Sunday, September 28, 2008

Brown Sugar Apple Cheesecake - A Tuesdays with Dorie Re-wind

I decided on a Dorie Re-wind for this week - a butane torch for creme brulee would not go well with the clumsy and forgetful Sherrytrifle so I decided against buying one. Hence my pick of Dorie's Brown Sugar-Apple Cheesecake, chosen back in February by Jaime of Good Eats 'n Sweet Treats.

Here's the recipe:

Brown Sugar-Apple Cheesecake
For the Crust
30 gingersnaps (or a scant 2 cups graham cracker crumbs) - I used Nilla Wafers.
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
1/2 stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
For the Apples
1/2 stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter
3 large Golden Delicious or Fuji apples, peeled, cored and cut into eighths
2 tbsp (packed) light brown sugar
For the Filling
1 1/2 pounds (three 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
6 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp apple cider
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup heavy cream
Apple jelly, for glazing, or confectioner's sugar, for dusting (optional)

To Make the Crust:
Butter the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan.
Put the gingersnaps in a food processor and whir until you have crumbs; you should have a scant 2 cups. (If you are using graham cracker crumbs, just put them in the food processor.) Pulse in the sugar and cinnamon, if you're using it, then pour over the melted butter and pulse until the crumbs are moistened. Turn the crumbs into the springform pan and, using your fingertips, firmly press them evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan as far as they'll go. Put the pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven. (The crust can be covered and frozen for up to 2 months.)

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Remove the pan from the freezer and wrap the bottom tightly in aluminum foil, going up the sides. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until the crust is set and lightly browned. Transfer to a rack to cool while you make the apples and the filling. Leave the oven at 350 degrees F.

To Make the Apples:
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When the foam subsides, toss in half of the apple slices and cook, turning once, until they are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle the apples with 1 tablespoon of the sugar and cook them, turning, just until coated, another minute or so. Scrape the apples onto a plate, wipe out the skillet and repeat with the remaining apples. Let the apples cool while you make the filling.

Getting Ready to Bake:
Have a roasting pan large enough to hold the springform pan at hand. Put a kettle of water on to boil.

To Make the Filling:
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese on medium speed, scraping down the bowl often, for about 4 minutes, or until it is velvety smooth. Add the sugars and beat for another 2 minutes. Beat in the cider, vanilla, and cinnamon. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the eggs one by one, beating for 1 minute after each egg goes in. Finally, beat in the sour cream and heavy cream, beating just until the batter is smooth.

Pour about one third of the batter into the baked crust. Drain the apples by lifting them off the plate with a slotted spoon or spatula, and spoon them into the pan. Cover with the remaining batter and, if needed, jiggle the pan to even the top. Place the springform pan in the roasting pan and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.

Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 30 to 45 minutes, covering the cake loosely with a foil tent at the 45-minute mark. The cake will rise evenly and crack around the edges, and it should be fully set except, possibly, in the very center--if the center shimmies, that's just fine. Gently transfer the cake, still in the pan, to a cooling rack and let it cool to room temperature, then refrigerate it for at least 6 hours; overnight would be better.

Run a blunt knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the crust, open the pan's latch and release and remove the sides.

I used a 10" cheesecake pan with a removable base rather than a springform pan. I just love my cheesecake pan - it is so satisfying to just lift the whole cake with the base, which I use as a plate. There is no moving of the cheesecake unsupported.

I've eaten a slice - I'm not sure if I like it as much as a classic New York Cheesecake or as much as the light and fluffy Hidden Berry Cream Cheese Torte I made back in August. But I think it will be very popular at work tomorrow as it is nice and creamy.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Cupcake Hero - Here's to the Red, White and Blue - and Cocoa

For the new Cupcake Hero I've decided to make Red Velvet Cupcakes, with a few sprinkles of bright blue nonpareils. Our challenge is to do a re-run from a combination of two earlier CH themes: my Red Velvet Cupcakes will have red food coloring, white cream cheese frosting and a few sprinkles of bright blue nonpareils for the Red, White and Blue challenge and cocoa in the Red Velvet batter for the Cocoa challenge.

