Cheesecake is an ideal summer bake. Low temperatures! Great when served cool! Sure, the bake time can be long, but at least you’re not blasting the oven at 475°F while trying to get the perfect rise on your loaf of olive bread. Not to mention there are also no-bake cheesecakes! Even better for beating the summer heat or accommodating the lack of an oven in tiny studio apartments.
The library (forever my baking hobby enabler) has some wonderful cheesecake recipe resources. Fluffy cheesecakes like Kristina Cho’s black sesame souffle cheesecake in Mooncakes & Milk Bread hold a special place in my heart because my mother requests a coffee-flavored one for her birthday almost every year. It’s so light, rich, and soft that all the aunties offer up the matriarch of dessert-baking compliments, “not too sweet!” No-bake cheesecake recipes, like the blueberry ricotta cheesecake in Martha Stewart's Cake Perfection, are also great options for those who don’t feel like turning on the oven. For kid-friendly recipes, try The Complete Baking Book for Young Chefs. If you read Japanese or are able to translate it, Ishizawa Kiyomi has two fantastic books called Daisuki chīzu kēki and Shippai nashi no chīzu kēki (literally, “No-fail cheesecake!”).
Summer also brings cheesecake inspiration via summer produce like melons, stone fruit and berries. Martha Stewart's Cake Perfection also has an apricot cheesecake recipe that uses apricot preserves for a bright, fruity gel topping for the cheesecake. I love recipes like this because they’re easy to riff on, one could easily swap in strawberries for the topping as one might with a strawberry mousse cake or throw on a syrupy compote of raspberries and blackberries.
I invite you to join me in making this a "Big Cheesecake Summer" by taking a peek at your local library’s cookbook section or browsing through the many eBooks available. Keep it cool, make it sweet and discover new recipes all throughout the summer.