Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cranberry Crown Cheesecake

This week's Heavenly Cake is a sour cream cheesecake baked inside a ring of pretty ladyfingers. Rose gives the option of making the ladyfingers yourself or cheating and buying the Savioardi biscuits at the store. Since I just arrived back in Portland Sunday afternoon, I decide to cheat and buy the biscuits. Alas. I hang my head in shame.

Cranberry Crown Cheesecake

December 27, 2010
Name of Cake: Cheater's Cheesecake
Occasion: HCB
Constituents: sour cream cheesecake with ladyfingers and a cranberry topping

I can't remember who mentioned that the store bought ladyfingers are also pretty delicious, but I have to agree. I enjoyed munching on the cut off ends last night as the cheesecake baked.

Since I cheated on the ladyfingers, all I had to do last night was bake the cheesecake. That was really simple. So simple, that I didn't even bother starting on the cake until midnight. (Okay, so that really wasn't on purpose.)

This cheesecake gets mixed up with the KA instead of in the food processor. The cream cheese and sugar are creamed together then the eggs, the lemon juice, vanilla, and lastly the large amount of sour cream. There's more sour cream than cream cheese in this cake!

I decided to experiment and since I haven't tasted the cake yet I can't tell you how it turned out. I had some light sour cream at home (purchased for the Apple Cinnamon Crumb Cake--didn't realise it was not full-fat) but not enough. I decided to try using full-fat plain yogurt for the remaining amount, mainly because I wanted an excuse to buy a big tub of full-fat yogurt. And, because I was curious to see if it would work. It turned out to be 400g light sour cream and 326g of full-fat plain yogurt.

After taking the five minutes to mix this batter together, it is poured into the ladyfinger-lined pan and baked for 45 minutes. After baking, the cheesecake is left in the oven for an hour, then left on the counter until room temperature, then refrigerated for eight hours. By the time the cake was finished baking, it was about one am. I decided to leave the cheesecake in the cooling oven overnight.

Cranberry Crown Cheesecake

This morning I got a good look at the baked cheesecake before I put it in the refrigerator. It looked very pretty, not a crack or a crevice on top, and just a tad jiggly in the center. The cake will relax in the refrigerator until this evening, when I'll bring it to Cookie's house to share with her family visiting from out of town.

Well, it is now Tuesday night and I still need to finish this post!

About an hour before going to Cookie's house, I made the cranberry topping. The defrosted cranberries are combined with sugar, water, and cornstarch in a pan, and boiled for about a minute to activate the cornstarch. Once the topping cools down it is poured over the cheesecake and it is ready to eat!

The store bought ladyfingers softened up nicely, while the tops remained a little crunchy in a good way. The cheesecake was still really soft in the middle--which seems to be a problem I keep encountering--but still really delicious. The yogurt didn't seem to negatively affect the cake at all. Cookie, who normally doesn't like cheesecake, liked this one. The lemon complements the tart cranberries very nicely. Cookie felt the ladyfingers didn't contribute much taste-wise, and would have preferred a graham cracker crust. That would have been more flavorful but the ladyfinger crown is so dramatic!

Cranberry Crown Cheesecake

A good cheesecake; light, tangy, and creamy. Beautiful presentation, really easy to make. A winner!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Apple Cinnamon Crumb Cake

There is a version of this cake in The Cake Bible (called the Sour Cream Coffee Cake) and it is one of my favorites. I've tried the peach variation, and in one instance I paired the apple version (made partially with whole wheat flour) with strawberry ice cream which turned out to be wonderful. When I saw Rose had a similar version in Heavenly Cakes, I must admit I wasn't too interested in trying it out. But then Cookie picked it for Free Cake week, and here we are.

Cinnamon Apple Crumb Cake

November 22, 2010
Name of Cake: Apple Cinnamon Crumb Cake
Occasion: Free Cake Week!
Constituents: a sour cream coffee cake with apples and cinnamon and a crumb topping

I have yet to meet a person who has not loved this cake.

Even when I take the cake out too early and the middle is a bit mushy and undercooked. They still love it!

I really should pull out TCB and RHC to compare recipes, but I think the main difference is that this one, from RHC, has you add the crumb topping towards the end of the bake so that it doesn't burn. In TCB, you tent the cake with foil after a certain point.

Cinnamon Apple Crumb Cake
just look at that lovely thick batter!

