Here’s what I said about this dessert back in 2010:
I made this cheesecake once before at the request of an old coworker who wanted cheesecake. One of my favorite flavors of cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory is their vanilla bean flavor.
This recipe is a good knock-off of the Cheesecake Factory Restaurant’s Vanilla Bean Cheesecake. I made it once before in a 9-inch spring-form pan, with half the amount of ingredients listed above.
It tasted good, but I wanted something bigger. So this time I increased the size of the spring-form pan and double the ingredients. The result?
Because there was little room for me to spread the mousse on top the cheesecake and I had a lot of mousse, I had to get creative. That meant spreading a layer of mousse over the top, then using a pastry bag to swirl more mousse in gentle piles on top.
When I recreated this cake I made it a bit differently. I cut the cheesecake base ingredients down a bit because I could barely fit it in the pan last time. The reduced amount worked perfectly. Also the original recipe calls for a crust of 100 Nilla Wafers (crushed) + 1/2 cup butter, melted, mixed together. I didn’t feel like going to the store to buy some cookies so I used what I could find, which was a tin can of shortbread cookies I got for Christmas. It turned out to be a good decision. The smell of the shortbread browning wafted in the air while the cheesecake was baking. It was tantalizing.
The cheesecake went over really well with my dinner guests (my family). What I like about this cheesecake is it’s relatively easy to make but ends up being both decadent and impressive. The most cumbersome part of the process is getting the vanilla beans out of its pod.
In regard to the vanilla bean, I put a range down in the updated ingredients list below. This is because 1) it’s my opinion that some pods have less beans than others so you might feel like you need more depending on what your pods yield and 2) I love having lots of flecks of vanilla bean in my desserts but someone else might be happier with less or may not want to pay the expense. (They’re kind of expensive!)
- short bread cookies, crushed, equaling 2 cups
- 10 T. butter, melted
- 2 lbs (4 packages) cream cheese softened to room temperature
- 1 c. sugar
- 2 T. vanilla
- 1 to 1 ½ vanilla bean split in two lengthwise
- 4 eggs
- 1 lb (2 packages) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 to 1 vanilla bean cut in half, lengthwise
- 2 tubs cool whip
- In a blender crush wafers in small batches pulsing until big chunks are broken, then set speed to crumb. Mix crushed wafers with melted butter in a 10-inch spring-form pan and press into the bottom and a little bit up onto the sides.
- Beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically. Add eggs 1 at a time mixing on a low-speed until just blended. Take a knife and scrape vanilla beans from the pod into the mixture. Mix until blended. Pour onto crumb crust.
- Bake at 325 degrees on a rimmed baking sheet for 75 or 85 minutes or until center is almost set. (I put the pan on a cookie sheet in case the cheesecake spilled over the sides. It didn’t, but butter did seep from the bottom of my spring form pan so I was glad I had placed it on a pan!) Run knife around the rim of the pan to loosen. Cool completely in pan.
- Make mousse topping. Beat cream cheese, sugar, and both vanillas. Whisk in the cool whip. Spread over cheesecake. Refrigerate 4 hours before serving.