Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake

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New camera! A fancy Canon real camera! Thank you hugely to my brother-in-law who shipped it across the country and my husband who presented it to me on my birthday! I am SO excited! I wanted something beautiful to photograph for my first use of the fancy camera and a pumpkin cheesecake would have to do.

IMG_4805Alas, it has been raining for the entire duration of this weekend. Entire. Well, for the entire duration of the lifespan of this cheesecake so the lighting wasn’t optimal but boy was it better than it has EVER been with a real camera! I can’t wait to play with this some more and get better at photographing with it!

IMG_4810Oh, I guess I should tell you about the cheesecake. Let’s see. Gingersnap crust, perfectly dense pumpkin filling, caramel slathered all over the top.

Pretty much sums it up!

Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake

Adapted from onceuponachef

For the crust
1 1/2 cups gingersnap crumbs
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 325 F. Line the bottom of your springform pain with aluminum foil twice, allowing for the edges to come above the side. Your cheesecake will sit in a water bath soon and you won’t want water seeping in!

Food process all of your ingredients together and press your moistened crumbs into the bottom of a 9″ springform pan. Bake for 15 minutes and remove to cool. In the mean time, make your filling!

For the pumpkin filling
1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream, cold
Three 8 ounce packages of plain cream cheese, room temperature
5 large eggs, room temperature
4 quarts hot water

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat your pumpkin, sugar, spices and salt until the sugar is melted and the mixture takes on a dark brown nutty hue (about 5 minutes of a soft simmer).

While you’re at the stove top, start heating up your water for your water bath. Cheesecakes need water baths otherwise you’ll end up a cracked cheesecake surface.

Let cool slightly by processing in a food processor. Add in your heavy cream and process until combined. Add your cream cheese about 1/3 of a package at a time until well incorporated. Finally, add in your eggs and pulse just until combined!

If you don’t have a food processor, you can do all of this with just a hand mixer. Just make extra sure to incorporate the cream cheese well. It would probably help to sift the filling at the very end into the pan to ensure a silky-smooth finish.

Either way, pour your filling onto the prepared gingersnap crust (doesn’t that just sound lovely?). Place your entire springform pan into a large roasting pan and pour the hot water into the roasting pan until your springform pain is about halfway immersed in water.

Bake the entire thing (roasting pan and all) for 1-1/2 hours until there is no jiggling! Let cool in the water bath for about 45 minutes before removing the pan. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight and then remove the springform pan, loosening the sides with a knife.

Top with homemade caramel sauce…oorrrr…with pre-made ice cream sundae caramel sauce topping (I did the later…oops…).

Want it salted? Fleur de sel on top will do it for you!

Enjoy!

 

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

It’s officially fall! It’s the time for leaves, apple picking, cinnamon in everything, fall-scented candles, pumpkin spice lattes, and perfectly crisp morning runs. Even if it means winter is coming, at least we get a bit of this absolutely perfect time of year before it hits us.

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Pumpkin spice cupcakes!! Coupled with fall themed cupcake liners and tiny little pumpkins on top. These were frosted with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting making for a batch of gleefully gorgeous cupcakes.

photo 3As with most pumpkin recipes, the cupcakes are incredibly moist. They’re not too sweet at all which made for a nice balance with the sweeter cream cheese frosting.

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I found the sugar pumpkins at the nearby craft store. They’re mostly for decoration but they’re super cute! Bring on the fall recipes!

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes 

Makes 24 cupcakes

Adapted from tasteofhome

For the cupcakes

3/4 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 can pumpkin puree (15 oz)
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup milk (I used 2%)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until pale yellow, light, and fluffy. Add in your eggs one at a time, beating in-between. Finally, beat in your pumpkin.

In a separate bowl, combine all of your dry ingredients (flour, spices, baking powder and soda). Alternating with the milk, add the flour mixture to your pumpkin mixture, beating well after each addition until well incorporated. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of your bowl to ensure an even batter.

