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Apple Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce

21 Dec


  Yesterday I went to the supermarket and bought a can of apple pie filling and on the back theres this recipe..I’m usually very sketchy about recipes posted in the back of a can but this one was truly amazing

Ingredients

  • 21 oz. can LUCKY LEAF Apple Pie Filling
  • 9 inch graham cracker crust (made my own)
  • 2 – (8 oz. packages) cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup caramel topping (recipe below)
  • 12 pecan halves, plus 2 tablespoons chopped pecans(optional)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Reserve ¾ cup of the apple filling; set aside.

Spoon the remaining filling into the crust.

Beat together the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth.

Add the eggs and mix well. Pour this over the pie filling.

Bake for 35 minutes, or until the center of the cake is set. Cool to room temperature.

Mix the reserved pie filling and caramel topping in a small saucepan and heat for about 1 minute, or until spreadable.

Spoon the apple-caramel mixture over the top of the cheesecake and spread evenly. Decorate the edge of the cake with pecan halves and sprinkle with chopped pecans. Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve.

Caramel Sauce

  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1/2 c heavy cream

In a large pot place the sugar and water and let boil until the sugar turns amber-ish in color.

Turn off stove and whisk in the heavy cream until creamy.

Refrigerate and don’t DARE taste this until it’s chilled..you will get some serious 3rd degree burns.

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Is there anything better than chocolate???

29 Sep

Is there? really? I don’t think so!

Chocolate class began and this picture pretty much sums up all of my feelings towards it

It’s pure MAGIC!

It can be tricky at times but in the end it’s always delicious.

What can I say chocolate never dissapoints me.

In class we made a number of bon bons (almond coconut/whiskey and coffee/ chocolate hazelnut/chocolate raspberry) all delicious and very messy I felt like a kid in Willy Wonkas factory *dream come true*

Today we had to make a chocolate chest, which at first was a pain in the ass because when you’re working with chocolate heat is your worst enemy, even body heat. So you need extremely cold temperatures to work with it, meaning that I had the air conditioner practically in my face!

This was the outcome:

I carved wood details with a paring knife and a cake tester, I wanted this chest to look antique and broken and that was what I came up with.

It looks so pretty, too bad that I live in a tropical island and its going to melt within 5 seconds when i go outside :/

Here are some of the bon bons we made in class:

In conclusion chocolate making is fun and delicious but in the end its just a HOT MESS

 

Irene and the cake

1 Sep

Last week was “hurricane Irene week” and I had no electricity or water for 3 days and I had to bake a cake for Friday! Not only that! I still had to buy some cake ingredients and I couldn’t because everything was flooded. Luckily on Thursday everything went back to normal and I still was pondering about what kind of cake to bake. In a heavy craving for cheesecake during the Irene extravaganza I decided to bake a Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake I mean why not? Cheesecake AND one of my favorite cakes to bake Red Velvet..can’t go wrong with BOTH AT THE SAME TIME!

My customer asked me for a 6×4 cake  for her husband and she also asked me for edible roses. I’m not the best at decoration and I must admit I truly don’t like decorating that much (I’m all about the flavor not the appearance), but in the end I think the cake came out pretty neat. You be the judge:

I really wanted this cake to look simple and cute and this is what I came up with. It has cream cheese frosting dyed with Wilton’s “Sky Blue” , made four edible roses and on the bottom i crushed some Dark Chocolate molding chocolate chips and dusted them with glitter (reminded me of Robot Unicorn for some reason…)

Without further ado here is the most delicious Red Velvet recipe EVER(I halved the recipe for the 6×4 in cake):

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake
from Erin’s Food Files (original recipes adapted from Apple a Day and Martha Stewart)

For the cheesecake:
1 1/4 pounds bar cream cheese (20 oz), room temperature
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream

For the cake:
2 1/2 c. cake flour
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 TBSP cocoa powder
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 c. buttermilk
2 TBSP (1 oz.) red food coloring
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. white distilled vinegar

For the frosting:
12 oz. cream cheese, softened
12 oz. butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 c. confectioners’ sugar

For cheesecake:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Set a kettle of water to boil. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on medium until fluffy, scraping down side of bowl. Gradually add sugar, beating until fluffy. Beat in lemon zest and juice, and salt. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down side of bowl after each addition. Beat in sour cream.

