Goat Cheese Cake with Berries

It was only a short while ago that I went on an epic rant of how American cheesecakeis not really my cup of tea.  How I can’t get over the obscene discrepancy between crust and custard, and all the nitty-gritty and scandalous number of hours required to make what is virtually just a cake.  Long story short, I still haven’t come to terms with this American classic.  But then I came across this delightfully decadent Goat Cheese Cake!
Yes, this week I’m bringing you even more goat cheese paired with outrageously bright berries.  Aside from desperately getting my hands on these lively little treasures before their season is out the window, I have to come clean and admit that I never really thought beyond the savory qualities of goat cheese.  I could never have imagined that goat cheese could represent the epitome of a sensational… cheesecake! 
Then again, this is neither your classic cheesecake nor a Romanian cheesecake!  There’s no crust involved, no appallingly excessive cream cheese filling, no ridiculous amount of time needed to whip it up.  In fact, this goat cheesecake comes together in less than an hour!  How fabulous is that?  
When you take a bite, it’s like eating a tangy, pleasantly rich yet airy, sweet and silky cheese mousse spotted with juicy, tart, fat berries.  And while in the oven, the cake forms a crusty and caramelly outside coating that pleasantly crackles between your teeth.  Heaven!   And, to make this cheesecake even more heavenly: add a spoonful of berry sauce right on top!  
Goat Cheese Cake with Berries
Adapted from Bon Appétit (June 2013)
Makes:  8+ slices
Ingredients for the cheesecake:
·         Unsalted butter for the pan
·         ¾ cup sugar, plus more for the pan
·         12 oz. goat cheese, at room temperature
·         1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, from 1 lemon
·         1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice from half a lemon
·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·         6 large eggs, separated
·         3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
·         150 grams (1 heaped cup) berries (I used raspberries and blackberries)
Ingredients for the Fresh Berry Sauce (this is the same berry sauce I used for the Panna Cotta):
·         2 cups assorted fresh berries, plus a few fresh berries for decoration
·         1 ½ Tablespoon sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Butter a 9”-diameter springform pan and dust it with sugar, tapping out any excess. 
Using an electric hand mixer on medium speed, beat the goat cheese, ¾ cup sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla extract in a large bowl until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes.  Add the egg yolks two at a time, beating to blend and scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions.  Reduce speed to low, add the flour, and mix just until blended.  Gently stir in the berries.  Set aside.  
Using clean, dry beaters, beat the egg whites in a medium bowl until soft peaks form.  In batches, fold the egg whites into the goat cheese and berry mixture just until blended. 
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and tap the pan to level the batter.  Bake the cheesecake until the top is set but still jiggles slightly in the center, about 35 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let it cool in the pan.  The cake will pull away from the pan.  If it doesn’t, run a thin knife around the sides of the pan and gently unmold the cake.   
Instructions for the Fresh Berry Sauce:
Place the berries in a small saucepan and sprinkle with sugar.  Heat up the berries over medium-low heat until juicy and soft and mash some of them with a fork.  Continue to stir until the sauce thickens slightly, about 15 minutes.  Let it cool.  Serve it with the goat cheesecake.   
Poftă Bună! (Bon Appétit!)

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