"Cheesecake" and "bread machine" go together like... well, kinda like jellybeans and french fries, right?
Or maybe "Lady Gaga" and "bashful." Or, this year in particular: "winter" and "easy."
Mismatches all, right?
Well, all except that first pair: cheesecake and bread machine. Because if you own a programmable Zojirushi bread machine, you can absolutely use it to bake a rich, creamy cheesecake.
I kid you not.
Watch closely, friends, and see how it's done.
First, the cream cheese. We like Cabot cream cheese; its flavor is a nicely balanced blend of milky/tangy/creamy.
And whatever brand you choose, feel free to use the lower-fat version, often called Neufchatel.
You'll need 19 ounces of cream cheese. That's two of the 8-ounce blocks, plus a small 3-ounce package, if you can find one; otherwise, use 3 ounces from a larger block.
Take the cream cheese out of the fridge, unwrap it, and drop it into your mixing bowl. You want it to come to room temperature; and it's much easier to let the cream cheese slowly warm in the bowl, than to try to peel the wrapper off sticky, room-temperature cream cheese.
Oh, and while you're at it, take 3 large eggs out of the fridge, too; they need to come to room temperature.
Spray the inside of the bucket with non-stick vegetable oil spray.
If you like, scatter some of the crumbs in the bottom of the bucket; I tried this both ways (with crumbs in the bottom, and without), and I prefer no crumbs. But up to you; you'll turn the cake out, so these crumbs in the bottom will be embedded in the top of your cake, if you choose to use them.
OK, on to the filling.
Add 3 large room-temperature eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each – again, at medium-low speed. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and continue to beat until smooth.
OK, here comes the challenging part (or maybe not, if you're an old hand at this): programming your Zojirushi.
You're going to use one of the homemade cycles. If you're not sure how to program a homemade cycle into the machine's memory, check out our step-by-step guide.
Program the machine for bake, 30 minutes; add the 1-hour keep warm option. This means that every cycle is going to say either "0" or "off" - except the bake cycle (30 minutes), and the keep warm cycle, which will read 1:00 (1 hour).
Set your own personal kitchen timer for 25 minutes.
Spoon the batter into the bucket, smoothing the top. Press Start; start your own 25-minute timer, too.
When the 25-minute timer goes off, open the lid, and quickly and gently spread the crumbs over the filling, pressing them down gently (top). Don't spend a lot of time on this; you don't want too much heat to escape.
Shut the lid, and let the machine finish its entire cycle, through "keep warm." When the cheesecake is done (bottom), you'll notice it pulling away from the edges of the pan.
Remove the bucket from the machine. My digital thermometer says it's 190°F in the center – plenty hot enough. Actually, cheesecake is considered fully baked when it's about 165°F at the center; so I could have probably baked this 5 minutes less.
Allow the cake to cool to room temperature right in the bucket. When it's cool, cover the bucket and refrigerate until serving time.
When the cake is completely chilled, loosen the edges with a nylon spatula or plastic table knife. Carefully turn the pan upside-down over a serving plate, and gently wiggle/shake the pan to make the cake fall out onto the plate. Some of the crumbs will fall off; that's OK, simply nudge them back towards the crust.
Now, if you have a Zo Virtuoso with handles, this process is a bit trickier. Loosen the edges of the cake with a plastic knife or spatula. Fasten a double piece of aluminum foil to the top of the bucket (inside the handles), sealing it completely. Holding the bottom of the foil, turn the bucket over, place your hand under the foil for support, and tap the handles of the bucket gently on the counter to loosen the cake, which should drop onto the foil.
And there you have it: cheesecake from your Zo. Especially as the warmer days of summer come along, and you want to keep things cool in the kitchen by leaving your oven off as much as possible, think of other goodies you might try baking in your miniature counter top oven: peach cobbler, anyone?
Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Vanilla Cheesecake.
Print just the recipe.
Don't own a Zo? We have plenty of other yummy cheesecake recipes to offer you. Like our Brooklyn-Style Cheesecake; NY Cheesecake; and, for those of you craving cheesecake but lacking a cheesecake/springform pan, Easy Cheesecake.