Spring Striped Cake

Happy first day of Spring! I hope you are all safe and healthy. I am sure Coronavirus / Covid-19 has changed the way you do a lot of things these days. I started working from home this week and while the first day was a bit of a challenge using my desktop and laptop in tandem, the second day was much better since I had my desktop and two monitors from work set-up at my kitchen table. Which also means I can enjoy some sunlight during the day… There’s no sunlight to be seen at my job. I must say, and I am sure most (if not all) of you would agree, it’s so surreal how many things have closed, been cancelled, rescheduled and so forth. It’s the best choice though if we want to contain this virus.

Back to Spring though, to welcome the season I decided to make a Spring themed cake. Spring themed because I used Spring colors. I decided to gives stripes another try. I tried them for the first time back in October for a Halloween themed cake. They were not pretty though! But, I figured since it was a Halloween cake the smudged stripes went with the holiday.

I decided to keep the cake small so I made a two-tier 6-inch cake. I made a cookies and cream cake by preparing a box of white cake mix – instead of using just egg whites though I used the whole egg – and then folded in a cup of Oreo cookie crumbs. To make the crumbs, I placed about 15 Oreos in a Ziploc bag and then used a rolling pin to crush the cookies. I actually have a whole post dedicated to making a Cookies and Cream Cake if you want the specific directions. After baking, cooling and filling (with additional Oreo crumbs) the cake I crumb coated it and then finished frosting it. Then using a cake comb I created stripes on the cake. I then placed it in the refrigerator overnight so the frosting could set (i.e. harden). You cannot create stripes on a cake that has just been frosted. You need the base frosting to be hard so you don’t scrape it completely off when smoothing the stripes.

Once my cake was ready I divided my remaining frosting into three and tinted them – one pink, another yellow and the last one a teal color (I combined green and blue to make this color).

And then I started filling in the stripes. You need to fill them in generously to get a smooth look when smoothing the cake with a flat edge.

After smoothing the cake a few times and filling in any gaps in the frosting my stripes didn’t look that bad. I definitely need to practice them a few more times though.

I used the remaining tinted frosting to create a swirl border on top of the cake. I wasn’t too happy with the way it came out though because I forgot colors 101, mixing certain colors together will create new ones. So I had hints of orange and purple in the border. Oh well!

Be safe, stay healthy, stay home and bake!

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

If you’ve ever been to The Cheesecake Factory you know that they have a cheesecake to fit everyone’s taste buds. Even a few that combine cheesecake with other favorite desserts – Red Velvet Cake, Carrot Cake, Funfetti Cake and Tiramisu just to name a few. While I have tasted my fair share of them, my go-to is the White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle – a creamy cheesecake swirled with white chocolate and raspberry. YUM! So, when I came across a recipe for White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bars I knew I had to try it. It had all of the flavors of my favorite cheesecake but the ease of baking it in a pan to slice as bars as opposed to a traditional cheesecake.

Since the raspberry sauce needs to be completely cooled before using it, I opted to make it the night before making the bars and placed it in the refrigerator overnight. In a small bowl I combined a teaspoon each of water and cornstarch. I stirred the two together and then set it aside. In a small saucepan I combined 9oz. of raspberries (1 1/2 cups) along with a teaspoon of water and 2 tablespoons of sugar over medium heat. As the raspberries began to cook I stirred them and began to mash them up. Once the mixture began to simmer I added in the cornstarch mixture. I continued to stir the mixture while it simmered. After the mixture had been simmering for a few minutes and it appeared as though the raspberries had completely broken down I removed it from the heat and passed it through a sieve over a small container to remove the pulp and the seeds. I was left with about 6 tablespoons of raspberry sauce.

