Strawberries and Cream Cake!

I discovered this cake on Twitter!

I follow Hungry Rabbit NYC and he told the most lovely story from his childhood and made the most beautiful cake for his mother for Mother’s Day!

Ken, otherwise known as HungryRabbitNYC, takes amazing photographs and builds an even more amazing cake.

My photos aren’t nearly as good, and my skills don’t seem to be as sharpened as Ken’s but this cake was delicious!

Strawberry n Cream Cake

recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Ingredients

1 tablespoon lemon zest, freshly grated
1 cup sugar (7 ounces)
1-1/4 cups cake flour (5 ounces)
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
5 large eggs (2 whole and 3 separated), room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

2-1/2 pounds fresh strawberries (medium or large, use 3 quarts), washed, dried, reserve 8-10 strawberries (stems in tacked) for decoration
4–6 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons rum
Pinch table salt

WHIPPED ICING
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar (3-1/2 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 cups heavy cream

Method

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9 by 2-inch cake line with parchment paper, grease and flour, set aside.

2. Add lemon zest and all but 3 tablespoons sugar in large mixing bowl, rub with fingers until sugar is slightly moist and takes on a pale yellow color. Add flour, baking powder, salt, whisk to combine. add 2 whole eggs and 3 yolks (reserving whites), butter, water and both extracts; whisk until smooth.

3. In clean bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat remaining 3 egg whites at medium-low speed until frothy, 1 to 2 minutes. With machine running, gradually add remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, increase speed to medium-high, and beat until soft peaks form,about 2 minutes. Stir one-third of whites into batter to lighten; add remaining whites and gently fold into batter until no white streaks remain.

4. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 25-35 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then invert cake onto greased wire rack; peel off and discard parchment. Invert cake again; cool completely, about 2 hours.

5. Stemmed and halve 24 of best-looking berries and reserve. Quarter remaining berries; toss with 4 to 6 tablespoons sugar (depending on sweetness of berries) in medium bowl and let sit 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Strain juices from berries and reserve (you should have about 1/2-3/4 cup). Place macerated berries in food processor fitted with metal blade, give it five 1-second pulses (you should have about 2 cups).

6. In small saucepan over medium-high heat, simmer reserved juices and rum until syrupy and reduced to about 3 tablespoons, about 5 minutes. Pour reduced syrup over macerated berries, add pinch of salt, and toss to combine. Set aside until cake is cooled.

WHIPPED ICING
1. Place cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Whisk at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Reduce speed to low and add heavy cream in slow, steady stream; when almost fully combined, increase speed to medium-high and beat until mixture holds stiff peaks, 2 to 2-1/2 minutes more, scraping bowl as needed.

ASSEMBLE THE CAKE
1. Using large serrated knife, slice cake into three even layers. Place bottom layer on cake plate and arrange half of the strawberry halves, cut sides down and stem ends facing out, around perimeter of cake layer. Pour one half of pureed berry mixture in center, then spread to cover any exposed cake. Gently spread about one-third of whipped cream over berry layer, leaving 1/2-inch border from edge. Place middle cake layer on top and press down gently. Repeat with remaining strawberry halves and berry mixture, and half of remaining whipped cream; gently press last cake layer on top. Spread remaining whipped cream over top; decorate with reserved strawberries. Chill for 1-2 hours.

The aroma of the batter; full of lemon zest and vanilla, was intoxicating!

We wanted to eat it fresh out of the oven!

The texture is also fantastic and I could see using this recipe for other fruity type cakes, heavy frostings, or nut fillings.

I am a bit sloppy campared to Ken who seems to be an engineer of all things Baked!

Thank you Hungry Rabbit for a beautiful recipe and for inspiring me to make this cake for myself on Mother’s Day!

I assure you that I thuroughly enjoyed it!

  

“Easy Peasy” Chocolate Cream Pie with Perfect Pie Crust for Your Sweetie!

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The secret to this recipe is the Martha Stewart Perfect Pie Crust.

