Posts Tagged ‘cheesecake

30
May
10

Let the wedding season begin!

Simple, elegant baby's breath and white roses = wedding flowers

It’s that time of year when announcements and invitations arrive in your mail box.  Graduations and weddings.  The graduations usually require a card of congratulations and a check in response.  The weddings are more fun.  Oh, sure, you still go out and buy a pretty card and a gift or write a check, but, if you are lucky, you go to a party.  And at that party, you get to eat cake!

I received a call a few months back, requesting an order for a simple wedding cake.  I confess, wedding cake makes me nervous.  It’s such a special occasion and, in my mind, everything must be perfect, lest the bride have a melt down.  In reality, I’m usually the one who has the melt down.  I can be really hard on myself.  

I agreed to make this cake because the bride is familiar with my work and loves my cake.  She did not want a traditional cake with all of the gum paste flowers and fondant, thank God!  I don’t do those. 

So, I kept it simple, yet elegant. 

My version of simple and elegant

This cake has a layer of vanilla bean mascarpone cheesecake sandwiched between layers of chocolate buttermilk cake, two layers each, top and bottom.  Yeah, we’re talkin’ 5 layers total of pure decadence.  Oh, and the frosting is mocha rum buttercream.

A little close up detail work

I was going for a little pearl looking action on the detail work, but they look more like sweet white Kisses.  Quite appropriate for a wedding cake, yes?

I really liked this shot

I even did the floral arrangement myself.   It turned out pretty nice. 

I received a text message from one of the guests later that evening.  She told me the cake was a huge success.  Everyone really loved it, especially that cheesecake center.  I believe the word “decadent” was in there.

So, in closing this post out, I have one final confession.  This is the fourth wedding cake I have made in my entire life.  And I’m ready for the next one.

26
Apr
10

Oh, No, You Didn’t!

Probably falls under the category of a mortal sin

 

Oh yes, I did!  I combined three of my most popular cakes into one.  If there is indeed a hell, I just know there is a big fat red devil with his pitch fork poised, just waiting for me to drop in with this cake.  It’s definitely a cross between heaven and hell.  Heavenly to behold, sweet, moist and rich in the mouth.  Hella hard to resist.  Oh, I’m sure it’s off the charts in fat grams and calories, but who’s counting?  I totally envision the angel and devil routine, each one  perched on my shoulders and whispering in my ear.  Devil -“Go ahead, eat it!  No one is looking!”  Angel – “Oh, my, all those calories!  All that fat!”  Devil – “Don’t listen to her.  You can eat whatever you want.  You deserve it.”  Angel – “It does look delicious.  Maybe just one eensy, teensy bite.”  Devil – “Screw that!  Eat it all.  Now!”  At this point I shake the Angel off my shoulder, give the Devil a conspiratory wink and devour that one way ticket to diet damnation with no remorse.   

If you can’t tell by the picture, the bottom layer is Chocolate Buttermilk Cake, the center layer is, are you ready?, Vanilla Mascarpone Cheesecake (!)and the top layer is Red Velvet Cake.  If that isn’t sinful enough, I frosted it all with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting.  Yeah, it’s even better than it sounds.   

Wanna see how it’s assembled?  OK, since you asked, here goes:   

I baked a 9 inch Chocolate Buttermilk Cake, a 9 inch crustless Vanilla Mascarpone Cheesecake and a 9″ Red Velvet Cake.  The cheese cake was baked the day before the other two cakes were made so it could get good and set up in the refrigerator.   

Bottom Layer - Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

 

Here is the bottom chocolate layer with a thin layer of the frosting.  Yeah, I do call that thin. 

The center cheesecake layer

 

I unmolded the crustless cheesecake directly on top of the frosted chocolate layer.  The parchment paper is still attached in this photo, that’s why the bottom (or top, here) of the cheesecake looks wrinkly.  Don’t forget to remove the parchment before frosting the cheesecake layer.  The only reason I mention this is I actually started frosting this after I snapped the photo and then stopped myself.  Fortunetly it’s really easy to remove frosting from cheesecake when it has parchment on it!  Yes, sometimes I am a dork.  

