Sunday, July 09, 2006

The hundred thousand dollar Cheesecake

I am slowly recovering from our exhaustive DC trip and wanted to bake something. It's only a matter of cookies or cake. I asked OCT what he wanted to eat. Cake was his answer. But what cake? I greedily search through my recipe collection, and decided to try the Southern Living Cookoff winning recipe: Chocolate Coffee Cheesecake.

This cake is made of cream cheese, espresso powder, chocolate and kahlua. Almost all of my favorite ingredients are put into the formula. Plus it's a $100,000 recipe. I got to see how good it is.

At the outset, I must tell you that I have made some changes to the ingredients, like I used 3 blocks of cheese instead of 4 blocks that the recipe suggested. And used 1/3 less fat cheese instead of normal cream cheese. Because of this, I also have to adjust the amount of other ingredients accordingly.

After chilling the cheesecake overnight, we can't wait to have a piece each for breakfast. The cheesecake has a distinct cheese and chocolate taste, but I am quite disappointed that not a hint of kahlua and espresso powder can be detected from the cake. One of the plus point,though, is that it is not overly sweet. This is more of a chocolate cheesecake than Coffee cheesecake if you asked me....I am not sure if it will be much different should I make a full fat recipe.

Fast forward 2 days, we have given a huge portion of the cake to friends, and left with a very small piece for ourselves. when we tasted the cheesecake on Tuesday, the flavor has somehow mend very well together. I wonder if there's an explanation for why cheesecake taste better after 24 hours....

And my cheesecake cracked, again. OCT asked if there's a way to ensure that the cheesecake will not crack, and whether the bakery has to throw away the cake if it's cracked......Sure there's a way to ensure that the cake doesn't crack, but I was just too lazy to put in a water bath, or to monitor the cake more often than I should. And speaking of bakery, I never remember seeing a cracking cheesecake on the shelf, so I assume they will throw the cracked ones away.

Anyway, this is my cracked but still edible cheesecake:

Chocolate Coffee Cheesecake
(Adapted from Sharon Collison, winning recipe of Southern Living Cook-off 2005)

3 cups crushed chocolate graham crackers (about 20 sheets) (I used 2 cups)
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
PAM Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
4 (8-ounce) packages PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened (I used 3 blocks, 2 blocks of 1/3 cream cheese and 1 block normal cream cheese)
1 cup DOMINO Granulated Sugar (used 3/4 cup sugar)
1/4 cup coffee liqueur
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs (used 3 eggs)
4 (1-ounce) bittersweet baking chocolate squares (used 3 ounce)
Mocha Sauce (omitted)

1. Stir together crushed graham crackers and butter; press mixture into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray.
2. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Cool crust in pan on a wire rack. Reduce oven temperature to 325°.

3. Beat cream cheese and 1 cup sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended. Add coffee liqueur, coffee granules, and 1 teaspoon vanilla, beating at low speed until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yellow disappears after each addition.

4. Remove and reserve 1 cup cream cheese mixture. Pour remaining batter into prepared crust.

5. Microwave chocolate squares in a medium-size glass bowl 1 minute or until melted, stirring after 30 seconds; let cool slightly. Stir reserved 1 cup cream cheese mixture into melted chocolate, blending well. Spoon chocolate mixture in lines on top of batter in springform pan; gently swirl with a knife.

6. Bake at 325° for 1 hour or until almost set. Turn oven off. Let cheesecake stand in oven, with door closed, 30 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven, and gently run a knife around outer edge of cheesecake to loosen from sides of pan. (Do not remove sides of pan.) Cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill at least 4 hours.

7. Remove sides of springform pan. Serve with Mocha Sauce.

Note: For testing purposes only, we used KahlĂșa for coffee liqueur.

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