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Although Khloé Kardashian's YouTube channel is mainly comprised of fitness videos, real fans know she's also no stranger to experimenting in the kitchen. On her "Cooking with Koko" segments, Kardashian is the first to admit she's no professional in the baking arena, but by crowdsourcing tips from her followers and imparting plenty of her signature humor while she's at it, the reality TV star makes for a pretty great cooking-show host. In the spirit of the holidays, I tried making Khloé Kardashian's cheesecake recipe to see if it lived up to the Kardashian-coined "bomb-ass" title.
Back in December 2015, Koko gifted her YouTube followers a step-by-step video showing them how to make this special cheesecake. As someone who's made cheesecake a few times, I was pretty excited to try her version to see if it is better than the rest. At a first glance, I was happy to see it looked like a classic cheesecake recipe with just a few variations, like adding some vanilla extract to flavor the filling and an optional caramel topping at the end.
Here are the ingredients I rounded up for the task:
- 1-2 cups of Nabisco graham cracker crumbs
- 1 cup and 3 tablespoons of sugar
- 5 tablespoons of butter
- 5 packages of cream cheese
- 3 tablespoons of flour
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
- 1 cup of sour cream
- 4 eggs
Supply-wise, I used a springform pan, some bowls for mixing, an electric hand mixer, a deep baking sheet, and plenty of tin foil.
Step 1: Heat The Oven & Make The Graham Cracker Crust
To start, I heated the oven to 325 degrees and began assembling the crust. I was relieved Kardashian is all about the prepackaged crumbs, so I didn't have to do the hard work of crumbling the graham crackers myself.
Kardashian said to use 1 to 2 cups of crumbs for the crust, which confused me because after measuring out 2 cups, I quickly noticed the recommended amount of melted butter wasn't enough to really moisten all the crumbs. So, I ended up adding 3 extra tablespoons of butter to the original 5 tablespoons I already had. After I mixed up the butter, crumbs, and 3 tablespoons of sugar, I laid the crust out evenly in the bottom of my springform pan and baked it for 10 minutes.
Step 2: Prepare The Filling
In a big bowl, I added 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract to the five packages of cream cheese, and, like Kardashian, used the electric hand mixer to blend it all together. Next, I added 1 cup of sugar, 3 tablespoons of flour, and 1 cup of sour cream to the bowl before blasting it with the electric mixer again.
Step 3: Add The Eggs
At this point, my crust was ready, so I took it out of the oven to harden and cool while I worked on the filling. While I usually tend to add all my eggs to the mixture in one go, Kardashian likes to whip hers in one at a time, so I followed suit. I was pretty intrigued by the method, and when I looked up the reasoning behind it, I learned it helps the eggs properly thicken and emulsify, which helps you achieve the correct texture.
Once I was done, I poured the mixture onto the cooled crust and started preparing my water bath.
Step 4: Make The Water Bath
As Kardashian explained in her video, one of the biggest pitfalls when making a cheesecake is the chance it'll crack while in the oven. Kardashian mentioned she's dealt with this issue in the past, but her fans taught her about this water bath method, which is supposed to add moisture while cooking for a more even bake so it won't crack.
Next up, I wrapped the springform pan in tin foil and placed it on a deep baking sheet. I then poured about an inch of water into the baking sheet and put it in the oven.
Step 5: Bake The Cheesecake & Cool It
After 1 hour and 5 minutes of baking, I checked on the cheesecake and noticed it seemed more liquified than I was used to, so I kept it in the oven for 30 more minutes, checking on it in 10-minute intervals to see if it was solidifying.
In addition to lack of moisture, one of the main reason cheesecakes tend to break is temperature change. So, like Kardashian suggested, I turned off the oven and popped the door open to let the cheesecake slowly cool for an hour before letting it chill in the fridge for another four hours.
Despite my best efforts, though, I was bummed to see my cheesecake majorly cracked while it was cooling in the oven. However, in her how-to video, Kardashian ended up with a crack in her cheesecake as well, so really I was just following in her footsteps like I planned.
Step 5: Eat It
Cracks aside, the cheesecake was really delicious and had just the right amount of caramelization on top, even without the optional caramel topping. Despite being pretty rich in flavor, the dessert's consistency was light and airy yet solid (perhaps due to Kardashian's technique of whipping in the eggs one by one), and my friends were big fans of the extra-buttery crust. The tablespoon of vanilla extract was also a tasty touch.
There are a few tips from Kardashian's recipe I'll definitely be using when making cheesecakes in the future. Most importantly, I really appreciated the texture, which I attribute to Kardashian's techniques with the eggs and the water bath.
In the past, I've just placed a pan of water under the rack with the cheesecake, which is supposed to keep the oven moist due to the steam. However, placing the springform pan directly in the water bath helps to regulate the temperature and levels of moisture even better due to its proximity to the cheesecake, resulting in a more even bake and a lush texture.
Although I'm not sure why Kardashian's timing in the oven didn't work for me, I'd recommend upping the cooking time and keeping an eye on the cheesecake to make sure it solidifies at the end. I'd also try cooling it in the oven for even longer to prevent cracking.
If I were to do this over, I'd also add strawberries or some other kind of topping to make it look a little nicer, but it was a delicious cheesecake even without the extra garnish.
Unfortunately, it's been two years since Kardashian has added a "Cooking with Koko" recipe to her YouTube channel, but here's hoping she figures out a way to avoid the dreaded cheesecake crackage once and for all and decides to share it with the rest of us.