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Posts Tagged ‘cheesecake’

I’m gonna go out on a limb here but maybe, just maybe, we should do the Ice Cream Cupcake Contest in like December. I get the whole “it’s summertime and it’s hot and we all want ice cream” thing but seriously, photographing these puppies in 85 degree weather is a wee bit difficult. Not to mention messy. And sticky. There’s still icing and ice cream all over my camera. I’m just saying… 🙂

As you know (or maybe you don’t) every year Cupcake Project and Scoopalicious host an ice cream cupcake competition. You make a cupcake, throw some ice cream on it and hope nobody else was as creative as you were (which, obviously, never happens because there are a lot of super creative people out there). Last year was my first year competing, and I made it to the finals with my Take 6 cupcake but a certain S’mores cupcake and ultimately a very yummy looking honey hazelnut and chocolate ganache cupcake took the cake (no pun intended). Stephanie, the maker of the S’mores cake, is judging this year so at least I don’t have to worry about her this time around. 😉

Lately I’ve been on this white chocolate kick. I made a white chocolate dobos opera fusion cake at work a week or so ago and the idea carried over into my home life. I thought about making the cupcake 7 layers (like the dobos) but my better judgement took hold and smacked some sense into me. I wasn’t sure exactly how my cupcake was going to come together but then one night around 2am I randomly woke up and thought “cheesecake cupcake.” But not in actual cheesecake form. And I wanted the cupcake to be the graham cracker crust. So without further ado, my cupcake:

There’s cupcake underneath all that frosting, you just can’t see it here. My aim with the frosting was a whip cream consistency, so I decided to once again try to whip coconut cream. People tell me this works; I think they’re all lying. Maybe I’m just expecting it to do what actual cream does, or honestly just anything at all, but the only thing I ever see is the pretty design my whisk makes as the stand mixer spins its little heart out to no avail. So I morphed it into a coconut cream buttercream. The texture is much softer than typical buttercream, so that’s good. It’s still super sweet though as I had to use lots of powdered sugar to give it some volume, but that’s ok – it is a cupcake after all and cupcakes are supposed to be sweet.

Being that the frosting is super soft, it doesn’t hold up to the heat well. Especially if you just mixed it and are impatient and your kitchen looks like a war zone and all you really want to do is take the damn photo so you can finally eat dinner. I initially just put a dollop of frosting on top of the cupcakes and added my caramel sugar garnish, but two the of three dollops slid off before I could even turn my camera on. I got some photos of one of them at least.

The caramel sugar garnish here and in the first photo are the same thing. You just put some sugar in a pan and add enough water to make it look like wet sand. Then you crank the heat up full blast and wait. Absolutely no stirring. Stirring the sugar will likely cause it to crystalize, which will make it look like rock candy. Sure it’s pretty but once I crystalized a pot of like 16 cups of sugar at work… Luckily nobody was around to yell/ laugh/ bill me for it.

At some point the sugar will start to caramelize. You can swirl the pan a bit to even out the caramelizing. Depending on what you want to do with it, you take it off the heat when it reaches the caramel color you want, briefly place the pan in an ice bath to stop the cooking. You can “pipe” it out with a paper cornet, or use a ball whisk to make a nest of strands, or use cutters to make shapes (molds), etc, etc. But a word of caution: caramel is HOT! So have some gloves on if you can, and a towel and an ice bath in case you get some on your finger as shaking it off just won’t happen.

White Chocolate Cheesecake Ice Cream (vegan)

  • 9 oz vegan white chocolate
  • 8 oz vegan cream cheese, softened
  • 6 oz extra firm silken tofu (Mori-Nu)
  • 1 can coconut milk (full fat)
  • 3/4 C organic sugar
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 t vanilla extract

A word on the vegan white chocolate, it’s weird. It tastes fine but it has a different texture than normal white chocolate. It doesn’t melt like normal chocolate either. It melts down to a batter-like consistency but it doesn’t get liquidy (so just keep that in mind).

Place the chocolate in a double boiler (or bowl on top of a pan with water) and heat it gently until it’s uniformly melted. Place the cream cheese, tofu and melted chocolate in a blender and puree until smooth. Add enough coconut milk to help it along but let it get completely smooth before adding the rest. Once smooth, add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth again.

You can let the mixture cool down in the fridge for awhile at this point. When you’re ready to freeze, depending on what kind of ice cream maker you have, you may have to freeze it in two batches. My maker is just small enough where all of this wouldn’t fit in at once. After the ice cream is spun it honestly needs about a day to setup properly, so make the ice cream well ahead of when you need it.

