Benihana Mandarin Orange Cheesecake

This to die for cheesecake is a specialty at the world's largest Benihana restaurant located in the Hilton hotel and casino in Las Vegas.

SERVES 8

Ingredients

Cake
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch salt
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg

Cream Cheese Layer
1 (1/4 ounce) envelope unflavored gelatin
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup boiling water
1 (1 1/4 ounce) envelope Dream Whip
1/2 cup low-fat milk
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon orange extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
5 drops yellow food coloring
1 drop red food coloring

Topping
2 (15 ounce) cans mandarin oranges (in light syrup)

1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin

Nut Crust
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts (2.25 oz bag)
Icing
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/8 teaspoon vanilla

Directions
1 To make cake layer, combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.
2 Cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer in a medium bowl. Add dry ingredients to the butter and mix well. Mix in milk, vanilla and 1 egg. Pour into a well-greased 9" springform pan (or line it with parchment paper). Slam pan down on the counter a few times to even out the batter.
3 Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 15 minutes or until the cake is light brown on top.
4 For the cream cheese layer, combine gelatin with 3/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl. Add boiling water and stir until gelatin is dissolved. Set this aside.
5 Prepare Dream Whip by whipping together 1 envelope of Dream Whip and 1/2 cup milk with an electric mixer in another medium bowl. Whip it good until the topping makes stiff peaks.
6 In another bowl, whip the cream cheese with vanilla, orange extract, lemon juice and food coloring in a large bowl until smooth. Slowly add the gelatin mixture while beating. Add half (about 1 cup) of the Dream Whip to the cream cheese mixture and beat until smooth. Pour this mixture over the cake layer in the springform pan. Chill for 2 hours or until firm.
7 Pour all liquid except 1/2 cup from the cans of mandarin oranges wedges. Heat the 1/2 cup liquid in the microwave on high for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until hot. Dissolve 1 tsp unflavored gelatin in the liquid. Combine liquid with orange wedges and pour over the top of the firmed-up cheesecake that's still in the springform pan. Chill the cake for at least 2 more hours.
8 For the crunchy nut crust, combine 1 Tbs water with 2 Tbs sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. When sugar is dissolved and liquid begins to boil, add the hazelnuts and stir until nuts are well coated. Stir often until the water has cooked off, then continue to stir until the sugar begins to caramelize and turn light brown. Be careful not to burn the nuts. The nuts are done when they are light brown and glazed with candied sugar. Pour the nuts onto a plate and let them cool completely. When the candied nuts are cool, chop them up in a food processor until they are the consistency of crumbs.
9 Make the icing by combining shortening with powdered sugar, milk and vanilla.
10 When mandarin orange gelatin has firmed up on top of the cake, remove the cake from the springform pan. Use a spatula to spread the icing around the edge of the cake. Press the hazelnut crumbs onto the icing around the edge of the cake (you've got more than enough hazelnut crumbs and much of it will fall off as you press it on the sides). Chill the cake for at least another hour before serving.

To serve, cut cake into 8 slices.