My co-workers were expecting cake today but I was empty-handed, hence the sudden inspiration to enter Cupcake Hero, something I would like to get into the habit of doing. Who doesn't like cupcakes! Naturally, I am being the true copycat - the cupcake recipe is from Kim of Scrumptious Photography and the cream cheese frosting is a Martha Stewart recipe. However, the idea of Nonpareils is original, authentic Sherrytrifle.

They have come out light and fluffy, definitely a "make again." Next time I'll make more and freeze the ones we don't eat at first and also use a cupcake tray, not disposable aluminum muffin tins - they made the cupcakes come out a bit uneven.

I'd say it took about 24 mins. to bake. It's important to follow the instructions and let them sit in the pans for 10 mins.

Here's Kim's recipe:

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Makes 12

1 1/4 cups (125 grams) cake flour
2 1/2 tablespoons (22.5 grams) cocoa (not dutch processed)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder or 1/6 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoons vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 ounce red food coloring paste (I used 1 tablespoon of the grocery store liquid)
3/4 cups (150 grams) sugar
1/4 cups (55 grams) butter
1 egg

-preheat oven to 350°F
-sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder (or cream of tartar), and salt into medium bowl
-whisk buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla, and food coloring in small bowl to blend
-beat sugar and butter in large bowl until well fluffy, 3 minutes
-add egg, beating until well blended, about 30 seconds
-beat in dry ingredients in 4 additions alternately with buttermilk mixture in 3 additions (dry, wet, dry, wet, dry, wet, dry)
-scoop into cupcake tins bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes
-cool in pans 10 minutes
-cool completely on racks

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Dimply Plum Cake

Sorry, no Dimply Plum Cake this week. I made it about an hour ago but overbaked it so it came out all dry like a rusk. I'm just too pooped to bake it again. Oh well, next week is another week.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Pictures for Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

Blogger is driving me crazy....It left out my carefully previewed pictures of my Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake, so here's trying again!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

Another lovely chocolate cake recipe I have discovered! This one is adapted from a recipe by Gourmet Girl. I found it by luck when I was Googling for "chocolate mayonnaise cake with eggs." It is different from my August chocolate cake as it has a softer, less dense crumb, but both get Five Stars in my opinion.

I promised it to a friend, Carla, for her birthday; her sister used to make a mean chocolate mayonnaise cake that she recalls with fond memories. I was invited to visit her in her new home in Brookline, Mass, and along went the cake as well, on the Acela Express to Boston. It was a successful journey - I was worried at first as I thought the buttercream frosting would get gooey but the air conditioning on the train was plenty cool enough to be like a fridge. Only slight repair work was required to patch up the sides with the buttercream.

Here's the recipe:

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

2- 9" round cake pans, greased and floured

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1- 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1-2/3 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup mayonnaise
1-1/3 cup water

Make the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 F

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and baking powder; set aside.

2. In large mixer bowl with paddle attachment beat sugar, eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy on high speed, about 3-5 minutes. Add mayonnaise, reduce speed to medium and beat a couple of minutes longer.

3. Add flour mixture to batter, alternating with water- starting and ending with flour. Pour batter into pans and bake for 30-35 minutes or until cake pulls away from sides of pan and middle of cake looks set. Leave cake in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack.

For the syrup
(Note: The syrup can be made up to 1 week in advance and kept covered in the refrigerator.)I used the syrup recipe in the Daring Bakers Opera Cake challenge. See ...

What you’ll need:

•a small saucepan


½ cup (125 grams) water
⅓ cup (65 grams) granulated sugar
1 to 2 tbsp. of the flavouring of your choice (i.e., vanilla extract, almond extract, cognac, limoncello, coconut cream, honey etc.)

1.Stir all the syrup ingredients together in the saucepan and bring to a boil.

2.Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

For the buttercream
This recipe makes enough buttercream to comfortably frost a 2 layer 9" cake.

(Note: The buttercream can be made up to 1 month in advance and packed in an airtight container. If made way in advance, you can freeze the buttercream. Alternatively you can refrigerate it for up to 4 days after making it. To use the buttercream simply bring it to room temperature and then beat it briefly to restore its consistency.) Also from the Daring Bakers Opera Cake challenge.

