You're probably beginning to get the idea that I do 85% of my baking for work. You'd be right. There are about 18 coworkers that I actively and daily interact with, each of whom has a birthday. As a result, every few weeks I have a reason to whip up something sweet and get immediately feedback from a captive audience.
This week my co-worker Mitchell had a birthday. He loves coconut. Last year, I made him these jazzy super-duper coconut cupcakes. They were actually coconut-ized box yellow cupcakes. I like to think that I took the box to a new level. If you know anything about my history with cake, it's that I'm actually pretty terrible at making it from scratch. It's a bit like rice. I can't for the life of me make proper rice. Something always goes wrong - too hard, too soft. With cake, it's too dry or too dense.
So this year when I asked Mitchell what he wanted for a cake, he said again: Coconut. I had free reign. Having not make cheesecake in some time (and my fridge had three bars of malingering cream cheese), I thought 'Perfect!' And I found the perfect recipe.
Now I found the cheesecake on The Novice Chef, but the recipe itself was written by a guest blogger from food + words. Everything positive that was said about this cheesecake is absolutely true. And I only changed a couple things based upon the ingredients in my house (per usual). To quote agnes in Despicable Me: 'It's so fluffy!' So let's just to it!
As a brief overview of my changes:
- I love to make my cheesecake crusts with crushed pretzels, since it's super absorbent and makes this unique sweet + salty flavor. So I subbed pretzels for the graham crackers.
- I doubled the whipped cream topping recipe because frankly, with the amount in that recipe, even using my KitchenAid, it went to only 1/2 the height of the towering masterpiece on The Novice Chef blog. You definitely want twice as much fresh whipped cream, trust me
- I also scooped the coconut cream off the top of the coconut milk to set aside for use in the whipped cream. This thick cream is frequently used as a dairy-free substitute for whipped cream. So really, this makes sense.
- I really want to emphasize temperature when it comes to cheesecake. Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature, whether its the softened cream cheesecake, butter or the eggs.
- I have never once used a water bath, and I've made cheesecake in a wide variety of ovens, so I just skipped out on that step and my cake didn't crack. So, not a big deal if you don't want to use a water bath, in my opinion.
Triple Coconut Cheesecake
Adapted from The Novice Chef with guest blogger from food + words.
For the crust:
1 cups of crushed pretzels (food processor!)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
24 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
7 ounces coconut milk, separate from the thick cream on top and just use the milky part
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
For the coconut whipped cream:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup of the thick cream off the top of the coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1/2 cup toasted coconut, for topping
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a bowl, combine pretzel crumbs, granulated sugar, cinnamon and shredded coconut and stir until evenly mixed. Next, pour in the melted butter and mix until the dry ingredients are saturated.
- Dump the crust mix into a springform pan and then press it against the bottom and sides until it create an even layer throughout. It might be a little crumbly, but just make sure there are no blatant gaps.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
- Using an electric mixer, use a paddle attachment to whip the cream cheese until light and aerated. Add the granulated sugar, cornstarch, vanilla extract and salt. Beat until smooth and combined. While still mixing, add one egg at a time. Add the coconut milk and extract and beat until combined.
- Pour the filling into the cooled pretzel crust, and place it on a baking sheet (to catch spills) in the oven. Bake for an hour or until the filling is set and golden at the edges. Remove and allow to cool.
- While your cheesecake is cooling, or the next morning, prepare the coconut whipped frosting. In your electric mixer, add heavy whipping cream, coconut cream (reserve from before!), coconut extract and confectioners’ sugar. Whisk until stiff peaks have formed. Spread a thick layer on top of the cheesecake, and top with the toasted coconut flakes. Keep chilled in the refrigerator until ready to serve.