The following morning I began by melting the white chocolate. I chopped up 6oz. of white chocolate and placed it in a heatproof bowl. I placed this bowl over a medium pot of water over medium heat. As the chocolate began to melt I stirred it until it was completely melted. I opted to use Lindt’s White Chocolate Bars found in the candy aisle as opposed to the white chocolate baking bars from either Baker’s or Ghirardelli found in the baking aisle since I was having a hard time finding them. There were plenty of the unsweetened, milk and semi-sweet chocolate bars but no white chocolate ones. The Lindt ones are 4.4oz. each so I used one whole bar and half of another one. I ended up with a little more melted chocolate than the recipe called for but it didn’t alter the final outcome. Once the chocolate was melted I set it aside. I kept an eye on it though because I didn’t want it to solidify, it needed to remain melted.

Next I got to work on making the crust for the bars. I lined a 9×9-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the sides to make it easier to remove the bars once they were done for slicing. In my food processor I pulsed 20 Oreo cookies into fine crumbs and then combined them with melted butter. I then pressed the crumbs into the bottom of my prepared ban and baked in a 350 F preheated oven for about 10 minutes. I removed it from the oven and set it aside while I got to work on the cheesecake filling.

In a large bowl I combined cream cheese and sugar and using a handheld mixer beat the two together until the cream cheese was smooth and creamy. I then added in flour, fresh lemon juice, vanilla extract and salt and continued beating the mixture until the additional ingredients were fully combined. Next I added in 2 eggs 1 at a time, beating until the eggs were just combined into the cream cheese mixture. And finally I added in the melted white chocolate. I beat the mixture on low for a few seconds and then gave it a few good stirs with a rubber spatula.

Now it was time to assemble. I poured half of the cream cheese mixture into the center of the pre-baked crust and then using a small offset spatula I spread the mixture evenly over the crust, making sure that I got it into the corners. I drizzled half of the raspberry sauce (about 3 tablespoons) over the cream cheese and then poured the remaining cream cheese mixture over the sauce. Once again using the small off-set spatula to spread the mixture. Finally, I drizzled the remaining sauce over this second layer of cream cheese and then using a knife I gently swirled everything together.

I baked it for 40 minutes in a 350 F preheated oven. The center was set and the edges were just beginning to brown. I let it cool for an hour on a wire rack and then transferred it to the refrigerator to chill for 3 hours.

After the 3 hours I carefully removed it from the pan using the parchment paper overhang and placed it on a cutting board to slice. To create clean slices I cleaned my knife between each slice.

In the end, I ended up with 16 cheesecake bars that were just as good (if not better) as my favorite cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

Ingredients:

Raspberry Sauce:

2 teaspoons water, divided

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries*, about 9oz.

2 tablespoons sugar

 

Crust:

20 Oreos

5 tablespoons unsalte butter, melted

 

Cheesecake Filling:

6oz. white chocolate chopped**

2 8oz. bar cream cheese, at room temperature

1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon flour

1 teaspoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, at room temperature

 

*You can also use frozen strawberries (do not thaw)

**Do not substitute white chocolate chips for the white chocolate. They are not the same thing. White chocolate chips do not contain cocoa butter but do contain a form of oil that may prevent it from melting smoothly further preventing it from incorporating well into the cream cheese filling. If you cannot find white chocolate baking bars in the baking aisle use white chocolate bars found in the candy aisle.

 

Directions:

Raspberry Sauce: Stir together 1 teaspoon of the water with the cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside. In a small saucepan combine the raspberries, sugar and the remaining teaspoon of water. Set the saucepan over medium heat and begin stirring the contents together mashing the raspberries as you stir. Once the mixture begins to simmer add in the cornstarch mixture and allow the mixture to continue simmering for a few more minutes. Set a sieve over a small bowl and press the raspberry mixture through the sieve to remove the seeds and pulp from the sauce. Allow the sauce to cool completely before using.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line the bottom of a 9×9-inch baking pan with parchment paper leaving an overhang on the sides to lift the bars out once done.

