chocolate cheesecake

I know what you are thinking, “again with the chocolate?” and to that I say, yes, again with the chocolate. See, I wanted to try out my new spring-form cake pan

(here is the pan, unloaded-without the bottom)

and cheesecake was the best thing I could think of. However, I don’t really like cheesecake, so it had to be chocolate to help mask the cream cheese flavor of classic cheesecake. I hope it will taste really good. (I am still waiting for it to come out of the oven and then it has to cool) Anyway, I made every bit of it from scratch, the chocolate wafers, the crust, and the filling. I already made the chocolate wafers, so just follow the link and you will have the recipe for that part. The rest of the recipes came from the same book, and the link about the book is on the post with the chocolate wafers, so again, just follow the link. I am getting really repetitive with my writing, sorry. There is no other word that I can use for “cheesecake” or “chocolate” or “link” so just bear with me. The pictures for this post will obviously come later.

Chocolate Cheesecake:
Chocolate Crumb Pie Crust (recipe to follow)
8 oz. (8 squares) semisweet chocolate
3 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream (I used milk-we’ll see how it turns out!)
1 tsp. vanilla or almond extract

Preheat oven to 350º.
Prepare crust according to directions.
Lightly grease 9-inch spring-form pan and press crust mixture onto bottom and 1 inch up sides of pan.
Bake for 8-10 minutes.
Remove pan from oven and cool completely on wire rack.
Melt chocolate, remove from heat, and set aside to cool.
Place cream cheese and sugar in mixer bowl and beat until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add flour and beat until thoroughly combined.
Stir in reserved chocolate and beat  until thoroughly blended.
Add cream and vanilla and beat about three minutes until thoroughly combined.
Pour over cooled crust and bake in preheated oven 60 minutes.
Turn off oven and leave cake in closed oven 1 hour.
Remove cake from oven and cool completely on rack.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Run knife around edge of cake and remove side of pan. (Impatient me will probably skip the refrigerate part! Gosh, I’ve already waited like 2+ hours!)

Chocolate Crumb Pie Crust
1-1/2 cups finely crushed chocolate wafers
3 Tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350º.
Combine crushed wafers, sugar, and cinnamon in bowl.
Add butter and stir until well combined.

Press crumb mixture onto bottom and partly up sides of lightly greased 8-inch or 9-inch pie plate or spring-form pan. Flatten to even thickness with back of a spoon.
Bake in preheated oven 8-10 minutes.
Cool completely before filling.

Use as base for cheesecake or fill with ice cream, chocolate mousse, or other pie filling.

Thanksgiving (x2)

First, I want to apologize for the late Thanksgiving post. I came home from Thanksgiving sick, so I’ve been spending my time resting. I had two Thanksgivings this year (sort of). The first one was last week and it was at my house, with my roommates, and their friends and family. It was nice, and a BIG feast! There was pretty much two of everything, and way too much food for about 15 people. I made zucchini bread (cake, really.) and muffins and banana cake.

The second (and real) Thanksgiving was at Benjie’s family’s house in San Jose. It was nice and there was also a lot of food there. Benjie and I made most of the meal ourselves. I made pumpkin pie and apple pie/crumble. We also made the turkey, stuffing, butternut squash soup, and other sides were brought by the guests. It all tasted very good. I wish I had pictures of the food that I made, but I was so caught up in the business (busy-ness) of it all that I forgot to stop and take pictures. Oh well. I’ll still have the memories, but you’ll have to just use your imagination! (Ha!) I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving and is well rested now, and ready to ease into the Holiday season. Since when did Christmas start right after Thanksgiving? I guess I didn’t notice it as much growing up in a Jewish household? Or just didn’t care that much since I was the one getting the presents and not the one buying the presents/just eating the food and not the one making the food? Anyway, I am looking forward to the New Year. Hopefully, it will bring me luck on the job front and will be much better than the last. I am looking forward to cleaning up and starting again. What are you looking forward to this holiday season? Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?

Four weddings and…a birthday!

