Our kitchen is a disaster. But it is such a beautiful, beautiful disaster.
Yup, I just went there.
I won’t get into too many kitchen details in this post because 1) I’m planning on doing a remodel update later this week and 2) I would SO much rather talk about this cheesecake. Wouldn’t you? Yup. So let’s get to it.
I have been planning on making a cheesecake for AJ since July. My aunt Elisabeth sent me a picture of this beautiful 4th of July themed cheesecake with raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries, and I put it on my list of things to make pronto. But then life got in the way, life got in the way some more, and life got in the way again!
But finally, finally, I have succeeded in telling life where it can put it’s getting-in-the-way-edness and I made a cheesecake. Two to be exact. Because 1) the first one wasn’t super beautiful, and 2) because it was so damn good.
So for this one, I made it taste just as good, but made it much more beautiful. Behold, cheesecake.
You might have noticed that this cheesecake is, well, a little smaller than most. And that’s because I LOVE mini desserts. Everything in life is better when it’s mini, and that includes desserts. Because nobody wants a whole cheesecake sitting around at their house when there is only one or two of you there to eat it.
And when it’s mini, it’s totally okay to eat the whole thing by yourself in one sitting. Because mini things have fewer calories for the same serving size, right? Right.
I’m speaking from experience here.
But really though, this cheesecake is a little bit lighter on calories because I used light cream cheese, light cottage cheese, and some greek yogurt for the base. Don’t be weirded out – it is super amazing and tastes just like the “real thing.” I adapted this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated by the suggestion of my mother-in-law, who promoted it as the best cheesecake she’s ever had.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about my mother-in-law, it’s never doubt the mother-in-law’s cooking advice. Because she is always, always right.
Lightened Up Mini Cheesecake
This Lightened Up Mini Cheesecake recipe is the perfect quintessential cheesecake – just smaller! You’d never know it was made with fewer calories – but your waistband will thank you!
- Prep Time: 1 hour 30 mins
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings
for the crust:
- 2 1/2 oz vanilla wafers (I got mine at Trader Joe’s)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp melted butter
- 1/2 Tbsp white granulated sugar
for the filling:
- 4 oz low-fat cottage cheese
- 4 oz light cream cheese
- 1/4 cup greek yogurt
- 6 Tbsp white granulated sugar
- small pinch salt
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 small egg (or 1/2 of an extra large one), beaten
for the crust:
- Preheat your oven to 325ºF.
- Pulse the vanilla wafers in a food processor or blender until a fine powder forms. Transfer to a medium bowl and add the sugar and melted butter. Stir until everything is evenly moistened.
- Transfer to a 5″ springform pan and press firmly and evenly into the bottom of the pan using your fingertips. It should only come up the side just a bit.
- Bake for 7-9 minutes, until fragrant and just beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Turn the oven down to 200ºF.
for the filling:
- Line a bowl with a couple layers of paper towels and add the cottage cheese. Let drain for about 30 minutes (for the sake of time, it’s best to do this before you make the crust).
- Add the drained cottage cheese, cream cheese, and yogurt to a food processor and process until completely smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Add the sugar, salt, lemon juice, and vanilla to the bowl and process until mixed. Add the egg and process just enough to mix it all together.
- Spray a paper towel with spray oil, then wipe the sides of the pan until evenly oiled, being careful not to disturb the crust.
- Pour the filling into the crust, stopping about 1/2″ below the rim of the pan.
- Bake for about 50 minutes, then turn the oven off and open the door just a bit. Let sit for 1 hour, then remove to a rack to cool.
- Once the cheesecake is cooled to room temperature, refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Remove the sides of the pan, cut into quarters and serve.
– If your oven doesn’t heat very evenly, you may want to use the waterbath method or rotate the cake halfway through baking
– The first piece can be really difficult to get out the the springform pan. Make sure you cut all the way through the crust, then use a thin metal spatula to convince it out of the pan. The next pieces should be much easier to remove!
– Most mini cheesecake pans come in a set of two. Feel free to double the recipe and use both!