Cut parchment paper in a circle and line the bottom of the cheesecake pan. Wrap bottom half of pan in foil. Pour in filling; place in a roasting pan. Pour in boiling water to come halfway up side of springform. Bake until just set in center, about 45 minutes. Remove pan from water; let cool 20 minutes. Run a paring knife around edge; let cool completely. Cover; chill overnight, then wrap in plastic wrap and freeze.

For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350°. Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa, and salt into a medium bowl.

Beat eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until well combined. Add dry ingredients and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Divide batter evenly between 2 greased and floured 9″ round cake pans and bake 25-30 minutes, rotating halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Let cakes cool 5 minutes, then invert each onto a plate, then invert again onto a cooling rack. Let cakes cool completely, then level.

Frosting:
Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until combined. Add sugar and beat until frosting is light and fluffy, 5–7 minutes.

Assembly:
Place bottom layer on cake stand. Remove cheesecake from freezer, unwrap, and remove from metal bottom, then peel off parchment paper. Place cheesecake layer on top of the bottom layer of the red velvet cake. If the cheesecake is wider than the cake, and it is necessary to to trim it, wait approximately 10 minutes for the cheesecake to soften, then trim it with a knife. Place top layer of cake on top of the cheesecake, and coat with a generous layer of the cream cheese frosting to act as the crumb coat. Be careful not to get any red velvet crumbs in the bowl of frosting! Refrigerate approximately 30 minutes, then frost with as much of the remaining frosting as necessary. Top with shaved white chocolate and/or shaved dark chocolate. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Basket cake…case

1 Aug

Yes basket case indeed! Why you ask?

Blame THESE WILTON KITS!

Our classroom was covered in frosting for about eeh 2 weeks, and I know that there is a purpose to them and they are very helpful but COME ON 45 flowers for our final test?! oh yeah and the birds of course!

Needless to say the flowers can be very relaxing to make at times, but when you have to make them over and over and over again because they broke, or because the frosting was too dry, or because you broke the pastry bag…things start to get ugly and you start cursing the heavens  this Wilton corporation and all of its existence!

I can’t tell you how many flowers I actually ended up making and squishing out of frustration but here are some attempts at roses:

Doesn’t seem too hard does it?..well let me burst your bubble IT IS! Very hard and frustrating but once you get the hang of it they come out beautifully.

And now for the grand finale…

Basket Cake

I don’t know what grade I got and honestly after being enslaved with flowers for a week I do not care. This was one of those tests that when you finish you feel like throwing the cake on the floor, smashing your head against the worktable, smoking a pack of cigarettes etc etc etc.

In the end I had more than 45 flowers which was GREAT because the basket weave decoration was a little off in some places so those flowers saved THIS KID BIG TIME!

The birds are fun to make but when trying to remove the birds from the wax paper one of them broke (bird on the right side) ..thank God for the extra flowers 😉

This week Wilton Kit 3 awaits (hallelujah, can I get an AMEN ?!)

Why am I so excited? well not because of this third kit or the carpal tunnel that I might get sooner than expected that’s for sure..but because after that we start working with chocolate! YUP my mouth’s watering already.

Here’s my suicide by pastry bag…

 

NO MORE FLOWERS! !!!!!!!

of a 100 cupcakes and a wedding

19 Jul

So I’ve never been to a wedding, or made something for a wedding and I’m glad to say this last Saturday I popped my wedding cherry!

This wasn’t your traditional wedding but it was the most beautiful wedding I’ve ever been to..oh and yeah I had to make 100 cupcakes for it 🙂

The cupcakes where a hit they where White cake cupcakes with Brandy simple syrup and bavarian cream filling.

And of course I had some major troubleshooting with these cupcakes.. first of all since i have no Kitchen Aid I do it all by hand and had to divide the batter into at least three different bowls so I could handle it.

Second of all did you know that if all else fails you can actually use a blender to blend well..anything!? First time I’ve ever had to use a blender to mix some batter..sounds ridiculous but hey IT WORKED LIKE A CHARM!