This year was full of weddings (and one “wedding”) and of course, my birthday!
First up was Jenessa and Mike’s on July 4th weekend:

lovely summery cake with all of those sunflowers!
After that, in the middle of August was my sister and (now) “sister-in-law” ‘s “wedding” celebration. They didn’t have cake, just some refreshing mint ice cream. I heard it was very minty, and therefore, I did not try any, as I don’t like mint. However, it was a nice party, and it was nice to see my whole family together.
Next was Gur and Hilary’s small wedding, in the middle of October:

a very elegant cake-I just noticed how it matches the decor in the place that the reception was held-nice!

Fourth was recent, in the beginning of November, Adina and Ned’s very Jewish wedding:

they had a lovely wedding (bride’s?) cake and a lovely groom’s cake
and, lastly, my birthday. no big cake, but there was a tasty dessert with my name on it:
the chocolate bites at Farallon. yum!
and I took a picture of what Benjie had, the “caramel apple sundae”:
I had the last bite-it was pretty good!
overall, a great year full of celebrations! next year will also be full of weddings. crazy how life changes from going to all of your friends’/family’s birthday/bar/bat mitzvah parties to all of your friends’ weddings. just shows that we are all growing up!

chocolate bundt cake

I bought a bundt cake pan the other day, so it was time to test it out.

I got the recipe from allrecipes.com. It’s a good site, especially because it has a calculator right on the screen. Just put in the number of servings, and it re-calculates the recipe for you. Of course, since I was making cake, there was no need for this feature this time, but nice to know it’s there. Also, I had to choose a chocolate or chocolate chip cake because I am, after all, a chocoholic. This cake recipe was easy, and I am glad I found it because most of the other recipes I found involved cake mix and sour cream, and I wanted one that was made entirely from scratch. I had a slightly smaller pan (9 inches vs 10) but I think it’ll be okay. It takes a little over an hour to bake, so I am typing this while waiting for it to come out of the oven. (Pictures obviously added later.) I made the recipe almost exactly as on the site, but instead of shortening, I used all butter. This resulted in 3 sticks of butter, but that just adds more flavor and richness. I thought about adding in chocolate chips as well, but I wanted to see how it came out first, and will maybe add them next time.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup milk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan. Sift flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter, shortening, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Add flour mixture alternately with the milk. Mix well.
  3. Pour into 10 inch Bundt pan. Bake at 325 F (165 degrees C) for 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. 

Pretty straight forward, simple recipe. I can’t wait to try a piece!

I tried some and it is good and moist. Not much of a chocolate flavor, though. I guess using all butter instead of some butter, some shortening changed that because the shortening would have let the chocolate shine through more. I guess I will add chocolate chips next time. Or, I can make a vanilla cake with chocolate chips, hmm… 

it’s a hot, sticky mess…

…not the drunk kind, but the gooey, marshmallowy kind. I got a bag of marshmallows sent to me as part of a birthday present from my mom, and they were all stuck together, so I needed something to do with them, and I couldn’t just eat them out of the bag, because, well, they were literally stuck in the bag! So, I looked hard and long (ugh-get your minds out of the gutter!) on the interwebs for ideas and mostly found marshmallows added to brownie or blondies, so I thought a little longer, and I decided that I could probably caramelize the ‘mallows before adding them to the brownies, so that’s what I did. They turned out to be really good, and it was a literal explosion of a brownie.
I suggest melting/caramelizing the ‘mallows right before you add them to the batter, because otherwise, like me, you will end up having to reheat it to get it out of the pot, and that is what made the hot, sticky mess.

(look at the bubble of marshmallow peeking out!)

Anyway, they are really easy to make. Just follow this brownie recipe and caramelize one bag of marshmallows, then layer the brownie batter with the brown goop in your pot, and bake for like 30 minutes. The marshmallows smell so campfire-y and good when they are being melted, it is tempting to just eat that, and of course, you could stop right there, and add it to some ice cream. Or, you could add them to some graham crackers and chocolate for some s’mores. Again, all of these possibilities!