Baking Experiment – Cookies and Cream Cheesecake

At the end of some days, you feel totally satisfied. Happy. Today is one such day. A day when I am entirely exhausted, but which was also amazingly productive. Productive, as in, I managed to pack in quite a bit.

We had planned a play date with one of daughter’s friends’ from school. Yesterday, we discussed and decided to meet at our place for lunch, let the children play for a bit, and then go to watch ‘Mirror Mirror’. I had another friend coming over in the evening after we got back as well. So I decided to bake a cheesecake – which has been on my  ‘to-do’ list for ages. I try to bake only when I have company, can’t really afford to eat it all up by myself, can I?

I had come across this Cookies and Cream Cheesecake on one of my food blog hops. Food bloggers, I tell you – they single-handedly contribute to more that 75% of my weight gain. How on earth can one resist trying out the delicious things they put up? Even worse when the recipes seem so easy and oh so delicious! I’ve loved cheesecakes, for like forever! And this recipe seemed made for me!  Ever since I had seen the recipe, I have, been dreaming about it. I had even picked up a massive pack of Oreos from Costco. It was a cake waiting to be made. What better time that when you have guinea pigs over 🙂

And here is how it turned out!

Not the greatest looker, but I only have myself to blame for it. Not the kind of picture that any self-respecting food blogger would showcase -but then, I am no food blogger, am I? Just a blogger who also likes to write about food 🙂

I tried to follow the recipe perfectly, but got distracted somewhere and ended up with an extra 1 oz of cream. The cream I used was reduced fat single cream, and I think, the batter was too runny. Then I ended up whipping it a bit too much resulting in bubbles. I did not cop on to the fact the bubbles need to burst, by tapping the pan, or physically bursting it with a pin – until it was already in the oven. So the surface was not as smooth and lovely as I would have liked.

To add to it all, I took the cake out of the oven, instead of letting it cool slowly in the oven – I realized too late that would make it crack – a small crack, but a crack never-the-less.

That was about the looks, now for the taste – it was perfect! We all loved it, and as proof of the pudding, all I have left is one tiny wedge which I saved for husband to taste. I did not even get to take more pictures of the sliced cake. I suspect he would love it too -just his taste in cheesecakes. The perfect combination of crust and cream – yum!

Next time, I plan to follow the instructions better, hopefully.  I have to make it again very soon. Daughter wants me to make it for her birthday, which is just around the corner. She couldn’t have enough of it!

So do you have a cheesecake story? Any tips for me? Anything else to make it even better?

This is the way we bake a cake, bake a cake, bake a cake …

..on a cold and frosty Tuesday afternoon…

The best part of blogging is blog-hopping and coming across some wonderful blogs. Yesterday, reading R’s Mom’s post mentioning cakes, had me drooling, and longing to bake.

I haven’t been baking as much as I used to, so just needed a push. R’s Mom mentioned Seema, and I hopped over to hers, only to end up spending half a day drooling over her delicious recipes. Some of her Bengali recipes reminded me of my childhood spent in the houses of my Bengali friends.

After a lot of drooling, and sighing, I came across this zebra cake. I have always loved marble and zebra cakes. I remember eating marble cakes a long, long time ago, and wondering how they manage to assemble the cake with the two colours! One of the first cakes I tried out successfully was a marble cake. Since then I have tried a variety of recipes for marble/zebra cakes. One of my personal favourites was one made with oil instead of butter, but I managed to misplace the recipe. Rather, I don’t remember which website I had consulted to make the cake. So when I came across Seema’s zebra cake with oil, I just had to try it.

Given that I had spent the best part of the day, drooling at recipes, so I had just about enough time to whip up the batter, and get it to the oven, assuming everything went as per schedule. Just as I was measuring out the oil, it dawned on me that I was out of sunflower oil. Oil is one of the sparingly used commodities at my place, so I had forgotten to buy a new bottle. Thankfully I had some olive oil, and added that along with the sunflower oil, sending up a prayer that it would turn out fine, despite my experimentation. Finally the cake batter was in the oven, I had more than an hour on my hands before I had to pick up daughter from school. So I got busy sorting out the rest of the house – which, as usual was a complete mess. At the end of the 40 mins in the oven, as per the recipe, my cake was still wobbly and certainly not cooked. I kept checking every 10 minutes, until the time that I absolutely had to leave to pick up daughter. One part of the cake was done, the other one was not! My oven had really let me down. There was nothing I could possibly do apart from switching off the oven, and leaving the cake in there – and hope, against hope.

