millennium cheesecake four-pack

In our youth, a regular sized cheesecake seemed regular. Not too much to deal with at one time. As we aged, regular looked more and more like, well, too much. So we bought small 7 inch spring-form pans to make half recipes, calculating volume ratios to match the original height in the smaller package. Then we got the idea of spreading out the half recipe in a full sized 9 inch pan to lower its height as well, making it even easier to cut small pieces that weren't top heavy. Then we got the idea of making a full recipe and splitting it among two small pans: one to take to an invited dinner, and one to keep at home for family consumption, compromising on the 8 inch pan for the half recipe. We could even split the batter and make two different flavors.

Running out of ideas for presents for friends and neighbors and an invited dinner before the last Christmas of the second millennium (from the popular point of view), a brilliant idea hit us: the cheesecake four-pack, with split flavors in each cake!

We did the hazelnut enhanced graham cracker crumb crust from the lingonberry recipe twice and pressed it onto the sides and bottom of two pair of 8 inch pans. This was the most tedious part. Then we did one full sized lingonberry batter batch in one bowl, and then an alizé (say "ah-lee-zay", it actually says that on the info label) version using this passion fruit juice cognac liqueur we spotted in the state store (liquor store for the rest of you out-of-staters) in place of the guavaberry liqueur (1/2 cup, which we arrived at starting at 2 T —before adding the eggs of course— and adding a T at a time until we were convinced that all 8 were needed).

Then we cut some thin cardboard exactly the inner diameter of the crumb crusted pans and stood them up across the center leaning on a strip of scotch tape just off center across the top with our chicken flattener disk sitting against the bottom edge to prevent it from giving way when we poured the batter into the other side. But we needed a third hand to hold the cardboard in place when we removed the chicken flattener to pour the second flavor into that side. Next we marbled the lingonberries into its side and vibrated the cardboard as we raised it to pull it loose, and then scraped the sides with a spatula to return some of each flavor to its respective side. Four times. We were a bit too generous on the first pan, so we tried to pull back a bit in quantity after that, and even though at first it seemed like the last one would pay the price for our bad estimation, it turned out fine anyway.

We put two pans per cookie sheet on the two shelves in the oven and set our new electronic timer for 50 minutes. The upper one was clearly done then with a hint of golden color and one brown spot, but the lower one was still raw batter colored so we put it up top and let it go another 10 minutes. It raised higher and then collapsed a bit away from the edges in cooling, but no problem since the sour cream layer covers all irregularities.

We did one full recipe sour cream for each pair, using 1 t of Frangelico per recipe as a compromise between the two flavors underneath (splitting the top layer seemed a bit over the top ...) and sprinkled a dusting of hazelnut crumbs over it before returning each separately (10 minutes out of sink from the unequal baking times) to the oven for the sour cream setting.


2 separate full recipes of hazelnut enhanced graham cracker crumb crust
1 full recipe of guavaberry / lingonberry cheesecake batter / addins
1 full recipe of guavaberry / lingonberry cheesecake batter with guavaberry liqueur replaced by alizé, no lingonberries
4 8-inch springform pans


  1. The dr bob cooking school illustrations show some of the steps.
  2. Portion control versus the fat/no-fat ingredient question—after experimenting with the latter, we've moved on to the former. We cut this little 8 inch cake into about 20 little pieces. Just a little taste of each flavor per person is enough not to overwhelm them after a good dinner. The nonfat cream cheese doesn't simply bake as well and this is an occasional treat so it might as well be at its best.
  3. When we have done a single split recipe (a double shot), we have done limoncello and hazelnut as the two individual flavors. The basic recipe is easy to vary with interesting liqueurs.
  4. Dental floss can be used to precut a cheesecake for self-service at an uncontrolled serving event where some guests will hack off overly large portions with no concern for the remaining anxiously awaiting dessert feeders. A trick seen on a TV cooking show. First floss the cake in half and then in half again to make quarters and then decide on appropriate further subdivision. For really tight wedges, you can cut a centered inner circle of about an inch in diameter to break off the hard-to-get ends, making extraction easier. The crust will probably resist the flossing (must be like hardened tartar) but once the cake is divided, most guests will take the hint and just release on existing pieces with a knife assist cut. dr bob is a dedicated flosser ever since his periodontic experience (3/4 gum cut to eliminate deep pockets!) in his early thirties.

a nice pair

Our best (and original) cheesecakes are guavaberry-lingonberry and limoncello. Why have to decide between them when trying to impress a target audience? But honestly, the cardboard separators were a real hassle for splitting the cakes before baking in this millennium edition. The afterbake split is much easier, an inspired improvement in 2002.

We did two separate half recipes in two separate bowls simultaneously and baked them individually, lining the bottoms of the pans with rounds of parchment paper cut by tracing out the removable bottom with a pen. And reversed the bottom when inserting into the springform side so that it sat up above the lip instead of down below it, for easier later removal by sliding off the bottom, and allowing the floss cuts some hope of penetrating down through the entire bottom only crust. We guessed one cup graham cracker crumbs, 1/2 c hazelnut crumbs, 1/4 c sugar and 3/4 stick melted butter, which was about right for two 7 inch pan crusts.

Then when ready to deliver the goods, we pulled it from the fridge, removed the sides carefully, slid the cake off the bottom onto a wooden cutting  board and halved the cakes with our titanium chef's knife, which makes a terrific cheesecake divider because of its incredible thin blade. A careful reshuffling of the halves then provided two separate cheesecake samplers for two different occasions. We floss cut the new cheese cake configurations into halves 3 more times for a total of 16 underwhelming pieces, guaranteed not to cause regret even if one of each were sampled.

We repeated the pair for a larger group a few days later, saved from the reshuffling since both cakes went to the same destination, but each floss cut into 16 pieces. Cheesecake—it's still a dangerous drug best used in moderation.

Check out the photos.

chk4pck.htm: 16-aug-2006 [what, ME cook? © 1984 dr bob enterprises]