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I’m a really big fan of this whole it’s your birthday let me bake you a cake thing that goes on once a year.

I could 100% do without my birthday. It’s not an age thing, I could care less about getting older, it’s more of an I’m bratty and don’t like holidays or special days kind of person. That being said, having someone bake me a cake of my choosing is probably one of the best things ever.

A couple of years ago this German Chocolate Cheesecake Cake made me extremely happy. And now this year, a pumpkin cheesecake cake. Notice a trend? I think I might need a cake + cheesecake intervention. Especially considering the fact that this cake lasted a full week, which means that I’ve had at least 6 pieces of it all to myself. Happy Birthday to me!

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Call me crazy because this recipe doesn’t have anything to do with chocolate, but I am enamoured by this cake. Two amazing layers of pumpkin cake, which honestly would be great on its own slathered in some cream cheese icing but why would we do something as boring as that, sandwiched in the middle with a cheesecake filling and then topped off with a pumpkin cream cheese icing (holy amazing) with sugared pecans. That’s fine right? Not over the top at all.

The only problem was that the inside of the cake was definitely not photogenic. So a picture from the original recipe and one from amateur hour over here. I think we know whose is whose. Regardless, feel free to be awestruck like I was.

And thus begins the hunt for next years birthday cake. Wish me luck…

Pumpkin Cheesecake Cake 

Recipe from http://www.recipegirl.com/2012/11/02/pumpkin-cheesecake-cake/

 

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Sex in a Pan

I know, I know. I’m the world’s worst baking blogger. I’m unorganized and I don’t have everything figured out. I don’t bake things ahead of time so that you can actually use them when it matters most. Like this dessert, which I made for Mother’s Day, which was yesterday. Maybe next year your could make this for mom?

Christmas baking? Let’s talk about it in January, when we’re all supposed to be New Years Resolutioning it up. Easter desserts? Did you want to talk about the Easter eggs that I have sitting on the kitchen table? Or how about this one…Halloween candy that is also sitting on the kitchen counter. My bad.

It’s not that I don’t like the stuff, believe me, I do. I just have my priorities. Take today for instance. I could come home from work and have a mini Easter egg or treat size Oh Henry, or I could take a nose dive into this.

Sex in a pan. Have you had it before? I’m quite happy to admit that I have had it multiple times, a seasoned pro if you will. Seriously though, once you have this it’s all that you ever want. Today it was all that I could think about at work.

I think I get why it’s called what it is. I want it, and I want a lot of it.

I digress.

Layer 1 = a basic crust with walnuts for some crunch.

Layer 2 = cream cheese deliciousness.

Layer 3 = chocolate pudding

Layer 4 = whipping cream and chocolate shavings.

A confession on my behalf. From past experiences with this dessert I wanted to make sure that the layers weren’t spread too thin so I bypassed the 9 x 13 pan and opted for the 8 x 8 instead. Big mistake if you want to have layer 4 pre-assembled. Best idea ever if you are okay with serving yourself whipping cream at the table. Which I clearly was.

 

Better idea? Getting off of the computer right now and heading to the fridge and spending some quality time with my new best friend.

Sex in a Pan

Crust

1 cup flour     1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325F.

Mix the above ingredients together and pat into a pan of your choosing (9 x 13 recommended but not what I used).

Bake 10 – 15 minutes. Cool.

Cream Cheese Filling

1 cup icing sugar           1 tsp vanilla

1 cup whipping cream    8 oz cream cheese

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl.

Using a beater, mix the ingredients until smooth and creamy.

Pour over the cooled crust.

Chocolate Pudding

1 large package chocolate pudding    2 cups milk

Combine the ingredients and beat for 2 minutes. Allow the pudding to thicken.

Spread the pudding over the previous layer.

Whipping cream

Beat 2 cups whipping cream with some vanilla and sugar.

Spread over the previous layer and top with grated semi-sweet chocolate.

Refrigerate until ready to serve and after serving.

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A muffin and orange juice. A cupcake and cookie. An apple and a chocolate and peanut butter granola bar. Don’t forget dipping the knife into the peanut butter, then the raspberry jam, and then licking the knife…and then repeating multiple times. Pretty classy hey?

So, that’s maybe what I’ve had to eat today. I’m feeling embarrassed. Who the heck eats a cupcake and then a cookie at recess? Oh right, this girl.

What else do I want to eat? These. Delicious chocolate cake with cheesecake in the middle…because I haven’t baked anything similar to this in the past…not these, or those, for sure not this, or this either…are you noticing a trend? I really need to branch out.

Fortunately these aren’t around the house anymore, otherwise they would be busy causing trouble and would probably end up being tonight’s dinner. So much for a balanced diet.

At least everything today tasted good?

