May 14, 2009
So it’s been a while, been though I had claimed it wouldn’t be. We just haven’t been cooking or baking as much these days…combine this with the fact that there are numerous keys no longer working on our keyboard and you get very little inclination to write.
I did do some kitchen-stuff this past weekend though, so I’ll suffer through non-functioning letters to write about the birthday cake I prepared for my sister’s birthday (the meal, a wild mushroom lasagna, will follow shortly, but dessert always takes precedence!): Dorie Greenspan’s Low and Lush Chocolate Cheesecake with Cappuccino Swirl.
This cake is one good cheeseake – an exellent go-to recipe whenever you’re looking for an utterly decadent, rich cheesecake. Even the simple graham cracker rust is fantastic! The whole thing is amazingly smooth, feeling like velvet on the tongue. It’s verrrry chocolately, and tastes even better the net day, so I recommend you make it a day in advance.
I took Dorie’s “Playing Around” tip and added a cappuccino (well, coffee, since I didn’t have any instant cappuccino powder) swirl to it. Visually, it didn’t add much, but taste-wise, it added what I consider to be a necessary dimension to the cake. It definitely cut the sweetness of the cake as well.
The cake says it serves 8, but those would be some big pieces! It would easily serve 12, if not more.
It’s a perfect cheesecake, and a breeze to prepare. If chocolate and coffee is a dream combination for you, you’ll love this cake.
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 pounds (three 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder (I used instant coffee)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons boiling water.
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 1/2- or 9-inch springform pan and put the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
1. Stir the crumbs, sugar and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Pour over the melted butter and stir until all of the dry ingredients are uniformly moist. (I do this with my fingers.) Turn the crumbs into the pan and, with your fingers, press the crumbs evenly over the bottom of the pan and as far up the sides as they’ll go. Freeze the crust for about 10 minutes.
2. Bake for 10 minutes, only until the crust is lightly set and just tinged with color. Cool on a rack or refrigerate while you make the filling. Keep the oven at 350 degrees F.
1. Cut each bar of cream cheese into quarters and toss the pieces into a food processor, along with the sugar. Process, scraping down the bowl 2 or 3 times, for a full 2 minutes. You’ll see how dramatically the cream cheese changes; it will look like white velvet at the end of its beating. Add the eggs, vanilla and salt and give the batter 4 longish pulses, the scrape down the bowl and pulse 2 more times. Pour in the chocolate and pulse and scrape a few times to blend the batter well.
2. Remove the bowl from the processor and rap it hard on the counter a couple of times to de-bubble the batter. Scrape the batter into the cooled crust.
3. Bake the cheesecake for 35 to 40 minutes if you are using a 9-inch pan or 45 to 50 minutes if you are using an 8 1/2-inch pan. The top should be puffed and set, but if you tap the pan gently, the center of the cake will still be a little shaky–that’s just fine. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and allow the cheesecake to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 8 hours or for up to 3 days.
Run a blunt knife between the crust and sides of the pan, then open and remove the sides of the springform.
1. Make a cinnamon-espresso syrup by whisking together 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon and mixing in 2 tablespoons boiling water. Cool to tepid or room temperature.
2. Spoon about 1/3 of the cheesecake batter (I did this prior to adding the chocolate to it) into a measuring cup with a spout and stir in the syrup. Pour the remaining batter into the crust, then pour over the cappuccino batter, pouring so that it creates a swirl pattern in the chocolate. For good measure, take a tableknife and give the 2 batters a few extra swirls.
Wrapped well, the cheesecake will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. It can be frozen for up to 2 months; defrost, still wrapped, overnight in the refrigerator.
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