It’s January, which means it’s time for New Year’s resolutions, the most popular of which always seems to involve losing weight. And one of the most popular diets these days is the ketogenic or ‘keto’ diet, a low-carb, high-fat diet. I’m certainly on board with the high-fat part of this program, but the low-carb restriction is a tough one for someone like me, who basically thinks about desserts most of the day, every day. But sugar substitutes have improved so much over the past 20 years, and while they are not exactly sugar, they are getting closer. So why not, I say? Here’s a keto-friendly cheesecake that’s made with Swerve, a substitute that doesn’t have the bitter aftertaste that so many other sugar substitutes have. That being said, it does still have a somewhat unpleasant aftertaste that makes your mouth feel kind of cottony. (Did you really think dieting was going to be easy???) Anyhow, the plus is that this cake is creamy and rich and will satisfy that all-encompassing sugar urge that grips one from time to time, diet or no diet. It’s also an ideal dessert for diabetics, so give it a go and let us know what you think! (No hate mail, please.)
Makes One 9-inch cake, serving 12
Special equipment: One turkey-size oven bag
- 1 ½ cups (151 grams) almond flour
- 2 tablespoons (14 grams) Swerve confectioners’ sugar substitute
- 3 tablespoons (42 grams) unsalted butter, melted
- Pinch of salt
- 28 ounces (794 grams) full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) Swerve granulated sugar substitute
- 4 large (200 grams) eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla paste or extract
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups (362 grams) full-fat sour cream, at room temperature
- A few fresh strawberries (optional)
- Toasted sliced almonds
Make the crust:
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350˚F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan.
- Place the almond flour in a skillet over medium heat and toast, stirring constantly, until it is lightly browned and fragrant. Cool completely.
- In a bowl, combine the cooled almond flour, Swerve, melted butter and salt. Pat the mixture into the bottom of the springform pan. Bake the crust until set, about 10 minutes. Place the pan on a wire rack and cool completely. Reduce the oven temperature to 325˚F.
Make the filling:
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until very creamy, about 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar substitute and continue to beat until light and creamy, about 2 minutes more. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula once or twice. Add the vanilla, lemon juice and salt and mix until blended. Add the sour cream and mix until blended, scraping down the bowl again to make sure the mixture is evenly blended. Pour the batter into the cooled crust.
- Carefully place the cake pan into the turkey-size oven bag, with the opening at the top, then place the whole thing in a roasting pan. Leave the bag open, bunching it up around the top of the pan like a short collar. Fill the roasting pan with hot water so that it comes about a third of the way up the side of the cake pan. Place the roasting pan in the oven and bake the cake for 1 hour – the center will still be quite wobbly. Turn the oven off (don’t open the door), and let the cake stay in the oven for another hour.
- Remove the cake from the water bath and the roasting bag and cool it completely on a wire rack.
- Refrigerate the cake until an hour before you are ready to serve it. Serve slices of the cake with a couple of strawberries slices on top, if desired, and a sprinkling of toasted almond slices.