Saturday, July 17, 2010
This cake is... shall I say... over the top? Maybe a little.
One evening while lazing on the couch
"So when you gonna make?"
After briefly contemplating the side effects of Deb's site on our
I was nervous.
1. This is my first cheesecake. 2. There's actual nozzle piping involved. 3. If I do screw up it will be a very expensive flop. Yet, the brave heart marched on, armed with three blocks of Philadelphia, two and a half packets of Oreos and a good measure of the best dark chocolate. At eight in the morning (considering how long it takes to finish the cake, I started early), the Oreos took me for a ride. Two packets of it from a box of two had cream which stuck to the cookie. After spending an eternity scraping each cookie clean, I discovered the third packet sold on its own allowed me to peel of the cream layer with ease. Next came the bit where preparing the crust involved dividing the blitzing into three parts because my kitchen is yet to be equipped with a decent sized food processor. Lining the tin with the crust took some detailed maneuvering too - high crusted cheesecake is a brilliant idea!
Not wanting the top to crack, I used a lower temperature from the get go so the cake took about half an hour longer to set. By the time the lattice was done I was spent. It was eight at night and out of exhaustion I accidentally binned my piping nozzle along with the leftover fudge lined freezer bag. This was after exploding three bags no matter how gentle I tried to be, which I later learned is a common problem to deal with for those of us who refuse to get piping bags. Perhaps I will buy the disposable plastic ones on my next inevitable trip to the bake shop, along with a new set of nozzles.
The next afternoon we cut the cake...
... and all those heart-attack inducing moments - seriously, who came up with the idea of lattices? - were worth it all. This is the sort of cake you need to eat sitting down, in silence. The fork should go from top to bottom, encasing all the layers into your mouth to deliver that ingenious balance of texture and flavor. The message is not subtlety. It floors you and yet you'll want another bite after a short recovery. I recommend serving it in one and a half inches slices at the most. Good things are meant to be savored in small amounts.
Cappuccino Fudge Cheesecake
Adapted barely from Smitten Kitchen. For a 10-inch pan version, the original recipe is at Bon Appetit.
- 1 9-ounce box chocolate wafer cookies or 9 ounces of homemade chocolate wafers
- 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 7 tablespoons hot melted unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups heavy or whipping cream
- 20 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/4 cup Kahlúa or other coffee-flavored liqueur
- 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup castor sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
- 1 1/2 tablespoons instant espresso powder or coffee crystals
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ground whole espresso coffee beans (medium-coarse grind)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons mild-flavored (light) molasses
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups sour cream
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- A handful of chocolate covered espresso beans (optional)
Make crust: Finely grind cookies, chopped chocolate, brown sugar, and nutmeg in processor. Add butter and process until crumbs begin to stick together, scraping down bowl occasionally, about 1 minute. Transfer crumbs to 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 3-inch-high sides. Wrap plastic wrap around fingers and press crumb mixture firmly up sides to within 1/2 inch of top edge, then over bottom of pan.
Make ganache: Bring cream to simmer in large saucepan. Remove from heat; add chocolate and Kahlúa. Whisk until chocolate is melted and ganache is smooth. Pour 2 cups ganache over bottom of crust. Freeze until ganache layer is firm, about 30 minutes. Reserve remaining ganache; cover and let stand at room temperature to use later for decorating.
Make filling: Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350°F. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until blended. Scrape down bowl, making sure you get to the bottom, where little pockets of unmixed cream cheese love to hide. Beat in flour. Stir rum, espresso powder, ground coffee, vanilla, and molasses in small bowl until instant coffee dissolves; beat into cream cheese mixture. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl between each addition.
Pour filling over cold ganache in crust — it will go nearly all of the way to the top, don’t panic. Place cheesecake on rimmed baking sheet. Bake until top is brown, puffed and cracked at edges, and the center two inches moves only slightly when pan is gently shaken, about one hour. Transfer cheesecake to rack. Cool 15 minutes while preparing topping (top of cheesecake will fall slightly, making room for topping). Maintain oven temperature.
Make topping: Whisk sour cream, sugar, and vanilla in medium bowl to blend. Pour topping over hot cheesecake, spreading to cover filling completely. Bake until topping is set, about 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer cheesecake to rack. Refrigerate hot cheesecake on rack until cool, about three hours.
Run small sharp knife between crust and pan sides to loosen cake; release pan sides. Transfer cheesecake to platter. Spoon reserved ganache into pastry bag fitted with small star tip. If you’d like to make an approximation (perhaps less rushed?) of the above decoration, pipe 6 diagonal lines atop cheesecake, spacing 1 inch apart. Repeat in opposite direction, making lattice. Pipe rosettes (I didn't have enough fudge for full blown rosettes, so stars went around) of ganache around top edge of cake.
Garnish with chocolate-covered espresso beans, if desired. Chill until lattice is firm, at least 6 hours.
Do ahead: Cake is best made a day ahead, so the flavors have time to settle. The cake also takes enough time to make that it’s best not to rush through it the day you want to serve it. It can be made up to four days ahead. Wrap loosely in foil, forming dome over lattice; keep chilled.
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