Will you make cheesecake for your grandmother’s birthday?” was the voicemail from my mom – short and sweet (kind of like the dessert I ended up making).  I couldn’t quite remember the last time I baked a cheesecake.  Perhaps it was back at the Culinary Institute of America.  I consulted the cookbook from the CIA but the recipe in the book was for 8 cheesecakes.  Rather than doing the math and deal with scaling ingredients, I decided to go for something simpler.

Then, I realized that I don’t own a spring form pan, nor do I have a proper mixer.  This could be difficult.  Rather than heading out to a local bakery to purchase a cheesecake, I decided to improvise and use my cupcake pan (inspired by so much love from you all for the Sausage & Broccoli Egg Cupcakes) and the whisk attachment from the immersion blender.

Sour Cherry Crustless Cheesecake Cupcakes with Sour Cherry Glaze
(adapted from Cooking for Engineers)

1 pound cream cheese
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 can sour cherries, in water or juice
1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line the cupcake pan with foil and paper liners.  Drain the cherries and reserve the water or juice for later use in the recipe.  Place 5 cherries in the bottom of each liner.  
2. Place cream cheese and 1/2 cup of sugar in a bowl.  Beat with a whisk until light and fluffy.  You should not be seeing any sugar granules by this point.  Use a spatula to help you scrape the edges of the bowl.  You must make sure that all ingredients are at room temperature.  Take your time and allow your ingredients to sit on the counter for at least 30 minutes.  Having everything at room temperature will make creaming and combining ingredients easier and you’ll have a lighter, lump-free batter.

3.  Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating into the cream cheese and sugar mixture.
4.  Add a teaspoon of vanilla (no imitation stuff here, please) and whisk.  Once the batter is finished, bang the bowl on top of the counter to release any air bubbles – you don’t want any holes in your cheesecake, do you?
5.  Use a cookie or ice scream scoop to divide the cream cheese batter evenly among the 12 cupcakes (you might have a bit of batter left at the end).  Using a scoop is less messy, and will give you even distribution of batter.

6.  Top each cheesecake with a cherry.  Tap the cupcake baking pan gently to release extra air bubbles and place in the oven.  Place a dish with hot water right underneath the cupcake baking pan.  The water will keep the cheesecake moist while baking.  Bake the cheesecake cupcakes for 15 minutes.  Turn off the oven and allow the cupcakes to stay in the oven for 30 minutes.
7.  Remove the cheesecake cupcakes from the oven and allow to cool completely on the wire rack.  Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.
8.  Before serving, combine cherry water or juice with 2 tablespoons of sugar in a small sauce pan.  Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat and simmer until syrupy.  Cool slightly and pour over cheesecake cupcakes.  Eat up!
I have to admit, these turned out better than I expected – maybe I didn’t have high expectations.  The recipe could be made richer by adding sour cream and heavy cream.  I’m already dreaming of more variations.  Perhaps raspberry, white chocolate and lemon.
What’s your favorite cheesecake flavor?