Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A daring challenge!

I can't believe I made it through this challenge...........again. Why? it's because my computer caught a very bad virus, didn't use it for many days, after it was fixed I lost my bookmarks in which I have the link to the daring bakers' secret kitchen. I frankly didn't bother and send an e-mail to request another password, that's because I did that before and was too embarrassed to ask for the code......again! I could not figure out what was the challenge until the daring bakers started posting their pictures.

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.


Fortunately, it was an easy challenge. I find cheesecakes pretty easy to make, like most American desserts, I think. The cheesecake came out smooth and fluffy. I made half of the recipe into chocolate by adding some melted chocolate to the batter. I also used less sugar (3/4 of a cup instead of 1 cup) and used Oreo cookies for the crust.
I wish I had more time to play with this challenge instead of making a "regular" looking cheesecake.I like to always improvise in this challenge, both in the look of the final dessert and the picture. Lately, I am just taking my camera and "point & shoot" I don't have enough time to take a nice picture. I am not happy with these pictures but had to post for that daring bakers. Short visit and short post I know, let's just hope for more free time to bake and blog and as usual I hope you'll try the's a good one.

Cheesecake for the Daring Bakers

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake


2 cups / 180 g Oreo cookies (filling removed)
1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract


3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
3/4 cup / 150 g sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream
1 vanilla bean


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Set crust aside.

3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream and vanilla.
4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.

5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Busy Times

During times of extreme busy-ness, I do miss baking........a lot. It is my comfort, it allows me to forget and play with my creativity. I feel such a joy when I am mixing, kneading, cracking eggs and smelling the aromas of vanilla bean, citrus, even the smell of fresh yeast!
They say diamonds are a girl's best friend?!! I have never been attracted to diamonds, fancy jewelry or even wished to own them. My kind of jewelry you would ask?? mixers, food processors, pans and different pastry tools, COOKBOOKS!

Raspberry Mousse Chocolate Cake

I always wonder why I have never pursued a pastry career. I always knew deep inside of me that this is what I want, this is my passion and I would never be bored working in that field. Instead, I didn't want to disappoint my parents and of course had to follow the "standards". So instead, I ended up studying Economics (something that I've never been excited about): statistics, macro economics, micro economics, political economics, probabilities...........the only thing about economy that would attract me was the availability of eggs, sugar, flour, not to forget the vanilla, extremely important for the economy!!

Raspberry Mousse Chocolate Cake

Past is past, right? everything was/is there for a reason and there is nothing wrong with dreaming. As long as our economy can provide us with the eggs, butter, sugar and the vanilla................bean, then I am more than fine.
This post has no recipe. I did everything in such a hurry: cake and pictures. I just made a simple chocolate cake for the base and a raspberry mousse. Let the mousse firm up in the fridge for couple hours. Then covered it with tempered dark chocolate and a ganache on top. I love mousse cakes, so don't worry whenever I am done with this busy phase and have free time, I'll remake the recipe, write it down precisely and post it. Meanwhile, try to be happy with what you have, and take care of your dream (s).