It was an hour and a half by the time we got back(daughter had an after-school activity). I opened the oven, full of trepidation. The house was smelling wonderful, but that is hardly any indication of the state of the cake! The cake was cooked! Now I just had to wait until the cake cooled completely to cut it and check it properly.

See how the cake looks all lopsided 😦 All thanks to the uneven heating of the oven. 

Much to my surprise, it tasted and looked quite good inside! Certainly not the prettiest cake or anything, but the stripes were not too bad. Every zebra has unique stripes, they say, mine certainly were unique:) Check these out! Not too bad, don’t you think, after everything that went wrong?

Matters that weigh on my mind – Post 8

Desperate for some ideas on what to post, I went to the NaBloPoMo website to see today’s prompt.

‘What decision is currently weighing on your mind?’

The only decision that is weighing on my mind is, ‘What do I post today?’ And this prompt is of no help whatsoever!

Do you know what I have been doing, while weighing such weighty matters on my mind? I have been drooling at this delicious olive oil cake. Believe me, it is totally droolworthy. I know. I’ve tasted it 🙂

I haven’t been baking as much as I used to. Given that I end up gobbling up most of what I bake, I decided to lay off. Spring and summer here, are full of parties. Birthdays and general get-togethers, holidays, you name it. I think the weather makes us all chirpy and excited and it also means a lot of eating. So in-between parties, I try not to over-eat or over indulge.

Some months back, I had come across this cake, and baked it for a get-together at a friend’s place. It was a huge hit. A friend of mine, who had never baked before asked me to teach her to bake this cake. I did, and she baked it for some other friends of hers. Another friend tried it last week and loved it.

And daughter loves it too. She has been asking me to bake it. I have been staying away from baking it just because we have too many sweets at home. Today, I chanced upon it again. I so want to bake it, but am trying not to. Very hard. Will let you know if I do/or don’t. But in case you are interested, do follow the link and try it out. It is gorgeous, melt in the mouth delicious!

And if you do bake it, can I have a teeny-weeny slice? Pretty please?

Come join me for tea..

and help yourself to some banana bread 🙂

Don’t worry – it is a low fat one and I am so delighted with it that I have even had a slice for breakfast 🙂 I am normally, never modify cake recipes unless others who have made the cake suggest modifications. This time, however, I took a chance and experiemented. You see, I was keeping away from baking after all the holiday weight I had put on. Yesterday however, in order to keep Poohi entertained, I made a rather rash promise that we would bake a cake – and she ensured that I did not break my promise- try as I might. So if I had to bake, I decided to bake something low-fat and guilt-free( or atleast less guilty).  And here is the recipe in case any of you are interested. I got the recipe from here, but made the following modifications.

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 large over-ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup plain fat-free yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spoon flour gently into measuring cups and level with a knife. Stir flour, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl. Put aside. Place sugar and butter in a large bowl and beat at low speed with a mixer until well blended. Add one egg at a time and blend well after each one. Add in mashed banana, yogurt and vanilla extract, beat until blended. Add flour mixture and blend until just moist. Do not over-mix. Spray an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Pour batter into pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes (until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean). Remove from pan after 10 minutes or so and cool on a wire rack.

I go crazy for..

Cakes.. One of my favourite scents is the smell of something baking in the oven.. I just love that smell.. as far long back as I remember.. Talk about feel good, comfort food and baked cakes come right at the top!  I, once,  followed the smell on a busy street in Bangalore to discover a wonderful little bakery!

Today, I am itching to bake.. I am dying to get my hands on the ingredients and whisk, stir and pour and then smell(yum!) the baking cake.. I think I love the process of baking just as much, if not more than the actual eating 🙂 Can’t think of anything more satisfying that seeing the cake rise, filling your home with that wonderful, wonderful smell!! I hate going out smelling of food 😦 I just hate it – but I guess the smell of baking is an exception! If somebody ever came out with a perfume like that – I am sure to buy it, but probably, I might be the only buyer 😦 I actually go to the home section of most stores and look at cake tins – to see if anything new has come in – that I absolutely have to buy!

The one thing I am yet to try is baking bread. And I am so going to try that soon.. I am quite sure that once I start – I might never stop 🙂

I’ve been stalking cake recipe sites all day today,there are so many of them, out there, tempting me with those lovely pictures!  I am just dying to bake – the only thing stopping me is that I have put on 5 kgs in the last 6 weeks or so 😦 Baking is so, not a great idea – not even the low fat ones 😦  No, cakes are so not an option..