March 10, 2007

If I Were a Cake, I'd Want To Be This One

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Hurray for Cheesecake Day! I’m a big fan of cheesecake, as far as I’m concerned, it’s right up there with ice cream. And like ice cream, it lends itself to an infinite number of flavour combinations. Recently I’ve been having fun mixing dried fruit with alcohol. I find the harshness of the alcohol is mellowed by the fruit and the two complement each other well. Prunes and Armagnac for example, are fantastic, but since I’d recently used them in a cake, I decided to go with something else. It didn’t take me long to figure out that cherries and rum would be a great pair, and chocolate goes well with everything so I had to add it in too.

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This round of Hay Hay it’s Donna Day is being hosted by Peabody, who is quite the cheesecake queen herself. She provided us with a basic cheesecake recipe of Donna Hay’s and the rest was up to us. I took Donna’s recipe and added a little Dorie and a little Bri and the result was a Chocolate Cherry and Rum Cheesecake that was absolutely fantastic! The only problem was that it wasn’t going to be for me. I was making it for someone else’s dinner party and I wasn’t going to be in attendance. The last time that I made a cake that I had to give away, it was a carrot cake and to ensure that I got a taste of it, I made a mini chef’s sampler. I used a muffin tin for my mini cake but as much as I want one, I don’t have a mini cheesecake pan. Nor do I have a small springform pan. That wasn’t going to stop me though. I wanted a piece of this cheesecake! So I constructed a mini pan out of a circular metal cookie cutter and some tinfoil. Oh yes, I’m crafty… (or cheap). But it worked! It wasn’t all that stable, but it worked.

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I’m always so happy when one of my baking ideas actually turns into a great success as opposed to compost matter that the raccoons don’t even want to touch. My absentmindedness has frequently caused me to forget key ingredients, like yeast in bread. This time around it was the sugar that was almost forgotten. I had mixed everything in the food processor and separated the batter into two bowls so that I could add the rum and cherries to one and the chocolate to the other. I got a little bit of the batter on my fingers so I licked it off, expecting some cheesecake goodness, but what I got was most certainly not. Sugarless cheesecake is not a good thing. So I dumped everything back into the food processor and gave it a whirl with an ample amount of sugary sweetness. Crisis averted.

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I only had one other slight issue with this cheesecake. It wasn’t supposed to be baked in a waterbath. I generally see a waterbath as being protection against cheesecake cracking but instead of following my instinct, I followed the recipe. The result was a cheesecake with three large cracks in the top. At first I was annoyed that I hadn’t done the cheesecake the way I thought I should. Then I decided this was just an opportunity to add more chocolate and that couldn’t possibly be a bad thing. So I filled the middle of the cheesecake with dark chocolate shavings and a ring of cherry jam. I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty impressed with myself and my creation. Although I guess I did have one other problem with it and that was that I had to give it away. I thought it over first and decided that it would be awfully difficult to convince the host of the dinner party that my mini cheesecake would feed eight people so I was forced to part with the big guy. Mini things may be cute but they’ve got no substance. After a couple bites and it was gone and I was sad.

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Bri’s Chocolate Cherry & Rum Cheesecake (Adapted from Modern Classics Book 2 by Donna Hay and Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan)


1 ¾ cup oreo crumbs

4 T butter, melted

3 T sugar

Pinch of salt

1 1/2 T cornstarch
1 1/2 T water
330g(11 oz) cream cheese, room temperature
460g(15 oz) fresh ricotta cheese
4 eggs
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 cup dried cherries, chopped

¼ cup + 3 T water

¼ cup dark rum

¼ cup cocoa

4 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted

Preheat oven to 350F. To make the base, combine oreo crumbs, sugar and salt. Pour the melted butter overtop and stir to combine well. Grease a 20cm (8-inch) spring form pan and line the base with non-stick baking paper. Press the biscuit mixture over the base and bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven and set aside. To make the filling begin by combining water and chopped cherries in a small sauce pan. Place over medium heat and cook until almost all of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat, add the rum and light it on fire! Let the flames die on their own and then pour the mixture into a bowl to cool. Melt the chocolate either over a double boiler or in the microwave, set aside. Mix the cornstarch with the water to make a smooth paste. Process the cream cheese in a food processor until smooth. Add the cornflour mixture, ricotta, eggs, sugar and vanilla and process until smooth. Pour half of the mixture into another bowl and stir in the cherries to mix. Pour this over the oreo crust. With the other half still in the food processor, add the cocoa and chocolate and process until smooth. Pour this mixture over the cherry-vanilla mixture and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until set. Refrigerate until cold. Serve cut into wedges with thick double cream. Serves 8.

