Yesterday, Chris and I were invited over to his cousin’s place dinner, so we thought it would only be fitting if we brought a bottle of wine and dessert. I first met Chris’s cousin, Aaron, last year at his wedding, and haven’t really seen him since. So yesterday’s dinner was the actual first time where I was able to have a real sit-down conversation with both him and his wife. It was good!
Catherine, Aaron’s wife, prepared/ cooked ALL the food and it was delicious. We started off with a mushroom soup, then onto the main, which was a prawn tomato pasta along with lamb and brocoli, then lastly, the cake for dessert. There were even post-dinner activities, where we played the Xbox Kinect (interactive games, similar to the Wii, except you actually have to TRY lol), which was pretty hilarious to watch…. this gaming system even takes creepy pictures of the participants! lol
I decided on cheesecake for the dessert because: it can be prepared in advance, most people like it…(I think), it’s fairly easy, and I personally prefer it over a traditional ‘birthday’ style cake (vanilla cake with the buttercream frosting). Unfortunately, Cat wasn’t able to have a whole lot of it because she gets bad heartburn when she drinks coffee (Felt SO bad, but we had no idea!!)
This cake is all about the layers. I honestly NEVER dress my cheesecakes up like this…. usually I just leave it bare so you can see the top of the actual cake, but I figured this time, it was a rather ‘special’ dinner lol. So as you can see in the picture, the coffee flavored cheesecake is on the bottom, which was topped with a thin layer of cocoa sour cream (cocoa powder + sugar + sour cream), then a layer of ground up chocolate chips (froze the chips, then ground them with my magic bullet, which yielded a fine powder-like consistency), and lastly whipped cream topped with random chocolate accents. I thought about just dusting straight cocoa powder on top, instead of ground up chocolate chips, but I was thinking that because the sour cream layer/ whipped cream were more moist, they might just soak up the cocoa powder and cause some gross uneven blotchy brown action? haha so figured the chips were a safe choice
I was originally going to leave the cake like this, but I kept looking at it (on and off for about an hour!), and it just looked SO boring and plain….
After staring at it for so long, I was almost decided on heading to Safeway to pick up a chocolate bar or something to put on top of the whipped cream… it was bugging me SOO much lol! But in the end, guess I’m glad I didn’t… chocolate bars are $$ after all =P lol (the good ones at least)
A few tips on how I baked/ made the cake….
This recipe has been modified from allrecipes.com (obviously)
Chantal’s New York Cheesecake
The original recipe serves 12 or one 9 inch springform pan, but I halved it to fit my 6 inch springform.
- 1/2 C graham cracker crumbs
- 1.5 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons milk
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Optional: 1 tsp instant coffee granules (or more to taste)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 6 inch springform pan.
- In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and cocoa powder with melted butter. Press into bottom of springform pan. (I then like to bake the crust for about 5-6 minutes in a 350F oven)
- In a large bowl, mix cream cheese with sugar until smooth. Whisk coffee granules with milk until dissolved, then add to cream cheese, and then mix in the eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate. Mix in sour cream, vanilla and flour until smooth. Pour filling into prepared crust.
- Bake in preheated oven for 45 mins. Turn the oven off, and let cake cool in oven with the door closed for 5 to 6 hours; this prevents cracking. Chill in refrigerator until serving.
I was trying to explain this to Amanda before (=P) that whenever I make a cheesecake, I bake it in a water bath, which will ensure an even/ slow bake, thereby helping to minimize sinking/ browning of the final product. Since I was using a springform, I wrapped the underside with aluminum foil to prevent water from going underneath the pan/possibly seeping into the crust. Just before I was ready to bake, I added about 2 inches of water to the surrounding pan, then baked it.
The recipe says to let it cool in the oven for 5-6 hours, but I usually only let it cool in there for 2 hrs max… I don’t feel that the extra time is necessary b/c I’ve tried it before and got the same results with 2 hrs. For the first 1.5 hours of cooling in the oven, I don’t open the oven door b/c you want the cake to gradual cool on its own, then for the last half an hour, I cracked the oven door open just slightly.