Hello, My name is Melissa and I am a Daring Baker.


I was a big wuss last month and failed to do the challenge for lasagna. No time. Moving and Venison? no thanks. This month I was a little more enthused about the challenge because it included my favorite dessert and didn’t take 12 hours. It was also very handy that Penelope had a birthday this month, thus giving me an excuse to make Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake.

Since I wanted to give Penelope her own cake, I made the cheesecakes in cupcake form using silicone cupcake cups (genius!). This happened to make doing the water bath much easier to do and removing the cakes a snap. The recipe conveniently makes exactly enough crust and cheesecake for two dozen cupcakes. I think I ate 9 or 10 out of the 24 I made.

Nelly Likes Cheesecake

Penelope had fun playing around with the cupcake. It looks here like she was going to eat the whole thing, but she ended up dropping it on the floor. Molly the dog ended up eating it. The dog liked it at first but her intestines didn’t. Poor dog.


The cheesecake was subtly flavored with fresh lemon, served up side down with whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles and chocolate covered pomegranates. It was a very tasty combination. I really liked presenting the cheesecake upside down. It just looks more fun to eat.

Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake:

2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs
1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted
2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract


3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
1 cup / 210 g sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream
1 tbsp. lemon juice
*1 extra tbsp. lemon juice
*zest of lemon
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too – baker’s choice. Set crust aside.

3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and zest and blend until smooth and creamy.

4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.

5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done – this can be hard to judge, but you’re looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don’t want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won’t crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.

Pan note: The creator of this recipe used to use a springform pan, but no matter how well she wrapped the thing in tin foil, water would always seep in and make the crust soggy. Now she uses one of those 1-use foil “casserole” shaped pans from the grocery store. They’re 8 or 9 inches wide and really deep, and best of all, water-tight. When it comes time to serve, just cut the foil away.

*My Notes: I added more lemon to mine (yum) and since I did it in silicone cupcake cups, I only cooked it for 20-35 minutes, or until still a little jiggly, and cooled using the cake directions.

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

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    1. Nikkita says:

      wowow, i love your pictures! I also was a complete wuss with regards to the lasagna challenge. And poor dog indeed ^_^

    2. Jo says:

      Great job on your challenge and I can’t believe that you actually ate half of them. Love the baby photos, so cute and adorable.

    3. Elissa says:

      It was such a clever idea to use silicone molds… I’ll make mini cheesecakes next time, and this is definitely what I’ll try. Your cheesecake looks wonderful! I just discovered your blog and I love your photography :)

    4. Linda says:

      I love the cute small cheesecake. Its the perfect diet portion. Welcome to the DB!

    5. Jenny Tan says:

      Hi Melissa, Penelope is adorable! What a fun way to serve the cheesecake! :) Very lovely!

    6. Martha says:

      Beautiful photos and cake!


    7. Lacey says:

      Whoa, these look amazing. Making it in the silicon molds made it look so fancy schmancy. Gaw, that looks sooooooo goooood!

    8. Memoria says:

      Oh, this is so cute!!! I love your presentation and your photos! Your daughter is beautiful as well!!

    9. Leah says:

      Love the mini cheesecakes! I have a question on the glass etching though. Where do you find armour etch acid?

    10. Chantal says:

      HI MELISSA!!!! (lol)

      I love your upside down mini, it looks so cute.

    11. Jacque says:

      Aaah, Penelope and the cheesecake are just so cute!

      Great idea, serving it upside down. Very creative.

    12. Lisa says:

      I don’t who/which is cuter, your daughter or the cheesecakes! LOL OK, your daughter is a precious doll, and the cheesecakes are unique and mouth watering. Love the combo of lemon with a touch of pomegranate to top it off. Lovely photos too!

    13. asti says:

      Awww.. how adorable is that?! Both Penelope and the cheese(cup)cake are equally cute.. Well done

    14. Happy Birthday Penelope! I was wondering how in the world you got your cupcakes shaped like that; upside down…very clever.

    15. Mirthful says:

      Wow. Great presentation! They look really yummy, and what a cute cake eater :)

    16. JennyBakes says:

      Welcome to the Daring Bakers! I also loved how the silicone cups made it easy to do a water bath! I hadn’t ever thought about upside down presentation though, and these look really cute.

      Thanks for participating in the April Daring Bakers challenge!

      Jenny of Jenny Bakes

    17. i just leave munching and eating cheesecakes, they are tasty and yummy”*”

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