No-bake cheesecake used to be my jam. Mix some cream cheese with some sticky sweetened condensed milk, pour that goodness over a graham cracker crust (store-bought. obviously.), and, if you’re feeling really fancy, add some strawberry sauce (you can buy that at the grocery store, too. It’s literally called “strawberry sauce,” and I have no idea what’s actually in it). Top that baby with a whole tub of Cool Whip. Done and done.
This is the stuff of my childhood.
If you had told my 12-year-old self that cheesecake was actually supposed to be baked, she would have laughed in your face.
Cheesecake doesn’t go in the oven, you fool.
Clearly, the joke’s on me, because a traditional cheesecake is, in fact, baked. And it’s 486757882601 times better than it’s no-bake counterpart. Truth.
Once I discovered real cheesecake, there was no going back. A good cheesecake has a delicate and creamy texture that the no-bake version lacks. It’s light and smooth and so much more complex.
So why do we avoid making cheesecakes?
Is it the springform pan? The hot water bath? The almost 2-hour bake time?
I get it. But here’s the thing: you can do it.
I’m generally not one to brag. But guys, I’m kind of a German chocolate cake expert. Really.
You see, my husband’s all-time favorite, “if you could choose one thing to eat for the rest of your life” dessert is German chocolate cake.
And he requests it for LITERALLY every. single. special. occasion. in. his. life.
We’re talking birthdays. Anniversaries. Promotions. New jobs. New houses. New babies. Arbor Day. (Okay, no, we don’t actually celebrate Arbor Day. But you get the picture.)
We’ve been married eight years this August, so I’ve made approximately 23988948594543 German chocolate cakes in my life. If that doesn’t make me an expert on the subject, I don’t know what does.
And trust me when I say that if there’s a new twist on the German chocolate cake out there, I’ve tried it. I mean, you can only make the exact same cake so many times before you just get bored out of your ever loving mind.
I thought about making an extravagant Easter brunch this year. I spent a few hours tossing the idea around in my head, planning the menu, envisioning the tablescape, designing adorable little place cards for each guest. I was thinking of going with a decadent Eggs Benedict. A fresh, spring salad on the side, maybe mixed greens with radishes and peas and some kind of lemony vinaigrette. Homemade croissants, obviously. Three kinds of jam. Some surprising, yet sophisticated and understated cocktail. The way Easter brunch should be done.
And then I remembered that we’re two weeks away from our move date. And that I’ve already packed up all of our dishes (not to mention any and all serving platters, flatware, and Easter decorations). And that I have two kids under the age of five who definitely wouldn’t appreciate a good Eggs Benedict and would instead ask for scrambled eggs and guacamole with a side of Goldfish crackers, thankyouverymuch.
Easter is an incredibly special day in our house. So even if my Martha Stewart-inspired brunch wasn’t meant to be, I still wanted to do something special for breakfast. I was scrolling through my Instagram feed when I saw a picture of this show-stopping Easter bread. Clearly, it was fate. Or an incredibly well-curated IG feed.