You may not have a pre made crust on hand but you most certainly have flour, butter and water!

The recipe is so easy and so delicious you’ll have a fresh homemade pie in no time.

This recipe makes two crusts. Freeze one for a quickie treat later!

Makes 1 double-crust for a 9-inch pie

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons margarine or chilled vegetable shortening
1/4 cup ice water

Method

1.Hand Method: In a large bowl, sift the flour and salt. Cut the chilled butter and margarine into 1-tablespoon bits and add to the flour. With a pastry cutter, work flour and shortening together until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the ice water little by little pressing the pastry together into a ball. Wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.

2.It is very important to work the pastry as little as possible. Don’t overhandle. A secret to light, flaky pastry is to keep the mixture cool, add as little water as possible, and mix only as much as necessary.

3.Food Processor Method: Put flour and salt in bowl of machine. Cut butter and margarine into flour. Process a few seconds until mixture resembles coarse meal. Drop by drop add the water, processing very briefly. The whole process would take 20 to 30 seconds. Wrap and chill the pastry for at least 1 hour.

4.If pastry has been chilled for a long time, let it sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before rolling.

5.Lightly flour a pastry board, marble counter, or kitchen counter. Divide the pastry in half. Pat each piece of pastry into a flat round. Lightly flour the rolling pin. Roll pastry in one direction only, turning pastry continually to prevent it from sticking to the surface.

6.Using pie plate as a guide, measure rolled-out pastry — it should be slightly larger than the pie plate and 1-8-inch thick. Fold rolled pastry circle in half so you can lift it more easily. Unfold, gently fitting the pastry into the pie plate, allowing pastry to hang evenly over the edge. Do not trim the pastry yet.

7.Fill the pie with filling. Then roll out the second crust in the same manner as for the bottom. Fold circle in half and with a sharp, pointed knife cut little vents in a decorative pattern. Place folded pastry on one half the pie. Unfold, pressing top and bottom pastry together. Trim edges with scissors, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold bottom pastry overhang over top and press firmly to seal. Crimp rim, using fingers or the tines of a fork.

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Roll out the crust.

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Make it look pretty.

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As for the filling I just used what I had on hand and got fancy!

I created layers by mixing some whipped cream with some pudding but you could just as easily do a layer of pudding; I used instant chocolate, and whipped cream; I made my own!

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Whipped cream.

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First layer of chocolate pudding.

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Mix some whipped cream with chocolate pudding for a special layer of creamy yumminess!

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I dusted with cocoa for effect!

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Fun for two!

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White Chocolate Truffle Cheese Cake with Oreo Cookie Crust and Raspberry Sauce !

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While in New York for a long weekend of friends and food I came across this cheese cake!

It was love at first bite!

I love chocolate and raspberries and the truffled white chocolate is the perfect balance of flavor and sweetness to contrast the chocolate and raspberry combination.

I searched the internet for a recipe and came upon this Cheesecake Factory Copy Cat recipe.

There was a bit of tweaking; for instance, I did not incorporate the raspberries into the cheesecake during baking but rather used frozen berries and a little bit of raspberry syrup for garnish.

I garnished the cake with the fresh berries and not only did this save me a step but added a texture contrast to the dessert.

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I whipped the egg whites seperately.

I melted the white chocolate along with some heavy cream and mixed the melted chocolate with the whipped egg whites then folded this mixture into the batter.

For me, this was the essence of the “truffling”.


Ingredients

Crust:

1 1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs or 20 crumbled Oreo cookies (filling removed)
1/3 cup butter, melted

Filling:

1/2 cup raspberry preserves
1/4 cup water
4 8-ounce pkgs. cream cheese
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 eggs
4 ounces white chocolate, chopped into chunks

Optional Garnish:
2 ounces shaved white chocolate
whipped cream

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Place a large pan or oven-safe skillet filled with about 1/2-inch of water into the oven while it preheats. This will be your water bath.

