Chocolate Cheesecake Factory-Inspired Cheesecake

Yield: 10 servings

Chocolate Cheesecake Factory-Inspired Cheesecake

Photo by Recipe4Living

Ingredients:
Cake:

  • 1 C graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 1/2 Tbs softened butter
  • 1 1/2 Tbs plus 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbs plus 1 C Baking Cocoa
  • 2 1/2 lbs cream cheese, softened
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • Zest from 1 orange
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbs all-purpose flour
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 C sour cream

Topping:

  • 1 C Chocolate Chips

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375º.
  2. Butter the bottom of a large springform pan. To make the cake crust, mix cracker crumbs, butter, one and a half tablespoons of baking cocoa and one and a half tablespoons of sugar in a large bowl. Press the mixture onto the bottom of the pans and bake in the oven until browned to make crust. After pan cools, butter its sides.
  3. Lower oven temperature to 350º.
  4. To make cake filling, combine cream cheese, 1 and a half cups of sugar, the remaining cocoa, zests, and vanilla extract in a bowl, beating with a mixer until it becomes light and creamy. Thicken by mixing in flour, and then mixing in eggs and additional egg yolks. Finally, mix in sour cream until filling is smooth, then pour over the crust in the pan.
  5. Bake in oven for 1 1/2 hours. Then let cake cool and refrigerate overnight.
  6. Before serving, soften 1 C of chocolate chips in microwave, then ladle over cheesecake.

 

 

Chocolate Sour Cream with Fudgy Frosting

Yield: 16 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1 8-ounce carton dairy sour cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 recipe Fudgy Frosting

Directions:

  1. Let eggs stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. Set aside.
  2. In small bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In large bowl beat shortening and sugar on medium speed until combined. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Beat in melted chocolate and sour cream. Alternately add flour mixture and milk; beat on low after each addition just until combined. Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans. Using a small offset spatula or rubber spatula, smooth the top of batter in each pan.
  3. Bake 25 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool cake layers in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Using a small metal spatula, loosen sides of each cake layer. Place a wire rack on top of one pan; carefully invert pan with rack. Lift pan off cake layer. Repeat with the remaining cake layer. Cool cake layers on wire racks about 2 hours or until completely cool.
  4. Prepare Fudgy Frosting. Place one layer flat side down on plate. Spread top with 1 cup frosting. Stack second layer flat side down. Spread the top and sides with the remaining frosting. Makes 16 servings.

Fudgy Frosting
Ingredients:

  • 1 12-ounce package semisweet chocolate pieces
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 8-ounce carton sour cream
  • 4 1/2 cups (1 lb.) sifted powdered sugar

Directions:
In large pan over low heat melt and stir semisweet chocolate pieces and butter. Cool 10 minutes. Stir in sour cream. Stir in powdered sugar; stir until smooth. Makes 4 cups.
Nutrition Facts (Chocolate Sour Cream Cake with Fudgy Frosting)
Per serving: 555 kcal cal., 27 g fat (14 g sat. fat, 2 g polyunsaturated fat, 9 g monounsatured fat), 56 mg chol., 201 mg sodium, 77 g carb., 2 g fiber, 63 g sugar, 4 g pro. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Mardi Gras King Cake Recipe

Serving a King Cake during Mardi Gras celebrations is a tradition that honors the Magi who visited the Christ child on the twelfth night or Epiphany (January 6).

The cake is shaped in a ring with a pecan, bean or plastic baby placed inside the dough, before baking, to represent the baby Jesus.

The cake is then decorated with the purple, green and gold colors of Mardi Gras, and divided among guests. Whoever finds the baby doll will host the next King Cake celebration.

Mardi Gras King Cake

Celebrate Mardi Gras with this King Cake.
Can you find the baby?

Dough Ingredients:
4 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water (110-115 degrees F)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup cold milk
1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 stick butter or margarine
5-6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Filling Ingredients:
1 stick butter or margarine, melted
2 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 dried bean, shelled pecans, or naked plastic babies

Icing Ingredients:
3 tablespoons soft butter or margarine
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
4-6 tablespoons milk

Click for a video demonstration: Click Here!
Directions:
Combine the yeast, 1/2 of the sugar, and the lukewarm water in a very large bowl, stir well and set aside for a few minutes until the mixture swells slightly and small bubbles appear on the surface. Stir in the remaining sugar, milk, yogurt, lemon juice, vanilla and salt. Mix well. Add egg yolks and mix again.