Line your muffin tins with cupcakes liners of your choice (fall theme advised) and bake for 20-25 minutes until the top springs back at you or a toothpick comes out clean. Allow for your cupcakes to cool completely while you make your frosting.

For the cinnamon cream cheese frosting

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Beat together your cream cheese and butter until well incorporated. Add in your remaining ingredients until it all comes together into a beautiful ball of cinnamon speckled cream cheese frosting! Add in your confectioners’ sugar one cup at a time so you don’t end up covered in powdered sugar, although worse things have happened!

Spread all over your cupcakes or transfer into your favorite piping bag and piping tip and go to town. If you come across some fall themed edible decorations and you feel like slapping them on top of your cupcakes….well, I won’t stop you.

Enjoy and happy fall!

 

 

 

Triple Berry Coffee Cake Muffins

Weekend off means baking!

photo 1I was originally going to make a coffee cake stuffed filled with berries, but then I didn’t have the right pan so instead, I made them into muffin form. It was a great compromise.

photo 2These guys have a coffee cake base, a layer of peaches and some blackberries and blueberries, and then they were stuffed to the brim with streusel topping!

photo 3They’re super moist, super fruity, and super fantastic with coffee! The streusel topping adds another layer of sweet and a fantastic cinnamon crunch. Plus, they’re in mini form which just makes them the cutest.

Triple Berry Coffee Cake Muffins

Adapted from Southern Living

For the Streusel Topping
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Beat together your butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add in your flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside while you make your cake

For the Coffee Cake
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 peach, sliced thinly
1/4 cup fresh blackberries
1/4 cup blueberries

Preheat your oven to 350F and butter and flour a muffin tin (don’t skimp on this step, or you’ll be furiously trying to break them away from the tin)

Beat together your butter and sugar. Add in the eggs one at a time until incorporated. In a separate bowl, mix together your flour, baking powder and salt. Alternating with the milk, add in your flour mixture to your butter mixture until it’s all incorporated. Finally, add in your vanilla.

Fill your muffin tins about 1/2 fill with coffee cake filling. Sprinkle peaches, blackberries, and blueberries over the top of all of the cakes in their tins. Finally, crumble your streusel topping over the whole thing!

Make sure you don’t fill the muffin tins to the top, they rise a bit.

Bake for 30-35 minutes and let cool completely before flipping the pan upside down and catching your muffins.

Enjoy with a great cup of coffee!

 

 

 

 

 

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

We moved away from Boston a few weeks ago and I realized I never got to get an actual Boston Creme Pie from Boston! Oh well, recreating them in upside-down cupcake form will just have to do.

photo 1The cupcake batter for these cupcakes is one of the most luscious batters that I have ever made. It was so much fun to work with – not too runny, not too thick. Just perfect batter consistency. Man, sometimes I can really nerd out over this stuff.

photo 1_2I also haven’t made pastry cream in quite a while, so that was a vanilla filled blast. I flipped these cupcakes upside down for a fun little twist and topped them off with a chocolate ganache!

photo (1)Pretty great combination of flavors, if I do say so myself. Plus, they’re in cupcake form so that’s just icing on top of the cake.

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes

Makes about 20 cupcakes

For the Cupcakes
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 cup sugar
3 eggs at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Over low heat, heat together your milk and butter in a small saucepan. In a large bowl, mix together your flour, baking powder, and salt.

In another bowl, whisk together your eggs and sugar until pale yellow and very fluffy (about 5 minutes with a hand mixer). The test to tell whether or not they’re ready is when you remove your whisk, the batter should hold a ribbon on the surface for a few minutes. Once you’re at this stage, add in your flour mixture in stages until incorporated.

Once your milk and butter are boiling, slowly add it to your batter and mix just until smooth. Finally, mix in your vanilla.

Line your cupcake tin with liners and fill each cup about halfway with batter. Bake about 15 minutes or until the cake bounces back at you when touched, the edges are golden brown, or a toothpick comes out clean.

