Dulce de Leche Cheesecake

I made this cheesecake.  I was suddenly afraid that butterscotch blondies would not be enough to celebrate Mom's birthday.  Also, I wanted something that would be fun to put candles in, because that's really the point of a birthday cake, right?

Joy the Baker, you know me.*  I decided to use her recipe for salted caramel cheesecake pie.  But for Christmas, I got a springform pan, so there was no way I was going to make cheesecake without it!  The swap was major, and I've never experienced the joy that comes with baking a cheesecake, letting it rest in the fridge overnight, then parting that springform pan and having a perfect cheesecake sitting there.  It's kind of crazy what a difference seeing the edge of the cheesecake makes.  Made me feel all professional and ish.
Also, since mid-butterscotch-blondie-baking was the moment I decided I would make this cheesecake, I didn't think I had time to make the salted caramel.  I also don't think I had enough heavy cream in my fridge, very important detail.  So I went with plan B- the ol' boil a can of sweetened condensed milk to get dulce de leche trick.  Surprisingly I had a can of that laying around, haha.  My pantry doesn't make sense I tell you.  So turns out that trick does work!
I followed Joy's recipe word for word, except for the springform pan part.  But I forgot something I had learned elsewhere.  She tells you to beat the heck out of the batter until it's much thicker, probably because she adds cream to her cheesecake and she doesn't want it to be super runny?  Well, I've always heard this adds a lot of air to the batter, resulting in a lot of rise in the oven, then a lot of fall and cracks in the top when done.  Umm, I remembered this as I looked in the oven at the end and saw a very tall cheesecake which was destined to conform to the laws of gravity.  There was a huge crack in it within an hour.  Maybe that's why I impulsively put the dulce de leche on top without tasting it first to see if it even needed it?
Well, the cheesecake itself was to die for.  It certainly didn't need the additional sweetness on top, but I didn't mind it either.  So I certainly didn't mind when the dulce-ness slowly fell down the sides of my slice and onto the plate :-)  And I kind of had a slice and a half, even though I was totally full and knew I would hate myself for that later, haha.
So we had a wonderful dinner out, and enjoyed a lot of dessert while back at home opening presents and eating lots of sugar.
 Happy Birthday Mom!  Hope we had enough dessert for you!
*Joy the Baker knows me- I commented on a post of hers one time, for some sort of weird yogurt drink combination- she had explained what we were doing, and then goes "Don't raise that eyebrow, it's gonna be major" or something similar in her Joy-speak, and I laughed out loud (lol'd) because I discovered I most certainly was raising my eyebrow, so I made sure to note that in the comments.  She replied back "I know you."  And I almost fainted, bahahaha.  Well, almost fainted, then I realized she was saying "I know you." as in she knew I would be skeptical, not "IIII know youuuuu" in recognition.  Important distinction.

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