So I Am A Feeder is one. That went quickly, didn’t it? And can you believe it’s only been a year? I feel like I’ve been doing this my whole life! In fact, it went so quickly I even forgot to celebrate it on the 21st April! Doh.
Originally this post was going to be about what a failure I’ve been in the kitchen lately. I was going to tell you how I’ve nearly fainted in public twice in the past month because I keep forgetting to eat (massive fail!), how I burned my arm on both the rim of my angel food cake tin when I was taking the monkey bread out and the molten sugar that dripped onto me afterwards, how despite the fact that I made it twice I still couldn’t get it right, and how I forgot to take photos of most of it anyway… but I decided that when birthdays come around it’s better to celebrate the good than the bad, and to remember that every experience is an opportunity to learn. So happy blogoversary to me!
But that’s not all! I also have two winners to announce from my Five Minute Bread give-away! So read on, read on…
Birthdays deserve cakes, do they not? And food blog birthdays even more so. I spotted this New York style cheesecake over at Smitten Kitchen a while ago and had resolved to make it. New York cheesecakes are slightly different in that you bake it at a very high temperature to begin with and then lower it to cook the cheesecake through.
The first time I made this for some crazy reason I converted the fahrenheit to celsius for the first temperature but then not the second, which meant that I continued to cook my cheesecake at a very high temperature for forty minutes – error. I tried to salvage it but had even worse results and ended up with a complete cheesecake failure on my hands, so into the bin it went.
Thankfully the second attempt was much better, though I was lacking a little on the cherry topping, but no matter. I gave it to my friend Johnathan who had just had the premiere of his short docu-film Number Games, produced for the Runnymede Trust. He brought it into the office the next day where it went down a storm, along with a few other tasty baked goods. If at first you don’t succeed…
NEW YORK CHEESECAKE
From Smitten Kitchen
For the crust:
8 oz Jacob’s Cream Crackers, finely crushed
4 oz unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/4 tsp salt
For the cheesecake filling:
5 8oz packages cream cheese, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 tbsps plain flour
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
5 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla
For the cherry topping (optional):
10 oz sweet or sour cherries, pitted
2 tbsps lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup water
24cm (9 1/2″) springform cake tin
1. Make crumb crust: stir together the crust ingredients and press into the tin up to an inch below the top. Stick into the freezer whilst you prepare the filling.
2. Make cheesecake filling: preheat the oven to 285 degrees C.
3. Beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour and zest with electric beaters until smooth.
4. Add vanilla, eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating on low speed to incorporate. Scrape the bowl down between additions with a spatula.
5. Place the crust tin in a shallow baking tray and pour in the cheesecake filling. Bake in the middle of the oven for 12-15 mins until puffed.
6. Reduce the temperature to 90 degrees C and continue baking until cake is mostly firm and center is still slightly wobbly when shaken gently, for 1 hr or so. Keep an eye on it.
7. Run a knife around the top edge of the cake to loosen, then cool completely in the springform on a rack. Chill in the fridge, loosely covered, overnight.
8. Make the cherry topping (optional): place all ingredients together in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Once it is boiling, cook it for an additional one to two minutes then remove from heat. Cool completely.
9. Remove cake from springform onto a plate (I found it useful to open remove the sides, turn the cheesecake upside down onto a plate, remove the metal base of the springform, then invert again onto another plate).
10. Spread topping (if using) over chilled cheesecake. Dig in!
And so, finally, the winners of the give-away! Thanks to everybody who left a comment – I cringed, I laughed and I sympathised with you all, but there could only be two winners, and so drum roll please…
“Long before I owned my own blowtorch, I decided to make s’mores cupcakes. I started way too late in he evening and made all three layers from scratch – graham cracker crust, chocolate cake and homemade marshmallow. I was unbelievably exhausted after making the marshmallow, but finished strong to get them assembled. I wanted the marshmallow toasted so I popped the cupcakes under the broiler. This is when I discovered that homemade marshmallow does not ‘toast’ it melts and it drips and it falls to the bottom of the oven and catches fire. The result? Flaming cupcakes and the realization that there is a very fine line between toasted and flaming marshmallows. A line that I was sure to cross again later in my baking career!”
“I was asked to bring a cheesecake to a party, because I am well-known amongst my friends for being good with cheesecake (uh, usually). I decided at the last minute though to adapt my usual NY-style cheesecake recipe to a honeycomb baked cheesecake, I did this by just adding honeycomb to the recipe. Disaster number 1: the honeycomb, of course, melted, leaving the mixture considerably more liquid than usual. After the standard 2 hours baking time it had not set. Not even a little bit. Seriously… not at all, liquid cheesecake. It was, by this time, approximately midnight. I set my timer for another hour and returned to the TV. An hour later… better, encouraging signs of setting around the edges, but still not cooked.
Now, I needed to be up very early the next day for a meeting, so I set the timer and went to bed, intending to get up and remove the cheesecake when the timer went. Surprisingly, this isn’t the disaster, this worked, the timer went another hour later and I got up to turn the oven off and let the cheesecake cool in the oven overnight, as usual.
Now for the truly disastrous part: I was half asleep. My oven only has one knob, you turn it fully one way to turn it off, you turn it fully the other way to turn on… The Grill. Yes, ladies and gents, I went back to bed, and left my cheesecake GRILLING in the oven.
I can tell you now, cheesecakes do not grill. Particularly ones with very high levels of honeycomb that has all risen to the top. I woke up another hour later to the smell of burning sugar and ran desperately to the rescue of my destroyed cheesecake.
Long story short, the next morning I had to cut off the top half of the cheesecake and cunningly pretend it was supposed to be quite thin. And a bit messy. And tasting slightly of caramel. The moral of this story… don’t get experimental at 10pm when you have an early meeting. Oh, and don’t grill cheesecake.”
Oy-vey. Nice one guys! Please email me your details & I’ll get your prizes sent out to you! Congrats!
And so that’s what I’ve got for you today. The only thing that remains then is to say thank you all for coming by my blog, repeatedly or for the first time, thank you for leaving comments, thank you for supporting me, thank you for the friends I’ve made over this year, thank you, thank you, thank you. One year down, many more to go! Now go eat some cheesecake.
Peace and love.
This post was no. 3 in the Top 9 on Foodbuzz on 3rd May, 2011! Thanks!