Monday, 7 February 2011

I like cheese and I like cake

I am not very athletic, to put it mildly. I love walking, swimming, biking, and I always take the stairs instead of the elevator. It’s just that the concept of dressing up in spandex in order to sweat in public is totally lost on me.
My PE teacher wrote in my school report: “Inger is fonder of making flower crowns than participating in running and team-sports.” You bet.
However, when I read that the Greek athletes were served cheesecake during the very first Olympic Games back in 776 B.C, I suddenly found myself motivated to throw a disk or two.

I asked a friend if he liked cheesecake and got the reply: “Well, I like cheese and I like cake.” With that line of logic in mind we move on to my next recipe; chocolate cheese cake. Yes, I do like chocolate and I do like cheese. 

This cake is very easy to make, and it looks really impressive. People will think you have attended some advanced cake-decorating class, when in fact all you did was swirl some melted chocolate about with a soup spoon. You’ll see what I mean, just follow the recipe below.

Chocolate Cheese Cake

You need:

225 g Digestive biscuits (or shortbread, chocolate chip cookies, graham cracker... Up to you really)
100 g melted butter
750 g cream cheese
¼ cup sour cream
3 eggs
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
75g dark melted chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350.

Throw the biscuits in a food processor and pour in the melted butter. Pulse until blended. If you don’t have a food processor, don’t despair. Crush up the biscuits and put them inside a sealed, clear bag. Get out a rolling pin and roll it over the bag until you have fine crumbs. Put this in a bowl and stir in the melted butter. See, easy, just how our grandmothers used to do it.

Butter the bottom and side of a 9-inch springform pan, and empty in the crumb/butter mix. Press until it’s an even layer. Bake for about 13 minutes, or until the sides start to brown. Pre-baking the crust will prevent it from becoming soggy when you pour the batter over it.

Place cream cheese in a bowl of an electric mixer and beat with medium speed until the cheese starts to look smooth. Stop the machine, scrap the mixer blade and the side of the bowl, and then restart the mixer. Repeat this a few times. There is a reason for this repetitive instruction, namely a silky smooth batter. Ever tried a lumpy cheese cake? No thank you. So mix and scrape, mix and scrape until all lumps are far gone. Once you have added the eggs it’s too late, so it’s now or never. Once smooth, you gradually add the sugar. Then add vanilla and one egg at a time.

Now, take out one cup of this every so lovely batter and set aside. Pour the remaining batter over the pre-baked crust.  
Melt chocolate and mix it in with the reserved batter. It looks really lovely, and tastes good too. Pour the chocolate batter on top of the plain batter, about 1inch from the pan edge. This doesn’t look like very much. Simply a regular cheesecake with a chocolate ring, big deal. But wait a minute, get out your soup spoon and be prepared to be amazed. 

Are you ready? Drag your spoon through the 2 batters in order to make a beautiful, marbled effect. Scoop the spoon back and forth, in circles, straight lines; you decide what kind of pattern you want. Just don’t go so berserk that you totally blend the 2 batters together. It will still taste incredible, just not look as nice. Isn’t it pretty? 

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 and bake the cake for about 50-60 minutes or until  it shows signs of puffing around the edges. Just keep an eye on it. If you overbake the cake, the eggs in the batter can coagulate too much and will pull the cake apart. In other words, your cake will crack and mess up your marble design.

When done baking, remove the cake from the oven and run a knife around the edges to release the cake from the pan. This little step will prevent the cake from cracking during the cooling down process. These cheese cakes are temperamental beings, but as long as we handle them correctly, all will be fine. Place the cake on a cooling rack and put a large, inverted, mixing bowl over it. Don’t ask. After an hour of the inverted bowl treatment, put the cake in the fridge for at least 2 hours. A cheesecake that is not chilled properly will not hold its shape when sliced. So hold your horses a little longer, be patient. 

Here is a hot fact for you to ponder while you wait for your cake to cool down:
Because chocolate’s melting point is just below your body-temperature, it does in fact melt in your mouth. This raises your brain activity and heart rate more intensely then when you kiss passionately. Not only that, it lasts four times longer. 

Whomever said that chocolate is bad for your obviously didn't like kissing either. 

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