What you’ll need:

•a small saucepan
•a candy or instant-read thermometer
•a stand mixer or handheld mixer
•a bowl and a whisk attachment
•rubber spatula


1 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
¼ cup (60 grams) water
1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract (Note: If you are flavouring your buttercream and do not want to use the vanilla, you do not have to. Vanilla will often enhance other flavours but if you want an intense, one-flavoured buttercream, then by all means leave it out!)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1¾ sticks (7 ounces; 200 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
flavouring of your choice (a tablespoon of an extract, a few tablespoons of melted white chocolate, citrus zest, etc.) I used a couple of drops of pure orange oil - very good.

1.Combine the sugar, water and vanilla extract in a small saucepan and warm over medium heat just until the sugar dissolves.

2.Continue to cook, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 225◦F (107◦C) [*Note: Original recipe indicates a temperature of 255◦F (124◦C), however, when testing the recipe I found that this was too high so we heated to 225◦F and it worked fine] on a candy or instant-read thermometer. Once it reaches that temperature, remove the syrup from the heat.

3.While the syrup is heating, begin whisking the egg and egg yolk at high speed in the bowl of your mixer using the whisk attachment. Whisk them until they are pale and foamy.

4.When the sugar syrup reaches the correct temperature and you remove it from the heat, reduce the mixer speed to low speed and begin slowly (very slowly) pouring the syrup down the side of the bowl being very careful not to splatter the syrup into the path of the whisk attachment. Some of the syrup will spin onto the sides of the bowl but don’t worry about this and don’t try to stir it into the mixture as it will harden!

5.Raise the speed to medium-high and continue beating until the eggs are thick and satiny and the mixture is cool to the touch (about 5 minutes or so).

6.While the egg mixture is beating, place the softened butter in a bowl and mash it with a spatula until you have a soft creamy mass.

7.With the mixer on medium speed, begin adding in two-tablespoon chunks. When all the butter has been incorporated, raise the mixer speed to high and beat until the buttercream is thick and shiny.

8.At this point add in your flavouring and beat for an additional minute or so.

9.Refrigerate the buttercream, stirring it often, until it’s set enough (firm enough) to spread when topped with a layer of cake (about 20 minutes).

Before frosting, drip the sugar syrup on to the base of the bottom layer and the top of the top layer of cake. It's probably not necessary to use it all - just enough so most of the surface is drizzled on.

Remove buttercream from fridge - when it's spreadable, cover the top and middle of the cake plus the sides. I used fork prongs to give the frosting some peaks and snazz it up a bit.

Over the weekend we ate half the cake, altho I must say in our defence that we had a visitor for afternoon tea who helped us out. It is absolutely delicious, has a rich mahogany color and goes perfectly with a buttercream frosting. I can't wait for another occasion to make it again, perhaps this time with a different flavor of frosting - pale green tinted with crushed pistachios would be nice. Oh well, I'm dreaming right now. Have to wait for an invitation from someone.

I'm submitting my Chocky Cake to Laurie's new event, Layers of Cake

Monday, September 15, 2008

Chocolate Chunkers -Tuesdays with Dorie

This weeks recipe was chosen by Claudia of Fool for Food. Thank you Claudia. I've just consumed a Chunker - really scrumptious! A very rich chocolate cookie, somewhat like a candy bar.

They came together nicely in the preparation and, surprisingly, formed into drop cookies without falling apart. I thought they would fall apart considering there are so many chunky ingredients in them and very little flour. Right now they are packed for taking to work tomorrow. The dough makes quite a lot of cookies - I got 40 out of mine and that's with using quite generous tablespoons.

For the recipe, please check out Claudia's blog.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops - Tuesdays with Dorie

Right now it's a beautiful Sunday morning and I am supposed to be baking my Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops, but there's a slight problem - I have eaten the whole 7 oz. pack of Whoppers I bought yesterday! Now I have to wait in for Sleepy's to deliver a new mattress, so I can't get to the supermarket to buy some more. Only myself to blame!

