Tuesday, April 22, 2014

CopyCat Recipe - Cheesecake Factory's Banana Cream Cheesecake

Today is a friend of mine's birthday.  He loves the Banana Cream Cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory.  I've made his family an Oreo Cheesecake and a Reese's Cheesecake before but I've never made his favorite so decided to give it  try. 

I found several copy cat recipes for it but none of them had the Bavarian Cream, which to me is a significant feature of the Cheesecake Factory's original.

But....I then came across, this version found on thedailymeal.com and it seemed to be more in line with what I was looking for. 

As I often do, I modified it, ever so slightly.


Click Here for a Printable Version

Prepare the Pan:

  • Place a large square cake pan (or large roasting pan in the oven) - needs to be large enough for a 9 inch spring form pan to fit inside.
  • Wrap a 9-inch spring form pan on the bottom and sides very well with heavy-duty aluminum foil.
  • Prepare the crust

For the crust :

  • 5 1/2 ounces (3 cups) Nilla wafers
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted 

    Place the Nilla wafers in a large ziploc bag and seal (I use the gallon size) - roll with a rolling pin until they are crushed into fine crumbs, which are about the consistency of sand with no chunks. Place the crumbs in a medium bowl and add the melted butter.  Press the crumbs into the bottom of the spring form pan. Set aside, then prepare the filling.

For the filling :

  • Four 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon banana flavoring Combine the softened cream cheese with the sugar using an electric mixer on high speed. When the mixture is smooth, add the eggs, sour cream, vanilla extract, and banana flavoring and beat well.  Use a spatula to pour all of the filling into the spring form pan. Smooth the top.

    Place the pan into the large cake pan (roasting pan) and add enough water to the cake pan (roasting pan) so it comes up to about 1/2 - 1 inch below the outside of the spring-form pan.  Bake at 350 degrees until the cheesecake filling does not jiggle in the middle when moved, (about 1 hour and 15 minutes)
    Let cool, then cover and chill in the refrigerator while you make the Bavarian cream.

For the Bavarian cream :

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon banana flavoringHeat the milk and cream in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat until boiling. Remove from the heat. Combine the egg yolks with the sugar in a medium-sized bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high speed until the mixture is pale yellow, about 1 minute. Add the hot liquid a little bit at a time to the eggs while beating.

    Pour the mixture back into the pan and heat over low heat, stirring often until the mixture thickens just enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 8 minutes. Be sure that the mixture does not boil or the eggs will curdle.

    Pour back into the medium-sized bowl. Dissolve the gelatin in cold water in a bowl, let it sit for 1 minute, then mix it into the Bavarian cream with an electric mixer on high speed along with the vanilla extract and banana flavoring.

    Chill the Bavarian cream for 1 hour, then spread it over the top of the cheesecake. Cover and chill the cheesecake. 

For the whipped topping :

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon banana flavoring
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Dash of salt
  • 6 bananas, sliced, for garnish Combine all of the ingredients except for the bananas in a medium-sized bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed until the cream forms stiff peaks. Cover and chill in the refrigerator.

Serving :
  • Let the cheesecake chill for at least 4 hours
  • Cut into 12 servings
  • Place a dollop of whipped topping on each slice
  • Cut bananas into slices
  • Place one banana slice on top of whipped topping
  • Place 4 or 5 banana slices on the side of each serving of cheesecake as desired.
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Friday, April 18, 2014

Funny Friday - Easter Bunny Nightmares

Some kids love the Easter Bunny - others.... well...... not so much.  I can sort of see why. 

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Literary Junkies - April 2014

I am not a Literary Junkie but I was reading this post on my blogging/scrapping/knitting friend's blog over at It's My Life and liked what she had posted there so decided to borrow from her (hope you don't mind Jen).

April Literary Questions:

1) What are your reading right now? Tell us about it.