Using a double boiler or microwave melt the chocolate. If using the microwave, melt in 20 second increments, stirring after each one until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. If using a double boiler, once you see the chocolate is beginning to melt begin stirring it to smooth it out. Once the chocolate is melted set it aside so it can cool while preparing the remaining components of the bars. Do not allow the chocolate to harden though.

In a food processor pulse the Oreos into fine crumbs. Combine the Oreo crumbs and the melted butter in a bowl and stir together until combined. Transfer the crumbs to the prepared baking pan and press them into the bottom of the pan and then bake the crust for 8 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from the oven and set aside while making the filling.

In a large bowl combine the cream cheese and sugar and using a handheld mixer (you could also use a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment) on medium beat the two together until the cream cheese is smooth and creamy. Add in the flour, lemon juice, vanilla extract and salt and continue beating until all of the ingredients are fully incorporated. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and beat until just combined. Finally, add in the melted chocolate and beat on low until just combined.

Pour half of the cheesecake batter onto the prepared crust. Smooth with a small offset spatula and then drizzle with half of the raspberry sauce. Pour the remaining filling over the sauce and once again smooth with the spatula and then drizzle the remaining sauce on top of the cheesecake filling. Using a toothpick or knife swirl everything together.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, the cheesecake will be set on top and the edges will just be beginning to brown. Place on a wire rack to cool for about an hour and then transfer to the refrigerator to cool for 3 hours.

After the 3 hours remove the bars from the refrigerator and using the paper overhang remove them from the pan and transfer them to a cutting board to slice. To get clean slices wipe your knife between each slice.

Cover and store leftover bars in the refrigerator.

Recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction

5-Layer Brownie Cookie Cheesecake

A couple of things you’re going to need to make this cake… Patience, patience and more patience. You bake a layer, then you refrigerate it, you bake another layer and then you freeze it and finally you bake the last layer and then you place it back in the refrigerator so it can chill before enjoying a slice. But don’t worry, the first bite is worth the time and patience!

To make things a little easy for myself I followed the directions and used store bought chocolate chip cookie dough and boxed brownie mix.

I began by lining a 10-inch springform pan with 2 pieces of plastic wrap long enough to hang over the sides. After bringing the chocolate chip cookie dough to room temperature I pressed it into an even layer on the bottom of the pan, folded the plastic wrap over it and then placed it in the freezer.

I prepared the brownie mix per the directions on the box and then poured it into the 10-inch springform pan that I sprayed with baking spray after removing the cookie dough. I then sprayed the bottom and sides of an 8-inch round cake pan and pressed it in the center of the brownie mix until the batter reached about halfway up the springform pan. I baked this for about 45 minutes. I removed it from the oven after 35 minutes, per the directions, but felt that the brownie was a little too underdone so I placed it back in the oven for another 10 minutes. While the middle was still a bit undercooked, the outside was cooked. I think that if I make this again I will either cook it for 40 minutes, or reduce the oven temperature to 325 F and bake it for 45 minutes. While the brownie was still warm, I rotated the 8-inch pan into the brownie while carefully pressing it down to push the brownie further up the sides of the springform pan. I then refrigerated it for 30 minutes. I left the 8-inch pan in the brownie while it was in the refrigerator.

While the brownie was cooling I made the cheesecake batter by mixing together 3 8-ounce blocks of cream cheese with sugar, vanilla extract and an egg until it was smooth and no lumps remained. I set this aside. Once the brownie had cooled I removed it from the refrigerator and lined the bottom with Oreos.

And then poured the cheesecake mixture over it and baked it in the oven for 40 minutes and then placed it in the freezer, yes, the freezer, for 30 minutes.

Next, I arranged another layer of Oreos over the cheesecake…

And finally topped the whole thing with the frozen disc of chocolate chip cookie dough and placed it back in the oven for 20 minutes.

