Trisha Cooks: Ube Cheesecake

A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I decided to visit the local (read: 40 minutes away) Filipino store to stock up on Filipino goods (read: ensaymada). Among other things, we picked up ube extract, something neither of us had used before but were excited to try out, especially because I’ve been experimenting more with baking.

Around the same time, we were craving cheesecake, so we picked up a big block of cream cheese and graham crackers to make one. We reviewed the recipe we would be using and realized that we could substitute some of the vanilla extract for ube – so we decided to try it out!

My boyfriend was in charge of mixing the filling. We just got a KitchenAid mixer a few months ago and are still trying out new recipes with it.

(I was initially hesitant to buy one because I was afraid that I would bake, and therefore eat, more sugary foods – and I wasn’t wrong! You’re reading a post about cheesecake!)

I also got a food processor earlier this year, but haven’t really used it because I’m already so used to chopping things anyway. It’s small enough that I would need to chunk vegetables up before putting them in – so why not go all the way on the chopping board? I digress!

Anyway, I used the food processor for the first time to crush graham crackers for the crust. In doing this, I found out that the food processor is not great and requires a lot of stopping and stirring in order to evenly pulverize. Oh well! At least I wasn’t using it!

I had never baked anything in a water bath before, but the process was significantly less intimidating than I thought it would be. (I don’t know what part would be intimidating? The extra pan? The hot water, which is going into a hot oven anyway?)

In general, the entire process was a lot more straightforward than I thought it would be. The only thing that I did not account for was time: we started around 9PM without realizing that we’d need an hour for baking, an hour for cooling in addition to prep time. I ended up shoving the cheesecake in the fridge to cool overnight right before heading to bed that night, wishing we had timed things a little better.

The next morning, as much as I didn’t want to eat cheesecake for breakfast, I… had cheesecake for breakfast.

This recipe specifically said that you do not need to grease the pan or line it with parchment paper, as we had seen in other recipes and videos. This recipe lied! I ended up running a knife around the edge of the pan in order to free it without cracking the top. I didn’t crack the top, but I did severely mangle the edges of the cheesecake itself. I’m not proud of it and have definitely learned my lesson!

Thankfully, the cheesecake was a lot more delicious than it looked! While the ube flavor didn’t come through as much as we hoped it would, it was still tasty and had the signature beautiful, purple hue.

Next time, we’ll use a full serving of ube extract instead of halving it with vanilla extra. However, now that I know how much sugar is in a cheesecake… that “next time” will probably not be for a while!

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