Otherwise they are pretty much the same.

This cake is really cinnamony, in a good way, and the apples add a nice soft fruity layer. The cake itself is a lovely dense sour cream coffee cake that melts in your mouth with a wonderful full flavor of vanilla with a tang. There are some nice textures in this cake, from the dense cake crumb, the soft juicy apples, and the crunchy crumble. What's not to love?

Cinnamon Apple Crumb Cake
see?  even though the center is undercooked, the cake was gobbled up and universally loved.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Coleen's Big Birthday Cake

My dear friend Coleen celebrated her 60th birthday last week, and asked me to bake her birthday cake.  Her partner was throwing her a big to-do and wanted a cake that would feed about 30 people.  Of course I said yes, how could I not?

The last time I made her a birthday cake was in 2006--even though we all remembered it as being two years ago.  Coleen asked for a chocolate-chocolate cake. The two cake layers were TCB's Chocolate Fudge Cake which uses brown sugar instead of white. Reading the post reminded me how delicious that cake is! I filled and frosted the cake with the Milk Chocolate Buttercream, which is a simple combination of milk and dark chocolate and butter. It was rich.

Read about Coleen's Chocolate-Chocolate Cake from 2006.
And, photos of her cake are found here.

This year, Coleen asked for a yellow cake, with a fudgy frosting and a raspberry filling. When I asked what kind of raspberry filling, she got excited about a raspberry whipped cream. I told her I was thinking about a half sheet cake, but Coleen protested, "I want a round cake!"

Round it is, my friend.

Coleen's 60th Birthday Cake

December 04, 2010
Name of cake: A Cake Fit for a 60th Birthday
Occasion: Coleen's 60th Birthday Party!
Constituents: two 10 inch yellow cake layers filled with raspberry buttercream and frosted with miss irene thompson's dark chocolate frosting

Somewhere in the middle of putting this cake together I realised I was basically recreating the Chocolate Strawberry Cake the Heavenly Cake Bakers made in June.

I chose TCB's All-American Yellow Butter Cake as the cake component for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it is an awesome and delicious yellow cake. Secondly, this is one of the cakes Rose gives the base recipe for so that it can scaled up or down really easily. For two ten-inch layers, it was easy (with the help of a calculator) to figure out how much of what I would need.

For example, this many egg yolks:

Coleen's 60th Birthday Cake

The egg whites are in the freezer. I have a lot of egg whites in there.

This much butter (pork chop optional):

Coleen's 60th Birthday Cake

You can also see in the above photo I made a batch of Rose's Cordon Rose Raspberry Conserve for the whipped cream. (The whole batch is in the large measuring cup to the right of the teakettle.)

I was excited that the cakes rose as high as they did, considering that I was using cake pans that are two inches high and TCB's recipes are scaled for 1.5 inch high cake pans.

Coleen's 60th Birthday Cake

However if you looked at those photos of Coleen's chocolate-chocolate cake, those cake layers seem just as high, don't they?

I decided to torte the cake; this is a birthday party after all. Check out the crumb!

Coleen's 60th Birthday Cake

I made the full batch of raspberry whipped cream even though I was just using it as a filling. Rose mentions that the pectin in the jam is sufficient enough to prevent the whipped cream from watering out, so no need to use gelatin. That made me happy as I forgot I was out of gelatin.

After filling and stacking the cake, it was after midnight and I was ready for bed. The cake got a rest up in the refrigerator while I slept.

The next morning I decided to even out the edges of the cake.

Coleen's 60th Birthday Cake

Then came Miss Irene's Dark Chocolate Frosting. When Coleen told me she wanted a fudgy chocolate frosting, this one immediately came to mind. I thought about a good ganache or buttercream, but neither option sounded particularly fudgy to me. Plus, I remembered this frosting as being really easy to make.

I am pretty sure I doubled the recipe, and in the end had maybe 3/4 cup left over. It is mostly made over a double boiler and involves a large amount of corn syrup, and while still thick and warm you glaze the top of the cake and make a crumb coat over the sides.

Coleen's 60th Birthday Cake


After the fudgy frosting cools down a bit, you can use it to make decadent swirls around the sides (and top, if you like). In my cold kitchen the frosting was ready for swirls pretty soon after finishing the crumb coat. Gotta love unheated kitchens.