After letting it cool for a few minutes I placed it back in the refrigerator so it could chill.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a pretty picture of what the layers looked like when it was sliced (I made this for a birthday dinner and really couldn’t stop to take the all-important blog picture once we started slicing it) but I can tell you that it did get RAVE reviews. You might be thinking it would be overly sweet with all of the different layers, but, it actually wasn’t. It was more decadent than anything else and something you don’t need a huge slice of. I won’t lie, I was apprehensive to slice it because I had no clue if all of the layers had cooked properly, especially that brownie layer that seemed undercooked in the beginning, but, I needn’t worry. It probably would have been better if I had left the brownie a bit more undercooked in the beginning. I knew that I didn’t want to overcook it since it was going back in the oven 2 more times, but, I was just worried about putting a half cooked brownie in the refrigerator. I never know what can and cannot grow dangerous bacteria.

5-Layer Cookie Brownie Cheesecake

Ingredients:

16-ounce tube of refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough, at room temperature

2 18-ounce boxed of brownie mix, prepared according to box directions

3 8-ounce cream cheese blocks, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 package of Oreos

Whipped cream, for serving (optional)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Line a 10-inch springform pan with 2 pieces of plastic wrap long enough to hang over the sides. Place the chocolate chip cookie dough into the pan and press it evenly into the bottom of the pan. Wrap it with the plastic wrap and place it in the freezer.

Spray the 10-inch pan with baking spray and pour in the brownie batter. Spray the sides and bottom of a deep (at least 5-inches) 8-inch round cake pan with baking spray and then press it into the brownie batter until the batter reaches halfway up the sides of the 10-inch pan. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes and then let cool for 5 minutes. While rotating the 8-inch pan press it into the brownie so the brownie can come up higher on the sides of the 10-inch pan. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Reduce the oven to 300 F.

In a large bowl beat together the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract and the egg with a hand mixer on medium speed until it’s smooth. Set aside.

After the 30 minutes, remove the brownie from the refrigerator and line the bottom with a single-layer of Oreos. Pour the cheesecake mixture over the cookies and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, until the cheesecake is set, but slightly jiggles in the center. Let cool for a few minutes and then place in the freezer for 30 minutes.

After these 30 minutes are up, place a single-layer of Oreos on top of the cheesecake layer and then place the frozen chocolate chip cookie dough disk on top. Tucking in any edges and bake for 20 minutes.

Let it cool for a few minutes and then refrigerate for 2-3 hours before removing the ring and slicing. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and an Oreo on top.

**A quick tip… Instead of placing the Oreos in a single-layer, crush them. It would definitely make slicing the cake easier and less likely to fall apart.

Recipe from Tasty

Cookies and Cream Cake

If you love Oreos then this is the cake for you… A Cookies and Cream Cake that has crushed Oreos baked into the batter as well as folded into the buttercream.

I took the easy route and opted to use a box cake, a Duncan Hines Classic White Cake Mix to be exact. I made one minor adjustment to the batter, I added in an extra 1/4 cup of water so that the Oreo crumbs wouldn’t thicken the batter too much. Once the batter was ready, I then folded in a cup of Oreo crumbs. To create the crumbs I placed a bunch of Oreos in a Ziploc bag, sealed it and then rolled it with a rolling pin. I left some of the Oreos in fairly large crumbs so that the cake wouldn’t just be speckled with little pieces of Oreos, but have some noticeable pieces. I then divided the batter between two 8-inch round pans that I sprayed with baking spray and baked it in a350 F preheated oven until a cake tester inserted in the middle came out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. I let the cakes cool for a few minutes and then inverted them on wire racks to cool completely.

