baking beast

a suspicious creature has been lurking around the streets, leaving behind delights that dreams are made of. what's to become of this baking beast?

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Mocha Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

so this weekend was my friend's birthday! i wanted to bake her a birthday cake and decided to make.. her two favorite things together.. coffee and cheesecake! i got the recipe and decoration idea from the whimsical bakehouse by kaye and liv hansen (which is a really fun book! i'm only borrowing it from the library though. i think that the decorations get way too complicated for me to attempt.. i chose the easiest one. :P it's a fun book though, and the recipes seem great too. it's a good one to check out). i made it over 3 days.. and it was quite a bit of work! i first started by making my own cookies for the chocolate cookie crust.. and the next day i grinded up the cookies and made the crust and the cheesecake filling and baked it. the directions say for you to bake it in a water bath but i don't have any pans large enough to put my springform pan into.. so i just used a different method of baking and baked it at 500ºF for 10 min. and then 200ºF for another hour or so... it turned out fine! i read from cook's illustrated that this way provides for a more dense and firm cheesecake, which is what i prefer anyway. but my springform pan i don't think closed correctly and it started leaking in my oven!!!! it was a huge mess and i had to clean my oven afterward.... :( the book tells you to freeze the cheesecake before decorating, to help make it stable while you're decorating i guess. then on the last day i made a chocolate glaze, which actually isn't from that book but from alice medrich, and then melted down some chocolate and flicked my wrist away!! kept it in the refrigerator until i brought it to my friend's home and everybody was really impressed! it tastes better than it looks....... :) soooooo good. full of coffee, chocolate, and cream cheese flavor. creamy too!! the crust is delightful as well. i'm really happy with how it turned out.. despite the work and ..leakage! well worth it. and my friend LOVED it!! :D

the mocha chocolate chip cheesecake


decorated and waiting to be eaten


slices of goodness


aren't they cute??


MOCHA CHOCOLATE CHIP CHEESECAKE
From The Whimsical Bakehouse

A customer once said our Mocha Chocolate Chip Cheesecake was better than sex. Decadent and rich in espresso flavor, this is an irresistible treat. If you are feeling lazy, you can purchase a plain chocolate cookie for your crust. If, however, you do make the cookies, any leftovers are great as sandwich cookies filled with jam, melted chocolate, or ice cream.

Chocolate Cookie Crust

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Grease a 10 x 3-inch round cake pan and line it on the bottom with parchment paper. Have all ingredients at room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer at medium speed, beat to combine:
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar

Add at medium low and beat until well combined:
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

On a piece of wax paper, sift together:
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa
2 cups all-purpose flour
a pinch of salt

Add all at once to the butter mixture and mix at low speed until combined.

Chill for 10 minutes. On a lightly floured board roll the dough into 2 logs. Wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper and chill for 2 to 3 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°F Slice the chilled dough into 1/4-inch-thick rounds and arrange 1 inch apart on the cookie sheet. Bake for 14 to 18 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Let cool on a wire rack.

In a food processor finely chop enough cookies to make:
3 cups cookie crumbs

Transfer the crumbs to a bowl and add:
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

Add and mix:
4 1/2 ounces (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) melted unsalted butter
Pour the crumb crust into the pan. Press firmly onto the bottom and one third of the way up the sides.

Filling

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Have all ingredients at room temperature.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat at medium speed until smooth, scraping down the bowl often:
2 1/2 pounds cream cheese

Gradually beat in at medium speed:
1 1/2 cups sugar

Meanwhile, simmer in a saucepan:
1/2 cup heavy cream
Remove from the heat.

Add and stir to dissolve:
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (I used 2 tbsp of instant coffee granules)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Add the heavy cream mixture to the cream cheese and beat on low to incorporate, scraping down as needed.
Add one at a time at low speed:
6 large eggs

Beat only until the eggs are fully incorporated. Pour the filling into the crust.
Scatter over the top of the filling:
1 1/4 cups mini semisweet chocolate chips

Carefully swirl the chips into the filling with a small knife.
Place the pan in a larger pan and fill the larger pan halfway with hot water. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes, or until lightly golden and set. Let the cheesecake sit at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours before unmolding. To remove the cheesecake from the pan, run a paring knife around the edge of the cake, close to the pan so as not to break the crust. Cover the top of the cheesecake with plastic wrap and place a cake round or flat plate on top. Invert the cake onto the plate. Slowly lift off the cake pan and peel off the parchment paper. Place another cake round or plate on top (actually the bottom of the cheesecake) and invert again. Carefully peel the plastic wrap off without pulling off the skin of the cheesecake.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

ahhhh i gave in!!

