Monday, December 9, 2013

peanut butter cheesecake

The more and more I think about it, I believe cheesecake to be my speciality.  A while back, I wrote a blog post detailing some helpful hints towards making cheesecake which you can find if you click HERE.  And every time I make cheesecakes, I find it to be an intuitive process.  I don't follow a set list of procedures.  I just look at the cake and smell it while its baking in the oven and I can tell right away when its ready to shut off the oven.  But if you are starting out, those helpful tips linked about will definitely help you out!

Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Oreo Crust and Chocolate Drizzle

all butter flaky pie crust

When I was in Switzerland, I was reading an American magazine called CherryBombe.  They had just released their second issue and it was all about baking.  I made a recipe in there called an all butter crust and was it buttery and flaky!  Just look at these layers upon layers of flakiness in the pie cutouts I placed on the crust!

The actual pie I made looked like this:

Try this recipe at home!  The trick is to keep everything cold and not to worry about the chucks of butter in the dough that isn't completely incorporated into the dough...that is exactly what will give it the flaky layers!

All Butter Pie Crust slightly adapted from CherryBombe
Yield for double crust pie (divide by two if you want a single crust)
2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 lbs (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup cold water
1 cup ice

1) Stir the dry ingredients together.
2) Add the butter and work quickly to combine with a fork.  Smoosh the pieces of butter into the dry mixture.
3) Add the cold water, 2 tbsp at a time, until a dough forms.  The dough should come together without having to use all the water.  Bunch the dough into two balls and wrap with plastic.  Place in refrigerator overnight.
4) Roll out dough and use according to your desired pie recipe directions.

mocha sandwich cookies

This recipe is a combination of two of my previously vlogged about recipes on this blog: my mocha buttercream and my sugar cookies.  To top these sandwich cookies off, I've glazed them with some melted chocolate to add a little extra decadence to two already tasty recipes!

Find the mocha buttercream recipe and video tutorial here:

Find the sugar cookie recipe and video tutorial here:

Simply sandwich two cookies filled with buttercream and finish it off by melting chocolate and using a fork to graze the tops!

pumpkin cake with ginger mousse

I got the cake and frosting recipes from two different sites.  The end product was fantastic.  Ginger complements pumpkin very well.  

The recipe is as follows from The Novice Chef and Hungry Rabbit:

Pumpkin Dream Cake from The Novice Chef
Yields a 3 layer cake
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk

1) Preheat oven to 300°F. Grease 3, 8-inch round cake pans. Set aside.
2) In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
3) In a large bowl/stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla, pumpkin and vegetable oil. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk.
4) Divide batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove pans from oven and immediately place in freezer for 45 minutes. (This keeps the cake moist by immediately stopping the baking so the cake does not continue to bake when you remove it form the oven.)
5) Assemble the 3 layers with a thick layer of frosting in between each layer. Then apply a thin crumb coat on the top and sides. Pop back in the freezer to harden the crumb coat for about 10 minutes.
6) Apply one final thick and even layer around the outside of the cake. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.

Ginger Mousse Frosting from Hungry Rabbit
Yields enough to frost multilayered cake
4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup (2-3/8 ounces) granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup coconut milk or whole milk, divided
1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-3/4 cup (14 ounces) heavy cream, divided
1 tablespoon superfine sugar
1 teaspoon Canton (ginger liquor), optional

1. In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks, sugar, and salt until smooth and fully combined, set aside.
2. Sprinkle gelatin into 1/4 cup of coconut milk and let gelatin bloom for 5 minutes.
3. Add 1/2 cup of coconut milk, 3/4 cup heavy cream, and ginger, to a medium saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Remove from heat and let sit for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, bring ginger milk to a boil, remove from heat, in a steady stream, strain into yolk mixture.; whisk constantly to prevent curdling. Pour mixture back into a saucepan, and cook over medium heat until ginger milk thickens and coats the back of a spoon, stirring constantly.
4. Remove pan from heat and stir in gelatin mixture until dissolved. Stir in vanilla until incorporated. Pour ginger cream through fine-mesh strainer into nonreactive bowl. Cover surface directly with plastic wrap and let cool. (Refrigerate if making ahead)
5. In a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment or use a hand mixer, whisk remaining 1-cup heavy cream, superfine sugar, and Canton to soft peak. Gently fold whipped cream into ginger cream until fully incorporated.

cake decorating tutorials

In the past couple of months, I've been practicing the art of cake decorating.  It's actually quite fun and can be really simple to do with the right tools and techniques.  I learned and developed these skills through YouTube and practice.  And you can too!  Take a look at some of the cakes I've decorated!

Chocolate Petal Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Filling and Chocolate Ganache Frosting
Red Velvet Cheesecake layered Rosette Cake

Pumpkin Cake with Ginger Mousse Frosting covered with Toasted Pecans

Aside from posting the links to the YouTube videos where I learned these techniques, a tip that I can offer you is to decorate these cakes while they are frozen.  Meaning, after baking these cakes and allowing them to moderately cool down on a baking rack, wrap the cakes in parchment and plastic wrap and lay flat in the freezer.  This allows the cake to maintain its moisture without drying out in room temperature.  Then after the cakes are frozen, they will be easier to level and stack.  Once the cakes defrost, excess moisture returns to the cake with nowhere to evaporate since it is now covered in icing.  

Petal Design Tutorial:
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Rosette Design Tutorial:
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Good luck everyone!