Individual Cheesecakes | Recipe | Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

There's something about individual cakes that make me happy.  They look oh so pretty and are the perfect size.  Making cheesecake in general is not difficult and with just a little extra effort, you can make individual ones. 

I saw some adorable little cheesecakes at a bakery and used them as my inspiration.  While the decorative cream and leaf are lovely, I'm not sure it was worth the hassle.  Perhaps just a little whipped cream would have been a better choice than buttercream.  If I were to do this again, I'd probably just put a couple of berries on top and call it day.  Equally pretty and no one would be the wiser.  I included instructions for the buttercream decoration as optional.

Cheesecakes freeze well and can be made a few weeks in advance.  Wrap very well with plastic wrap.  Bring back to room temperature before decorating and serving.

Individual Vanilla Bean Cheesecakes
Yields: approx 20 mini cheesecakes

For the crust:
2 c graham cracker crumbs
1/4 c firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp lemon zest, grated
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:
3 8-oz packages cream cheese (softened)
1 c sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp heavy cream
4 eggs
2 vanilla beans

For Decoration:
Buttercream Frosting (optional)
20 blueberries
20 blackberries
20 raspberries (if not decorating with cream)

1. Place oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
2. To make the crust: Fit a food processor with a metal blade.  Add graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and lemon zest.  Pulse 3 times to combine.  Add the butter and process until crumbs stick together.
3. Grease a 9x13 Springform pan.  Pour crumbs into cake pan.  Place your hand in a plastic ziploc bag and press down on crumbs to evenly form a crust along the bottom of the pan.
4. Bake crust 10 minutes; remove from oven and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
5. While crust cools, prepare the filling.  Fit a stand mixer with the flat beater attachment.  Beat cream cheese on medium speed until smooth.  Add sugar, a few tablespoons at a time, until combined.  Add flour, then vanilla extract.  Incorporate eggs and heavy cream, on low speed, until combined.
6. Split open vanilla beans.  Scrape the beans and insides into the batter.  Blend on low speed to combine. 
7. Pour batter on top of graham cracker crust and using a rubber spatula, spread it evenly across pan.  Bake in the oven approx 30 minutes, until middle is slightly soft and jiggly.  Remove from oven and release springs; let cool to room temperature.  Refrigerate 6 hours or overnight.
8. Remove springform pan sides. Using a 2" biscuit cutter, cut out as many mini cakes as possible, about 20.  If edges are rough, dip a baking paint brush into some warm water and run along edge to smooth out.  If making well in advance, place cakes in an air-tight container and place in large freezer bags or wrap well with plastic wrap; freeze.  Defrost before continuing.
9. OPTIONAL: Fill a pastry bag fitted with an X-Large closed star decorating tip with buttercream frosting.  Squeeze one swirl around the mini-cake at a 90 degree angle.
10. If decorating with buttercream, place one blueberry and blackberry in center of frosting.  If just decorating with berries, place one blueberry, blackberry and raspberry in the center of mini-cake.
11. OPTIONAL: Color a small amount of frosting with leaf green food gel.  Place frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a 366 leaf tip.  Pipe one small leaf abutting the berries.
12. Place mini-cakes in an air-tight container.  Refrigerate until serving. 

Sourec: Filling adapted from the Cheesecake Factory's Vanilla Bean Cheesecake


Lalla said... [Reply]

how long can I keep them unfrozen? Do I need a spring pan?

Mrs. Stranded said... [Reply]

@Lalla I'd only make it a few days ahead if you aren't going to freeze them. Yes, you really need a Springform pan, otherwise, it's very difficult to remove from the pan successfully.

Nicole said... [Reply]

Do you think I could successfully make these in a muffin pan?

Mrs. Stranded said... [Reply]

@Nicole Probably, although, I think you may find it difficult removing them from the muffin tins. Also, the muffin tins will likely give them an angled look. If you do decide to cook them in the muffin tins, check to see if they're finished cooking after 15-20 minutes.