Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy Birthday To William And Daughter Hawthorne Requests A Coffee Cake - In Other Words, What I Did Wednesday.

Wednesday morning,
I made cheesecake.
Check out this slice.
Cheesecake with chocolate drizzled over top
wrapped in spun sugar.
It was William's birthday and I knew he liked cheesecake since he was here the day I kinda made Giada's mini cheese cakes and had eaten 4 or 5 of them.
Ingredients for my crust: 4 TB butter, melted 10 gingersnaps, crushed 4 graham crackers, crushed 1/4 cup brown sugar
Mix all ingredients together ...
... and press into a 7 inch springform pan.
A lot of times when I'm cooking, I try to use ingredients I already have in the fridge so I can clean it out. As it was, I had a carton of sour cream with 2 tablespoons of sour cream left in it and I had the cartons of mascarpone cheese and ricotta cheese, all of which I wanted to use up. Here are my ingredients: 8 ounces cream cheese 2 TB sour cream 2/3 cup ricotta 1/2 cup mascarpone 4 eggs (I know the picture only has 3. After looking at the batter after 3 eggs I decided it could benefit from a 4th egg.) 1 cup sugar 1 TB vanilla grated zest of one lemon
I beat all the cheeses until smooth.
Then added in the eggs ...
... and added in the sugar ...
... and finally the vanilla.
I poured the batter into my prepared pan ...
... grated the zest of one lemon over top ...
... and sprinkled brown sugar over.
The cheesecake went into a preheated 325 degree oven for 90 minutes, at which time I turned off the oven, cracked the door, and let the cheesecake cool for a couple of hours. (The reason I have parchment paper is because it's a springform pan and I didn't want the bottom of the pan to go off with the recipient. With the parchment paper, I could just slide the whole thing off to a paper plate.)
And here's my cheesecake.
Hmmm. Interesting.
Now it's ready for a bit of decoration.
I combined 1 cup sugar and 1/3 cup water in a heavy sauce pan and brought it to a boil.
I didn't stir. I just swirled ...
... until it got to a nice caramel color. Maybe 8 minutes. You need to watch this closely because at the end it can go from excellent to disastrous in a matter of seconds.
During the first few minutes of heating up the sugar water, I melted some dark chocolate and drizzled that over the cake. When the caramel comes off the stove, you need to put it in a pan of ice water to stop the cooking.
Then, working quickly, dip a fork into the caramel mixture and zig zig it and loop it over the cake.
Now, here comes the mean part. When William came downstairs, I told him I had a little something for him. I asked if I could borrow his lighter and I got out that little star candle (Just the candle. No cake.) and lit it and handed to William with a cheery, "Happy Birthday, William. Here's your birthday candle. Sorry but I didn't have time to go out and buy you a cake." And William seemed quite happy with my little gesture of a birthday candle. Then Mr. Hawthorne got mad at me and told me I was being just plain mean. Yeah. I can be a bitch like that sometimes.
Happy Birthday, William. I told William I'd be happy to keep the cake in my refrigerator for him but he declined my offer. He did take me up on my offer for a slice though.
And of course I made him wait while I took a bunch of pictures of his slice and of course I had to have a bite to see if it was OK. I don't think I've ever had a cheesecake I didn't like. Some I liked more than others but I don't think there's any such thing as a bad cheesecake. At least I haven't come across one yet, but then I haven't eaten at Aunt Sandy's table, so it is entirely possible that there's a cheesecake out there that is, in fact, inedible - I'm thinking of a cheesecake that has Kewl Whip in it, with maybe bubblegum aigstrakt to take out that "packaged flavor," and some pumpkin pie spice, because Sandy uses that on just about everything, and of course, some kind of kick-ass likker. Yes, it's possible there's a cheesecake somewhere out there that I wouldn't like. However, I digress. This cheesecake was really good. As you know, I wasn't using a recipe. I was just picking ingredients I had leftover and using them up, then adding a few extras to make it all come together. And come together, it did. Quite well indeed. The texture was unlike any cheesecake I've had. It wasn't dense like regular cheesecake. It was fluffy, airy, and very light. I liked it. Too bad William took it with him.
Wednesday afternoon, I made a coffee cake.
The other day, Daughter Hawthorne was lamenting the fact that I've never made her a coffee cake. Poor child has indeed been deprived, so I immediately went to rectify that situation. If Daughter Hawthorne wants a coffee cake then by golly she'll have one.
My dry ingredients: 2 cups cake flour 1 tsp salt 1 TB baking powder 1/3 cup sugar
I sifted together the dry ingredients.
Then I grated the zest of two oranges into the dry mixture.
In the back is my flour mixture, along with 1/4 cup shortening, 1/4 cup buttermilk, 1/2 cup fresh orange juice (juice of 2 oranges) 1 egg vanilla
Cut the shortening into the flour mixture.
Add in the buttermilk ...
... the orange juice ...
... and the beaten egg.
Stir just to combine and pour into a buttered cake pan.
Now for my topping: about 1 cup brown sugar zest of one orange 3 tsp cinnamon 2 TB butter pecans (Imagine pecans in the picture.)
Mix the softened butter, cinnamon, and zest.
Add in the brown sugar ...
... and the chopped pecans.
Sprinkle topping over cake.
I baked my coffee cake for 30 minutes in a preheated 400 degree oven, tenting it with foil after 10 minutes.
I sprinkled extra orange zest over the top after baking. And the house smelled amazing while this was cooking.
I could just turn the pan over and drop the cake into my hand, then place on the platter.
I'm loving this topping.
This cake was moist, tangy, orangy, and cinnamony and it had a lovely tender, crumbly texture.
Ooh oooh ooooh. Bonus points for the brown sugar that melted down into the pockets. This was quite successful. I loved the flavors in it and the texture of the cake itself and the topping speaks for itself. This didn't last long at all.


Marilyn said...

Looks divine. There are some lucky people where you live.

Hairball T. Hairball said...

I try not to think about Aunt Sandy and cheesecake because I really like cheesecake!