A few times I year, I get a seasonal hankering for a solid cheesecake. Not quite sure what it is about that fluffy, rich, dense, white creamy goodness, but it sure hits the spot when the time is right. I decided to embark on a little spin of a semi-”traditional” strawberry cheesecake, except this was more soufflé-like and light and airy. And being on a cardamom rose kick like I usually am, I infused those ingredients into the mix.
I modified the crust by using graham crackers instead of flour, sprinkled ground cardamom on it once baked, and added so much rosewater I was afraid it would turn out too floral-y, but it was just right. In fact, if I were to make it again I would add a bit more. Maybe even a bit of rose petal jam. And for the crust, I would make a ground pistachio shortbread crust. Ideas, ideas, ideas. Regardless, this turned out so delicious. I had never separated egg whites from the egg yolks in a cheesecake recipe before, but this made it a little fluffier and not as rich as most traditional cheesecakes. It’s a really great method, and I actually quite love the cracked effect on the top of the cake once pulled out of the oven. Top with some rosewater whipped cream, powdered sugar and some fresh strawberries, and you’re golden! Enjoy.
Strawberry Rose & Cardamom Souffle Cheesecake
For the Graham Cracker Base:
- 7 Tablespoons unsalted butter, soft at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 1/4 cup caster sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- ground cardamom, for sprinkling on crust once baked and cooling
- 1 cup hulled and quartered strawberries
- 1 Tablespoon caster sugar
- 2 Tablespoons rose water
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
- 20 oz. cream or neufchâtel cheese, softened (2 & 1/2 packages)
- 3/4 cup caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 Tablespoon flour
- 3/4 cup cream
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 2 additional Tablespoons caster sugar
- 1 cup strawberries, washed
- Whipped cream with 1/4 cup powdered sugar + 1 Tablespoon rosewater, to serve
- Icing sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Grease a 8 in springform tin. I lined the bottom with a parchment circle, but that can be optional.
- In a food processor, combine all the base ingredients and whiz until a gingerbread crust mixture forms around the blades.
- Remove the biscuit mixture from the food processor and press over the base and slightly up the sides of the prepared tin.
- Place the tin in the oven and bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until the base is lightly golden. Remove the tin from the oven and allow to cool completely.
- In a food processor, begin making your strawberry swirl mixture: blend the strawberries, rose water, sugar and lemon juice together until pureed and smooth. Set aside.
- For the filling: Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, the sugar, the flour and vanilla until smooth. Beat in the egg yolks and the cream.
- Remove 2/3 cup of the mixture and fold into the strawberry mixture. Set to one side.
- In a separate clean and dry bowl, beat the egg whites until firm peaks form. Beat in the additional sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Fold the egg whites into the cheesecake mixture.
- Spoon about half the cheesecake mixture over the shortbread base, then alternately with the strawberry mixture. Using a skewer or a chopstick, gently swirl the colours together to create a marble effect.
- Bake at 325°F for 1 hour or until the cheesecake is just cooked but still jiggles in the middle. Let the cheesecake cool in the turned off oven for a further hour.
- Transfer the cheesecake to a rack and allow it to cool completely. Cover the cheesecake and refrigerate it for a few hours.
- Due to the meringue egg whites mixed in, the cheesecake rises a bit like a soufflé and then later sinks in the middle. Don’t worry if the top cracks, that’s normal.
- To serve: fill the center of the cake with whipped cream, sprinkle the edges with powdered sugar, and top with fresh whole strawberries.
- If you’d like, you can make another simple sauce with the strawberries with any remaining berries by following the strawberry swirl instructions above!