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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Cream Cheese + 1lb of Chocolate= Super Chocolate Cheesecake









Ms. May Allen had a wonderful dessert night packed with friends and sugar, my favorites! These events of course always make me happy since they give me an excuse to bake and try new things. I just bought 'Luscious Chocolate Desserts' and decided the Killer Chocolate Cheesecake needed to be made. This thing is massive and delicious. Not only does it contain a pound of chocolate, but sugar and butter galore...MMMM. Between the batter and multiple doses of the actual cake the next day I want to say I am cheesecaked-out, but let's be real...is there such a thing as too much cheesecake?!

It is easy to make, but here are a couple things you will need:
  1. A 9" springform pan

  2. A roasting dish, or something deep enough to fill with about an inch of water

  3. Tin foil to wrap the springform pan in
Ingredients:

Crust (I'll be short with this one. It is just that simple):
  • 9oz of chocolate graham crackers, ground up in a food processor (or you can just crush them up with your hands if you don't mind chunkiness)

  • 6tbs unsalted butter, melted

Mix them up and pack them on the bottom of the 9" springform pan, and then bake the crust for about 9 minutes. Take it out and let it cool while you make the best part, the filling.

Filling:

  • 1lb semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter

  • 2tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Three 8oz packages of cream cheese

  • 1 cup of sugar

  • 4 eggs

  • Pinch of salt

  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream

  • 2 tsp vanilla extract





Directions:
  • Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan with boiling water

  • Whisk in the cocoa powder

Remove from heat and let it cool while you mix the other ingredients...

  • Beat the cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy

  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition

  • Beat in salt

  • Beat in the chocolate mixture until smooth

  • Add sour cream and vanilla, and mix everything until smooth

  • Pour the filling into the springform pan

  • Set the pan in the roasting pan, and fill with about an inch of boiling water (You will need to wrap the cake pan in tin foil as well so the water doesn't get in!)

  • Bake for 45mins
  • Let the springform pan cool in the water dish for 15mins

  • Remove cake from the roasting pan and remove the tin foil to refrigerate in the springform pan for at least 12 hours

  • Eat cake, and not just batter :)
Oh, and a special guest...DD! He was the only guy to make something from scratch, and although he had some competition we were all impressed with his Banana Pudding:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Red Velvet Cupcakes for Kimia's Bridal Shower





May 2010 has been full of bridal showers (with more to come!) and I had the pleasure of making dessert for my friend Kimia's bridal shower this past weekend. I decided to test out some Red Velvet cupcakes! I have been wanting to make some, and according to Hallmark red is the color of love ...so it just seemed appropriate :) They were fun to decorate, and they just come out in such a pretty shade of red. Here is how you make them:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Ingredients (makes 12 cupcakes):
  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour

  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 3/4 tsp baking powder

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

  • 1tsp vanilla extract

  • 4 drops of red food coloring

  • 3/4 cups sugar

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter

  • 1 egg

Directions:

  • Sift together the dry ingredients

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, vanilla, egg, and food coloring

  • In another bowl, using an eletric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy

  • Add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar, alternating with the buttermilk mixture

  • Mix it all up until it is smooth

  • Divide evenly among cupcake tins, filling each "cup" about 3/4 full

  • Bake 20-22mins

  • Make someone's day, like Princess Alia...


Congratulations Kimia and Kenny!!!






Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Magnolia Bakery's Apple Walnut Cake with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting







Every time I go to NYC I tell myself I am going to try a Magnolia Bakery cupcake but it never happens! Part of the problem is that there are just too many great places to try in New York, and somehow Magnolia just seems to fall behind. I'm probably a little afraid of the potential let down too if I find out it was not worth the hype or the wait. But Tsehay is a good friend, and she bought me 'The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook' for my birthday...so now Magnolia comes to me (and maybe you)!

My friend Annie had a house warming/dinner party with some of my favorite Googlers, and I was of course in charge of dessert. I made this cake from the Magnolia cookbook and everyone said it was the best thing I have ever made. That either says something about the possible progression of my baking skills (hmmmm), or it is a testament to the deliciousness of this cake! I also brought some of what was left to work and it was gone in about 20 minutes. Overall it seems to be quite the crowd pleaser.

I should warn you that the only thing healthy about this cake is the apples (and maybe the omega-3s you get from the walnuts.) Everything else will go straight to your happy gut :) Here's how you make it:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Ingredients:

The Cake:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 Golden Delicious apples, cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 cup of chopped walnuts
The Icing:


  • 2 eight-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened and cut into pieces
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces
  • 1 cup of cold caramel
  • Gold sugar (if you are feelin sassy)

As you can see above, very healthy.

Directions:
The Cake:

  • With an electric mixer, beat the oil with the sugar until smooth
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until smooth
  • Add the dry ingredients in thirds, beating after each addition
  • Once you have a thick batter stir in the apple chunks and walnuts
  • Divide the batter between two greased 9x2-inch round cake pans
  • Bake 45-55minutes

In the meantime, you can make the icing.

The Icing:

  • With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and the butter until smooth
  • Add the caramel and mix well

Let the cakes cool, and then spread a layer of icing on top of the one you want as the base to the layer cake. Layer the cakes and cover the whole thing with the icing. I added some extra caramel and sugar on top for decoration.

Enjoy!

























Saturday, May 1, 2010

Chocolate and Vanilla Rose Cupcakes




I made these cupcakes for a Ridvan celebration in SF. They are basic chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, but I added a good amount of rose water to the batter and the frosting. It's definitely an acquired taste and may be unique to some, but if you are used to Persian desserts and up for trying something a little different these can be fun.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/4 cup flour (I actually used cake flour and I think they came out lighter than usual)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • A few tablespoons of rose water (I guess it depends how "rosie" you want them!)
Directions:
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • In another bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the sugar and butter for about 2 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  • Add rose water and eggs, one at a time, to the above mixture and keep mixing.
  • Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk, and mix well.
  • Pour the batter into lined cupcake tins and bake 15-18 minutes.
Hope you like!