Baked Neapolitan Cheesecake—Prototype 1:
 
Okay, let's take a brief look back.

Around the late 1980's I started experimenting with cheesecakes, beginning with single-batter flavors and small sizes. By the end of this late-1980's run, I managed to come up with a two-batter-flavored cheesecake—chocolate and cherry. It was, hopefully, at least okay.

After nearly two decades, I got back into making cheesecakes again. This 21st century run would include an overwhelmingly larger selection of cheesecake varieties, both in single-batter and two-batter flavors, plus differing crusts—and plenty of innovations.

At some point along the way, likely around late 2010 or early 2011, I started baking my cheesecakes in a hot water tub. I looked back on that as giant advancement in my cheesecake prototyping. Indeed, there were other overhauls also, such as reformulating the cheese base (cottage, yogurt and Neufchatel cheeses). But going from non-bath to bath seemed like a major professional-looking jump.

Still, whatever cheesecakes I made in the past, the number of batter flavor layers in any one of them never exceeded two.

The time has come to pick up the pace again. The cheesecake presented here would be a cheesecake like no other before it in a very significant sense, as this one would be my very first three-batter-flavored cheesecake ever!

A particular event that was a major cause for putting this chocolate-strawberry-vanilla combination on my radar was my increasing the number of eggs in a cheesecake from 5 to 6. More than a couple of years before that, I was still using 4. It was rather easy to divide the number of eggs between two flavor batters for a single cheesecake, due to 4 being an even number. Things got sort of trickier when I went to 5 eggs (Prototype 7 of my chocolate-peanut butter cheesecake being an example). But around late 2017, when I made Prototype 7 of my maple cheesecake, I upped the eggs to 6. And that incident not only set the launch for half-dozen-eggs-usage. It also put the three-flavor concept greatly on my mind, due to 6 not only being a multiple of 2, but also of 3—as in 3 different batter flavors!

But this was not the first time that I got the idea of a chocolate-strawberry-vanilla cheesecake. From what I best recall, a local grocery store, Henry's, supposedly offered this "harlequin" type of cheesecake, perhaps sometime close to the 1980's. I probably discovered this by reading something in a local newspaper. But if I remember correctly, I tried to get some of this dessert at that independent market—but to no avail.

Around late spring of 2019, the time for me to produce this particular kind of cheesecake has finally arrived. Triple up!
 
3-Cheese Blend (3CT-1NC-2YG):
Prepare ahead of time 16 ounces of yogurt cheese, derived from one 32-ounce container of nonfat yogurt. If the resulting yogurt cheese falls below 16 ounces, add back enough of the whey (that was strained out from the yogurt) to make up the difference. To this yogurt cheese combine 24 ounces of whipped, lowfat cottage cheese and 8 ounces of softened Neufchatel cheese ("light cream cheese").

Grease a 9 1/2" (or 9") pan, but do not wrap foil around it until just before the batter is added (spreading the crust in an already wrapped pan can result in greater disturbance to the foil, thus increasing leakage risks).

Crust:
2 oz. melted, white chocolate
8 oz. (1 cup) 3-cheese blend (see above)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 oz. finely ground All-Bran

Place the resulting mixture in the greased pan and pre-bake without tub at 300 degrees for 5-10 minutes, depending on the mixture's thickness (closer to 10 minutes if thin enough to be fully distributed across the pan's bottom by gentle shaking, closer to 5 minutes if thick enough to require spreading out this mixture by pressing on it with a utensil and/or fingers), then cool enough to comfortably touch at least the pan's upper sidewall.

Vanilla Batter:
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon (7/12 cup) granulated sugar
13 1/3 oz. (1 2/3 cups) 3-cheese blend (see above)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 eggs

Wrap the pan in foil at this point. Carefully pour the batter on top of the crust and bake all this in a hot water tub at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes. Afterwards, take the tub-and-pan assembly out of the oven and promptly add the next batter indicated below.

