12ounces (1½ packages)cream cheese,at room temperature
1/2cup (1 stick)unsalted butter,at room, temperature
1/4cupstrawberry puree(frozen strawberries thawed and blended in a blender)
1tablespoonheavy whipping cream
2 to 3cupspowdered sugar
fresh strawberries and/or slivers of white chocolate,as desired
PREPARE THE CHEESECAKE LAYER:
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to blend the cream cheese until it is smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Mix in the sugar and salt and blend for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure all is mixed in. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending after each addition. Finally, mix in the sour cream, whipping cream and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake the cheesecake for 45 minutes. It should be set to the touch and not jiggly. It might be cracked on top- it doesn't matter. Let it cool on a wire rack for at least an hour. When it has cooled, place the pan into the freezer and let the cheesecake freeze completely (4 to 5 hours or overnight).
PREPARE THE CAKE:
Bake two- 9-inch round strawberry cake layers (your recipe preference- see ingreds and NOTES below for suggestions)
PREPARE THE FROSTING:
Use an electric mixer to combine the cream cheese and the butter, and beat until smooth. Add the vanilla, strawberry puree and cream and continue to mix until well combined. Mix in 2 cups of the powdered sugar. Add the third cup a little at a time until you reach a consistency that you're happy with. You may not use it all, or you may use more. It just needs to be thick enough to be spreadable.
ASSEMBLE THE CAKE:
Place one cake layer into the center of a cake plate or platter. Remove the cheesecake from the freezer, take off the sides of the pan, and slide a knife under the the cheesecake to release it from the pan. Trim the cheesecake, as needed to match the size of your cake layers (see *NOTES below). Put a little bit of frosting on top of the first layer of cake. Place the cheesecake layer on top of the first cake layer. Put a little more frosting on top of the cheesecake. Place the second cake layer on top of the cheesecake.
FROST THE CAKE:
Apply a crumb coat layer of frosting to the cake (see *NOTES below), and refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes, or until the frosting is set. Apply the second layer of frosting, if needed. Decorate, as desired, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
*If you prefer to use a boxed mix, it will work just fine (just make two layers in two 9-inch pans). Here's a link to a jazzed up box mix that has good reviews too.
*Measure your cheesecake layer against the cake layers. If the cheesecake layer turns out to be slightly larger size round than your cake layers, move it to a cutting board and use a knife to gently shave off some of the exterior of the cheesecake.
*How to apply a crumb coat layer of frosting: use a long, thin spatula or knife to cover the cake completely with a thin and even layer of frosting. Wipe off the spatula each time you’re about to dip it back into the bowl to get more frosting (this way you won’t be transferring any pink crumbs into the bowl of frosting). Don’t worry at this point about the crumbs being visible in the frosting on the cake. When your cake has a thin layer of frosting all over it, place it into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to “set” the frosting. Once the first layer of frosting is set, apply the second layer.
*If you are serving this cake at a party, it’s perfectly okay to leave the cake at room temperature for a couple of hours (the cheesecake thaws very quickly). Otherwise, keep it stored in the refrigerator. It also freezes perfectly. Freeze it as is, then wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in the freezer until it is needed. Leftover slices may also be wrapped and frozen.