I also added some chopped dark chocolate and a cherry jam glaze to the top.

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Melting Wok said...

A sweeet s-w-e-t manwich !! :)

Meeta said...

If you were this cake I'd take a huge bite out of you. WOW! It looks incredible Bri!

Peabody said...

I just can't imagine you not getting to eat this! AHHHHH.

Madam Chow said...

I often forget ingredients, too, especially if the dogs and my husband keep running in the kitchen to see what I'm up to. I just baked some cookies, had just mixed the dough, and found myself wondering what those two eggs were doing on the counter. Oh, yes, they were supposed to go IN the batter! Like you, crisis averted!

Gattina said...

Brillant brillant!!! Using the cookie cutter and glazing! And isn't yours Black Forest version in cheese cake!
I don't want to sound like a drunken, but alchohol in fruit is the only way to make me eat that rubbery tidbits...

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Now doesn't that mean we should all lick our fingers more and not less. Oh, the times I've left one or more ingredients out of a recipe. It does help to have everything out before hand and put it away as I use it but there are no guarantees.
Love the cheesecake and the save with chocolate. I mean what could be a better recovery.

m3rni3 said...

bri, dat cheesecake of yours looks soooooo heavenly .. i want a piece too please! .. hehe

Laurie said...

Love the cherries and chocolate, and rum too, oh my! Your idea for the mini chef's taste is so adorable, I hope you enjoyed it! I wish I could taste it!

tammy said...

Wow, you really should be proud of this. It looks awesome.

Marce said...

yum, I admire your strength for giving it away and settling for the mini version, I would have concocted some sort of quick cake for the party and kept this myself hahaha
Also thanks for the reminder to do my cheesecake before the deadline, maybe today.

Anonymous said...

I hate to break it to ya, but if you were these cake I doubt you would last very long - especially if you were in a house full of foodies! Gobble you right up they would. ;)

Ari (Baking and Books)

K & S said...

wow! wow! wow!

Lis said...

Holy CRAP! Fabulous flavor combinations! I can not wait for the round up for this HHDD - it's going to be fantastic. You've got yourself a winner there, my friend.


Sushma said...

wondeful cheesecake ....just loved the presentation also...

Ellie said...

Oh man, what a cake! I'm glad that you managed to salvage it from each misstep - the results look amazing!

Andrea & Ben said...

I love this blog! I just started a recipe blog in addition to my regular blog and you have given me something to aspire to!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Wow, Brilynn!! This looks delicious!!

Donna Hay and Dorie together??? Fantastic! ;)

veron said...

wow bril, if you were this cake you better hide from me...for I will be the big bad wolf. ...Seriously I would wolf this right down if it were in front of me.

Morven said...

If this cheesecake were on a restaurant menu I'd order it for sure. A great combination of flavours. Your photographs are lipsmackingly gorgeous!

Anh said...

*Drool*. Can I pls have a piece? Just one! :D

Kristen said...

I am so impressed... love the little mini cake. You are my hero!

Elle said...

You have jumbo talent, but I do love the little edible.
I, too leave out ingredients on occasion, but sometimes it creates something even better. The other times I'm glad I have a dog who will eat almost anything.
Beautiful combination of flavors.

Cheryl said...

This looks ridiculously good.

But I am also glad to know I am not the only one that forgets ingredients.

Vanessa said...

Stop taunting me with your deliciousness...if I could make cheesecakes like this I would gladly vote for cake.

Ninnie said...

My God! This is torture!

Maria said...

Wow, that is an amazing cheesecake, looks amazing and I bet it tastes amazing. And what is also amazing- you selflessly gave it up for your friends dinner party- you should tell your friend that they owe you big time!

Barbara said...

Wow that looks fantastic.Thanks for entering.

Anonymous said...

I made this cake for my brother's birthday this year, doubling the recipe and using a 26cm pan. Was it awesome? Yes, yes it was.