Super Light Bourbon-Vanilla (Cottage) Cheesecake

Valentines day is just over a day away – I hope I’m not cutting it too close to share with you this recipe that I just worked out yesterday evening and tested this morning!

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Or maybe, much like myself, you aren’t really “doing” Valentine’s day. I have no foul angst towards the holiday (is it even a holiday? I don’t know), but I’ve never had much reason to get giddy about it either. Anyhow, despite my indifference, I was looking forward this year to making something wonderfully delicious for lovers (or just food lovers, holler!) and it’s pretty cute, to boot.

I don’t know about you, but cheesecake is kind of my weakness. Maybe you’ve gotten the hint, as I’ve used goat cheese in a couple different frostings. I’m a sucker for a sweet that has a hefty dose of tang, too. The thing with cheesecake, though, is it seems that you’re merely a few bites in and feeling as though you swallowed an elephant (no? just me?). You keep eating though, because, HELLO! it’s cheesecake and it’s flippin’ delicious – but, you pay for it later.

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You get my point. But what if you could have LEGIT cheesecake, eat a whole damn slice (or cake) and feel light as a feather? Or what if you could eat that very same cheesecake the morning following Valentines day, FOR BREAKFAST… and feel NO remorse? Because, hey – although the main ingredient here may not be a pretty one, it works and it works WELL. Cottage cheese, friends. This is a cottage cheese cheesecake. Because it’s made with light cottage cheese (and a bit of greek yogurt), the protein content is soaring and there is only a pinch of fat (there is NOTHING wrong with fat, but a low-fat cheesecake = a super light cheesecake that you can eat a plateful of). For a little extra decadence, I added a touch of mascarpone and homemade bourbon vanilla extract. If you don’t have bourbon vanilla, regular vanilla will do the trick, or even a mix of bourbon whiskey and regular vanilla extract.

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Please, if I lost you at cottage cheese, let me tell you that my father HATES cottage cheese (it’s a texture thing), and asked for a second slice upon finishing this morning. And yes, this cheesecake was our breakfast – no judgements here.

Don’t hate the cottage cheese, folks, make it your friend.

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Super Light Bourbon Vanilla (Cottage) Cheesecake
makes one 9 inch cake
(lightly adapted from here and here)

Crust: 

  • 1/4 cup butter (I used salted, if you’re using unsalted, add a pinch of salt)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup spelt flour

Cake:

  • 2 cups light cottage cheese (1%)
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone
  • 1/4 up non-fat plain greek yogurt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4-6 tablespoons cane sugar (to taste – i used 4 as i prefer a more tart cheesecake)
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1.5 tsp bourbon vanilla extract (or 3/4 tsp bourbon whiskey & 3/4 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or additional extract – the paste gives the pretty flecks of vanilla bean)

1. Prepare crust: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and coconut oil until softened and homogeneous. Beat in sugar until well-incorporated, followed by flours until crumbly. Press into a greased 9 inch springform cake pan (a deep one). I used two small 4.5 inch pie dishes, but had a lot of cake batter left over – enough for two more pie dishes. Press your crust quite thin, as it will likely fall a bit while it bakes in the oven. Poke all over the bottom with a fork to avoid bubbling. Refrigerate while you prepare cake batter.

2. In a blender or food processor, blend cottage cheese until perfectly smooth. Add mascarpone and yogurt and blend to incorporate. Add remaining ingredients and blend for 30 seconds to make a creamy and whipped consistency. Refrigerate until ready to use.

3. Remove prepared crust from refrigerator and bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn golden. The crust will still be quite soft, but will continue to cook with cheesecake and set up nicely during chill time. If it has fallen quite a bit, you can press it back into place with a fork.

4. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour prepared batter into cake pan with crust (it is okay to do this as soon as they come out of the oven). Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until outer edges are firm and the middle jiggles slightly. If you are baking mini cakes as I did, reduce time to 20-25 minutes.

5. Allow cakes to cool completely on a cooling rack and to chill in the refrigerator until cold – 6 hours or overnight.

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To serve, top with orange or lemon zest, fruit compote, jams, broiled fruit, etc. For a bit more decadence, melted dark chocolate drizzled over top before serving would be incredible.

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Have a happy weekend, friends!

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9 thoughts on “Super Light Bourbon-Vanilla (Cottage) Cheesecake

  1. Oh my gosh LOVE what you did with these mini healthy cheesecakes!!!!! I mean bourbon vanilla and mascarpone?! Brilliant. Love love love. Your beautiful photos are making me crave some cheesecake so badly!! So love the fact that your dad asked for another slice despite his lack of fondness over cottage cheese!

    1. Oh thank you soso much, Erika!
      I bought cottage cheese, but was totally dumbfounded with what to do with it in the baking department. When I found your recipe, I was inspired – so thank you again!

    1. Thank you Rachel! It is actually a lot lighter than traditional cheesecake, the texture is almost mousse like! Making the batter in the blender definitely helps!

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