Mascarpone cheese is often substituted for cream cheese in cheesecake, where it provides a smoother, lighter texture. Though the texture and taste differs slightly, the resulting cheesecake is the same in appearance and can be decorated the same as a cake made from cream cheese. While cakes made from flour are commonly decorated with frosting, mascarpone cheesecake is best accented with fruit, nuts, chocolate and various syrups. Mascarpone is made by infusing cow’s milk with citric or acetic acid, creating a triple cream that is somewhere in texture between butter and cream cheese.
Things You'll Need
Dust the top of the mascarpone cheesecake with powdered sugar. Put the powdered sugar in a wire mesh strainer, hold it over the cheesecake and tap the strainer to shake the powder out through the holes. This simple decoration looks best with a high-contrast cheesecake color, such as a pumpkin or chocolate cheesecake, but you can use cocoa powder on a light-colored cheesecake. For a fancier powdered sugar decoration, place a paper doily on the cake as a stencil. When you remove the doily, the pattern is revealed on the cheesecake surface.
Pipe stabilized whipped cream around the edges of the cheesecake, using a decorative tip such as a star tip to dot frosting around the edges. Stabilized whipped cream has piping gel or gelatin mixed in to hold the shape. If you don’t have the ingredients to make stabilized whipped cream, add this decoration with regular whipped cream immediately before serving.
Drizzle chocolate, caramel or fruit sauce over the cheesecake. Try a swirl pattern when decorating whole cheesecakes or a zigzag pattern when applied to individual, plated slices so the drizzled topping can drip over the sides and onto the plate.
Draw circles on top of the cheesecake with your choice of chocolate, caramel or fruit sauce, beginning with a small circle at center and increasing the circle sizes as you work your way to the edge. Insert a knife at the center and drag it to the edges when you cut the cheesecake into slices to create a spiderweb effect from the circles.
Pour warm ganache over the cheesecake to give it a shiny glaze finish. Mascarpone cheesecake is usually raised around the edges, creating a slight well in the center so you can keep the ganache confined to the top of the cake without spilling over the sides. Top with berries or nuts, if desired. Replace the ganache with caramel and top with pecans on a chocolate mascarpone cheesecake to make a turtle style cheesecake.
Top the cheesecake with fresh or frozen fruit arranged loosely or in a pattern, if you prefer. Small berries such as blueberries and raspberries are especially suitable for creating patterns. Pie filling also works if you want a sweet glaze along with the fruit.
Cook pureed fruit with a bit of sugar to make a sauce. Drizzle the sauce over the top of an unbaked cheesecake. Drag a toothpick or knife through the fruit sauce and cheesecake filling to create a swirl pattern. Bake the cheesecake according to the time indicated on your recipe.
Sprinkle chocolate chips or crushed candy or cookie pieces over the top of the cheesecake or concentrated in the center. Try crushed cookie pieces or crushed candy such as peanut butter cups in place of the chocolate chips.
Ice cream toppings work particularly well for decorating mascarpone cheesecakes. You can usually find a range of syrups that are useful for drizzling or creating web patterns, including strawberry fruit sauce, chocolate syrup, caramel and butterscotch.
Feel free to experiment and mix different decorating ideas. For example, you might try arranging raspberries in the center of a ganache-covered cheesecake or add some crushed peanut butter cups over the chocolate. You can cover the cheesecake with whipped cream before adding fruit.
References and ResourcesMother Earth News: How to Make Homemade Mascarpone Cheese
The Old Farmer's Almanac: What Is the Difference Between Mascarpone Cheese and Cream Cheese?
The Prepared Pantry: How to Decorate a Cheesecake
Baking Bites: Creamy Mascarpone Cheesecake
Baking Bites: How to Use Cake Stencils
The Baking Pan: Cheesecake Hints and Tips