Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Happy Happy Birthday to my Oldest Son and a Foodie Non-Friday: Raspberry-Swirl Cheesecake

Some of you may or may not know this but today is my oldest son’s birthday. 

Today he turns 13. 

A teenager. 

It’s a “milestone birthday” as he likes to remind me.

But he is far away. OK, not THAT far, but far enough that I can’t see him and give him a big hug like I am certain he wants me to.

And since last year I shared the story of his birth, I will not regale you with the same tale. But if you want to read it (or re-read it) you can do so here.

One thing I realized that was overlooked in last year’s rendition was that friends of ours had their baby at the same hospital, delivered by the same doctor, just hours before we did.

So here’s the details on that (feel free to skip down, if you only want the recipe, but I assure you that this story is riveting…you might miss out on a lot if you skip).

 So…at the time when we got pregnant with our oldest, my husband played men’s softball. This was an every-Sunday-night leagues, with random games occasionally, and week-end tournaments more often than I would have preferred.

No, I didn’t love the softball.

But…one of his friends/teammates and his wife were also expecting their first child…due in mid-June.

Our child was due mid-July.

If you read last year’s story, you already know my son was early (plus, it is currently mid-June and it is his birthday so…make that connection and voila: he was early. No surprises. I don't care what people say about my readership: you guys are quick.)

Well, our friends had their daughter on a Saturday. The next day was Sunday (and also Father’s Day), so we were planning to go to the hospital right after church, before we celebrated  with our dads, so we could see their new little beautiful bundle of joy.

But, my water broke on Saturday night and away we went to the hospital; home-birth was not on my radar. My doctor was also their doctor and after checking on me, she went up and saw our friends to check on them. And she said to them, “Your friends are downstairs.”

Erin (the new mom) said: isn’t it kind of late for visitors? (It was about 11 at night…so yes, it was kind of late for visitors.)

Doctor: No, they’re downstairs in labor. Her water broke.

Erin: Oh, well that makes more sense.

See…I told you it was funny…totally worth the time it took to read it, right? OK sorry…you’re never getting those minutes back.

And I wish I could find the photos we took with the two babies side-by-side…it’s a big difference one month in utero makes, for sure.

So…now that we have had some semblance of birthday festivities, I must explain why we also have a recipe attached to this post. Especially with it not being a Friday or anything like that.

Well, because it’s what the 13yo chose for his birthday cake.

Last year we had a Snickers Cheesecake which my friend PA was so kind to give me an ah-mazing recipe to make it.

And it did not disappoint. In any way.

And I don't think I shared it with you yet so I'll get right on that...

So…this year, I forgot all about that and assumed we would order our cake from A Piece of Cake which is this fabulous little local bakery.

And they give free samples when you go in so there’s that too.

A couple weeks ago, I informed the now-13yo that we were going to stop and order his cake, and asked what kind would he like.


Me: What’s wrong?

13yo: Well, I wanted to have cheesecake again.

Me: Oh, ok…I’m sorry. I forgot about that. Sure…we can do that. Snickers again?

11yo: Does this mean we’re not stopping to get samples?

Me: We weren’t stopping to get samples…we were stopping to place an order and hopefully get some samples.

11yo: So does this mean we’re not stopping to get samples?

Me: No…no samples.

11yo: inert eyeroll and perhaps a grunt

BTW The 11yo does not care for cheesecake…I’m not sure what is wrong with him. So this snit was about the fact that he would not get samples on that particular day, but also at his brother’s party he would not be having any cake either.

Oh well…I didn’t let it bother me.

To be clear, the eyerolling and grunt bothered me; I was not bothered that he was choosing not to eat the cheesecake. More for me!

But what I DID let bother me was that my 13yo chose a different kind of cheesecake.
Did you notice in the above dialogue he did not respond…that’s b/c he was mulling it over.

Finally he told me: Raspberry Swirl.

And I replied with: Oh, you mean Chocolate Raspberry Swirl?!?

13yo: No…no chocolate. Just raspberry swirl.

I don’t know what’s wrong with him either. I give and I give to these children, and this is the result I get back. I blame Mr. AR’s side of the family...what with all their fruit in their desserts and such.

So I searched and searched for a cheesecake I thought would suit his tastes and would also not push me past my breaking point.

Surprisingly, I came across this one by none other that Martha Stewart…the Queen of Superfluous Details.

And yet, I think you will agree that it is pretty straight forward. And of course, I added my notes for my changes/alterations/etc. I’m full-service.

Without further delay, I give you Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake. And don’t be afraid to drizzle a little chocolate sauce on top (ours was Hershey’s Syrup…don’t judge)…it totally made up for the fact that there’s no chocolate inside the cake.

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake
  • 1 cup finely ground graham crackers
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 6 ounces raspberries (or about 6 ounces of raspberry jam plus 1-2 teaspoons of water…which is totally what I did, b/c I had it on hand…don’t judge)
  • 32 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • Boiling water, for roasting pan

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap exterior of a 9-inch (although I used a 10-inch pan and had good results…I just added a touch more butter and about 1/8 more graham cracker crumbs) springform pan (including the base) in a double layer of foil; set aside.
  • Stir together cracker crumbs, melted butter, and 2 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl. Press crumb mixture firmly onto bottom of pan. Bake until set, about 10 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  • Process raspberries in a food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds. Pass puree through a fine sieve into a small bowl; discard solids. Whisk in 2 tablespoons sugar, and set aside. Or if you are using raspberry jam, heat in a small saucepan with 1-2 T water to make it like thinner and pass it through a fine sieve into a small bowl; discard solids.
  • Put cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. With mixer on low speed, add remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar in a slow, steady stream. Add salt and vanilla; mix until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing each until just combined (do not overmix...duh!). Pour cream cheese filling over crust.
  • Drop raspberry sauce by the teaspoon on top. With a wooden skewer or toothpick, swirl sauce into filling.
  • Set cake pan inside a large, shallow roasting pan. Transfer to oven. Carefully ladle boiling water into roasting pan to reach halfway up sides of cake pan. Bake until cake is set but still slightly wobbly in center, 60 to 65 minutes.
  • Transfer cake pan to rack; let cake cool completely. Refrigerate, uncovered, 6 hours or overnight. Before unmolding, run a knife around edge of cake.

NOTE: This cheesecake, once set, can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to three days. Or can be frozen for the week that the Birthday Boy is at camp…he had one piece before he left and the remaining pieces went into the freezer to await his eminent return.

Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.

Original SOURCE: Martha Stewart Living, May 2004


  1. If I were to design a dessert, it would include raspberries, cheesecake, chocolate, and hazelnuts. This recipe, with the addition of the chocolate you suggested, and some hazelnuts, sounds perfect!

  2. Sounds yummy--- my 13 year old loves cheesecake to , but he is enamored with caramel ...it's even kind of scary to watch....Any ways Happy Birthday to your 13 year old!!!

  3. Happy birthday to your eldest! I can't believe you are 13 already!