Mark recently remarked to me that I was lucky because sometimes I can wish for cake and it will magically appear the next day. If I’m really lucky, he’ll whip one up in a few hours. I know not everyone is a cake person, but if you are, there’s something about a cake craving that can be so intense that nothing else – not ice cream, or a pastry, or even a cupcake – can satiate it. It’s true that these cravings often come when I’m super stressed (and can I tell you right now that my stress level is through the roof this month?), but that fragrant smell of cake baking in the oven is so comforting. While it may not be a typical Fall dessert, the craving for a cheesecake hit me the other day. Maybe I was trying to capture the last breath of summer with this blackberry lavender sauce. And with that, we end September and dive fully into Fall.
1-¼ cups graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup flour
¼ cup melted butter
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Pour and press the mixture firmly into the bottom of an 8-inch pan which has been lined with a circle of parchment paper. We like to butter the lining a bit so that it’s easier to take the cheesecake out of the pan. Bake the crust at 350 degrees for 9 minutes and then set aside to cool.
1-1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 tsp. lemon juice
In your mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar and continue beating. Add the eggs one at a time while the mixture is still beating. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the remaining ingredients, and mix on low speed until smooth. Pour the cake mixture into your pre-baked crust. Place in a deep baking dish large enough to hold the pan and then fill the outer pan with enough water to reach almost to the top of the cheesecake pan (this is called “baking in a water bath”). Put it all in the oven and bake at 350 for 1 hour or until the center of the cheesecake is no longer soft. Remove from the oven and the water bath and let cool at room temperature for 1 hour. The cheesecake should be refrigerated for at least an hour before topping. You may need to run a knife around the edge of the pan to help the cheesecake come out, but the parchment paper will prevent it from sticking on the bottom.
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 pint blackberries
½ teaspoon dried lavender
1 Tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 Tablespoon cold water
Combine the sugar, lemon juice, blackberries and lavender in a small saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until the berries soften and release some juice. Add the cornstarch mixture and continue to cook for another minute. Spread over the top of the cheesecake and refrigerate for several minutes before slicing.
Note: we sprinkled a little more lavender after topping it off with the sauce, but this will depend on how much lavender you can take. I happen to like the taste the lavender, but I know that it can taste a bit too flowery or even a bit bitter for some people. But if you love it, sprinkle away!