This round of the Cabot Challenge has me creating a dish to compete with recipes sent in by other bloggers. Not expecting a fair fight because, you know, I generally use guesswork in the kitchen and hope I don’t seriously injure anyone who tries my creations.
The challenge was to create a dessert using cheddar cheese. I was immediately reminded of a Married with Children episode where Al Bundy gets a cheddar cheesecake from some store that is going out of business. As usual for poor old Al, everyone mocks the cheesecake mercilessly the entire episode, he keeps getting interrupted while trying to take a bite, and eventually Peg throws it out or something. Pretty sure Cabot didn’t expect me to lead off this post with a reference to a 20 year old controversial sitcom, but it’s honestly why I decided to make what I did.
Anyway, since I had only previously seen cream cheese based cheese cakes, I did my usual online research and got started. Here are the key ingredients (if you just want the recipe skip to the end, we like to be wordy on the ADB blog):
First order of business was chopping up 12 of the strawberries and mixing them with a couple tablespoons of sugar to start them macerating. I am hoping to make it through a second straight post of using the term “macerating” while exercising restraint and not making jokes about similar sounding words.
While those rested, I crushed a package of cinnamon graham crackers to use as the crust for the cheesecake.
The crumbs were tossed with a couple tablespoons of melted butter and a little water then molded into the bottom of a 9″ loaf pan.
With that set, I beat together a softened stick of butter and a half cup of sugar. Once thoroughly mixed, I added two eggs to form the base for the cheesecake batter.
In order to have the cheddar mixed in evenly throughout the cake, I cut about a third of the block of cheddar into slices and then very small cubes.
The half cup of cheese went into the batter.
After beating that heavily for a few minutes to break up the stuck together cubes, I added vanilla extract, about half of the macerated strawberries and juice, baking powder, flour, and milk.
Just before pouring into the loaf pan I stirred in some lemon juice. It was kind of an afterthought; I should have used a little lemon zest instead but as usual was just doing whatever seemed easy.
The loaf pan went into a preheated 350 degree oven. I wasn’t sure how long it would take to cook through, but after the 45 minute mark I tested it every 10-15 minutes by sticking a knife in the center.
While that cooked, I put together a sauce for the cake using the remaining macerated strawberries, Cabot Greek yogurt, and honey.
Stirred together then into the fridge to set for an hour.
After 75 minutes, far longer than I expected, this fully cooked product came out of the oven.
After resting for a half hour and cooling down, it looked a lot more like regular cheesecake.
Once cut, the slices popped out easily and intact.
Served with a dollop of the yogurt sauce.
If you’ve read any other posts from me you will know I don’t always like what I make, but this was delicious. The long cooking time gave the outside a doughnut-like crispness and the inside was moist, springy and not nearly as dense as regular cheesecake. The cheddar cheese added dairy tartness and a flavor similar to a sour cream doughnut. I’m feeling like a freaking idiot that the two best analogies I could come up with for texture and flavor are both doughnut related. The yogurt sauce complimented it with a nice tart flavor.
Here’s my attempt at recipe writing:
Strawberry Cheddar Cheese Cake
1 stick butter (+2 tablespoons)
1/2 cup white sugar (+ 2 tablespoons)
1/2 cup cubed Cabot Smooth Sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup Cabot Plain Greek Yogurt
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 package of 8 cinnamon graham crackers
1 1/2 cup chopped fresh strawberries (about 12 medium sized
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. lightly grease a 9” loaf pan.
Crush graham crackers and mix well with two tablespoons of melted butter and a tablespoon of water. Pour into the bottom of the loaf pan and press down to form an even layer.
Stir together the chopped strawberries and two tablespoons of sugar and allow to sit for 15-30 minutes.
Beat together the softened butter and sugar in a large bowl until fully mixed. Beat in the eggs, then the Cheddar cheese until the batter appears smooth. Beat in half of the macerated strawberries, the juice from the strawberry bowl, and the teaspoon of vanilla. Finally, mix in combined baking powder & flour, and milk separately alternating between the two bit by bit. Stir in one tablespoon of lemon juice just before pouring into the loaf pan.
Stir together remaining strawberries, one cup of the Greek yogurt and two tablespoons of honey. Once well mixed, place in the refrigerator to set.
Bake for 75 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool, and serve in slices with a dollop of the yogurt sauce.