I should probably own stocks in Philadelphia Cream Cheese. No kidding, I have a least one block of cream cheese in my fridge at all times (if not more)! Even now that I'm not living at home, I still feel the urge to wander down the aisle at the grocery store where I know the cream cheese will be patiently awaiting my arrival and check to see if my little blocks of goodness are on sale. And if they are, I have to fight the instinct to buy 3, 4, maybe even 5 blocks! Oh and the real danger is at Costco! It's probably a good thing that there isn't a Costco anywhere in sight in Malibu, because they sell cases of the cream cheese... *sigh*
The issue is that there are so many applications for cream cheese, so many DELICIOUS applications, that is. Cheesecake, cream cheese frosting/filling, danishes, I even throw it my baked Macaroni and Cheese! But by far, my two favorite uses for cheesecake come in the form of two American classics: Cheesecake and Cream Cheese Frosting (as in here on top of Red Velvet Cupcakes).
(The tastiest lint in the world!)
Hands down, this is my favorite recipe for Red Velvet. It's Paula Deen's and can be found on the food network website. They are moist, tender and down right scrumptious! One warning though, this recipe makes way too much frosting, (Yea I know, you can't really have too much frosting) but the past few times I've made this recipe, I've cut down the frosting by half and still had some left over.
As for cheesecakes, there are all kinds: Firm, dense cheesecakes, light and fluffy cheesecakes, and of course, there's that category of cheesecake wanna-bes (dare I say, no-bake cheesecakes!). But honestly, no matter which way you look at it, cheesecake is not really a cake at all. It's a custard. It's a mostly fat and egg based dessert that is cooked low and slow in a water bath. Not at 350º for 45 minutes or anything that sounds like you're baking an actual cake.
No, in fact the best cheesecakes are ones that are fully cooked and yet still soft and smooth. My favorite cheesecake is by Alton Brown and can also be found on the food network website. The man is genius and this recipe just goes to show it! This cheesecake comes out perfect. And it's all about the texture, which in most custards, is what is necessary to the flavor of the cheesecake. I have tried many, many, many cheesecake recipes and this one is absolutely my favorite!