Monday, March 3, 2008

Birthday Baking

Okay, I need to work on the photography, clearly. But this is Aaron's birthday cake and the white cupcakes I made for the kids.

First, the cake. I used a devil's food cake recipe from the Tartine cookbook - they are a bakery in the San Francisco area and I've been wanting to try this cake recipe for a while. I'm still debating on whether I should post all these recipes or not. Then I got the coconut-pecan filling from here - the original German chocolate cake recipe I made for Aaron. I found that cake to be too dry, which is why I've been experimenting. I used the icing/ganache recipe as well. After consulting Mom and Aunt Bonny, I'm going to use the Betty Crocker recipe next year. Doesn't involve any silly water bath for the milk for hours on end. Anything that tastes just as good and is faster is always better in my book! Thanks for pointing me in the right direction Mom and Aunt Bonny!

The cupcakes were all Martha Stewart. Here is the recipe. I loved the frosting - and making a buttercream frosting using meringue is not all that tough. Although, if you are a Bosch user your life is more difficult. Yet another reason to have a Kitchenaid - you can put the bowl right over the water bath and move it to the mixer - no switching bowls or, heaven forbid, having to whip up a meringue with a handheld electric mixer. This frosting tasted just like strawberry ice cream. It ought to, considering how much butter was in there.

The cheesecake is not pictured because it was not as beautiful as it tasted. Not that it looked horrible, but I'll work on a more photogenic one. It was delicious - Dorie Greenspan's book Baking: From My Home to Yours is phenomenal and I've loved all the recipes I've tried from it.

1 3/4 c. graham cracker crumbs
3 T. sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 c. butter, melted

Press into a 9" springform pan that you've double-wrapped in foil. I use the bottom of a glass to make the inner corners sharp. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.

2# cream cheese, room temperature (very important)
1 1/3 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
2 t. vanilla
4 lg. eggs, room temperature (also very important - you don't want lumpy cheesecake)
1 1/3 c. sour cream

Bring a pot of water to boil while you're mixing the cheesecake. Beat the cream cheese until soft and creamy and smooth. Add the sugar and salt and beat again. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs one at a time and incorporate well. You want it nice and fluffy. Add sour cream.
Pour into crust (it will probably come to the top, if not very near). Bake in hot water bath (this is where that pot of water comes in) 1 hour 30 minutes. When the timer goes off, shut off the oven and prop it open with a wooden spoon for 1 more hour.
Take the cheesecake out of the oven and let it cool to room temperature. Then chill it at least four hours, although overnight is best.

I used a simple rhubarb compote recipe, again from epicurious. Here it is. I addd some orange juice to it - just a tablespoon or so and it was super tasty with the cheesecake.

This cheesecake would be yummy with lemon or orange zest in it. Ms. Greenspan also has variations galore in her cookbook for this - chocolate and more. But you have to get the book to find out what they are.


Emily Kern said...

That cake is way too pretty! I know just what it needs...some finger and tongue marks! Really, it looks spectacular! You truly are a goddess!

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