After swirling I kind of lost it and went out of control. I scattered Vahlrona Les Perls over the top, mounded some fresh raspberries in the middle (they looked great but tasted like water), then lined the bottom of the cake plate with raspberries and mounded in some more Perls. It is a bit much, I know, but hey--it's a birthday!

Coleen's 60th Birthday Cake

Coleen's 60th Birthday Cake

No photos of the cake at the party--too dark and too busy enjoying the party to "work." The birthday girl seemed pleased with her cake--but that could have been the bourbon talking ;)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

FFWD: Speculoos

Oops, forgot to cross post!

I don't think I've ever had proper Speculoos, or Speculaas, or Belgian/Dutch Spice Cookies. I've made them before (with the Lazy Bakers!) but since I have no idea how they are supposed to taste I don't know if what I've made is a good Speculoos. But at any rate, I enjoy them but I think I like a spicy Swedish gingersnap better.

FFWD: Speculoos

I also have discovered that when I bake cookies, which isn't very often, I like something easy and yummy, like a good ol' drop cookie. All the fancy cookies which require rolling into logs and chilling or rolling out into sheets for cut-outs is too much for my lazy brain.

FFWD: Speculoos

I have sandwiched caramel between spicy Swedish gingersnaps to great success, so I decided to do so with these.

FFWD: Speculoos

The caramel was too soft so it gooped out, but I think that just makes them more delicious. I also tried nutella (good), and homemade strawberry jam (not my favorite).

FFWD: Speculoos

All in all, a good cookie; I like the brown sugar and spices, but I would prefer something as spicy as a Swedish gingersnap.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Financier-Style Vanilla Bean Pound Cakes

Financiers have been hit-or-miss for me, so I was a little wary of these financier-styled pound cakes. I think I have pan anxiety. I didn't buy a financier pan, and unlike other cakes in this book, I wonder if the pan really does make a difference in the final product. Cakes can be turned into cupcakes, individual cakes can be made into one large cake, but financiers? They seem like they are best when the ratio of outside to inside stays fairly even. Regular sized cupcakes are too big, so it seems making these mini is a good idea. Or use a freaking financier pan. I shoulda bought the damn pan.

Financier-Style Vanilla Bean Pound Cakes

December 11, 2010
Name of cakes: damn pan
Occasion: HCB
Constituents: egg yolk-less pound cakes

Okay I'm just going to come right out and say it: I miss the egg yolks.

I made these as cupcakes--six in my silicone cupcake cups which hold about an ounce less than a regular cupcake cup--and they look lovely. They domed nicely, with a light golden color. The crumb is delicate, light, and dense with the delicious floral flavor of butter and the smoothness of vanilla. However, for all the loveliness, there is a richness missing, and it is because they are 100% egg yolk free. So sad.

Financier-Style Vanilla Bean Pound Cakes

I guess it is a cross between a pound cake and a white cake, but since my tastes run towards rich, dense, sour cream and egg yolk cakes, moving a pound cake in the direction of a white cake is the wrong direction for me.

Financier-Style Vanilla Bean Pound Cakes

At least they were a snap to make. I don't feel so regretful about them since it didn't take $30 worth of materials or a full day of work to make these little light pound cupcakes. When I get over the lack of egg yolk, they really are quite lovely. Almost tea cake-like in their dense crumb, and with wonderful flavor.

However I wonder how these would have been as proper financiers.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Chocolate Velvet Fudge Cake

This week's selection was the wonderful and easy Chocolate Velvet Fudge Cake. I baked this cake the day before I flew to California for Thanksgiving, in the midst of washing clothes (so I could pack), getting things ready for the cat sitter, and trying not to forget anything.

I have no photographic evidence of the baking, packing, presenting, or eating of the cake so you'll just have to take my word for it. Sorry this post will have no photos, pretty or otherwise.

November 24, 200
Name of Cake: The Cake TSA Didn't Care About
Occasion: HCB, and Thanksgiving
Constituents: a chocolate bundt cake

I actually have a silicone bundt pan; I bought it for nine bucks at a sale over the summer and this was my first time trying it out.

This cake is prepared like most of RLB's butter cakes, which means that after measuring everything out and dumping all the dry stuff in the mixing bowl and combining the eggs and whatever other liquids in another bowl, you can break down the mixing instructions like this:

30 sec
add butter + cocoa
1 1/2 min
eggs in two parts
30 sec between
bake 50-65 min

Well, at least I could. This is certainly the cliffs notes version and it assumes you know the basic RLB butter cake technique, but by now most of us do, right?