Frosted cheesecake layer

 

Ok, so then I spread a layer of frosting on top of the cheesecake layer, after first removing the parchment paper!  This was the first time I had ever frosted a cheesecake and it glided on there smooth as proverbial silk.  

Last but not least, the top layer, Red Velvet

 

I placed the Red Velvet layer on top and then frosted the whole, beautiful creation.  By the way, I leveled both of the cake layers with a serrated knife before frosting, duh.  

Here's the finished product

 

I made the executive decision not to do my usual piping top and bottom borders.  The true attraction of this cake is on the inside.   

Is the devil whispering in your ear yet?

 

I wish the Red Velvet cake crumbs didn’t get drug across the cheesecake layer.  I used a sharp hot knife and cleaned it between cuts, but I still got crumb dregs.  Well, this was just an inspiration I came up with and thought I drive it around the block a few times until I come up the perfect rendition of this cake.  Not bad for a proto type, though, eh? 

So, what do you reckon, am I going to hell, or what? 

ps:   We did not eat this whole cake ourselves.  Katie and I shared the piece that appears in the picture next to the whole cake.  I sent almost half of the cake to work with Katie and I took almost the other half to my job.  The photo at the beginning of this post was kept at our house, for us to enjoy and share with a couple of lucky people who came by that weekend.

24
Sep
09

Ganache Topped Mocha Cheescake

What can I say?

What can I say?

I love to barter.  The idea of trading talents goes back to the beginning of time.  Imagine if we did not have to depend on money to get the goods we needed or wanted.

I love farmers markets.  All of the fresh produce and home made baked goods cry out to me.  The live music, ethnic food and beverages turn an ordinary Sunday morning into a party every week.

One Sunday we were chatting with a vendor who owns Dante’s Pesto. I happened to mention to him that I am a pastry chef and he became quite excited.  “Do you barter?” he asked me.  “Sure, what do you want?” “Do you make cheesecake?” “Of course, what kind so you want?”  Without hesitation, he blurted out “Mocha cheesecake covered in chocolate!  This guy was serious about his cheesecake.  I told him I would bring him one the following weekend in exchange for $30.00 worth of pesto.  Deal!  The above picture is my part of the barter.

Mocha Cheesecake

1 1/2 cups finely ground chocolate cookies

1 cup sugar

3 TBSP unsalted butter, melted

1 # cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup sour cream or mascarpone, room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg, room temperature

pinch of salt

1/4 cup espresso

1 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

 

Prepare 9″ cake pan:  Cut a circle of parchment paper to fit into the bottom of pan.  Spray pan liberally with non-stick spray and place parchment paper into pan.  You may use a spring form pan if you prefer (I can’t stand them for cheesecakes!!) just be sure to double wrap with heavy duty foil before placing in water bath.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix cookie crumbs, sugar and melted butter in small bowl.  Press into the bottom of prepared pan.  Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Lower oven temperature to 200 degrees.

Beat cream cheese and sour cream or mascarpone in a food processor or with an electric mixer until smooth and lump free.  Add sugar, egg, and salt and continue mixing.  Add espresso and melted chocolate and mix thoroughly.

Pour cream cheese mixture over baked crust.  Place pan in a larger roaster type pan and add water until it reaches half way up the side of the cheesecake pan.  Bake in preheated 200 degree oven for 2 hours.  This low temperature and longer baking time keeps the cheescake from developing those annoying cracks in the center.

Allow cheesecake to cool on the counter until it is cool enough to wrap with plastic and place in refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight.