In another bowl, work the butter/margarine into 5 cups of the flour.

Add the flour-butter/margarine mixture to the yeast mixture a cup at a time, mixing well after each cup is added. Begin to knead in the bowl, adding more flour if necessary to make a smooth, elastic dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead about 5 minutes, adding more flour if the dough is still sticky.

Shape the dough into a ball and place in a bowl which has been buttered or sprayed with a no-stick spray. Cover and let stand in a warm place until dough doubles in size.

Punch dough down and divide in half. Roll each half on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 8 x 14 inches. Brush each rectangle with 1/2 stick of melted butter or margarine. Combine the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle 1/2 of the mixture over each rectangle. Roll up from the wide end, as you would a jelly roll, inserting one of the dried beans, pecans, or naked babies along the way. Press the ends of the dough together and stretch the roll into an oval about 14 inches long. Place on a greased/sprayed cookie sheet and allow to rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for about 35-45 minutes until the cakes are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped with the fingers. Remove from the oven and cool for 30 minutes.

Beat the butter or margarine until softened. Add confectioner’s sugar and vanilla and continue to beat, gradually adding milk until a glaze consistency is achieved. Use half of the icing on each cake.

Spread the icing evenly over each cake and decorate immediately with granulated sugar that has been rendered purple, green and gold with food coloring, making alternating bands of color.

Other decorating options:
Divide the icing into three portions and use food coloring to make purple, green and gold icing. Spread in alternating bands along the length of the cakes.

Use purple, green and gold gumdrops, jelly beans, or other candy to decorate the white icing.

Recipe courtesy of New Orleans Public Library.

Bonus Trivia Question:

And, why are those three colors chosen for the King cake?

Purple Represents Justice.
Green Represents Faith.
Gold Represents Power.

Betty Crocker’s Perfect Baked Pie Crust

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 c. plus 1 tablespoon shortening
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp. cold water

Pie crust

Directions:

Heat oven to 475ºF. Mix flour and salt in medium bowl. Cut in shortening, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until particles are size of small peas. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost leaves side of bowl (1 to 2 teaspoons more water can be added if necessary).

Gather pastry into a ball. Shape into flattened round on lightly floured surface. Wrap flattened round of pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate about 45 minutes or until dough is firm and cold, yet pliable. This allows the shortening to become slightly firm, which helps make the baked pastry more flaky. If refrigerated longer, let pastry soften slightly before rolling.

Roll pastry, using floured rolling pin, into circle 2 inches larger than upside-down 9-inch glass pie plate. Fold pastry into fourths; place in pie plate. Unfold and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side.

Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1 inch from rim of pie plate. Fold and roll pastry under, even with plate; flute as desired. Prick bottom and side of pastry thoroughly with fork. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown; cool on wire rack.

Decadent Pecan Pie Recipe from Betty Crocker™

Yield: 8 Servings

Decadent Pecan Pie

Photo by Betty Crocker

Ingredients:

Pastry/Crust:

  • 1 cup Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon shortening
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons cold water

Filling:

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup pecan halves or broken pecans

Directions: 

  1. In medium bowl, mix flour and salt. Cut in shortening, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until particles are size of small peas. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost leaves side of bowl (1 to 2 teaspoons more water can be added if necessary).
  2. Gather pastry into a ball. Shape into flattened round on lightly floured surface. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate about 45 minutes or until dough is firm and cold, yet pliable. This allows the shortening to become slightly firm, which helps make the baked pastry more flaky. If refrigerated longer, let pastry soften slightly before rolling.
  3. Heat oven to 375°F. With floured rolling pin, roll pastry into round 2 inches larger than upside-down 9-inch glass pie plate. Fold pastry into fourths; place in pie plate. Unfold and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side. Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1 inch from rim of pie plate. Fold and roll pastry under, even with plate; press with times of fork or flute if desired.
  4. In another medium bowl, beat all filling ingredients except pecans with wire whisk or hand beater until well blended. Stir in pecans. Pour into pastry-lined pie plate.
  5. Cover edge of pastry with 2- to 3-inch-wide strip of foil to prevent excessive browning. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until center is set, removing foil for last 15 minutes of baking. Refrigerate at least 2 hours until chilled before serving. Store in refrigerator.

Click here for a lighter version of this recipe!