For the silicone bundt pan, the cake is left to cool upside down in the pan. Once cool, I covered a (handmade) cake round in foil, inverted the cake and bundt pan onto that and tightly wrapped the whole thing in plastic wrap. This got packed into my carry-on bag.

I wondered if the foil bottom or the unusual shape would set off the TSA employees, but I think the chocolate pumpkin pie I was carrying was the perfect decoy. Plus, it was Thanksgiving day and the airport was fairly quiet, and this is Portland, OR and TSA has never been the crazy assholes they are in other, larger airports. They mostly made jokes about classifying my pie as a gel so that they could confiscate it, and the cake in my carry-on luggage made it through the x-ray machine without a second glance. The pie also went through the machine, so everybody was disappointed to discover I hadn't baked a pair of very sharp scissors into it.

My mom had already baked an apple pie (from the apples in the backyard) and a pumpkin pie (from a pumpkin she roasted herself), and my sister made pumpkin squares (from cake mix and canned pumpkin). I added my chocolate pumpkin pie (canned pumpkin--mom was surprised) and saved the chocolate cake for Friday. Thanksgiving dinner was delicious and the nephew is now a walking, babbling, drooling machine which was more exciting than having 3 pies and pumpkin squares for dessert.

By Friday afternoon the pumpkin squares had been demolished (mostly by my brother in law) so I broke out the cake. My sister especially loved it--she called it a chocolate pound cake and she isn't too far off. The cake is dense, yet moist and tender with a strong chocolate punch. I used Dagoba cocoa powder this time around and I think I really like it. Dad liked the cake with whipped cream but I thought a scoop of vanilla ice cream would be a better pairing. Mostly my sister and I ate it out of hand. Mom is allergic to chocolate and doesn't like sweets that much so she didn't try it.

All in all, a great cake: simple to make, satisfying to eat. This is the perfect chocolate cake when you want a cakey snack without too much fuss.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

FFWD: Caramel-Topped Semolina Cake

As usual, I am cross-posting this week's French Fridays with Dorie entry as it is a cake and this a cakeblog after all. Find the rest of my French Fridays with Dorie escapades at the other blog: Everything But The Cake, and click on the badge to the left to learn more about French Fridays with Dorie and see what the other members have been cooking up.

This month's French Fridays with Dorie selections have all been quick and easy to prepare, and in most cases delicious. It is always wonderful to have such memorable food in the arsenal for weeknight dinners, or when having over friends. This week's selection, the Caramel Topped Semolina Cake, was no exception.

caramel topped semolina cake

When I hear semolina I think about pasta, but in this case the cake is made from farina, which most Americans know as Cream of Wheat. It is kind of a flan-type cake, a little custardy with a thin caramel top, and also a bit rustic and simple and comforting. As written the cake is very simple and plain in looks and taste, and a snap to prepare.

caramel topped semolina cake caramel topped semolina cake

It starts with making a batch of Cream of Wheat, using whole milk instead of water for a richer, thicker cereal. While that cools, the caramel is made and poured into the cake pan. Dorie has this great trick of warming the pan in the preheating oven so that the caramel will spread and cover the bottom of the pan evenly.

caramel topped semolina cake caramel topped semolina cake

The recipe calls for plump golden raisins, but I am not much of a raisin fan. I fired them and used plump dried sour cherries--a wonderful substitute that I may make permanent. I plumped up the cherries by simmering them in a bit of water for a couple of minutes, then letting them steam dry in a colander while I made the rest of the cake.

caramel topped semolina cake

So to the cooked and cooled farina, a couple of eggs are stirred in as well as some vanilla and the sour cherries. No spices are called for, but next time I would want to add a little fresh nutmeg or cardamom. Cinnamon would be an obvious add-in, but I think something a little more aromatic would offset all that creaminess really nicely.

caramel topped semolina cake

The farina custard is poured into the pan atop the caramel, and baked for about 20 minutes. The cake is unmolded right away and left to cool. I overbaked my cake a tad, as the edges looked a little too set compared to the middle.

caramel topped semolina cake

This was a delicious cake, and a wonderful springboard to what could be even more interesting with the addition of some spices. This was so simple, and so comforting that it would be a perfect weekend treat in front of the fire with friends.

caramel topped semolina cake

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Chocolate Genoise with Peanut Butter Whipped Ganache

A couple of months ago, Cabbage turned the big 40. He didn't want a big party, or even a little party, but I did agree to bake him a cake. He is a chocolate-peanut butter fan so I had a few options in my arsenal. His birthday fell during a time when I was out of town, but I planned to bake his cake before I left. Then...I got busy...and promised to bake him a cake when I returned. Especially since I got him to feed my cats while I was gone.

