So, I decided to make a new kind of cheesecake. We’re living the low carb lifestyle (and in Coral Gables, just outside Miami), so most of the ones I would love to try (blueberry, pumpkin, caramel swirl, sigh…) are just verboten carb-wise. I do a great boring old New York Style that we slice a strawberry or two on top of, but I wanted to try something different. Thus was born the Low-Carb, No Sugar Added, Cafe Cubano Cheesecake.
Get a springform pan. Mine is large, and was a cheapy one we picked up at a grocery store for 7 or 8 bucks. I’d love to have the matching Calphalon or Cuisinart or even KitchenAid pan, but this one does just fine. Tear off 5-6 sheets of aluminum foil just larger than the bottom of your springform pan, set your springform pan on top of the stack, and fold the edges upward. The idea is to make your springform pan watertight. The mechanism that makes it “spring” is supposed to do this. We’re just going out of our way to be “sure”. Go ahead and preheat your oven to 375F.
Low carb means almonds. Almonds mean almond flour – the perfect alternative to a graham cracker crust. If you’re not doing the low carb thing, live it up with the graham cracker crust here, it would work very well I’m guessing.
- 2 cups almond flour (aka ground up almonds)
- 4 Tbsp splenda
- 2 Tbsp Cafe Bustelo Espresso Roast (use your favorite Cuban coffee, lmk if you need some)
- 4 Tbsp melted butter
Mix dry ingredients. Add melted butter. Press into springform pan. Sometimes I try to press it up the sides, but this time I went for even distribution. Either method seems to work. I used a flat spice bottle to press it into place this time – if I go up the sides I use my hands. Bake this lovely goodness for around 12 minutes or until you can start to smell it and it’s browning…in your 375F oven. Take it out of the oven.
Now we’re going to get French and technical. We’re also going to do this the easy way. Put a jelly roll pan (or any other flat pan that is large enough to fit your springform pan and also some water) into the oven. You might be able to get away with what is called a “lasagne pan”. Fill this with a few cups of water and close the oven. Turn the oven down to 350F. if you don’t have a jelly roll pan or can’t do the Bain-marie, you’re not serious about this.
Just walk away. This isn’t the Bain Capital you’re looking for.
While the crust is baking, it’s a great time to make what goes into the cheesecake itself. Here is where I keep trying to get some serious coffee flavor into the cheesecake, and I’m not sure if I’m there yet – but between the crust and what’s sprinkled on top, it is still quite delicious.
- 5 16oz bricks cream cheese, preferably room temperature
- 6 eggs
- 3 1/2 cups splenda
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup very strong “wow, that’s bitter” coffee*
- Somewhere between 1/3-1/2 cup sour cream
- About a Tbsp of Cafe Bustelo (sprinkled on top)
*I take 3 Tbsp of Coffee and mix in around 3/4 cup of boiling water and let it sit 5m or so. Strained, this yields around 1/2 cup of vile brew that is sweetened by the splenda and cheeeeeese in the batter significantly. If you like strong coffee, you will probably appreciate the taste at this stage.
Beat the cream cheese until it’s somewhat fluffy. The aforementioned KitchenAid mixer really helps here. Add the eggs two at a time, scraping the bowl and fully incorporating each pair.
Scrape the sides of the bowl again, and start adding the splenda, 1/2 cup at a time. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you could use real live sugar here – or one of the popular sugar/splenda blends. I’d decrease to 2 1/2 or 3 cups and work from there. Scrape again.
Add the vanilla extract and lemon juice. Incorporate. Scrape again. Now, we want to strain our coffee concoction hat was steeping off to the side. we’re aiming for 1/2 cup of very very strong liquid. Add this to the mixer, and your sour cream. If you don’t have sour cream, you can also use cream with a Tbsp of vinegar in a pinch. Worst case, milk with the Tbsp of vinegar would work here too. Incorporate everything…without overmixing. Ha.
Now we will find our if you were serious about scraping the bowl. Pour the batter into the prepared and baked crust. Scrape the mixing bowl into and then and tap the springform pan on the counter a few times to release any large trapped air bubbles that might cause problems later. Dust the top with a Tbsp or so of Cafe Bustelo (to taste).
Set the foil-enclosed springform pan containing pre-baked crust and batter into your now 350F oven and bake for around 1hr…you are aiming for an internal temperature near the center of 155-160F. I measure with a meat thermometer. It may bake very differently if you use sugar, or if you don’t use a Bain-marie (actually, the recipe I adapted from says if you don’t, to reduce heat to 200F and bake for 90 minutes…your mileage may vary).
Cool for a while. Refrigerate for even longer. It should come out a little like this… 🙂
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