 I am currently reading "The Pink Hotel" - it is about a 17  year old girl who was raised by her dad in England, she never knew her mom, who has lived in Los Angeles, CA the girl's whole life.  The mom dies and the girl runs away to L.A. to find out about her mom's life.  This book is taking me a long time to read because I kind of lost interest in it.  I want to finish it though.  The main character is never named, which I have no idea why - she is a bit promiscuous and not all that interesting.  She meets a variety of her mom's friends and acquaintances but it isn't like she is really on some kind of big mystery hunt or anything.  I have thought about just giving up on it but I hate to pay for a book and then give up on it so I will probably get around to finishing it up.

2) Divergent, Hunger Games or Twilight.  Which do you prefer and why? (If you've never read them, which do you think you'd prefer?)
Twilight - I read all the books and enjoyed the vampire plot line and the love story.  I read the first Hunger Games but it didn't entice me enough to read the other books and the plot of Divergent just didn't sound interesting to me.

3) TV Series Based on Books - they start out very close to the book to draw in the fans but then will start to separate themselves by changing things and adding characters.  What are your thoughts on this?
While I think movies need to stick pretty close to the book, I like that TV shows kind of stretch out beyond the books - they sort of have to after a while because often the show goes on for many years and run out of the book ideas (Little House on the Prairie, M*A*S*H and Friday Night Lights are good examples).  I also like that if you read the book(s), you get a bit of a surprise when you are watching the TV shows - new characters and story lines - often make the show more interesting than the books (True Blood and Game of Thrones are good examples)

4) You've just been recruited to help a movie studio bring your a book to the big screen.  What's the movie and who are you choosing to play the main characters?

This is pretty easy for me.  Luckily most of my favorite books have already been made into movies but one book I read that I would like to see made into a movie is "Between, Georgia".  I just think it would make a really good movie.  I would like Emma Stone to play the lead of Nonny Frett and Teddy Geiger to play her hometown boyfriend.  I'd like Lily Tomlin to play Stacia Frett.

5) Going back to question #4, do you keep it word for word the same, or do you use this chance to change little things you thought would make the book better?   
I wouldn't want it to be "word-for-word" but I would want it to stick pretty close to the book.  There wasn't anything in the book that I think I would change.

6) After you finish a physical copy of a book, do you keep it for a re-read, put it on a shelf to collect dust, donate to Goodwill or do you just not purchase physical copies of books?
Most of the time, I give them to someone else to read or give them to Goodwill.  The exceptions are John Grisham books and the Harry Potter series because I like to re-read those.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tax Day

So...today is April 15th - that means that today is the deadline for filing and paying your taxes (if you owe).  Thank goodness this year, I received both a federal and a state refund.  A big chunk of it is already gone due to medical expenses that insurance doesn't cover (boo!) but at least I have it to pay the bill (yea!) but it would have been nice to stow that money away in my Las Vegas Trip savings account.

Do you do your own tax forms or hire someone to do them?  Did you get a refund or have to pay this year?  Hope all came out in your favor.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Funny Animals

I have seen this before but saw it again yesterday and was reminded how funny and cute it is.

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Beautiful Wedding

Don't weddings just make you happy?  My second cousin, Mandy, go married yesterday.  You couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day - the weather was perfect.  She and her hubby, Sean, just seem like a perfect match and I'm so happy for them.

It was great seeing my Aunt Betty and several of my other cousins and second cousins.  I wish them many, many, happy years together.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

W.I.P. Wednesday

I don't have as much time as I would like to work on my afghan.  I love to crochet but I work a lot of hours and by the time I get home, I am exhausted.  On the weekends, I am so busy - going out of town, having visitors in town, running errands, cleaning, etc. etc.

So...I only have a couple of hours a week it seems - if that - to do what I really want to do.

At any rate, I've made some progress on my afghan.  As mentioned before, I started working on the center first but decided that wasn't the best approach so I decided to start working rows - I've almost completed 3 rows. 

I did the math and I have 11% completed.  Only 89% more to go.

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