So I left for my trip, and returned home, and Cabbage was a year older. And...I never got around to baking his cake. Until now! When I saw this cake on the list, I realised my chance at birthday cake redemption had come.

Chocolate Genoise with Peanut Butter Whipped Ganache

November 14, 2010
Name of Cake: Cabbage's Belated Birthday
Occasion:HCB, and Cabbage's Belated Birthday
Constituents: a 9 in layer chocolate genoise frosted with peanut butter whipped ganache

Whenever we bake a genoise, I think about how previously genoise and I didn't see eye to eye. They would be sad fallen discs and I would be miffed, because I had no idea what I was doing wrong. Things seemed to have taken a turn for the best lately, and I hope I don't jinx myself for saying that!

Chocolate Genoise with Peanut Butter Whipped Ganache

The secret to a nice genoise is in beating the eggs on high for a good five minutes or so. I like to go for an extra minute, just in case. After beating the eggs, the melted butter, the flour, and the chocolate paste need to be folded in. I was nervous about all this extra folding in of stuff; what if I deflated my gorgeous eggs and baked a sad fallen disc?

Chocolate Genoise with Peanut Butter Whipped Ganache

I did my best to fold quickly but thoroughly. I have discovered my favorite tool for all the folding is the whisk attachment from the KA. Better than the balloon whisk, way better than a spatula, and it was already dirty anyway. Less to wash!

Chocolate Genoise with Peanut Butter Whipped Ganache

Phew! No sad fallen disc here. Next up, making the syrup to moisten the cake. Rose calls for Chambord but I just used a sugar syrup to which I added a couple of tablespoons of raspberry-cherry jam. I thought that might give the cake the berry flavor the Chambord would have. I strained out the jam solids before applying to the cake, but the berry flavor was pretty mild so I don't think it really made a difference in flavor. Even though it looks like too much syrup, the genoise slurps it up without falling apart or getting mushy. Once syruped, however, the cake is very delicate so careful moving it around.

Chocolate Genoise with Peanut Butter Whipped Ganache

It was time for the ganache. This ganache is unusual as it doesn't take hours to cool down to spreading consistency, in fact the cream isn't even heated. The chocolate is melted, the peanut butter is whisked in, then the cold cream and vanilla. This is all whisked (by hand) for a bit until the ganache is smooth and forms soft peaks. (Rose warns not to overmix as the ganache will become grainy. I must have overmixed as my ganache wasn't smooth as silk, but I wasn't too concerned.) At that point it is ready to be used. My kitchen was too cold as the ganache was quickly becoming too stiff, so I moved everything into the warm front room where I could finish frosting.

Chocolate Genoise with Peanut Butter Whipped Ganache

It took several passes before I got a swirl I could live with.

Then the hardest part of all: letting the cake come together overnight before eating it. So not fair! The ganache smelled so deliciously peanut buttery I really wanted to try it.

Chocolate Genoise with Peanut Butter Whipped Ganache

The next morning, the sun was out and the time was right to get my photos. I had thought about cutting a slice for the shot and then putting it back so that Cookie, Cabbage and I could try it together that night. But as I was shooting the cake slice the tea kettle boiled and what's better than tea and cake for breakfast? So I ate the slice. It was meant to be.

Chocolate Genoise with Peanut Butter Whipped Ganache

The genoise was light and spongy in texture, moist and not-too-sweet, and lightly chocolaty. The ganache is the star of the show here, and it was a perfect balance of chocolate and peanut butter and deliciously creamy to boot. It reminded me of my favorite chocolate peanut butter ice cream (minus the peanut butter chunks). I think a sprinkling of salted peanuts on top of the cake would be a nice decoration and a good sweet/salty punch.

That night I brought the cake to Cabbage and Cookie. It received a thumbs up from both of them, however Cabbage the peanut butter fan wished the cake could have been MORE peanut buttery. Maybe I should have stuck to one of my cakes in my arsenal? At any rate, happy birthday my friend!