 

 

Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese filling

Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

For the Almond-Sugar Topping
1 cup chopped almonds            1/4 cup sugar

For the Cake
3 cups flour                 2 cups sugar
6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder     1 tsp salt
2 cups cold water         ¾ cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp white vinegar     2 tsp vanilla

For the Cream Cheese Filling
2 (8-ounce packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar      2 eggs
½ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan; set aside.

Make the Almond-Sugar Topping: Combine the chopped walnuts and the sugar in a small bowl; set aside.

Make the Cake Batter: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.

In another bowl whisk together the water, vegetable oil, vinegar, and vanilla.

Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and, using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, mix together until just combined and there are no traces of dry ingredients. Set aside.

Make the Cream Cheese Filling: Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until soft and smooth, about 3 minutes.

Add the sugar and continue mixing until light and fluffy, another 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the eggs and the salt and beat until thoroughly combined and smooth.

Pour half of the cake batter into the prepared pan.

Slowly pour all of the cream cheese filling over top, trying to distribute it as evenly as possible (do not try to spread it after you pour it).

Pour the remaining cake batter over top of the cream cheese filling.

Sprinkle the top of the cake with the walnut-sugar mixture.

Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached.

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Sometimes things get a bit excessive over here. Like let’s take cupcakes and instead make them into a massive cake that is completely covered in rich icingand chocolate. Or how about this past week when I decided that chocolate cheesecake cupcakes were too plain for my taste? Solution…peanut butter icing. What can I say? I know what I like and in some cases I throw it all together and hope for the best.

These cupcakes are pretty good. I still don’t understand why they are called “black bottom” though, since all of the cheesecake sinks to the bottom, creating a “white bottom.” I should seriously be in charge of naming all desserts, but I digress.

These are good. I felt like they needed some sprucing up, hence the icing, but to be honest I don’t know if that was the best idea. Maybe a ganache, maybe nothing? I’ll leave that choice up to you.

I’ll be honest, these cupcakes were all about excess, and similarly, birthdays are all about excess, so I decided to combine the two this year. Can I just say that I have amazing friends. What a full weekend of celebrations, I couldn’t be more thankful for fun memories, incredible people and these cupcakes. Duh.

 

 

Black Bottom Cupcakes

8 oz package cream cheese       1 egg

1/3 cup sugar                           1/8 tsp salt

Chocolate chips                         1 pkg Devil’s Food Cake Mix

Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine cream cheese, egg, sugar and salt. Mix until well blended.

Add the chocolate chips and set aside.

Prepare the cake mix according to package instructions.

Fill paper cupcake liners 1/2 full with cake batter. Top with heaping tablespoonful of cream cheese mixture.

Bake 15-20 minutes.

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Pumpkin Pie Bars

Today wasn’t a good day. The rain came pouring down, matching exactly how I felt. I needed to take my mind off of things, I needed to bake, but I needed to bake something good. Mission accomplished.

Step 1: Select favourite baking ingredient. Pumpkin? Check.

Step 2: Select second favourite baking ingredient. Cream cheese? Check.

This is looking promising. Thank you Joy the Baker for making Pumpkin Pie bars last year and for twisting my arm to make these. Thank you to another friend for supporting my pumpkin baking addiction. You add, for lack of a better word, joy to my life. If only you lived closer…(ie. these aren’t making their way out east to you in the mail, sorry)

Sometimes recipes give you options regarding toppings. Sometimes I don’t choose, I use both. Such was the case today. Why choose between chocolate chips or butterscotch chips? Why not do half on one side and half on the other? Why am I so smart?

These were really good, a crisp crust, delicious centre and the perfect topping. Just make sure that you store these in the fridge. I love you fall baking!

On a different note, today is Thanksgiving, even though it’s been a tough one I’ve been reminding myself that I have so much to be thankful for…an amazing family, a job at a school that I love, the best co-workers in the world, beautiful friends, good health, and most importantly, a Saviour. So blessed.

 

 

Pumpkin Pie Bars

Adapted from Joy the Baker

1 1/3 cups flour             3/4 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup brown sugar      3/4 cup butter
1 cup oats                      1/2 cup  chopped walnuts
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
3 eggs                            2 cups pumpkin
1 tsp  cinnamon             1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp all spice                 1 tsp vanilla
a handful of butterscotch or chocolate chips for sprinkling on top (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F.

Line a 13×9-inch pan with foil, with ends of the foil extending over sides; grease foil.

Mix flour, 1/4 sugar and brown sugar in a bowl.

Cut in butter with two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in oats and nuts.

Reserve 1 cup oat mixture; press remaining onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake 15 min.

Beat cream cheese, remaining sugar, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice and pumpkin with mixer until well blended.

Pour over crust; sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture and a handful of butterscotch or chocolate chips (if desired).