Let your cupcakes cool a bit. Once you are able to handle them with your hands, peel them from the liners and using a serrated knife, slice them horizontally. Now get ready to make your pastry cream!

For the Pastry Cream
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Whisk together your egg yolks until smooth.

In a medium saucepan, heat together sugar, cornstarch, and milk over medium heat. Stir constantly (whisk preferred) until your mixture thickens and starts to bubble.

While constantly mixing, add about 1/3 of your hot mixture into your egg yolks to help prevent your eggs from scrambling. Pour this mixture back into the hot saucepan and continue to whisk together until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla.

Strain your cream through a strainer and cover with parchment paper (pressing onto the surface of the cream to prevent the formation of a film).

Note: here, you can refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or you can serve it warm!

For the Chocolate Ganache
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup heavy cream

Microwave your heavy cream for about 45 seconds until just starting to bubble at the edges. Pour this hot mixture over your chocolate and let sit for about 3 minutes.

Whisk together the chocolate (now melty!) and the cream until uniform in consistency

Note: if you want you serve your ganache warm and it has cooled down, simply reheat in the microwave in 30 second intervals until it is drizzling consistency

Putting it all together

1. Take a cupcake top and place upside down onto a surface.
2. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of your pastry cream (warm or cold) onto the cut surface of your cupcake and place the other half of your cupcake on top of this.
3. Drizzle some ganache over the top of your pastry cream sandwich until sufficiency covered in chocolate for your taste!
4. Enjoy!

 

Chocolate Orange Bundt Cake

I have to apologize for the quality of these images. I made the cake at night (not a preferable time to take pictures) but we had guests over that deemed immediate serving of the cake…hence poor lighting. However, I wanted to share it anyway because it was delectable. Plus it was served warm and with friends. Hard to go wrong there!

Oh yellow evening lighting, how I loathe thee. Anyway, we had some house guests staying with us earlier this month for residency interviews and a baked good that combined the tastes of chocolate and orange was requested. Then, this cake was brought up and a similar rendition was officially requested. As a result – here we are again…at chocolate orange bundt cake land.

The cake was perfectly citrusy and mm mm moist. I threw on a ganache glaze to add an extra layer of sweetness as the cake itself is not that sweet. This cake was gone within a few days as we enjoyed it for numerous in-between-meal snacks (oops?). Oh also, the original recipe called for orange extract…which I didn’t have…and instead of postponing the cake, I replaced it with some orange juice. It worked out perfectly.

Chocolate Orange Bundt Cake

Adapted from joythebaker

3 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups sour cream
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
zest of 1 large orange
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350F.

In one large bowl, mix together your flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another, beat your butter and sugar together until nice and fluffy. Add in your eggs one at a time until well incorporated. Add in your vanilla and sour cream. Finally, add in your flour mixture slowly until everything is just combined and looks even (try not to over-mix!).

Here comes the fun part. Divide your batter into two bowls.

Bowl 1: add in your orange zest and orange juice and combine
Bowl 2: add in your cocoa powder and chocolate chips and combine

Now simply pour your orange batter into a buttered and floured Bundt pan and spread it evenly. Then, pour in your chocolate batter on top. You can spread the mixture evenly with the back of the spoon or do the old “slam it onto the counter until the top looks even” technique. I chose to make a lot of noise and slam it onto the counter a few times.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the cake springs back at you when you touch it. Let it cool slightly and then flip it upside down onto the serving platter of your choice. Now, while the cake is still warm…

Optional (but I really mean required) Chocolate Ganache
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream

In a double boiler, combine the two ingredients until the chocolate is melted and looks like a vat of something Willy Wonka would be proud of. Remember if you don’t have a double boiler (we don’t) just put a metal mixing bowl over a small pot filled with water and use an oven mitt to keep the bowl in place while whisking. Someday I will have nice things, I promise.

Finally, pour the ganache all over the entire cake. We served it warm and I think that was probably the way to go!

Enjoy!