“Cappuccino, please.” Most times, this phrase means you are ordering a cup of Italian coffee. But at Junior’s — the quintessential restaurant on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, New York, famous since 1950 for its cheesecakes — you can have your cappuccino inside a cheesecake. It’s bursting with coffee, cream, and, of course, cheese. They decorate it with bittersweet chocolate curls and dust it with cocoa, just like cups of cappuccino are topped off in the coffee bars.–Alan Rosen and Beth Allen
- Quick Glance
- 50 M
- 2 H, 25 M
- Makes one 9-inch cheesecake
- For the sponge cake crust
- 1/3 cup sifted cake flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 2 extra-large eggs, separated
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 drops pure lemon extract
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- For the cheesecake
- 1 recipe 9-inch Junior's Sponge Cake Crust
- 1 tablespoon instant freeze-dried espresso or coffee
- 1 tablespoon hot water
- Four 8-ounce packages cream cheese (use only full fat), at room temperature
- 1 2/3 cups sugar
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 extra-large eggs
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate bar, for chocolate curls (see note)
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- Coffee beans (optional)
- Make the sponge cake crust
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and generously butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Wrap the outside with aluminum foil, covering the bottom and extending all the way up the sides.
- 2. In a small bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together.
- 3. Beat the egg yolks in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high for 3 minutes. With the mixer running, slowly add 2 tablespoons of the sugar and beat until thick, light yellow ribbons form, about 5 minutes more. Beat in the extracts.
- 4. Sift the flour mixture over the batter and stir it in by hand, just until no more white flecks appear. Now, blend in the melted butter.
- 5. Now, wash the mixing bowl and beaters really well (if even a little fat is left, this can cause the egg whites not to whip). Put the egg whites and cream of tartar into the bowl and beat with the mixer on high until frothy. Gradually add the remaining sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form (the whites will stand up and look glossy, not dry). Fold about one-third of the whites into the batter, then the remaining whites. Don’t worry if you still see a few white specks, as they’ll disappear during baking.
- 6. Gently spread out the batter over the bottom of the pan, and bake just until set and golden (not wet or sticky), about 10 minutes. Touch the cake gently in the center. If it springs back, it’s done. Watch carefully and don’t let the top brown. Leave the crust in the pan and place on a wire rack to cool. Leave the oven on while you prepare the cheesecake batter.
- Make the cheesecake
- 7. Dissolve the instant espresso in the hot water in a small cup and let stand. Put one package of the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping the bowl down several times. Blend in the remaining cream cheese, one package at a time, scraping down the bowl after each one. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat in the remaining 1 1/3 cups sugar, then the vanilla.
- 8. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after adding each one. Stir the dissolved coffee into the cream, then beat into the cream cheese mixture just until completely blended. Be careful not to overmix! Gently spoon the batter on top of the cooled sponge cake crust.
- 9. Place the cake in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about 1 inch up the sides of the springform. Bake until the edges are light golden brown and the top is light tan, about 1 1/4 hours. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath, transfer to a wire rack, and let the cake cool for 2 hours (just walk away — don’t move it). Leave the cake in the pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until completely cold, preferably overnight or at least 4 hours.
- 10. To decorate, release and remove the sides of the springform, leaving the cake on the bottom of the pan. Place on a cake plate. Cover the top with chocolate curls and dust with cocoa. Decorate the center of the cake with a few coffee beans if you wish (be sure to remove them before serving). Refrigerate until ready to serve. Slice the cold cake with a sharp straight-edge knife, not a serrated one. Cover any leftover cake and refrigerate, or wrap and freeze for up to one month.
- Buy a thick bar of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate and use at room temperature (not straight from the refrigerator). Stand the chocolate bar vertically, slightly on an angle, against a flat surface, such as a chopping board. Slowly scrape down the bar with a vegetable peeler, allowing the chocolate to fall away into a pile of soft curls. Using a wide, flat metal spatula, carefully place them on the cake.