In my opinion, this is the best vegan ice cream I’ve ever had. I always use low fat coconut milk because I’m health conscious but I threw calories to the wind for this project. Cheesecake isn’t supposed to be healthy anyway. This ice cream is rich and creamy and full of flavor. Definitely a keeper! I think omnivores would even be impressed.

Graham “Cracker” Cupcakes (mostly vegan)

These are mostly vegan because I put honey in them. I know honey isn’t technically vegan but I don’t have a problem with using it. Bees are going to make the stuff whether we’re eating it or not so… If you don’t want to use honey feel free to sub in agave or some more sugar.

  • 3/4 C graham flour (or whole wheat if you can’t find it)
  • 3/4 C whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 t cinnamon
  • 3/4 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 C soy mik
  • 1 t apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 C non-gmo canola oil
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/4 C honey
  • 2 T blackstrap molasses
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 2 T applesauce, optional (for moisture)

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan if you wish or just spray it with PAM. I did both because I wanted to be able to see the cake and didn’t want cupcake liner indentions on it, but I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get them out of the pan so I lined a few – they came out just fine.

Pour the milk and vinegar in your mixing bowl and set it aside to curdle.

In another bowl, mix together your dry ingredients.

Once your milk is curdled add the rest of the wet ingredients and whisk to combine. Fold in the dry ingredients in 3 increments, partially incorporating between additions. I did this because graham flour is high in protein and I didn’t want to risk working the gluten too much and end up with tough cupcakes.

Portion the batter into the cupcake pan. I used a 1/4 cup scoop and got 12 cupcakes out of it. Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick comes out clean, mine only took 18 minutes which is pretty quick. Let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

 Coconut Cream Buttercream (vegan)

  • Cream from 1 can of full fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 C vegan stick butter, softened
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • Powdered sugar

To get the coconut cream out of the can without getting all the water you have to cool the can in the fridge overnight; the cream will rise to the top as the water sinks to the bottom. Don’t shake the can before opening it. Scoop the cream off the top and stop when you hit water.

Cream the butter with the paddle attachment in your stand mixer. Once it’s super creamy (wet) add the coconut cream, vanilla extract and salt. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. I ended up using between 4 and 5 cups of powdered sugar. It’s fairly goopy right after you mix it but if you let it sit in the fridge for awhile it will firm up to a pipeable consistency.

Assembly

I made my ice cream a few days before I made the cupcakes (yes, my husband waited DAYS before he could have one of these cupcakes, he’s so patient). Once I spun the ice cream I lined my cupcake pan with plastic wrap and portioned out 1/4 cup scoops of ice cream into each cavity. After those were frozen solid I removed them from the pan so I could use it to make the cupcakes.

After the cupcakes were baked I sawed off the tops of them to make them flat and plopped a molded ice cream on each one. You can smooth the ice cream out with an offset spatula or your hands if you have to.

Let these setup again before frosting them. You can use an 802 or 804 tip to pipe the dots/ petals. I tried using a leaf tip but the icing is too soft to hold (it looked like a wilted flower). You can pipe the icing straight out of the fridge; it doesn’t need to be tempered like normal buttercream.

Since the ice cream is pretty much incased by the frosting you have a few minutes before any major melting will occur. But it definitely will melt, and when it does the frosting will slide off in sheets like ice slipping down the side of a glacier.

These are some yummy cupcakes though. It’s the first time I’ve had the graham cracker flavor in something other than a cracker, but it’s a nice change from the typical cupcake flavors. The cake isn’t overly sweet either, so it creates a nice balance with the decadent ice cream and sugary frosting. If I were to serve these at a party I think I’d leave them unassembled and then scoop the ice cream right before serving and do a simple piping job.

Well, keep your fingers crossed for me. There are a lot of creative entries so it’s going to be tough to judge! If you make these cupcakes let me know what you think of the graham flavor without the cracker crunch.

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No, I’m not talking about burnt muffins or sunken in cupcakes. I’m talking about my fingers. My arms. My knees. Even my toes. I never thought about baking being hard work, but damn! One week at my new job made everything on my body sore. Work was of course compounded by 6 hours of class every day, but baking is not something to be taken lightly nonetheless. All those hot full sheet pans and 24 count muffin pans get heavy, especially when you’re lifting 20 or 30 of them multiple times a day. And mixing large quantities of ingredients by hand wears your arms out. And lifting 50lb bags of flour (you get my point). I told my husband he was going to have to start working out more to keep up with my baking muscles. Plus you’re on your feet the entire time. I was practically limping by the time I got a day off. And my knees felt like I had just run a marathon. I won’t even talk about my accumulating collection of burn marks…

It’s fun though. I really like the atmosphere of the bakery and it’s nice to finally do something I actually want to do for a change. And I honestly like the 4 – 11am work schedule (if only a 4 – 10pm school schedule didn’t follow).