Later - I got my delivery and re-stocked on my ingredients. I have just done making the Whopper Drops. Oh my! Rich, dark chocolate, a serious cookie to be eaten with a cup of good coffee, perhaps after dinner. It's a bit surprising in a way - the title of the cookies sounds a bit like a quick crunch and munch casual cookie, good for lunch boxes and eating a plateful at a time, but these cookies are really sophisticated. Even I, with the ability to polish off lots of sweet stuff in one go, will savor these smart cookies and treat them with respect.

In spite of my delight with them, I don't think they rose very much - I used only half the baking powder as I halved the recipe - I'm wondering if one should do that or use the full amount of baking powder when all the other ingredients are halved. I pounded the Whoppers pretty small but I think I prefer them that way.

I baked them for 13 minutes as stated in the recipe and left them on the tray for 2 minutes; however, they were flopping and collapsing all over the place when I tried to move them to a rack, so I slid them off the hot tray, still on the parchment, onto the counter top. Let them sit for about 10 minutes. After this it was easy to lift them onto a rack. [This is the latest Sherry Trifle Tip.]

Thank you so much Rachel of Confessions of a Tangerine Tart for this wonderful pick. This is another Dorie GREAT. Oh yes, yes, yes I'll make them again!

An Award From Me to You

Nancy of The Dogs Eat the Crumbs has given me an award. How nice and encouraging. I'm feeling pretty puffed up - to think that around this time last year I didn't have a clue about blogging! So I'm passing on this adorable award to 10 blogs I always enjoy and often take stuff from.

Is going to:
A Whisk and a Spoon
Baking to perfection and beautiful pics as well of Sydney, Australia, where I lived as a kid. You can always get Steph's recipes a bit early due to the time difference there.

Bungalow Barbara: Lovely homegrown bakes - Barbara made Cherry Pie from the cherry tree in her garden. She also takes stunning flower pics and sure knows how to tweak a recipe.

Butterbur's Bistro: Rigby has great sweet-tooth treats - my next "must copy" are the Snickerdoodles I want to make for the Troops. She also has a darling kitty Butterbur who loves photo opportunities.

Cooking with Christine: A wonderful array of recipes to pick from - desserts, salads, main meals - a full menu. Last month Christine baked and posted over 50 recipes!

Cupcake Corner - Such pretty cupcakes and creative flavor mixtures! How about the "Mocha Cupcakes with Coffee Buttercream" or one of those Chocolate Eclairs with delicately tinted mint pastry cream?

Spork or Foon? I love Teanna's wit and way with words. Great variety of yummy bakes (just love that Lil' Debbie Filling recipe) and I want that knuckle duster punch mug!

The Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honey Bunch- delightful anecdotes about husband Grumpy and of course, way delicious recipes. There are two adorable kittens on stage too.

Brown Interior Tommi embarks on baking adventures - she does her own sour cream making and has baked Ethiopian bread. Lots of great TWD goodies as well.

Rosie and Maria from England have this really charming blog, Sweet and Simple Bakes. Real English treats like Victoria Sponge Cake.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters - Tuesdays with Dorie

The title says it all. These are a pleasure to make, the sort of cookie one could make if unannounced guests arrived. I took Dorie's advice and used the Skippy Super Chunk Peanut Butter. I also halved the recipe as it seemed to make an awful lot with the full portion ingredients.

I've been eating like a pig the whole Labor Day weekend so I am avoiding tasting one now - they have just come out of the oven (9:10PM). I will take them to work tomorrow and test one there with everyone else - if they get a five star rating I'll add them to my cookies for the Troops list. The great choice for this week is by Stefany of Proceed with Caution. See Stefany's blog for the recipe.

Later - Amazing how one's appetite can perk up when waking up very early in the morning. I needed a cup of tea so had to have a snack as well. These cookies are good, really good. Next time, just on a personal taste basis, I will use semi-sweet chocolate chips and quick cooking (not instant) oats, which give a closer texture. I'm photographing the pics now so I can put the cookies away and have some left to take to my co-workers.