2. Combine the raspberry preserves with 1/4 cup water in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 1 1/2 minutes on high in your microwave. Stir until smooth. Strain to remove the raspberry seeds (toss ’em out), then let the strained preserves sit to cool, then put the bowl in the refrigerator until later.

3. Measure 1 1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs (or crush 20 Oreo cookie wafers — with the filling scraped out — in a resealable plastic bag) into a medium bowl. Mix in 1/3 cup melted margarine. Press the crumb into a 9-inch spring form pan that has been lined on the bottom and side with parchment paper. Use the bottom of a drinking glass to press the crumb mixture flat into the bottom of the pan and about 2/3 the way up the side. Wrap a large piece of foil around the bottom of the pan to keep the cheesecake in the water bath. Put the crust in your freezer until the filling is done.

4. Use an electric mixer to combine the cream cheese with the sugar, sour cream, and vanilla. Mix for a couple minutes or until the ingredients are smooth and creamy. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl and then add them to the cream cheese mixture. Blend the mixture just enough to integrate the eggs.

5. Remove the crust from the freezer and sprinkle 4 ounces of white chocolate chunks onto the bottom of the crust. Pour half of the cream cheese filling into the crust. Drizzle the raspberry preserves over the entire surface of the filling. Use a butter knife to swirl the raspberry into the cream cheese. Just a couple passes is fine, you don’t want to blend the raspberry and cream cheese together too much. Pour the other half of the filling into the crust.

6. Carefully place the cheesecake into the water bath in the oven. Bake for 12 minutes at 475 degrees, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the top of the cheesecake turns a light brown or tan color. Remove the cheesecake from the oven to cool. When the cheesecake is cool, use the foil from the bottom to cover the cheesecake and chill it in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

7. Before serving, sprinkle the entire top surface of cheesecake with 2 ounces of shaved white chocolate. To serve, slice the cheesecake into 12 equal portions. Apply a pile of canned whipped cream to the top of each slice and serve.

Makes 12 servings.

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Whipped Cream Avalanche! Cheesecake in a Midwest Heatwave!

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I should have given this a bit more thought!

I do not have air conditioning and we are in the middle of an incredible heatwave here in the midwest.

The heat index was 106 degrees! yesterday.

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We were celebrating a birthday and this cheesecake with strawberries and whipped cream is a favorite.

birthday cheesecake

It did look great when I placed it on the table but by the time I picked up the camera it was sliding all over the place!

That was about 15 seconds!

One of the secrets to the greatness of this cheesecake is the crust.

The butter toasted pecans make the crust amazing and every time I make this the only request is that next time I make more crust!

Ingredients:

Crust

1 stick of butter

3/4 cup of pecans

1 1/2 cups graham crackers

Filling

3 8 oz. pkgs cream cheese
1 cup superfine granulated sugar
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 eggs
1/3 cup whole milk
Whipped cream prepared or homemade; we used Redi-Whip, it’s a nostalgia thing!

Method:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Saute butter and pecans until they become aromatic and lightly toasted

Place graham crackers, sauteed pecans and butter in the food processor and mix until the texture is fine

Press into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan and bake for 10 minutes

Set aside; reset oven to 325 degrees

With an electric mixer beat cream cheese, sugar and flour together until well mixed

Add vanilla and beat until smooth

Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition

Beat until smooth

Add milk and mix until well blended

Pour the batter over the crust and bake in preheated 325 degree oven for 45-55 minutes

Fell free to garnish with your favorite fresh fruit after the cheesecake has chilled in the fridge overnight

Don’t be shy with the whipped cream!

Put love in it and Enjoy!

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Strawberries, Blueberries, Bananas, and Whipped Cream on Waffles!

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This simple yet delicious treat serves as a breakfast or dessert .

The strawberry topping is made with fresh strawberries, sliced placed in the blender with sugar to taste and pureed to perfection!

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This is not a diet meal to be sure but is easy to whip up and will make everyone feel special!

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