Oh. My. Gosh. Delicious, simple, easy and inexpensive. But no one will know!
Though this particular recipe calls for using Raspberries and Raspberry preserves,
just about any fruit can be substituted. For that matter, you could even replace the
Nilla wafers with a bit of graham cracker crumbs, toffee bits, or even Oreo cookie
wafers. The basic recipe is a breeze, so use your imagination from there.
Thanks to Philly Cream Cheese for the recipe!
Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients...
2 packages of Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese (don't skimp, please buy Philadelphia)
12 Nilla wafers (or other crust option, see below)
Two large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon butter flavor extract
1 package fresh raspberries (or other fruit option, see below)
Other items needed:
12 paper cupcake liners
Other items (mere suggestions):
Cake decorating tube with tip large enough to squeeze filling through.
or plastic bag with a small corner of the bag cut off.
Powdered sugar for decoration, though not entirely necessary.
You may find yourself in love with these little cupcakes, because they
are so easy, and so forgiving of variables.
Dark chocolate crust with blueberries? Strawberries? Cherries?
Graham cracker crust with cherry pie filling on top?
Nilla wafer crust with lemon curd topping?
Practically any crumbled cookie, or cookie left whole, if it fits into the bottom
of a cupcake liner will do just fine.
Just about any jam, jelly, preserve, pie filling, etc. is fine for the well in
the center of the cupcake.
Step 2: First Things First...
In order to assist in making your Cheesecake Cupcakes
their very smoothest, it is wise to remove the two packages
of cream cheese from the refrigerator when you begin to gather
your other ingredients.
Drag out the Nilla wafers (or whatever crust decision you've made)
and place one cookie into each paper cupcake liner in a 12-cavity pan.
Eat a few cookies to ensure they are fresh. ;-)
Step 3: Preheat the Oven...
Preheat the oven to 350°.
So you want to know how I made that little degree symbol on the oven temperature, eh?
On your keyboard, hold down the 'ALT' button. Now press the numbers
4344 and let go. Voila!
Didn't work? Try again. Hold down the alt button and keep it held down
while you type in the numbers.
Step 4: Mix the Creamed Cheese...
Drag out a hand mixer, or a Kitchenaid mixer. (heavy sigh)
Beat the two packages of cream cheese with an electric mixer
until nice and poofy.
Add the one cup of granulated sugar a little at a time, mix a little more,
then add butter extract. Mix until blended.
Step 5: Add the Eggs...
Add one egg at a time to the bowl, gently mixing after each one.
Be sure your creamed cheese mixture is mixed well, you'll
want it nice and smooth, but not overbeaten. I prefer to mix the
eggs into the batter by hand.
Step 6: Time to Fill the Cups!
Using a spoon, or pouring from a mixing bowl with a spout if you have one,
fill each cupcake liner with creamed cheese mixture. This recipe
allows the use of the entire batter batch, so no need to be precise
with batter measurements for each cup.
Step 7: Bake the Cheesecakes...
Bake the cheesecakes for 20 minutes in the oven you have already
preheated to 350°.
*NOTE* As you watch the cakes cook, you will see them rise, possibly
crack, but they will still be beautiful. I didn't even have time to grab the
camera to show you how pretty they looked before...
Suddenly, the cupcakes fall, there is a sink hole in the middle, and your life is over!
Your soul mate leaves, the dog runs away and neighbors suddenly
start giving you the evil eye.
Fear not, this is normal, or at least the falling cupcakes part is.
You'll be filling this cavity with fruit, anyhow. I honestly think this recipe
was created to fix that very cavity issue, as opposed to reducing the mix
time, which very likely caused such a crater.
Step 8: Fill the Decorator Device...
For this step, you can utilize something as simple as a plastic food bag,
a pastry bag, a pastry decorator, or whatever handy gadget you may have
in your kitchen.
I simply pour preserves or other fruity filling into a pastry bag. After you have
filled the cupcakes, simply squeeze the remainder back into the jar, or the
container the fruit was in. Clean and easy!
Step 9: Add the Fruit...
If you have used a fruit filling that lacks nice hunks of fruit, this is
the time to add a bit to the top of each cupcake. This won't be necessary
if you use chunky filling, but the extra fruit on top looks, well, it just looks nice!
Step 10: Let It Snow!
Using a small fine-screened strainer or even a flour sifter, add a tiny
bit of powdered sugar to the tops of the cupcakes. Keep in mind, if
you plan to bring them to an event in the same pan you used to bake
them, set the cupcakes out of the pan, dust them, and then return
them to the pan.
*TIP* Dust them just before serving, as the cupcakes will
absorb your pretty snow effect after a while.
If you are serving these cupcakes, I highly suggest
removing the cupcake from the liner, setting them on a serving
plate. They do not have a cake-like texture as normal cupcakes
do, so eating them from the liners proves a bit messy.
Store cupcakes in the refrigerator. They are best consumed in just
a few days, otherwise they begin to get sticky.
Drizzle them with a fine stream of chocolate, leave plain, add more
fruit to the side. Be creative!