Expert Tips:

  • You can taste the difference: Pie crusts made with self-rising flour differ in flavor and texture from those made with all-purpose flour.
  • Rise to the occasion! If using self-rising flour, there is no need to add salt.

National Pecan Pie Day – July 12th

Celebrate the day with a recipe from Southern Living.

Utterly Deadly Southern Pecan Pie

Utterly Deadly Southern Pecan Pie

Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Buffy Hargett

“Once you’ve made a pecan pie in a cast-iron skillet, you may never go back to a pie plate. Simply press a refrigerated pie crust into the skillet, sprinkle with sugar, top with the pecan mixture, and bake. Serving it in the skillet is also easy and makes the dish even more Southern.”

Yield: 8 to 10 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 (14.1-oz.) package refrigerated piecrusts
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons bourbon*
  • 1 1/2 cups pecan halves

Directions:

  1.  Preheat oven to 325°. Fit piecrust into a 10-inch cast-iron skillet; sprinkle piecrust with powdered sugar.
  2. Whisk eggs in a large bowl until foamy; whisk in brown sugar and next 6 ingredients. Pour mixture into piecrust, and top with pecan halves.
  3. Bake at 325° for 30 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 300°, and bake 30 more minutes. Turn oven off, and let pie stand in oven, with door closed, 3 hours.

*Vanilla extract may be substituted.

 

Recipe by by Sylvia Subialdea, Hungry Texan (hungry-texan.com), Dallas, Texas, Southern Living
OCTOBER 2011

Traditional Shoo Fly Pie Recipe

by Lori Elliott on the Our Heritage of Health blog

 

Traditional Shoo Fly Pie

Photo by Lori Elliott, author of the blog  Our Heritage of Health.com

Pie Pastry for One 9 inch Pie Plate

  • 1 cup flour, baker’s choice (use either a sprouted whole wheat flour or a good-quality unbleached all-purpose flour since the flours in this recipe are not being soaked or soured)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup lard (or 1/3 butter, or half butter half lard, depending on what you have on hand.)
  • 3-4 Tbs cold water

(Note: The ingredients here are for this pie pastry recipe, but any pie pastry will work here, so just use whatever is your favorite.)

Crumb Topping

  • 1 1/4 cups flour, baker’s choice
  • 1/2 cup whole cane sugar (or rapadura or sucanat)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg * (Feel free to use a full teaspoon of nutmeg if you are a fan of the spice)
  • pinch salt

Filling

  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup molasses *
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    * It is recommended using regular unsulfured molasses rather than blackstrap molasses for this recipe. Since the molasses is the only sweetener for the filling, blackstrap would make for a pretty bitter filling. If all you have on hand is blackstrap, though, you could replace a couple of spoonfuls of molasses with a couple spoonfuls of pure maple syrup for a molasses flavor that’s not quite as overwhelming.

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and prepare your pie pastry. If you’re using my favorite pastry recipe (above), mix the salt in with the flour, and then cut the lard (or lard/butter combo) into the flour with a pastry blender. Then add the cold water and mix until a soft dough forms. Roll the pastry out and line a 9″ pie plate with it.
  2. For the crumb topping, combine the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl. Then cut the butter into small pieces, and use a pastry blender to combine the butter with the dry ingredients until the mixture forms into delectable buttery crumbs.
  3. For the filling, heat up your water in a sauce pan until it is warm (but not boiling.) Then take the water off the heat and stir in the molasses until fully blended. Next, add in your baking soda and stir well to combine. The mixture will look frothier as the soda reacts with the acid in the molasses.
  4. Pour the molasses mixture into your pie pastry shell, and then sprinkle the crumb topping all around, adding a little extra to the sides. (Since the filling tends to slosh around a bit and absorb the crumb filling when you pick up the pie to put it into the oven, it might be a good idea to save aside a handful of the crumb topping mixture and sprinkle it around the pie after it has been in the oven for a few minutes to make sure you have an even distribution of topping.)
  5. Bake the pie for 15 minutes at 425 degrees, and then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 35 minutes or so until a knife inserted into the center will come out clean.

NOTE: It’s best to prepare the pie pastry and the crumb topping before you mix up the molasses filling. Since the reaction between the baking soda and the molasses is the only thing making the filling rise up, if you let it sit out on the counter while you take the time to roll out a pie crust and mix up the topping, you might end up with a flatter pie.

