Eat Your Heart Out: Raspberry cream cheese cake

Every summer my family would travel to the local farms to pick our own berries. It was a tradition for us to pick gallons of fruit, which we then used to make our own jams. As such, we created recipes which incorporated our jams. This recipe for raspberry cream cheese cake falls under that category. Although I generally think of enjoying this cake in the summer, I would argue that Mother Nature has extended that season long enough that there’s no reason why we can’t enjoy it now.

For this cake, start by combining two and a quarter cups of flour with three quarters of a cup of sugar in a large bowl. Add one and a half sticks of cold butter, cut into thin slices. Using a fork or your hands, incorporate the butter into the flour and sugar until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. I find that this step is easier with my hands, but it certainly isn’t neater. Once the batter has a crumb consistency, remove a cup of crumbs and put it to the side; we’ll return to them at the end of the recipe. Add half a teaspoon of baking powder, half a teaspoon of baking soda, a quarter of a teaspoon of salt, three quarters of a cup of sour cream, one egg and a teaspoon of almond extract to the rest of the ingredients and blend them well with a fork. Pour the batter into a nine- or 10-inch springform pan that has been greased and floured. Spread the dough evenly across the bottom of the pan, then form a crust by smoothing dough along the inside wall of the pan. The border you make should be about two inches high and a quarter of an inch thick. The batter will be sticky, which can pose a challenge as you try to spread it around. Just go slowly and keep at it and it shouldn’t be an issue.

With the base of the cake complete, it’s time to work on the filling! In a small bowl, combine a quarter of a cup of sugar with one egg and eight ounces of cream cheese. Mix the ingredients until there aren’t any lumps. Pour the cheese into the center of the cake and spread it evenly across the bottom. Next, spread a thin layer of raspberry jam on top of the cheese mixture. Be careful to preserve the cheese and jam as two distinct layers. Now, spread the cup of crumb mixture and some sliced almonds over the top of the cake, and it’s ready for the oven. Cook at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until the cream cheese filling is set and the crust is a deep golden brown. This should take about 45 minutes. Once the cake is done, give it 15 minutes to cool before you remove the sides from the pan. I personally find the cake greatly improves once it has had time to cool in the refrigerator, but I totally understand the appeal of eating a nice warm cake as well, so feel free to try it both ways! Happy baking!

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