i gave into my amazon.com wishlist and went on a cookbook shopping frenzy....... but uh.. they were all bargain buys!! think of all the money i saved!!! :P soon to be arriving at my home in different periods because i ordered them at different times and also on jessica's ebiscuit website... :

1. how to eat by nigella lawson (this purchase was way overdue!!)
2. desserts by pierre herme (my "chocolate desserts" book was getting lonely.....)
3. dessert circus by jacques torres (i love watching jacques on foodnetwork!)
4. the union square cafe cookbook (i saw it under the bargains.. and i couldn't resist)
5. rose's christmas cookie book (i've heard a lot of great stuff about this book)
6. death by chocolate: revised and expanded by marcel desaulniers (he's called the "king of ganache!"
7. death by chocolate cakes by marcel desaulniers (see above..... i've borrowed these books from the library and they cause death by just looking at them. so naturally i have to buy them!)

whew!!! i can't wait until they all arrive. it's a good thing they're going to come at different times or i may be overwhelmed by my own excitement. either that or by all the books crushing me!

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Pineapple Upside Down Cake



i made a pineapple upside down cake tonight! it's actually the first pineapple upside down cake that i've ever had.. i had some fresh pineapple that i felt like using and i thought it was a great time to try this. i used the recipe from "the best recipe" by cooks illustrated. it came out reaally well!!! the pineapple gave the cake a great taste and it was really comforting to eat. the topping was really good too. thumbs up for the recipe! :)


Pineapple Upside-Down Cake from "The Best Recipe"
Serves 8 to 10

Using a 9x3 inch round pan to bake the cake gives it straight sides. If you prefer slightly flared sides on your cake, bake it in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, which streamlines the process in three ways. First, the skillet need not be buttered; second, the caramel topping can be prepared in it directly; and third, the total baking time is cut to 50 minutes, which is 10 to 15 minutes faster than the cake pan.

Topping
4 tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for cake pan
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 small pineapple, quartered, cored, and cut into 3/8 inch thick slices

Cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
4 large eggs, separated, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup milk

1. For the topping: Butter bottom and sides of 9 x 3-inch round cake pan. Melt 4 tbsp butter in medium saucepan over medium heat; add brown sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is foamy and pale, 3 to 4 minutes. Pour mixture into prepared cake pan; swirlpan to distribute evenly. Arrange fruit slices in concentric circles over topping; set aside.
2. For the cake: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350º F. Whisk the flour, baking powder, cornmeal, and salt together in medium bowl; set aside. Cream butter in large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed. Gradually add 1 cup sugar; continue beating until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in yolks and vanilla (scraping the sides of the bowl if necessary); reduce speed to low and add dry mixture and milk, alternately in three or four batches, beginning and ending with dry ingredients, until batter is just smooth.
3. Beat egg whites in large bowl at low speed until frothy. Increase speed to medium-high; beat to soft peaks. Gradually add 2 tbsp sugar; continue to beat to stiff peaks. Fold one-quarter of beaten egg whites into batter with large rubber spatula to lighten. Fold in remaining whites until no white streaks remain. Gently pour batter into pan and spread evenly on top of fruit, being careful not to disperse fruit. Bake until top is golden and toothpick inserted into cake center (not fruit, which reamins gooey) comes out clean, 60 to 65 minutes.
4. Rest cake on rack for 2 minutes. Slide a paring knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Place a serving platter over the pan and hold tightly. Invert the cake onto the platter. Carefully remove the cake pan. If any fruit sticks to the pan bottom, remove and position on top of cake.

Friday, October 01, 2004

SHF:ISTBE # 1: white chocolate

this sugar high friday, for the theme of white chocolate.. i baked some white chocolate macadamia nut blondies! this is another recipe from williams-sonoma. it had been tempting me for quite a long time but thanks to the SHF, i finally made them. i didn't get a chance to take a picture of the finished product as i kept forgetting and then i brought them to school and they were all eaten. :P they were really good though! quite gooey and chewy and butterrryyy. and most of all, white chocolatey! i'm really happy with the results.. i baked it in a glass pan so i baked at 325ºF and baked for a little longer i think. i was sort of nervous because it didn't seem like it was done baking but the top was really brown. but it all set up after it finished cooling.

here is the picture from the website if you don't feel like clicking on the link:


i recommend the recipe for all. it was a great start to sugar high fridays!! :) i'm really enjoying this! can't wait for the future ones.