Bake for 25 min.

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All that seems to be coming out of the oven these days is chocolate and rhubarb. Might as well keep this chocolate train going with this amazing amazing dessert.

It was my mom’s 60th birthday last week. Sixty! Oh man. I figured that a) a surprise party was needed and b) an extra delicious dessert was a must. The surprise party was a huge success, she didn’t have a clue. You should have seen the look on her face when we entered the restaurant and a bunch of her friends were there to celebrate her. Priceless. And so worth all of the planning. So many incredible women all in one place. Love it.

On a more serious note…this dessert. Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake. We all know that I’m obsessed with the Cheesecake Factory’s 30th Anniversary cheesecake so any chance I get to make something similar I quickly grab. This recipe is to die for. It will definitely be made many more times to come.

This recipe does take a while to make so preparations began the night before as I made the pan of brownies. I made a full 9 x 13 pan and only ended up using half of it for the cheesecake. Fear not, I put those extra brownies to good use. More on that another day. The following day, with my brownies in the fridge ready to go I began work on the next layers.

Instead of using the regular Oreo cookie crumbs the crust is made with chocolate Teddy Grams, and, rather than having a single layer of crust, the recipe doubles the crust. Genius. Once this is done the cheesecake layer is quickly completed and the brownies are cut up and stirred into the batter. Rather than pouring a chocolate ganache on top of the finished product I went for a “lighter” feel and topped everything with whipping cream. Light. Yeah right.

A major cake for a major birthday. The best.

Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake

Part One: One Bowl Brownies
3/4 cup cocoa      1/4 cup melted butter
3/4 cup butter     1 3/4 cups sugar
3 eggs                 1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt          1 cup flour

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line 9×13 baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Grease foil.

Melt chocolate and butter in large saucepan until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.

Stir in sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add flour and salt; mix well. Spread into prepared pan.

Bake 30 to 35 minute or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. (Do not overbake.) Cool in pan on wire rack. Remove brownies from pan, using foil handles.

Cool brownies and refrigerate until needed. Cut into 1-inch squares for use in the cheesecake. Add cubes to cake batter as directed below.

Part Two: Crumb Crust
2 1/2 cups Chocolate Teddy Grahams    

9 tbsp butter, melted
2/3 cup sugar   1/4 tsp salt

Stir together crust ingredients and press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of a buttered 24-centimeter springform pan.

Refrigerate until ready to use.

Part Three: Cheesecake
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3 large eggs       1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup sugar     2 cups brownie cubes (from recipe above)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy and add eggs, 1 at a time. Mix in vanilla and sugar, beating on low speed. Be sure to scrape down bowl between additions.

Fold brownie cubes in very gently and pour mixture into prepared pan.

Place prepared pan on a cookie sheet to catch any drippings.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until cake is set 3 inches from edge but center is still slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken.

Allow to cool, then refrigerate. Serve with whipping cream.

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All right, here it comes, I’m about to admit something that will probably make you think that I’m a horrible person.

I’ve turned into a baking snob.

A baking princess perhaps?

I just don’t like it when it’s treat day at work and someone brings store-bought goods, or something that takes very little effort. See, I get really excited for treat day. It’s kind of a big deal. And I don’t like being let down.

In some situations, such as this one, I’m a real go-getter. So I solved the problem, I simply volunteered to take on a number of treat days. End result: these, those and this cream cheese brownie. I figure that it’s a win-win situation. I get to bake, which I enjoy doing, I get to eat good treats, and so do the others. Being a princess can be a good thing, right?

All snobby-ness aside though, these brownies were seriously unreal. The perfect combination of chewy brownie and delicious cream cheese to top it all off. Decadent, melt in your mouth amazingness. They were a big hit too, I won’t mention any names but let’s just say that there were a few people who were taking seconds for later on. I can’t blame them though, smart colleagues those people are!

Let’s just say that there were some very happy people at the school when they found out that me and my baking would be sticking around for another semester…

 

 

Cheesecake Marbled Brownies

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Brownie Batter

1/2 cup butter             1/2 package semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

1 cup sugar                 2 eggs
1/2 tsp pure vanilla     2/3 cup flour

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.

Heat butter and chocolate in a saucepan over moderately low heat until melted.

Remove from heat and whisk in sugar, eggs, vanilla, and a pinch of salt until well combined.

Whisk in flour until just combined and spread in baking pan.

Cheesecake batter
8 ounces cream cheese     1/3 cup sugar
1 egg yolk                          1/4 tsp vanilla

Plus
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Whisk together cheesecake batter ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. Dollop over brownie batter, then swirl in with a knife or spatula.

Sprinkle chocolate chips over cheesecake/brownie batter swirl.

Bake for 35 minutes or until center is just set.

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