Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheesecake

A better view of the graham cracker crust that encircles the cheesecake. Ganache rosettes, hear me roar!

A better view of the graham cracker crust that encircles the cheesecake. Ganache rosettes, hear me roar!

When I came across this recipe for Bailey’s Irish Cream cheesecake, I was stoked. I love Bailey’s Irish Cream! Lately, I’ve been on a Bailey’s kick, what with these Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes and now with this cheesecake. Hell, it is St. Patrick’s Day in less than a week, so I’m allowed to go charmingly insane with my Bailey’s obsession! (Seriously, I love Bailey’s. I even flavour my coffee with Bailey’s coffee creamer, which is not alcoholic but which tastes virtually identical to the real McCoy.) If the Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes aren’t your thing for celebrating all things Irish, mayhap this cheesecake will fit the bill!

A slice of gustatory delight.

A slice of gustatory delight.

I made a few alterations to the recipe, and I disregarded completely its advice to beat each ingredient for five straight minutes after adding it to the batter. This is terrible advice that would yield a cheesecake with too much air in the batter, which would preclude the formation of that creamy, dreamy texture cheesecake ought to have. I used instead the mixing method from this New York Style Cheesecake. I also ignored the recipe’s directions for the crust and cobbled together my own crust, which reaches up the sides in order to enclose the inch-thick layer of chocolate ganache (gleaned from this absolutely amazing recipe) that lies beneath the cheesecake layer. I finished the cheesecake with the Bailey’s-spiked chocolate ganache from the Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes, because chocolate and Bailey’s are a match made in heaven.

The layers: graham cracker crust, inch-thick layer of ganache, the cheesecake (with its beautiful brown top!), and more ganache on the top and around the bottom. Winning!

The layers: graham cracker crust, inch-thick layer of ganache, the cheesecake (with its beautiful brown top!), and more ganache on the top and around the bottom. Winning!

This turned out to be one of the best cheesecakes I have ever had in my life. The texture is creamy and soft, the flavours spot-on and in perfect balance. Perhaps the best part of all for me was finally, after making dozens of cheesecakes, achieving a beautiful brown crust on the top of my cheesecake. W00t!

The cheesecake has a brown top! My first brown top on a cheesecake!

The cheesecake has a brown top! My first brown top on a cheesecake!

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Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheesecake

Ingredients:

For the ganache icing:
8 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 TBS butter
2 tsp – 2 TBS Bailey’s Irish Cream liqueur

For the crust:
14 oz. graham crackers
1 TBS sugar
1 – 2 sticks butter, melted (start with 1 stick butter and add more butter, 1 TBS at a time, as needed to reach desired consistency) + 2 TBS butter, melted, for brushing sides and bottom of springform pan

For the ganache filling (underneath the cheesecake layer):
1 cup + 1 TBS heavy whipping cream
16 ounces bittersweet, semisweet, or milk chocolate, or some combination thereof
2 TBS Bailey’s Irish Cream, Kahlúa, or other liqueur that pairs well with coffee (optional)

For the cheesecake:
4 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, at room temperature
2 2/3 cups sugar
1/3 cup cream, at room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1/2 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream liqueur
4 eggs + 2 egg yolks, at room temperature*

Method:

For the ganache icing:
Place chocolate and butter in a medium heat-proof bowl. Bring heavy cream to boil and pour immediately over chocolate and butter; let stand 2 – 3 minutes. Whisk until smooth and totally blended. Whisk in Bailey’s, if using, starting with a small amount and adding more to taste. Set aside to cool to room temperature and thicken to icing, or piping, consistency.

For the crust:
Brush sides and bottom of a 10″ springform pan (pan must have sides that are at least 2.5″ high) with melted butter. Line pan with a parchment paper circle and brush circle with butter. (Using a parchment paper circle will enable you to easily remove the cheesecake from the springform pan later.) Wrap pan in several layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil to waterproof the springform pan, as the cheesecake will be baked in a water bath.

Finely grind crackers in food processor. (Alternatively, you can crush the crackers in a bowl with a potato masher, or place them in a sealed ziploc bag and crush them with a rolling pin. Just make the crumbs as fine as possible.) Transfer crumbs to a large bowl and add sugar. Add butter. Stir together vigorously with a fork, until thoroughly combined. Add more butter, 1 TBS at a time, if necessary. Transfer crumbs to springform pan and press crumb mixture firmly up sides to within 1/2 inch of top edge, then over bottom of pan. Note: A glass measuring cup can be used to press down the crumbs evenly on the bottom of the pan.

For the ganache filling (underneath the cheesecake layer):
Place chocolate and liqueur in a large bowl. Bring whipping cream to simmer in large saucepan. Remove from heat; pour immediately over chocolate and liqueur. Whisk until chocolate is melted and ganache is smooth. Pour ganache over bottom of crust and use a pastry brush to brush the sides as well. Freeze springform pan until ganache layer is firm, about 30 minutes. While crust is freezing, make the cheesecake.

For the cheesecake:
Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350°F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium-low speed for about 1 minute to soften. Scrape the bowl and beater. Add sugar and beat on low speed for about 1 minute; scrape bowl and beater. Add the cream and sour cream and beat on low speed for about 1 minute; scrape bowl and beater. Add the Bailey’s and beat on low speed for about 1 minute; scrape bowl and beater. Add the eggs one at a time, beating on low speed for about 1 minute after each addition and also scraping bowl and beater after each addition. Add the yolks and beat on low speed for 1 minute; gently fold mixture with rubber spatula to ensure the yolks are completely incorporated.

Pour batter into prepared pan (ganache should have firmed up by now) and place springform pan, wrapped securely in several layers of aluminum foil, into a roasting pan filled with very hot water that reaches halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 90 minutes. (The cheesecake will appear very wobbly. This is as it should be.) Allow to cool in oven. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Unmoulding:
Take plastic wrap from top of cheesecake and set aside upside-down, so that the side that was touching the cheesecake is facing up. Carefully release springform sides. Run bottom of cheesecake, still on springform bottom, over hot stovetop for 10 – 15 seconds. Lay the plastic wrap back onto the top of the cheesecake, and place a large, flat plate over the top of the cheesecake. Carefully flip cheesecake upside down so that the top is against the plate. Using an extremely sharp knife, loosen crust from springform bottom. (You may have to reheat the bottom of the pan if it is being stubborn.) Flip cheesecake onto serving platter. Remove plastic wrap from top of cheesecake.

Decorating:
Pipe ganache over top and sides of cheesecake as desired. Ganache can also be spread onto cheesecake with an offset spatula or a knife. If the ganache is thin enough, it can simply be poured atop the cheesecake for a rustic, inviting look.

*Try placing eggs in a bowl of hot water for 10 minutes. They will beat more easily into the cheesecake batter this way.

Source: Crust was an original creation; cheesecake adapted from Food.com; Bailey’s ganache is from Annie’s Eats; ganache layer on bottom of cheesecake adapted from Bon Appétit, February 2002

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7 thoughts on “Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheesecake

    • Thank you! I have fun with my piping tips. 🙂 I think that the things you cook are quite beautiful! Speaking of which, there’s a certain cake I’m dying for you to write about… 😉

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