Cheesecake Stuffed Pumpkin Bread

Another week, another pumpkin recipe. I originally saw this recipe on an Instagram video, but, it was with banana bread and I immediately thought to myself that it would taste even better with pumpkin bread. A quick search on Food Network’s website and I was able to find the pumpkin version.

To create the cheesecake swirl in the bread, I reserved 1 cup of the pumpkin batter and spread the remaining batter in the bottom of a loaf pan. I then spooned the cheesecake mixture over the batter and finally poured the reserved pumpkin batter down the center of the pan.

With the tip of paring knife I then swirled the two batters together.

After baking and cooling it was time to slice and enjoy.

And it’s no surprise that since pumpkin flavored desserts and cheesecake are two of my favorite treats this was a winner in my book!

 

Cheesecake-Stuffed Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients:

Cheesecake Swirl:

1 8oz. package cream cheese, at room temperature

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup sour cream

1 large egg

 

Pumpkin Bread:

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 granulated sugar

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 /3 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 large egg

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 F and spray a 9×5 loaf pan with baking spray.

For the cheesecake swirl: Combine the cream cheese, granulated sugar, sour cream and egg in a large bowl until well combined. Set aside.

For the pumpkin bread: Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl. In another bowl whisk together the granulated sugar and pumpkin puree, then whisk in the oil, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla and egg. Then whisk in the flour mixture until just combined.

Reserve 1 cup of the pumpkin batter and spread the remaining batter in the bottom of the prepared loaf pan. Spoon the cream cheese mixture over the batter and then pour the reserved pumpkin batter in a line down the center of the pan. With the tip of a paring knife, swirl the batter together 5 to 6 times.

Bake until the top is cracked and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes then carefully invert the bread on a platter and then flip upright. Let cool completely before slicing.

Recipe from Food Network

Banana Ricotta Cheesecake

If necessity is the mother of invention is it safe to say then that random leftover ingredients are the building blocks to great recipes? Just a thought! And when I say leftover, I mean leftover, half finished, not wanting it to go bad, and somewhere in the middle of all that ingredients. That’s pretty much how this Banana Ricotta Cheesecake came about. I had a container of ricotta cheese in the fridge that was quickly approaching its expiration date and two bananas on the table that were quite ripe and I just didn’t feel like making pasta or a banana bread. After some Google searches I couldn’t find anything that I really wanted to make or I found recipes that required ingredients I just didn’t have on hand and didn’t want to buy. So, I figured since I bake enough it was about time that I tried going without a recipe, okay, not completely without one. I did some major tweaking to a Ricotta Cheesecake I had made before. But, I think this is still somewhat original.

Unfortunately, my cheesecake did crack in the middle. It wasn’t so bad when I first took it out of the oven, but, as it cooled it got bigger. Oh well!

But, after slicing it and plating it with chocolate sauce and whipped cream that unfortunate crack was nothing to be bothered by as I am happy to say I was quite pleased with how the cheesecake came out. The banana flavor was subtle but still detectable, not as strong as banana bread but not as faint as a hint. And no, in case you are wondering there were no traces of banana in the cheesecake itself since I was sure to blend the mashed banana, sugar and cream cheese until they were smooth.

Banana Ricotta Cheesecake

Ingredients:

18 graham crackers

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

2 ripe bananas, mashed

8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 cups whole milk ricotta

1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract

4 large eggs

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Process the graham crackers in a food processor until they become fine crumbs. Add the butter and process until blended. Pat the crumbs into the bottom and halfway up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. All to cool completely.

In a large bowl, beat the mashed bananas, cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the ricotta and vanilla extract and continue beat until smooth. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each one.

Pour the mixture into the cooled crust and bake for 50 – 60 minutes. Until a cake tester inserted in the middle come out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 45 minutes, then refrigerate and chill for at least 2 hours. Serve at room temperature.

Thanksgiving Desserts

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with delicious food and joyous times with loved ones. This year I spent the day at a friend’s house enjoying said delicious food and joyous times – although I did cook a turkey the following day. At this point though I am kind of turkeyed out! I didn’t go empty handed to the Thanksgiving celebration though; I brought the dessert… three pies, a cheesecake and a chocolate cake. What can I say, I love to bake!

Among the pies was a Pumpkin Pie that I decorated using Fall themed pie cutters. Then there was a Sweet Potato Pie that I decorated with a leaf border. I made this pie because I had never tried sweet potato pie and was curious what the fuss was all about, it was good, but, I am partial to pumpkin. And finally an Apple Pie that I gave a nice twisted pie crust design.

