Unicorn sprinkles that coordinate with the colors used for the cheesecake
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Tear two large pieces of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Using a 9-inch springform pan, set the pan onto the foil and bring the foil up around the sides of the pan. Repeat with the second piece of foil. Tightly seal the layers of aluminum foil around the springform pan to ensure no leakage into the cheesecake crust from the water bath.
Generously spray the inside of the springform pan with baker’s spray.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, granulated sugar, and melted butter to form your crust mixture. Press the mixture into the bottom, and up the sides, of your springform pan. Be sure that it is packed in well.
Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool while making the cheesecake filling.
Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the softened cream cheese and granulated sugar until no lumps remain and the cream cheese is very smooth.
Add the vanilla extract and eggs, one at a time. Mix on low speed until each egg has been incorporated. You will need to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl between egg additions to ensure that all the ingredients are fully incorporated.
Stir in the sour cream just until the cheesecake batter is smooth and evenly mixed.
Divide the batter evenly into four bowls.
Stir in 1-3 drops of the pink gel food coloring in the first bowl, adding more drops as needed to reach the desired color until the batter has no pink streaks remaining.
Repeat with each additional color of cheesecake batter until all four colors are mixed and smooth.
Using a large spoon (a separate spoon for each color), place dollops of each color randomly onto the cooled graham cracker crust until all the colors have been added. You will end up layering the colors, so try not to layer the same color in the same places. This will help to ensure you have a beautiful marbled unicorn look when swirled.
Using a butter knife, very gently swirl the colors of the cheesecake batter around. Be sure not to scrape the bottom or the sides of the graham cracker crust.
Tap the pan on the counter a couple of times to remove any air bubbles.
Place the pan into a large roasting pan or any oven-safe dish that has deep sides, then place the roasting pan into the oven on the middle rack.
Carefully pour the boiling water into the roasting pan, being careful not to get any of the hot water into the cheesecake batter until the water comes up about 1 inch on the sides of the springform pan. You may need more or less than 2 cups of boiling water, depending on the size of your roasting pan.
Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 30 minutes or just until the center is set. The cake should have the slightest wobble in the center when tapped on the side of the pan.
Turn off the oven, crack the oven door open about 1-2 inches, and allow the unicorn cheesecake to cool (and finish baking) for an additional 1 hour.
Remove the unicorn cheesecake from the oven and from the water bath, and remove the foil from around the springform pan.
Run a knife, with a thin blade, around the sides of the cheesecake to make sure it is not sticking to the sides of the pan.
Allow the unicorn cheesecake to cool on the counter for an additional hour before placing it into the refrigerator to chill completely for at least 8 hours up to overnight.
Once the unicorn cheesecake has chilled and set up completely, you can garnish the cheesecake with the thawed whipped topping that has been transferred to a piping bag, fitted with a large decorative tip, and pipe dollops around the entire edge of the cheesecake.
Sprinkle the whipped topping with the unicorn sprinkles.
Note that the pale Robin’s Egg blue turned the cheesecake batter a beautiful teal color due to the yellow pigment of the egg yolks in the batter.
Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature to ensure you don't have lumps in your cream cheese mixture.
Do not over-mix your cheesecake batter. You do not want to incorporate a lot of air in the batter as this can cause cracks in your baked cheesecake from the air bubbles.
To ensure that you have equal amounts of each color of batter, you can weigh your four bowls of batter on a digital kitchen scale and adjust the amounts of batter accordingly to make sure that each of the bowls weighs the same.
Different brands of gel food color will pigment the cheesecake batter differently. Always start with a couple of drops, mix it in, then add more as needed to reach the desired color. I used a brand that created pastel pigments, so they required almost ¾ teaspoon of gel food coloring for all the colors except the electric pink.
Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to keep a close eye on your cheesecake as the suggested baking time approaches.