Strawberry Batter:
1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/3 cup Nestlé Strawberry Nesquik drink mix (the same amount of mix that would be needed as if to make 2/3 quart of the drink itself)
13 1/3 oz. (1 2/3 cups) 3-cheese blend (see above)
2/3 teaspoon (or 3/4 teaspoon—see comments below) vanilla
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 eggs

Carefully scoop this on top of the vanilla batter (it is best to do this around the edge of the pan and let the strawberry batter flow towards the middle) and return the tub-and-pan assembly to the oven, still at 325 degrees. Resume baking for about another 30 minutes (if using a 9 1/2" pan). Afterwards, take the tub-and-pan assembly out of the oven and promptly add the final batter shown below.

Chocolate Batter:
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon (7/12 cup) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
13 1/3 oz. (1 2/3 cups) 3-cheese blend (see above)
2/3 teaspoon (or 3/4 teaspoon—see comments below) vanilla
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 eggs

Carefully scoop this on top of the strawberry batter (again, it is best to do this around the edge of the pan and let the chocolate batter flow towards the middle) and return the tub-and-pan assembly to the oven, this time at only 300 degrees. Bake for about 65 more minutes (if using a 9 1/2" pan). Then shut off the oven and cool the cheesecake down while still in it (and in tub), with the oven door slightly ajar, for about an hour. Afterwards, remove the cheesecake (still in its springform pan) from the oven and tub and continue to cool it down at room temperature for another two hours.

After cooling down at room temperature, remove the cheesecake from its pan and refrigerate.

Neapolitan Cheesecake—Prototype 1 Neapolitan Cheesecake—Prototype 1 (sliced)

Due to converting each of the three batters to only one-third of their full quantities, some of the measurements shown above may seem a bit complicated. In particular, the originally-derived amount of vanilla for the strawberry and chocolate batters is 2/3 of a teaspoon for each of those. But since this may be hard to achieve, increasing the amount slightly to 3/4 of a teaspoon should not have an unfavorable impact (I somehow aimed for somewhere in between).

It needs to be noted that although the middle batter layer came out yellowish, its flavor still was strawberry. The batter did have a pink appearance upon my adding it to the pan, at which point this batter was uncooked. But I was using a drink mix which relied on beet juice and beta carotene for coloring purposes—no artificial colors (and no artificial flavors)! I could only guess that the reddish color got lost in the heat of the baking. I would normally be content about the color outcome of my cheesecakes in general. But given that my latest was a milestone-setting Neapolitan one, I really missed that long-envisioned pink color's presence among the chocolate brown and the vanilla white.

I also felt that the crust's cinnamon, although it may have seemed like a normal amount for many other cheesecake flavors (including plain), was too much for Neapolitan. Perhaps the presence of a chocolate batter layer was at least one reason why (I have felt that, in general, chocolate did not go well with cinnamon, which itself did not get included in the crusts for any of my chocolate cheesecakes, at least up to this point).

This one was served, among a modest selection of other refreshments, on Father's Day in June of 2019 at Living Hope Church. There remained about 1/6 of the cheesecake after probably close to half an hour—and I ended up taking that home.
 
Baked Neapolitan Cheesecake—Prototype 2:
 
I felt that something needed to be done about the cinnamon in the crust and the strawberry batter's color. This would include reducing the cinnamon, likely due to it clashing too much with (at least) the chocolate. And I couldn't get away from looking at the loss of pink in the strawberry layer as too much of an injustice for a Neapolitan cheesecake. That loss called for some drastic action (more specifically, a willingness to use artificial red food coloring, if it had to come to that).

I therefore made a strawberry-only cheesecake, Prototype 8, with these concerns in mind. The outcome of that cheesecake would help set things up—including a longer pre-bake time with the crust—for the latest Neapolitan prototype presented here.
 
3-Cheese Blend (3CT-1NC-2YG):
Prepare ahead of time 16 ounces of yogurt cheese, derived from one 32-ounce container of nonfat yogurt. If the resulting yogurt cheese falls below 16 ounces, add back enough of the whey (that was strained out from the yogurt) to make up the difference. To this yogurt cheese combine 24 ounces of whipped, lowfat cottage cheese and 8 ounces of softened Neufchatel cheese ("light cream cheese").