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For the Cheesecake I stuck to a basic recipe that was a hit and topped it with sugared cranberries. The cranberries were so good that I ended up eating the leftovers like they were candy.

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And finally, the Chocolate Cake. The cake had a pumpkin spice mousse filling – it was super simple to make and delish thanks to a box of Jell-O Pumpkin Spice Pudding Mix – and frosted it with chocolate frosting. And to give it a Fall theme I topped it with white chocolate leaves in seasonal colors.

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Maple Walnut Cheesecake

You can pretty much find cheesecake in any flavor these days. Have you ever been to the Cheesecake Factory? Looking at their endless list of options can make you cross-eyed. While there is nothing wrong with the classic, whether you like yours made with ricotta cheese or cream cheese, sometimes you want a cheesecake with an extra hint of flavor and something a little different. Hence me trying out a recipe for a Maple Walnut Cheesecake. Those flavors just seem synonymous with the Fall season and with Thanksgiving just a few days away this may be a good option for you to serve for those guests who are just not into Apple or Pumpkin Pie.

I began by making the crust. I pulsed a sleeve of graham crackers – 9 crackers – in my food processor until they were crushed. I then added in walnuts and brown sugar and continued pulsing the mixture until it was finely ground. Finally I added in melted butter, salt and nutmeg and continued pulsing the mixture until it was combined. Following that I pressed it into the bottom and about an inch up the side of a 9-inch springform pan that I wrapped with aluminum foil. I then baked it in the middle rack of a preheated 350 F oven. On the lower rack of the oven I placed a roasting rack filled halfway with water. Once the crust was light golden, about 10 minutes, I transferred the crust to a wire rack to cool. Once it was cool it was time to make the filling…

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To make the filling I began by creaming together 4 8 oz. packages of room temperature cream cheese in my stand mixer until it was smooth. I then added in maple syrup and granulated sugar. Following that 4 eggs, one at a time. And finally flour, heavy cream, lemon juice and vanilla extract. The original recipe called for maple extract, but, since the recipe only called for a quarter of a teaspoon I didn’t want to buy an ingredient that I was certain I wouldn’t use again anytime soon, if ever.

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Once the filling was ready I poured it into the cooled crust and then placed the cheesecake in the oven directly over the roasting pan with water.

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After baking for about an hour I transferred the cheesecake to a wire rack to cool to room temperature. I knew it was ready because it was set around the edges but slightly jiggly in the middle. After it cooled I covered it with aluminum foil and refrigerated it overnight.

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The following day before removing the springform ring I let the cheesecake sit at room temperature for an hour and then ran a knife along the edges. The ring came off without incident (i.e. no sides of the cheesecake were ripped). I couldn’t wait to enjoy a slice and while the cheesecake was perfectly creamy it didn’t have much of a maple flavor in my opinion. I’m not sure if that’s because I didn’t use the maple extract or because it is meant to be more of a subtle flavor as opposed to one that overpowers the cheesecake. One thing that did stand out was the walnuts in the graham cracker crust; it added a nice nutty flavor.

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Maple Walnut Cheesecake

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

1 sleeve graham crackers, 9 crackers

3/4 cup walnut pieces

1/3 cup light brown sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Pinch of nutmeg

Pinch of Kosher salt

For the Filling:

4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature

3/4 cup pure maple syrup

1/2 cup granulated sugar

4 large eggs

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon maple extract*

*I opted to use vanilla extract

Directions:

Fill a roasting pan halfway with water and set on a rack in the lower third of the oven, position another rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F. Wrap the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with aluminum foil.

To make the crust; pulse the graham crackers in a food processor a few times until crushes. Add in the walnut and brown sugar and continue pulsing until finely ground. Add in the melted butter, nutmeg and salt and pulse to combine. Press into the bottom and about 1-inch up the side of the prepared springform pan. Bake until the crust is lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the filling; beat the cream cheese in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the maple syrup and granulated sugar and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each one. Increase the speed to medium high and beat in the flour, heavy cream and lemon juice and extract until the filling is smooth and silky, about 1 minute.

Pour the filling into the cooled crust and transfer the cheesecake to the oven directly over the water bath. Bake until golden and set around the edges and slightly jiggly in the middle, about 60 -70 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until cold and set, at least 5 hours or overnight. Let the cheesecake sit at room temperature for 20 minutes, then run a knife around the edges and remove the springform ring.

