When I opened the jar of vanilla beans, I was thrilled to find them soft and pliable and incredibly fragrant. It was so easy to cut the bean open to scrape out the seeds. I’ve purchased other beans that were dry and brittle before, so I was really happy that these were so fresh.
I figured if I was going the more natural route using the whole vanilla bean, I might as well use natural coloring too.
Earlier this year when I made my Naturally Colored Conversation Heart Cheesecakes I discovered that carrot puree makes the perfect orange color. The puree adds a nice sweet flavor but does not taste at all like carrots. I used it again to make some Cheesecake Carrots and knew it would work great here, as well.
To create the rich dark brown color, I simply used cocoa powder as my natural color source.
Once baked the design was as vibrantly colored as if I had used food coloring.
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons heavy whipping cream or milk
1 tablespoon carrot puree (I used Beachnut Just Carrot baby food. It’s just carrot puree.)
I just discovered the PushPan by Kuhn Rikon. The outer ring does not clip opened and closed, instead the bottom plate pushes in and out of the ring. It has a silicone gasket around the bottom which not only holds it in place, but miraculously keeps the water out. Another great feature it the plate is flat, no lip means its easier to remove the cheesecake. The pan does still get water under the bottom lip, but it doesn’t leak into the cake at all. I do like to wrap it in one layer of tin foil, just so that when I lift the pan out of the water and remove the foil, I don’t spill water all over my counter.
Combine graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter, stirring until it looks like sand. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan.
Bake for 10 minutes until fragrant. Allow to cool completely.
You will need a water bath to bake your cheesecake.
You can either bring a large pot of water to a boil and pour it in the pan after you add the cheesecake, or you can fill your pan now with enough hot water so that it will come 1/2 way up the sides of your springform pan. Place that in the hot oven until ready to bake the cheesecake.
I like using a roasting pan with a flat rack inside. When the cheesecake has been baked, I can lift the entire rack out of the pan.
Beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl and the beater as needed. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat until creamy. Add sour cream and vanilla bean seeds and beat until combined.
Pipe a pumpkin design onto the cheesecake. These pumpkins are one of the few things I can draw freehand without looking at something. I’ve been drawing them for years. I modeled them after some stickers I purchased years ago. I designed my store windows and Halloween displays using them and am so excited to finally be using them for our party.
Fill in the design using the orange colored cheesecake.
Before serving remove from refrigerator and un-mold from springform pan or PushPan.
Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze for up to a month. I wrapped my pan, froze the cake, removed the cake, wrapped it well in plastic wrap and popped it back in the freezer. Oh, and once it’s frozen, you can get it off the metal ring, so you can bake another cheesecake. I think I’m going to make a few more for our party, so my guests don’t have to fight over it.
Disclosure: I received the Rodelle Vanilla Beans as a gift from the IFBC conference. I attended the conference at a reduced rate because of the generosity of the many sponsors. I was not specifically compensated for writing this post using the Rodelle product, I was jut excited to feature it in my recipe.
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I actually used zip top bags to pipe on my colored cheesecake filling, but squeeze bottles work great too.