amaretto cheesecake

...or lisa's birthday cake. without trying, 2011 has become the year i celebrate your birthday with cake.

when we were celebrating tracy's birthday a couple weeks ago, lisa casually mentioned that her birthday was coming up soon too. immediately my head spun in a thousand directions. chocolate? vanilla? caramel? how about something rich and fudgy? or light and lemony? when lisa brought me back down to earth and suggested cheesecake. perfect! i haven't made one in at least five years.

next frantic thought: what kind!? as i was skimming through flavors in my head, i thought amaretto at the exact same second the word came out of her mouth. (apparently i also have an almond thing going on lately too.)

perfect. and i had a great amaretto cheesecake recipe tucked away somewhere from the last cheesecake i made. too bad i never found it. i spent a few evenings combing cookbooks, thinking i tucked it away. i went though old college books, thinking it might be thrown in with something else. i went through my stack of "things i want to make" recipes ripped from magazines. it was nowhere to be found. turns out i spent all that time looking when it's the first one that comes up on all recipes. even worse - it's the very first recipe when you google "amaretto cheesecake." lesson learned.

this cheesecake is exactly how i remember it. rich and creamy, with a light almond flavor. the cake did puff up a lot while cooking, but fell right back down perfectly. and the cake didn't crack, it looked perfect for our work party. next time i'll serve it with blackberry sauce, since everyone at work requested it. be careful with that sauce; once you get people hooked, it's hard to take it away from them.

amaretto cheesecake
adapted from all recipes
90 minutes total, serves 16

for the crust
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

for the filling
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
16 ounces sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons amaretto
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
  1. preheat your oven to 350F. grease an 8 or 9 inch springform pan and set aside.
  2. using a fork or your hands, blend the graham crackers, sugar, and melted butter. pour into the springform pan and use the flat bottom of a drinking glass to evenly press the crust into the pan. bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. set aside.
  3. while the crust cooks, make the filling. in a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, sugar, cornstarch, and mix with a mixer until smooth. add the sour cream, vanilla, amaretto, and salt and mix until incorporated. add the eggs one at a time until incorporated.
  4. pour the filling into the prebaked crust and bake for 60 minutes. as soon as you take it out of the oven, run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the edges. cool completely on a wire rack in the pan. refrigerate before serving.
check out more sweet treats at sweet tooth friday and sweets for a saturday!

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