Tuesday, March 29, 2011

There They Are ... Gone!

Alas (a.k.a. "thankfully"), all of the 'offworlders' have left this rock, the last being this morning and I hope she isn't sitting in a jail cell through her Miami flight connection merely for the banana bread I made for her.

So, I have a little more time nowadays to devote to my blog - not that you really missed me or anything.  *winks pitiful puppy-dog eyes*


In lieu of me writing something thoughtful, provocative or ass-blasting funny (which I really doubt I can do and to dispell any rumours that I have, in fact, died), I leave you with a link I recently received in an e-mail that sums up the frustrations of those that wish to travel (particularly those who have visited with us and wished to extend their stay), and basically sums up air travel these days:

Feck it.  I'll swim.




Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Holy Chocolate Cappuccino Cheesecake, Batman!

As promised in my post,  I Baked A Cake And Ate It, Too!, here's the recipe for that scrumpdelilicious cheesecake.  I've added some tips at the end but if you have any questions, please ask and I'll try to answer the best I can.



For the crust:
1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs
1/4 cup butter - melted
2 tblsp sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

For the cake (two parts):
3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
8 (1 oz) squares of semisweet baking chocolate, melted and cooled
2 tblsp whipping cream

1 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp salt
3 tsp instant coffee granules dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water
1/3 cup coffee liqueur (Kahlua or Tia Maria)
2 tsp vanilla extract

For the frosting:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tblsp icing/confectioners sugar
2 tblsp coffee liqueur
2 tblsp chocolate syrup


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter (or grease) one 9” springform pan.
  • Combine chocolate cookie crumbs, softened butter, sugar and cinnamon. Mix well and press into the buttered springform pan. (1)
  • In a medium sized bowl, beat the softened cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add the 1 cup of sugar, mixing until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat at low speed until very smooth. (2)
  • Melt the semisweet chocolate in a microwave (intervals of 30 seconds on high – stirring between cycles). Once melted and smooth, let cool before adding to main batter.
  • Stir melted chocolate and 2 tablespoons of whipping cream to cream cheese mixture and blend well. Stir in sour cream, salt, coffee, 1/3 cup coffee liqueur and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Pour mixture into pan. (3 & 4)
  • Bake in the centre of the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. The centre will be soft but firm up when chilled. Leave cake in oven with the heat turned off and the door ajar for 45 minutes. Remove cake and chill in refrigerator. (5)

For the frosting:

Beat 1 cup of whipping cream until soft peaks form, then beat in the icing sugar, liqueur and syrup. Spread topping on chilled cake. (6)

Tips and Tweaks:

(1) Since I did not have the cookie crumbs and being my lazy-ass self, I used two pre-made, store bought chocolate crusts (Oreo), then crumbled them with some melted (or softened) butter to set the crumbs for the crust into the bottom of the pan. In hindsight, I might have used the butter-and-flour method (using the crumbs in place of the flour) to coat the sides of the pan as opposed to trying to press the crust up the sides of the pan. Or you could just dispense with a side crust altogether.

(2) I have a Kitchen Aid mixer with a large bowl and the attachments tend not to reach the shallowest parts of the bowl. While beating the cream cheese (regardless of your mixer), occasionally scrape the sides, but mostly the bottom and your mixing attachment(s) with a rubber spatula to make sure all the cheese becomes incorporated with the batter which should, hopefully, eliminate any tiny lumps of cheese (or if you really want to go the extra mile and you are a masochistic narcissistic baker, you could push the batter through a sieve to eliminate the bumps and zits). But it’s always a good idea to add the separate ingredients before turning the power back on to the mixer.

(3) You can use ground coffee instead of instant, just make it strong. And if you are really into espresso (or cappuccino), the stronger the better!

(4) Once all of the batter ingredients are well blended and just before you pour it into the crust, whip it – whip it good! (Sorry for that earworm.) This will help the mousse-like texture of the cake.

(5) To prevent cracks in the cake, place a shallow pan of water in the oven. This is not always successful in preventing cracks but they (the cracks) are easily covered up with topping. If you see a crack developing after 30 - 35 minutes of baking, turn off the oven, leave the door closed for about 10 to 20 minutes then leave the oven door ajar for about 45 minutes.

(6) If you are going to use the whipped cream topping, make sure the cream is very cold (but do not freeze it), and that the bowl is chilled before whipping. I set my bowl in an ice bath while whipping (and it does take some time to whip).  Else, you could use a cherry pie filling or other topping of your choice. I might try a meringue topping next time.

I really hope some of you try and enjoy this recipe.

The recipe for March is Creamy Zucchini Soup.  Stay tuned.




Sunday, March 6, 2011

I Baked A Cake And Ate It, Too!

Having been busy with the poopettes, another visitor - this time from Canada and who also happens to be Murphy's mom - and being a bit laid up with more stomach problems, it was my birthday in late February and, as if I didn't already have enough to do,  I had to make my own birthday cake!  Really??


Well, not really - I mean I really did make a cake but it wasn't just necessarily for my birthday. In late 2010 I won a calendar from the wonderfully cheesy people at  WWFC (that would be Nicky, CheesyMike and Sme Jepeto), with each month in the calendar featuring a different recipe with cheese as an ingredient.

February's recipe was (is):


Okay, delete the "Holy" and "Batman" from the above and that gives you name of the recipe.  If you are a lover of cheesecake, especially CHOCOLATE cheesecake, this is a great recipe and relatively simple, too! The only problem I had was with the springform pan: I usually cheat and use the store bought crusts but the ingredients were such that they called for a larger vessel. I did, however, use the pre-fab crusts for the cookie crumbs which was way easier than scraping the cream filling off of chocolate cookies (we don’t have just plain chocolate cookies here) and then crushing them. Hey, the easier the better, right?

Since I am not much of a sweets fan, I was going to forgo the topping but the cake developed a crack (and, apparently, some teeth, zits and attitude) while baking:

Eat me.

As you can see, I had no idea what I was doing slightly overdosed on the crumbs for the side crust (I really didn’t know if I was supposed to do that or not - a side crust, that is) which shrank inward, making the cake look kind of like a flattened curling rock (and I mean the sport of curling, not hair curling unless you use rocks to curl your hair - hey, whatever floats your boat).  Regardless of its appearance, the cake was lighter than a regular cheesecake - almost mousse like - and definitely fabulous!

So, here it is in all its glory, the finished product:

Happy Frakken Birthday To ME!!!

In hindsight, I probably could have gone with a meringue topping but that may have been just as sweet as the icing the recipe called for.  Hmm … maybe cherry pie filling for the schmear next time. Yum!

Instead of including the recipe here, I will post it in the next few days with some tips and tweaks (i.e. so your cake won't grow 'teeth' if it develops a crack, etc.).