To me, cheesecake should be so lusciously creamy and smooth that it just melts in my mouth, and tastes delicately rich with just a hint of tang from the cream cheese. I wont settle for dense, spongy, crumbly and or sour cheesecake; it better be good if I’m going to indulge in that may calories. If its bad, I’d rather throw it away, or feed it to my less picky husband:)
Many years ago, after many failed attempts at finding that perfect cheesecake recipe, I discovered it. Tyler Florence’s Ultimate Cheesecake is the best I’ve ever tried. I’ve made it dozens of times and always garner rave reviews from family and friends.
So, when I decided to make heart shaped cheesecakes to look like conversation hearts, there was no doubt in my mind what recipe I’d use. Tyler’s recipe calls for a bit of lemon zest, which I love, but I oftentimes leave it out depending on how I’ll be serving the cakes. I didn’t want flecks of lemon zest in these pastel colored cakes, so I just flavored the cheesecake with a good quality vanilla extract.
UPDATE: Two years later, I’ve finally make some naturally colored conversation heart cheesecakes using fruit purees which are pictured above. The cheesecakes are flavored and colored with blueberries, raspberries, lemon, and orange/carrot. I did have to make some tweaks to the recipe, so be sure to check it out. They taste great and look just as nice as those colored with food coloring.
I think these hearts make the perfect size dessert. Well, my husband would disagree, he’ll take two.
Conversation Heart Cheesecakes (makes 18)
1 pint (16 ounces) sour cream
stand mixer or a mixing bowl and hand held mixer
3 Wilton Heart Shaped Silicone Molds
fine tip paint brush (new or food only brush)
roasting pan big enough to fit your heart shaped molds
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
You will need a water bath to bake your cheesecakes, so either place your roasting pan in the oven filled with enough water to go half way up the sides of your heart molds and allow the water to heat along with the oven or bring some water to a boil in a tea pot or the microwave.
A little trick I use – my roasting pan has a flat rack with handles that fit inside. I set my two heart molds on the rack, so that later I can simply lower the rack along with the filled heart molds into the hot water in the roasting pan.
Combine graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon, and melted butter, stirring until it looks like sand. (I used my food processor to grind the graham crackers, then I added the cinnamon and butter and pulsed it until well combined.)
Spoon out about a tablespoon of crumb mixture into each heart cavity. Press the crumbs down making an even crust. Refrigerate until ready to fill with cheesecake mixture.
Note: Being I only made 12 cheesecakes with crusts, I had some of this leftover.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a mixing bowl using a hand held mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium high until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Be sure to scrape the cream cheese out of the mixing blade as well. You don’t want lumps in your cheesecake.
Add sugar and beat for one minute. Add eggs and beat until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl once. Add the sour cream and vanilla and mix just to combine.
Equally divide the filling among 6 bowls. Add food coloring to create the colors you’d like.
It took between five and eight drops of color to achieve the colors of my cakes. For orange, mix yellow and red together.
Pour colored cheesecake filling into the heart shaped cavities in your Wilton silicone mold. If you are using 3 heart molds and making 18 cheesecakes, equally divide each color among 3 hearts. The cavities will be a little less than completely full.
I filled mine completely, as I only made 12 of this size. I then used the remaining batter to make some mini hearts (see image below.)
I made pink, lavender, yellow, orange, green, and blue hearts, but have to say the blue was awful looking once baked. I would either go lighter next time, or just make a few white hearts.
Bake cheesecakes in a water bath for 22-25 minutes, if making 18 hearts.
When baked thoroughly, the cheesecakes should still jiggle, but not look soupy.
- As I mentioned, I set my heart molds on a flat rack, which made it so easy to move and lower into the roasting pan which was already filled with water that had heated up while the oven was pre-heating.
- You can set your heart molds in your roasting pan, then carefully pour boiling water around the heart molds. Just fill up the pan so that the water goes half way up the sides of the heart mold.
- My tiny cheesecakes baked for 15 minutes.
- If hearts are completely filled, bake for 26-28 minutes. I baked my cakes 30 minutes (I got distracted and didn’t check them when I should have.) They developed a bit of a skin on top, but really were perfect inside.
- If you bake one large cheesecake, it should take about 45 minutes.
Remove your baked cheesecakes and allow to cool at room temperature for an hour. The minis will probably cool in about 30 minutes.
Freeze the cheesecakes for at least 2 hours, and up to several weeks. Remove from freezer and push on the underside of each heart, releasing the cheesecakes. Carefully lift them out of the mold. If they don’t pop right out, you need to freeze them longer. I only broke off a tiny piece of crust from one of my hearts after allowing them to freeze for two hours.
Notes: My frozen hearts did have beads of condensation on them when I took them out of the freezer, but they dried after refrigerating them for a while. Of course you don’t want to serve them frozen, so you’ll need to allow them to warm up a bit before serving.
To add the conversation heart phrases, squeeze a few drops of red food coloring into a small bowl. Use a fine tip paintbrush to paint the words onto each cheesecake heart.
- Traditional conversation heart sayings are printed in all capital letters.
- Don’t worry if your words are off center, as many conversation hearts are printed that way.
- If you have too much food coloring on your brush, your letters will bleed.
- The food coloring will dry if you refrigerate your cheesecakes for a while.
If you’d prefer a naturally colored version of this Conversation Heart Cheesecake recipe, check out my tutorial and recipe for heart cheesecakes colored using fruits and vegetables. Oh, and I also show to create the words using stamps to make a nicer looking design on top of each cake. Click here.
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Items used to create this project that are available on Amazon.com (commission earned for sales)
Click on recipe name to be directed to that tutorial.