Recipe from the Food Network

Key Lime Cheesecake

After making Coconut & Lime Cupcakes last week to celebrate Cinco de Mayo I had quite a few key limes left over. While I normally would just whip up a delicious Key Lime Pie I opted to go a different route and used the key limes to create a Key Lime Cheesecake making a few adjustments – mainly adding in some key lime juice and zest – to the deliciously creamy and not overly sweet cheesecake I made in honor of Pi Day a few months ago.

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I wasn’t sure how much lime juice and zest to add to achieve the perfect balance in flavor. I figured a safe bet would be a 1/4 cup of juice and a teaspoon of the zest and luckily it was the perfect amount. Since I added both prior to mixing in the eggs I was able to do a quick taste test to ensure it would be the right amount.

And after letting the cheesecake cool and removing it from the springform pan, I decided to make some candied lime slices to decorate the top of it to give the cheesecake a little extra pizazz.

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Overall, this cheesecake was amazing! Those were the words a few of my friends used after trying it and I must admit it was quite delicious; the perfect balance of sweetness and tanginess and incredibly creamy. And you can never go wrong with a homemade graham cracker crust!

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Key Lime Cheese Cake – modified from here

Ingredients:

18 graham crackers (2 sleeves)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup plus 4 tablespoons sugar

3 8-oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature

1/4 cup key lime juice

1 teaspoon key lime zest

2 cups sour cream, at room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 large eggs, at room temperature

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 F. In a food processor pulse the graham crackers until fine crumbs form. Add the butter, salt and 2 tablespoons of the sugar and pulse to combine. Press the mixture on the bottom and 2-inches up the side of a 9-inch springform pan.

2. Use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and 1 cup of sugar until smooth. Add the key lime juice and zest and then add 1 cup of the sour cream and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract and continue beating until combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Pour the mixture into the prepared crust and bake until just set (the center will be slightly wobbly), 50 to 60 minutes.

3. In a small bowl combine the remaining 1 cup of sour cream, 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Spread over the hot cheesecake, then bake until set, 3 to 5 minutes more. Let cool to room temperature in pan, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Run a knife around the edge of cheesecake before unmolding.

Candied Limes

Ingredients: 

3 limes, sliced thin

1 cup water

1 cup sugar, plus a few tablespoons to coat the candied slices

Directions:

1. Blanch the lime slices. Fill a medium-sized saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Meanwhile prepare an ice water bath. Once the water is boiling add the lime slices and boil for 2-3 minutes. Drain the slices and place them in the ice water bath.

2. In the same pot bring the cup of water and sugar to a simmer and then add the lime slices and simmer them until the pith of the limes become translucent, then transfer the lime slices to a wire rack so they can cool and dry. Place a piece of parchment paper or wax paper below the wire rack just in case the limes begin to drip..

3. Once the limes are dry, at least an hour, pour a few tablespoons of sugar into a shallow bowl and press both sides of the lime slices into the sugar.

Cheesecake Brownies

Brownies… They are probably the one thing I don’t bake too much of. I’m not really sure why that is since I do like them, especially when they have walnuts in them. Yum! I tend to like that crunchy texture in my deserts… walnuts in brownies or loaf cakes, sprinkles on cupcakes and ice cream and so forth. As I am thinking about it I think the major turn-off I have with brownies is having to slice them once they are cooled. They always tend to fall apart on me and I never end up with the amount the recipe says I’ll have; 12 somehow becomes 8 or 9. But, with this recipe not only did I end up with some delicious brownies, but, I also was able to cut them into 16 equal brownies as the recipe called for.

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In the bowl of my stand mixer I combined a box of Chocolate Fudge cake mix, oil, water and an egg and using the stir setting I mixed the ingredients until they were smooth. I then added in a 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and continued mixing until they were well incorporated.

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I then spread the mixture into a 13 x 9 inch pan that I sprayed with baking spray.

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Using a hand mixer – these are the times that I wish I had a second bowl for my stand mixer – I combined cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract and an egg and beat the ingredients until they were smooth.

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After spreading the cream cheese mixture over the chocolate mixture I sprinkled chocolate chips over it.

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Once it was done baking – 35 minutes in a 350 F preheated oven – I let the brownies cool completely in the pan over a wire a rack.

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After some careful maneuvering – flipping and sliding – I placed the brownies on a large cutting board so I could cut them.

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And then it was time to enjoy them! Overall this recipe is a keeper. While the brownies are made using a cake mix they definitely tasted like they were made from scratch – i.e. flour, cocoa powder, etc. And the chocolate chips added to the brownie batter offer a nice texture and extra dose of chocolate in each bite. These brownies actually reminded me of the Mini Chocolate-Chip Cheesecakes I posted about a few years ago and continues to be a treat I make over and over again as it is a hit amongst many of my friends. And I am sure these brownies will become something I make quite a few more times.

