A few weeks ago we celebrated my mother’s 65th Birthday. We went for brunch and then everyone came back to my place for dessert. (This was my suggestion. I really should remember when I suggest things like this, that it takes time to get all the desserts made. I’m really not one to buy dessert.)
I spent about a week getting everything made. There were going to be a lot of people in my house so I had to make sure I had enough for everyone, plus extra for people to take home. There were Cake Pops (for the “kids” and the actual children), Tiramisu (I used Woodland Bakery’s recipe and it was amazing) and the 2 Strawberry Charlotte’s in the front (this was Miette’s recipe). Then there is that white cheesecake at the back. That was by far the best thing out of all of this.
I have to say the Tiramisu I will make again, but the Strawberry Charlotte, which took several days to make, was a complete disappointment for me. I believe everyone else liked it just fine, but as someone who bakes, I was really hoping for it to be “more”. The recipe calls for only 2 cups of strawberry mousse, which in my opinion was extremely lacking. Especially considering I had to make a strawberry sauce and then make the mousse from that. The Cake Pops (Bakerella thank you so much for this!) are always a hit with everyone. I mean you doesn’t love cake on a stick covered in chocolate?
But it’s that little cheesecake sitting at the back, that’s the one thing that I was most pleased with. I served it with some sliced strawberries that I had left over from the Strawberry Charlotte. It was a “spur of the moment” decision to even try making this. I ended up using the same technique that Woodland Bakery uses for their tiramisu. I figured if it can work for that, why not here.
I’m always one for a shortcut when it comes to things, so instead of baking a cake and then cutting it into layers, I found these really great sponge cake layers at Safeway. They’re perfect, they fit my 7″ springform pans like a glove! I also line my springform pans with parchment paper (bottom and sides).
Then you need orange juice. Now I have to admit the first time I made this I had no oranges at home, but I always have orange juice boxes in the fridge. So by all means use orange juice from a carton if you don’t have oranges. But this time I had oranges, so squeeze them I did, until I got 2 cups of orange juice. (It worked out to 8 oranges). You also want the zest of 1 orange to be used later on, so do this before you start squeezing the oranges.
Next, take about 1/2 cup of this orange juice and place it into a microwave safe bowl and sprinkle 2 packages of powdered gelatine over top and let it “bloom” (soften) for about 5 minutes. Then heat in the microwave for 15 second intervals until the gelatine has melted and it is completely fluid and allow this to cool and return to the other 1 1/2 cups of orange juice and set this aside while you mix the cream cheese.
Next up is the cream cheese. Four 8 ounce packages of cream cheese. Yup, I said 4. This makes 2 cheese cakes, so you can easily half this and only make one if you want. These need to be at room temperature, so I usually take them out of the fridge at least 4 hours before I start. Although sometimes I take them out the night before when I go to bed, that way I know for sure they will be room temperature, because my house is sometimes a bit cold and they don’t quite soften up that quickly. You are also going to mix in 2 cups of sugar with the cream cheese and mix this on high with the whisk attachment of the stand mixer for 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl periodically, you really want to make sure there are no lumps!. Lumps are evil! Once this has mixed for 5 minutes, slowly pour in the orange juice/gelatine mixture. Again, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in 1 tsp. Vanilla. I always use Vanilla Bean Paste, I love the stuff. So use that if you have it. As well, add in the orange zest. Again, scrape down the bowl and now, while the mixer is on low (about 2 on a Kitchenaid) slowly pour in 3 cups of very cold heavy cream, and then turn up to high (8 on a Kitchenaid) and mix until the mixture thickens and starts to look like mousse.
Now pour this evenly into your prepared pans and allow it to set up in the fridge, minimum 4 hours, although I really would give it over night. And once you take it out of the pan and remove the parchment paper (do this slowly as it will stick slightly to the side of the cheesecake), I run an offset spatula around the edge just to smooth it out and put it back in the fridge or serve it immediately.
Now, my sister’s roommate has commented that the only thing that would make this cheesecake better is if there were little pieces of mandarin oranges cup up inside the cheesecake, but I’m really not sure how that would affect the setting up of the cheesecake. Guess that’s for another day.
Orange Mousse Cheesecake
(makes 2 – 7″ cakes)
*This recipe can easily be halved to make only 1 cake*
2 sponge cakes (home-made or store-bought)
4 packages cream cheese (8 ounces each) – at room temperature
2 cups white sugar
2 cups orange juice
2 packages powdered gelatine
1 tsp. Vanilla or Vanilla Bean Paste
Zest of 1 orange
3 cups heavy (whipping) cream
Put 1/2 cup of the orange juice in a microwave safe bowl and sprinkle with the gelatine powder and let sit for 5 minutes.
Place the orange juice/gelatine mixture in the microwave and heat at 15 second intervals until the gelatine has dissolved and the orange juice is slightly heated. Let cool and the mix with the remaining orange juice and set aside for later.
In the stand mixer combine the cream cheese and sugar and whip on high-speed for 5 minutes.
Once the cream cheese has been mixed for 5 minutes, stop the mixer, scrape down the bowl to make sure there are no lumps, add the vanilla and orange zest and turn the mixer on again for another minute. This is to make sure there are no lumps.
With the mixer on low, slowly pour the orange juice into the cream cheese mixture and then turn on high for 30 seconds.
Now with the mixer on low again, slowly pour in the cold whipping cream into the mixer. The turn on high and mix until the mixture looks like whipped cream. Should take between 1 to 2 minutes. If it is still quite liquidy keep mixing, but remember not to mix too long, you don’t want butter.
In a springform pan, line with parchment paper, both the bottom and the sides. (I have a 7 inch springform pan which fits the sponge cakes that I bought, but if you have a larger springform you may want to just make a cake and then cut it in half horizontally and just use 1 layer for the bottom of the cake). Fit the cake layer into the bottom of the springform pan and pour the cream cheese mixture evenly over top. Gently smooth out the top and then put in the fridge over night to chill and set up.
When you go to remove the springform pan and place the cake on a serving platter, remove the parchment paper slowly as it tends to stick to the sides. I then use an off set spatula to smooth out the sides of the cake.