 

 

Recipe Analysis by Lori Elliott

“This pie is quite similar to the ones I had in Lancaster, Pennsylvania but I can definitely see and taste a difference in the filling of the pie. The filling of the ones I had at the smorgasbords were quite a bit lighter in color and much, much sweeter than my own homemade filling. I’m guessing that there might have been something else besides just molasses in those smorgasbord pies.

This pie is absolutely delicious, and I love the combination of pie crust and the cake-like crumb topping. If you love pie and you love coffee cake, this pie truly is the best of both worlds!”

 

 

Ice Cream Flag Cake

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen

Ice Cream Flag Cake

Photo by Ralph Smith

Yield: 12 to 14 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 16 -to-18-ounce box white cake mix (plus required ingredients)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 28 drops royal blue gel food coloring
  • 4 drops violet gel food coloring
  • Unsalted butter, for the pan
  • 3 pints raspberry sorbet
  • 2 1/2 pints vanilla ice cream
  • 2 pints heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F; coat a 9-inch-round springform pan with cooking spray.
  2. Prepare the cake mix as directed, adding the cocoa powder and food coloring to the batter. Transfer to the prepared pan and bake until done, about 45 minutes.
  3. Let the cake cool, then remove from the pan; level the domed top with a serrated knife. Use a 5-inch circle of parchment paper as a guide to cut a circle from the center of the cake (you won’t need the small circle). Freeze the large cake ring.
  4. Cut a 6-by-30-inch strip of parchment paper. Clean the springform pan, then butter it and line the side with the parchment as shown; the paper will extend above the rim of the pan so you can build a tall cake.
  5. Let 1 pint sorbet soften slightly at room temperature. Spread in the prepared pan, then lay a piece of plastic wrap on top and use the bottom of a measuring cup to pack the sorbet into the pan in an even layer. Freeze until firm, at least 30 minutes.
  6. Let 1 pint vanilla ice cream soften; spread in the pan, cover with plastic wrap and press evenly with the measuring cup. Freeze until firm, then repeat to make 1 more layer each of sorbet and ice cream (4 layers total). Freeze until firm.
  7. Place the blue cake ring on top of the ice cream, pressing gently; return to the freezer while you prepare the next layer.
  8. Cut off the top 1 1/2 inches of the remaining sorbet carton; remove the carton and wrap the sorbet loosely in plastic wrap. Press into a 5-inch round, then place the flattened sorbet into the hole in the cake, smoothing as needed. Freeze until firm.
  9. Cut off the top 1 1/2 inches of the remaining ice cream carton (you won’t need the bottom). Flatten as you did the sorbet; place on top of the raspberry layer. Repeat with the bottom section of sorbet. Freeze until firm.
  10. Beat the heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar with a mixer until stiff peaks form. Remove the springform ring and parchment collar from the cake. Cover the cake with the whipped cream. Freeze until ready to serve.

Vegan Fluffy Buttercream Frosting Recipe

by Chow

Yield: 4 cups

Vegan Fluffy Buttercream Frosting

Photo by Chow©

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup nonhydrogenated shortening
  • 1/2 cup nonhydrogenated margarine
  • 3-1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted if clumpy
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup plain soy milk or soy creamer

 

Directions: 

  1. Beat the shortening and margarine together until well combined and fluffy.
  2. Add the sugar and beat for about 3 more minutes.
  3. Add the vanilla and soy milk, and beat for another 5 to 7 minutes until fluffy.

 

Variation:
Cookies ‘n’ Cream Frosting: Stir in 1/2 cup (about 5 cookies; mash first, then measure) of finely mashed vegan chocolate cream-filled sandwich cookies, like Newman-O’s. Frost cupcakes generously, and top each cupcake with half of a sandwich cookie.

 

 

Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

Makes 20

Ingredients

chocolate covered strawberries

Directions

  1. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. In a microwave-safe glass bowl, microwave the chocolate, stopping and stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth.
  2. Holding a strawberry by the stem end, dip it in the melted chocolate, letting the excess drip off, then transfer to the prepared baking sheet. As you set the strawberry down, slide it ½ inch to the side to prevent the formation of a chocolate “foot.” Repeat with the remaining berries.
  3. Refrigerate the strawberries on the baking sheet until the chocolate is firm, at least 30 minutes.
Recipe and Photo from Real Simple.com