Santa Fe

Pepperjack Cheesecake ft. Tequila Tortilla Crust + Candied Jalapenos + Honey Chili Frosting

Like last month's Holi cake, I've been meaning to do this remix for quite some time. Since last March to be specific, when I made John's Santa Fe sandwich birthday cake. But this one is fancy, and savory and sweet and spicy. It's a pepperjack cheese-cake. It even required the purchase of a new baking vessel - the springform cake pan. With a collar that detaches the bottom from the sides, it allows you to remove the cake without performing any acrobatics to flip it out.

I had never made a cheesecake before so after investing in the proper equipment, I then turned to Martha for the perfect basic cheesecake recipe. I halved the recipe, modified the ingredients, and also cut out some of the cream cheese - the end result is a bit lighter and mousse-ier than your typical cheesecake, by replacing some of the cream cheese with sour cream and heavy cream. In order to ensure even cooking and prevent cracking, you will be baking the cheesecake in a hot water bath in the oven.

My favorite part is the jalapeno syrup. You don't even have to put the actual jalapeno peppers into the cake if you don't want to (though that is what makes it resemble actual pepperjack cheese and the peppers aren't as intimidating once you remove the seeds), but replacing the 'sugar' of the typical cheesecake recipe with the jalapeno syrup ensures a kick with each bite. Like a friend (read: taste tester) said - 'it tastes like a jalapeno popper.' YUM. That's what I'll call the cupcake versions - poppers.

The springform-less trial version had the flavor but not the appearance I was going for, so I was much happier when I popped the collar of my second attempt - not bad for a cheesecake n00b. Drawing from my favorite desert color palette, the cake graphic is meant to convey the chevron and triangle patterns found in many a southwestern quilt. Though I totally meant to put a cactus on it as well....