 

Remove cheesecake from refrigerator.  Cover a dinner plate with plastic wrap, make sure it is pulled taut.  Turn on your gas or electric burner.  Warm the bottom of the pan to warm the cheesecake slightly so it will release from the pan.  It may take several turns at the burner until it reaches this point.  Make sure you don’t just sit the pan on the burner.  Hold it over the heat, close enough so it will warm the pan.  I set my pan on the electric burner and spin it slowly, always keep it in motion.  Do this if you are comfortable with this method.  Place plastic covered plate on top of cake pan and invert.  The cake should slide out of the pan.  If it does not, go back and heat again.  If you have a blow torch, you can skip the stove method and just heat the pan bottom after you have inverted it onto the plastic covered plate.  Place serving plate on top of crust and turn back to upright position.  If the plate sticks to the top of the cheesecake, remove the plate from the plastic and peel the plastic off the cake.   Return the cheesecake to the refrigerator until you are ready to top it with the ganache.

Ganache

1 # bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 cup heavy cream 40% fat

1 TBSP corn syrup or glycerine

Combine the ingredients in  double boiler and melt over simmering water until completely smooth.  Let sit, stirring occasionally, until the ganache is thick enough to pipe.  This does not happen quickly, so please be patient.  Using a star tip and pastry bag, decorate the top of the cake.

I wish I had a little video to insert in here so I could demonstrate how I did the top.  If you don’t want to go to the trouble or are unsure of how this is done, you can opt for just pouring the thickened  ganche over the top and smoothing it with an offset spatula.

  

 

 

 

03
Aug
09

A little cheesecake, please!

Mascarpone Cheesecake topped with fresh blueberries, raspberries and candied lemon zest

Mascarpone Cheesecake topped with fresh blueberries, raspberries and candied lemon zest

 

I realized that I get a lot of hits on this blog from people looking for cheesecake.  I have another posting with pictures of individual cheese cake but with no recipe.  Let me share my favorite basic cheesecake recipe with you.  Everyone loves it.

BASIC MASCARPONE CHEESECAKE

2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup mascarpone

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

pinch of salt

YOU CAN ADD ANY FLAVOUR YOU WANT.  THE CHEESCAKE IN THE PICTURE HAS 4 TBSP LEMON JUICE AND THE ZEST OF TWO LEMONS ADDED TO IT.

CRUST

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Butter or spray with non stick spray 2 – 7 inch cake pans with 2 inch sides or 1 – 10 inch pan with 2 inch sides.  If you are using a spring form pan (which I do not like to use) be sure to double wrap the bottom and side with heavy duty aluminum foil.

Combine crust ingredients in small bowl, mix well.  Press into bottom only of prepared pan.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and set on cooling rack.  Prepare cheesecake batter.

Cream together cream cheese and mascarpone in a food processor or using an electric mixture.  Beat in sugar until smooth.  Beat in eggs and salt.  Add any flavoring at this point.  Pour into pans on top of pre baked crust.  You are going to bake the cheesecake in a water bath.  Take a pan larger than your cheesecake pan ( a roasting pan works well) and place the cheesecake pan inside.  Add water to the large pan until it reaches half way up the cheesecake pan.  Place in a 220 degree oven and bake for 2 hours.  Cheesecake is done when you giggle the pan and it moves as a solid mass.  Cool on rack until it is cool enough to place in the refrigerator.  Cover with plastic wrap when it has cooled down enough to not sweat the plastic.  Refrigerate overnight.

Remove cheesecake from refrigerator.  Cover a dinner plate with plastic wrap, make sure it is pulled taut.  Turn on your gas or electric burner.  Warm the bottom of the pan to warm the cheesecake slightly so it will release from the pan.  It may take several turns at the burner until it reaches this point.  Make sure you don’t just sit the pan on the burner.  Hold it over the heat, close enough so it will warm the pan.  I set my pan on the electric burner and spin it slowly, always keep it in motion.  Do this if you are comfortable with this method.  Place plastic covered plate on top of cake pan and invert.  The cake should slide out of the pan.  If it does not, go back and heat again.  If you have a blow torch, you can skip the stove method and just heat the pan bottom after you have inverted it onto the plastic covered plate.  Place serving plate on top of crust and turn back to upright position.  If the plate sticks to the top of the cheesecake, remove the plate from the plastic and peel the plastic off the cake. 

I hope you will try this recipe.  If you have any questions, please feel free to use the comments box.  Bon Appetit!

 




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