So, as you can tell by all this bemoaning, I recently got a job at a bakery here in Portland. I wasn’t necessarily planning on working during my time at culinary school, but it was a great opportunity and I couldn’t pass on it. There is a downside though, and that is the fact that I barely have enough time to say hello to my husband everyday, so finding time to bake something and blog about it is a wee bit impossible at the moment. I’m sure once I get into the groove of things I’ll find more time to piddle around in my own kitchen, but I’m afraid that my blog will stay a bit devoid of anything in the way of new posts for a short while. 😦

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with my sweet tooth from yesterday. Ice cream’s pretty quick to make, and I had some left over vegan cream cheese in the fridge so I thought I’d throw it all together.

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream (vegan)

  • 1 cup blueberries (I used frozen)
  • 1/2 T cornstarch *
  • 1 T sugar
  • Splash of lemon juice

Roughly chop up about of the blueberries. Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together to avoid any lumps. Combine everything, except the lemon juice, in a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until the blueberries breakdown slightly and the mixture thickens. Add a few splashes of lemon juice and remove from the heat. The berries need to be completely cooled (refrigerated) prior to making the ice cream, so do this part in advance.

I added a couple tablespoons of water and a few tablespoons of the ice cream mixture to the berries to thin it out a little bit, but feel free to leave it thick if you’d like.

  • 6oz extra firm silken tofu
  • 4oz vegan cream cheese
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1/4 C soy milk
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/4 C agave
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1 shot (3 T) vanilla vodka

Combine everything in a blender and puree until smooth. Transfer mixture to your ice cream maker and follow its directions. Once frozen, transfer the ice cream to a dish that will allow you to swirl in the blueberries. I used a bread pan and lined it with plastic wrap because I was afraid of liquid sitting in it for too long (I managed to rust out my old bread pan). Plop in the blueberries and use a spoon, knife, bamboo skewer, what have you to swirl the blueberry mixture around. Return it to the freezer for several hours so that it can freeze all the way.

In all honesty I think the full 8oz tub of cream cheese would be best to really bring out the cheesecake flavor. I would also add a tablespoon of lemon juice to the ice cream mixture. Regardless, this ice cream is rich and creamy, and has just the right amount of berries in it (not too sweet or overly fruity). If you have the time, or just happen to have a box of graham crackers lying around your house, I’d crush some up and toss them in to make it extra yummy and provide some crunchy texture.

* 7/22/11 So after making a blueberry pie in school the other day I became privy to the fact that blueberries have a whole lot of pectin in them and therefore tend to thick once heat is applied all by their lonesome. I’m guessing that you don’t need the cornstarch for this ice cream, especially since cornstarch breaks down when frozen (though it’s not enough of an amount to make a difference in this recipe – my ice cream still looks and tastes fine). Try omitting the starch and see what happens, I think it’ll be fine.

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So the truth of the matter is I’m getting married in a few weeks and therefore seem to be finding myself with only minute and sporadic amounts of free time.  In all honesty it will probably be 2011 before I seriously get back to writing on this thing.  Until then, here’s some stuff I’ve actually found time to make in the last couple months.  Stay tuned!!!

Nutella swirl cupcakes

 

Vanilla ice cream with buttercream frosting and peanut M&M’s

 

Pumpkin chocolate chip cupcake witches

 

Vegan pumpkin maple cheesecake with a gingersnap cookie crust

 

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So we were going to go visit my boyfriend’s Grandma last weekend. She knows I’m vegan but it’s always a battle of getting around eating enormous quantities of butter and cheese every time we’re there.  This time we brought pizza, one sans the cheese of course.  But what about dessert???  I’m quite fond of vegan cheesecake but don’t make it very often as I will most definitely eat the whole damn thing.  Well, I used this recipe (http://www.noveleats.com/vegan-peanut-butter-chocolate-cheesecake) and switched out the peanut butter for oreos!  The result:  a very awesome, chocolaty, oreo-heaven cheesecake!  It’s all gone unfortunately but it was good while it lasted.

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