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Cheesecake Brownies

Yield: 16 servings

Ingredients:

1 box Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix (Betty Crocker SuperMoist)

3/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons water

2 eggs

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 8oz. package cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Prep a 13 x 9-inch pan by spraying the bottom with baking spray.

2. In a medium bowl, stir the cake mix, oil, water and 1 of the eggs until smooth. Stir in 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips. Spread batter into prepared pan.

3. In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract and remaining 1 egg with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread the mixture over the batter and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips.

4. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in brownie 1 inch from the side of the pan comes out almost clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Cut into 4 rows by 4 rows.

Cheesecake… Is it a Pie or a Cake?

Well, for today the answer to that question is going to be pie in honor of Pi Day! Yes, it’s the day that Math lovers around the world celebrate in honor of Pi, the irrational number (meaning it cannot be written as the ratio of two integers) that begins with 3.14 and goes on infinitely. This year’s Pi Day is extra special though because it only comes around once every 100 years… The first five numbers of Pi Day is the date (3/14/15) and to go even further at the time 9:26:53 you will have the first ten numbers of Pi in sequence, i.e. 3.141592653. Okay, I’ll stop being a Math geek now and go back to the pie. The idea of cheesecake falling under the pie category isn’t too much a stretch, especially for this cheesecake. Pies tend to have a crust and this one has a graham cracker crust and they also have a filling, the cheesecake part. Okay, maybe it is a tad bit of a stretch, but, I really couldn’t think of a pie I wanted to make but I have wanted to make a cheesecake.

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I began by making the crust… Using a food processor I ground up 18 graham crackers until they were fine crumbs. I then added in a stick of melted butter, sugar and salt and pulse to combine them. Following that I pressed the crumbs into the bottom and approximately 2-inches up the side of a 9-inch springform pan.

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Next I moved on to make the actual cheesecake. Using a stand mixer I beat three 8-oz. bars of cream cheese with a cup of sugar until it was smooth. It’s important to use room temperature cream cheese to ensure you won’t have any lumps in the mixture.

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I then added in a cup of room temperature sour cream and a teaspoon of vanilla extract; beating until these two ingredients were well incorporated.

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And finally I added in three eggs, one at a time.

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Before pouring it into the crust, I gave the cream cheese mixture a few stirs with a rubber spatula to make sure all of the ingredients were blended together well. I tend to find that sometimes ingredients are left on the bottom of the bowl of the stand mixer untouched since the paddle attachment doesn’t fully hit the bottom of the bowl.

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After pouring the cream cheese mixture into the prepared crust I baked it in a preheated 325 F oven for about an hour; until it was set but still wobbly in the center.

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A few minutes before removing the cheesecake from the oven I combined a cup of sour cream, a few tablespoons of sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl. I was happy that the cheesecake didn’t have any cracks in it – that normally happens when I bake cheesecakes.

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I then spread this sour cream mixture over the cheesecake and then placed the cheesecake back in the oven for about five minutes.

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The cheesecake right out of the oven… I let it cool for a few hours before covering it and placing it in the refrigerator.

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I ended up leaving it in the refrigerator overnight and then added some sliced strawberries on top of it the following morning in the shape of the Greek letter used to represent “Pi.” I had to validate this being a Pi Day pie somehow!

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And how did it taste… It was perfectly creamy and not overly sweet! A winning combination for the perfect cheesecake!

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Classic Cheesecake

Ingredients:

18 graham crackers (2 sleeves)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup plus 4 tablespoons sugar

3 8-oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature

2 cups sour cream, at room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 large eggs, at room temperature

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 F. In a food processor pulse the graham crackers until fine crumbs form. Add the butter, salt and 2 tablespoons of the sugar and pulse to combine. Press the mixture on the bottom and 2-inches up the side of a 9-inch springform pan.

2. Use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and 1 cup of sugar until smooth. Add 1 cup of the sour cream and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract and continue beating until combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Pour the mixture into the prepared crust and bake until just set (the center will be slightly wobbly), 50 to 60 minutes.

3. In a small bowl combine the remaining 1 cup of sour cream, 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Spread over the hot cheesecake, then bake until set, 3 to 5 minutes more. Let cool to room temperature in pan, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Run a knife around the edge of cheesecake before unmolding.