Curious about the peanut butter cakes in my arsenal?

*Joelf's 2009 Birthday Cake: Chocolate Butter Cake with Heavenly Cakes' Peanut Buttercream

*Raeben's 2009 Birthday Cake: Dorie Greenspan's Peanut Butter Torte (there's an entertaining discussion about disgusting foods from the UK and Ukraine in the comments)

Oh, and by the way?  Green & Black's has made the best chocolate-peanut bar ever.  Holy yum.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake

(At first I typed "Pure Pumpin Cheesecake" which I kind of like. It sounds very '80's.) Welcome to Free Cake Week, where the HCB get a chance to bake or re-bake a cake that Marie or the group has already made. I chose a cake the group baked a year ago, as a (pumpin') pumpkin cheesecake sounded perfect for this rainy November.

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake

November 8, 2010
Name of Cake: Pump it up yo
Occasion: HCB, and a trade with Coleen
Constituents: pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust

I have no idea why I skipped this cheesecake last year. Why would I do a lame thing like that? It may have had something to do with the five pies we made for Thanksgiving, but hello! This is pumpkin cheesecake.

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake

The crust is a spicy pecan-gingersnap cookie crust, which is a perfect foil for the pumpkin and brings a bit of the spices we expect from a pumpkin dessert. Plus, I love a spicy gingersnap. I bought a ridiculously large box of them from IKEA so I could have something to nibble on after giving away the cheesecake.

Then I got the idea to sandwich the leftover caramel between gingersnaps.

Caramel Gingersnap Sandwiches

Best idea ever.

So interestingly, the crust doesn't need to be pre-baked like most graham cracker crusts do. I have no idea why, but I liked skipping that step.

The pumpkin is cooked briefly in a pan with turbinado sugar until thick and shiny.

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake
I loved the bit of sunshine illuminating the pan.  I mean, sunshine!  In November!  Such a treat.

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake

This cheesecake should get whirred together quickly in the food processor. Now unfortunately I deleted the photo, but there was a shot of pumpkin cheesecake batter (before adding the cream cheese) oozing out of the bottom of my food processor. I discovered that the max fill line for liquids is only about halfway up the side of the bowl, and as I began adding the cream cheese I pushed the liquid past the line. And onto my counter.

After a minor panic I dumped the batter into the KitchenAid mixer. In TCB, the Cordon Rose Cheesecake is made in the KA, so I referenced those instructions. Using the whisk beater, I beat the cream cheese into the liquid until well-blended. It took a while, but we got there in the end.

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake

Then the eggs are added and everything turns into a lovely custard.

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake

And after a bake in a waterbath, we get this:

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake

My cheesecake was too jiggly after the required baking time, and remembering my Coconut Cheesecake Pudding, put the Pumpin' Cheesecake back into the oven for another 15 minutes.

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake

After cooling for one hour in the oven and to room temperature on the counter, the cheesecake is put to bed in the refrigerator overnight. Next up, the caramel drizzle.

Despite reading Rose's comment on Marie's post reminding everyone not to overcook the caramel (the group had caramel problems), I must have overcooked the caramel because I had the exact same problem. The caramel had such a small window of being drippy and drizzily and was mostly just a sticky blob. I tried spreading it across the top of the cheesecake but it looked ugly so I rolled it off in one sheet just as easily as rolling off the top crust of a genoise. I decided to skip the caramel and top with chopped toasted pecans, but I burned those. So, back to the caramel. No microwave to rewarm the caramel, so I placed the pyrex cup in a pan of simmering water. Eventually, the caramel softened enough to kind of drizzle.

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake

However my drizzles look like they've got the shakes. Oh well. (You can also see that when I rolled the sheet of caramel off the top of the cake it pulled away the top crust.)

I brought the cheesecake over to Coleen's house. I had promised her the cheesecake as a trade for some work she had done.  She is quite a baker herself and I was worried the absence of spices would be disappointing, but I had nothing to worry about. The caramel notes from the turbinado sugar complemented the pumpkin and cream cheese so perfectly and the gingersnap crust was enough to give the pumpkin cheesecake some spice. The texture was impossibly light and fluffy; nothing you would expect from a cheesecake. Coleen loved it; a good trade for everyone!

Read Marie's Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake post and hear about her old-school thermometer that had Woody very concerned. And a cat got to give her taste impressions!