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Gingerbread Cheesecake Swirl

1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup light unsulphured molasses
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a 9 inch springform pan. In a
mixer bowl, beat the cream cheese on high speed until light and
smooth, about 3 minutes. With the mixer on, beat in the vanilla.
Add two of the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until thoroughly blended.
Gradually add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture is
light and fluffy, about 3 minutes; set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat the molasses over low heat until bubbles
begin to form around the sides. Remove from the heat and stir in
the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until completely blended.

Scrape the molasses into a medium bowl and stir in the ginger,
cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Add the brown sugar and beat
with a wooden spoon until smooth. Let cool to room temperature.

Beat the remaining 2 eggs into the gingerbread batter, 1 at a time,
until well blended. Stir in the baking sode, then beat in the
flour in 3 batches until completely incorporated.

Using a tablespoon, drop half the gingerbread better in dollops
into the prepared pan. Use one-fourth of the reserved cream cheese
mixture to fill in the empty spaces. Dollop the remaining gingerbread
batter on top of the cream cheese mounds. Fill in with another
one-fourth of the cream cheese mixture. Swirl with the flat edge
of a knife to marbelize the batters (be careful not to overmix).
Smooth the remaining cream cheese mixture over the top.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 50 minutes, or until the top of
the cake begins to crack in the center. (The cake may be lumpy
since the gingerbread rises and the cheesecake sinks). Let cool
to room temperature. Remove the sides of the springform pan, cover
and refrigerate. Serve chilled.


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