride there, I nearly offered the guy next to me a snack, tissue, hand wipe, etc. at least half a dozen times.
• Upon landing, I got into a taxi, fully expecting to have to sweatily install a carseat, then suddenly realized I didn't have to. Gave myself a mental high five.
• After settling into my hotel room and taking a shower without someone else in the bathroom with me for THE ENTIRE LENGTH OF THE SHOWER, I ordered room service and took to a cushy, clean bed to horf a hamburger and two chilled glasses of Sauv Blanc while watching non-animated television, and I'm pretty sure my guttural sighing became a little much for whoever was on the other side of the wall.
• I had been anticipating a delicious solo night's sleep for weeks, which, sadly, never came--between the time change from west coast to east, and the constant startling to ghost toddler wailing, my wake-up call came cruelly early. Upside: multiple cups of coffee the next morning, sipped leisurely with no spillage, due to lack of small people unexpectedly pulling on various parts of my body. Good enough for me.
Once I got into the groove, though, it was a terrific trip. Busy, but super productive. I had a few great Business Lady Meetings, and hit up Wake Up with Al before sunrise to make some Homemade Fruit Leather. Professional hair and makeup before 6:00 a.m.--now that's living.
And then! There was one of the more fantastical moments in my book tour history. This weekend, on June 13th and 14th, you can catch me making a cheesecake and sharing embarrassing college photos on Food Network's awesomely fun show The Kitchen. It was Oprah-level greatness, guys.
I mean, it's not everyday you get to meet people you admire on a show you love, and talk and cook with them and be, like, oh, hey, isn't this just so normal? Just me and a bunch of people I can't help but call by their first and last names because they're just so famous? Beautiful skin and hair, Katie Lee. I love your whole thing, Sunny Anderson. So sorry I took so long in the bathroom while you were waiting, Geoffrey Zakarian--these Spanx don't pull on by themselves, sir, etc.
(The only person I didn't address by first and last name was Jeff Mauro, because I went to college with that dude. He wasn't responsible for getting me on the show--he's too busy being a superstar--but our university's alumni magazine is going to be all up in this, I'll tell you that right now.)
Tune in this weekend for all the antics, and this perfectly splendid, far-from-typical cheesecake recipe from the pages of Real Sweet. It's part cheesecake, part angel food cake, and all you need to look like a genius at every dinner party, all summer long.
Honeyed Yogurt Cheesecake From Real Sweet Makes 1 8-inch cake
The cardinal rules of cheesecake making will lead to success here: have all your ingredients at room temperature before you begin, to ensure a lump-free batter; rotate the cake a couple of times during baking; and don’t overbake the cake. Any type of honey will work here, but this recipe really lets stronger honeys shine; so if you have access to bold or flavored local honey, this is a great way to use it.
On The Kitchen, we topped the cake with a mixture of chopped apricots and whole blackberries, but any combination of soft, sweet, seasonal fruits will do.
For the cake:
4 large eggs, separated, at room temperature 1⁄2 teaspoon cream of tartar 1⁄4 teaspoon fine sea salt 1⁄4 cup (13⁄4 ounces/50 grams) evaporated cane juice 3 tablespoons (7⁄8 ounce/24 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour 1 pound (16 ounces/454 grams) full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature 1⁄3 cup (4 ounces/113 grams) honey 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 1⁄2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest 1⁄2 cup (41⁄4 ounces/120 grams) 2% Greek yogurt, at room temperature
For the topping:
3 cups (1 pound/453 grams) seasonal fruit of your choosing 1-2 tablespoons honey (depending on the sweetness of your fruit) 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1 teaspoon water
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 325 ̊F. Lightly spray a 9-inch springform pan with 3-inch- high sides with nonstick cooking spray.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, place the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt. Beat on medium-high speed to soft peaks, 2 to 3 minutes. With the mixer running, slowly rain in the evaporated cane juice. Increase the mixer speed to high and beat until the egg whites are glossy and hold stiff peaks, about 2 minutes. Sift the flour over the whipped whites and gently fold until smooth. Scrape the meringue into a clean bowl. (And hey, guess what? You just made a small batch of angel food cake batter!)
Into the mixer bowl (no need to clean it), place the cream cheese. Place the bowl back on the mixer and fit the mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until creamy. Add the honey and beat until smooth. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time. Add the lemon juice, vanilla extract, and lemon zest. Beat to blend well. Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in the yogurt.
Carefully fold about a third of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it. Gently fold in the remaining whites until the batter is smooth. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake until the cake is puffed, lightly golden, and mostly set, but with a slight wobble when the pan is jostled, about 1 hour (a toothpick won’t tell you much about its doneness; best just to rely on visuals here). Turn off the oven and let the cake cool in the oven for 1 hour. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before unmolding the cake and serving.
For the topping, in a small bowl, whisk together the honey, vanilla extract, and just enough water to loosen up the honey a bit. Toss in the fruit, and stir to coat. Pile half the fruit on the cake, and serve the rest on the side.