Meanwhile, I made the frosting. My go-to frosting is a Fluffy Vanilla Frosting that I got from a Martha Stewart cookbook and have been using for quite some time now when it comes to decorating my cakes. It tastes good (not overly sweet) and holds up well to piping and tinting. If frosting is too soft when you tint it it will only get softer and when you try to pipe it it inevitably droops. While I love using the frosting, I am not a fan of making it. It involves adding the confectioners’ sugar 1/2 cup at a time and raising and lowering the speed of my stand mixer. What ultimately happens, even though I cover the mixer with a kitchen towel, is sugar dust gets everywhere on my counter. I was also concerned that the recipe wouldn’t yield enough frosting to fill, frost & decorate the cake. So, while doing a little research for this cake – I couldn’t decide in the beginning if I should make the cake from scratch or use a box mix – I came across a buttercream frosting that incorporated crushed Oreos that I decided to try. I began by beating the butter in my stand mixer until it was light and fluffy and then added in confectioners’ sugar and heavy cream and mixed it on low speed until the sugar was incorporated and then slowly raised it to medium until everything was well blended. Using a rubber spatula I folded in Oreo cookie crumbs. You may be tempted to make the frosting in advance and then store it in the refrigerator. I suggest not doing that. Doing so will allow the cookie crumbs to soften and when you go to use it your frosting may end up looking more gray than speckled with Oreos.

Once the cake cooled I torte both to remove the small dome that formed during baking and then spread some of the frosting on one the cakes and then topped it with the other. I then crumb coated the cake and refrigerated it for about 15 minutes so the frosting could set and then finished frosting it. I had some remaining Oreo crumbs so I pressed them along the bottom of the cake.

Next, I made the chocolate ganache that I poured on top of the cake and spread around. Using a squeeze bottle I tried to create a chocolate drip around the cake. Unfortunately it was a bit warm in my house so the chocolate didn’t set well (even after refrigerating it for a few minutes) so it was a bit runny, hence the chocolate drizzle running down the sides of the cake. Oh well! Finally, using a Wilton 1M tip I piped dollops with the remaining frosting on top of the cake and place a mini Oreo in each one. A little tip, if you plan on piping frosting that has crumbs in it make sure your tip is large enough for the crumbs to pass through. I actually had a few instances of the crumbs getting stuck.

And there you have it… A Cookies and Cream Cake.

 

Cookies and Cream Cake

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

1 15.25 oz. white cake mix

3 large egg whites

1 1/4 cups water

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 cup Oreo crumbs

 

For the Frosting:

3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

5 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 1/3 cups Oreo crumbs

1/4 cup heavy cream

 

For the Chocolate Ganache:

1 cup (8 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate (can use chocolate chips or a baking bar chopped)

1/2 cup heavy cream

 

*You will need 1 package of Oreos and 1 small container of mini Oreos

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with baking spray or butter and flour.

In a large bowl combine the cake mix, egg whites, water and oil. Prepare according to box directions then fold in the Oreo crumbs. Divide the batter among the two pans and bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until a cake tested inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 15 minutes and then invert them on a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cakes are cooling make the frosting. Beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in the confectioners’ sugar and heavy cream and beat on low speed until incorporated and then raise the speed to medium and continue beating until well blended. Using a rubber spatula fold in the Oreo crumbs.

Once the cake has cooled, torte, fill and apply a crumb coat. Refrigerate the cake for about 15 minutes.

While the cake is in the refrigerator make the chocolate ganache. Place the chocolate in a bowl. Warm the heavy cream in a small saucepan over low heat until steaming and then pour over the chocolate. Let sit for 5 minutes and then stir until smooth. Set aside until ready to use.

Remove the cake from the refrigerator and finish frosting. If you have Oreo crumbs remaining press them along the bottom of the cake. Once the ganache has thickened, transfer to a squeeze bottle and squeeze some of the ganache on the center of the cake. Using an off-set spatula gently spread the ganache towards the outside of the cake, careful not to let it spill over. Add more ganache is necessary. With the remaining ganache in the squeeze bottle drip the chocolate the chocolate along the sides of the cake. Place in the refrigerator so the chocolate can set.

Once chocolate has set use the remaining frosting to pipe dollops on top of the cake. Add mini Oreos to the dollops or cut larger Oreos in half and add those to the dollops.

Frosting Recipe from the Preppy Kitchen