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Fireworks Cheesecake

Boom! A chocolate cake-bottomed no-bake cheesecake gets a splashy treatment thanks to some seriously clever (and easy) decorating tricks.
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 6 hr (includes cooling and chilling time)
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: 10 to 12 servings
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Ingredients

Nonstick cooking spray, for greasing the pan

One 15.25-ounce box chocolate cake mix (plus required ingredients)

Two 1/4-ounce packets unflavored powdered gelatin

Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

1/2 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Juice of 1 lemon

Pinch kosher salt

1 cup milk

Super black gel food coloring, for decorating

Navy blue gel food coloring, for decorating

Lemon yellow gel food coloring, for decorating

Bright pink gel food coloring, for decorating

Orange gel food coloring, for decorating

Directions

Special equipment:
a long wood skewer and a springform pan
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Prepare and bake the cake batter in the prepared pan according to package directions for a 9-inch pan. Let cool completely in the pan and on a rack, about 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the gelatin with 1/4 cup water in a small microwave-safe bowl and set aside to soften, about 5 minutes. Beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer) until completely smooth, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the confectioners' sugar, sour cream, vanilla, lemon juice, vanilla and salt and beat until incorporated and smooth, about 1 minute. 
  3. Microwave the gelatin until melted, stirring as needed, about 30 seconds. Add the gelatin to the cream cheese mixture and beat to combine, about 30 seconds. Remove 1 1/2 cups of the mixture to a medium bowl. Pour the remaining batter into the springform pan, on top of the cake, and refrigerate until slightly set, about 30 minutes. 
  4. Add the milk to the reserved batter. Spoon 2 tablespoons each of the batter into 3 small bowls. Add black and navy blue food coloring to the remaining batter in the medium bowl and stir until incorporated and the color of a dark night sky (about 1/4 teaspoon each). Remove 2 tablespoons of dark sky batter to a small bowl. 
  5. Add the yellow food coloring to one of the uncolored batters and stir until incorporated and neon yellow. Add the pink food coloring to another uncolored batter and stir until incorporated and neon pink. Add the orange food coloring to the last uncolored batter and stir until incorporated and neon orange. 
  6. Pour the dark sky batter from the medium bowl on the cheesecake and spread evenly to coat. 
  7. To make fireworks: Use a small spoon to drop a small pool of one of the colored batters on the cheesecake. On top of the colored pool, add a pool of the reserved dark sky batter; add a pool of colored batter on top of that (the batters will spread and form concentric circles as you add alternating spoonfuls of color). Repeat with more sky and colored batter until you have 4 or 5 colored concentric circles. Drag a long skewer from the center of each circle outward to create fireworks streaks. Repeat the process with the remaining colored batter, making some fireworks big and some small. Chill in the refrigerator until completely set, 4 hours and up to overnight. Remove from the springform pan before serving. 
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