Grease a 9 1/2" (or 9") pan, but do not wrap foil around it until just before the batter is added (spreading the crust in an already wrapped pan can result in greater disturbance to the foil, thus increasing leakage risks).

Crust:
2 oz. melted, white chocolate
8 oz. (1 cup) 3-cheese blend (see above)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 oz. finely ground All-Bran

Place the resulting mixture in the greased pan and pre-bake without tub at 300 degrees for 10-15 minutes, depending on the mixture's thickness (closer to 15 minutes if thin enough to be fully distributed across the pan's bottom by gentle shaking, closer to 10 minutes if thick enough to require spreading out this mixture by pressing on it with a utensil and/or fingers), then cool enough to comfortably touch at least the pan's upper sidewall.

Vanilla Batter:
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon (7/12 cup) granulated sugar
13 1/3 oz. (1 2/3 cups) 3-cheese blend (see above)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 eggs

Wrap the pan in foil at this point. Carefully pour the batter on top of the crust and bake all this in a hot water tub at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes. Afterwards, take the tub-and-pan assembly out of the oven and promptly add the next batter indicated below.

Strawberry Batter:
1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/3 cup Nestlé Strawberry Nesquik drink mix (the same amount of mix that would be needed as if to make 2/3 quart of the drink itself)
13 1/3 oz. (1 2/3 cups) 3-cheese blend (see above)
2/3 to 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon heat-resistant red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 eggs

Carefully scoop this on top of the vanilla batter (it is best to do this around the edge of the pan and let the strawberry batter flow towards the middle) and return the tub-and-pan assembly to the oven, still at 325 degrees. Resume baking for about another 30 minutes (if using a 9 1/2" pan). Afterwards, take the tub-and-pan assembly out of the oven and promptly add the final batter shown below.

Chocolate Batter:
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon (7/12 cup) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
13 1/3 oz. (1 2/3 cups) 3-cheese blend (see above)
2/3 to 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 eggs

Carefully scoop this on top of the strawberry batter (again, it is best to do this around the edge of the pan and let the chocolate batter flow towards the middle) and return the tub-and-pan assembly to the oven, this time at only 300 degrees. Bake for about 65 more minutes (if using a 9 1/2" pan). Then shut off the oven and cool the cheesecake down while still in it (and in tub), with the oven door slightly ajar, for about an hour. Afterwards, remove the cheesecake (still in its springform pan) from the oven and tub and continue to cool it down at room temperature for another two hours.

After cooling down at room temperature, remove the cheesecake from its pan and refrigerate.

Neapolitan Cheesecake—Prototype 2 Neapolitan Cheesecake—Prototype 2 (sliced)

My mind made a booboo upon making this cheesecake. Upon dividing the cheese blend, I probably measured out about 16 ounces for the vanilla batter, when I was supposed to measure out only about 13 1/3. By the time I suspected this error, I had already mixed in the granulated sugar, vanilla and xanthan gum. At least I did not add the 2 eggs yet. Therefore, I measured a small amount of what I already had of this vanilla batter back to the cheese blend designated for the chocolate and strawberry ones. This would mean a little extra granulated sugar, vanilla and xanthan gum for the chocolate batter and for the strawberry one—and also a corresponding decrease in those three ingredients for the vanilla batter, which itself would hopefully still taste decent. But I was very upset at myself over the cheese blend mistake that jeopardized a potential terrific work of art that I had been looking forward oh-so-eagerly to, ultimately, present to my fellow associates at The Home Depot, come Labor Day, in 2019.

But this cheesecake at the cookout there ended up working out very well, and I got plenty of compliments from my co-workers. Not only did all three batter layers and the crust taste fine (I felt that the amount of cinnamon was very likely just right for Neapolitan), but less than 1/6 (probably close to 1/8) of this treat was left nearly four hours after I put it out. I headed home from my workplace shortly afterward, leaving behind whatever remained.
 

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