The batter only gave me about 87 cupcakes out of the 100 i needed…so it took me three days to actually bake, fill, store 100 cupcakes in my freezer (Mom was NOT loving this) since my freezer was full of..well..what else?! CUPCAKES that we couldn’t eat haha!

I’m more than happy that these two got married and that they requested that I baked their wedding cupcakes. The bride looked so beautiful and I wish them all my best. I nearly cried once and I’m glad that some people can actually find someone they want to share the rest of their lives with and be committed to them forever…so enough of me blabbing about this here are some pictures of the newlyweds eating the cupcakes (be warned lots of cute newlyweds pictures ahead!) The newlyweds rented a cupcake centerpiece that looked AMAZING, are you ready to see the amazingness ?!

 

 

Chocolate Peanut butter brownies for chocoholics

17 Jun

Hi my name is Adriana and I’m a chocoholic.

My boss asked me a month ago to bake something peanut butter-y and chocolate-y and as I stumbled on to recipes all over the internet I found these by Heather Christo and I fell in love. Just look at all the pretty layers and tell me you don’t feel like marrying these!

So I made these with sea salted peanuts and Puratos Carat dark chocolate pieces..and If they weren’t for my boss trust me I would’ve eaten them all!  (in one sitting). This is a pretty simple recipe, it requires patience though since you have to bake the brownie layer cool it and the freeze it, then make the peanut butter layer freeze it again, then add the ganache and let it sit for at least an hour in the freezer, nevertheless they’re worth the effort!

Here’s the recipe by Heather Christo:

Brownies, makes 12
1 ¼ cups of butter, cut into small pieces
1 ¼ cups sugar
¾ cup cocoa powder
2 tsp water
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup plus 1 TBS AP flour
1 cup lightly salted peanuts (I used sea salted peanuts)

Peanut Butter Layer
1 1/3 cup powdered sugar
¼ cup peanut butter
3 Tbs milk

Ganache
2 cups dark chocolate pieces
1 cup whole milk (I used heavy cream)
1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

 

1) Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

2) Prepare an 8×8” pan with tin foil (two sheets creating an x with a 2 inch overlap of foil) and then spray the foil with cooking spray.

3) In a medium saucepan, melt the butter until no longer foaming and the butter has browned, about 5 minutes.

4) While you are waiting for the butter to brown, combine the sugar, cocoa, water, vanilla and salt in the bowl of a mixer.

5) Add the hot butter and scrape all of the browned bits into the bowl of the mixer and then whip to combine.

6) With the mixer on medium, add the eggs one at a time. Then add the flour to combine. Add the peanuts and briefly mix in.

7) Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth with a dampened spatula.

8) Bake 25 minutes and remove from oven. Let cool. When they have cooled enough to handle the pan, place it in the freezer at least 20 minutes.

Peanut Butter Layer:

1) Whip together with a mixer until creamy.

2) Spread the peanut butter mixture evenly over the brownies. Dampen the spatula to get a smooth finish.

3) When there is an even layer of peanut butter, put it back in the freezer, at least 20 minutes.

Ganache:

1) In a small sauce pan, heat the milk (or heavy cream) and vanilla until almost boiling.

2) Place the chocolate pieces in a medium heatproof bowl.

3) Dump the hot milk (heavy cream) over the chocolate and leave for about 5 minutes.

4) When you have let the chocolate and milk sit and they look melted, whisk vigorously with a metal whisk until thick and glossy.

5) Spread the ganache evenly over the peanut butter layer. Place in the freezer for about an hour.

6) Pull the brownies out of the pan (by the foil overlaps). Place the block of frozen brownies on a cutting board. Trim the edged and then slice with a sharp knife into bars.

And you will get something that looks like this:

I suggest you bake these NOW, trust me they are the richest, most addictive brownies I’ve ever made in my life!

 

Roulade: The stressful test of the week

10 Jun

Roulade:

1. Originates from the French word “rouler” meaning “to roll”.

2. The term roulade  also refers to a souffle-type mixture that’s spread on a jelly roll pan, baked until firm but still moist, then spread with a savory or sweet filling and rolled up in jelly-roll fashion.

Roulade, Yule log or Brazo Gitano as we call it in Puerto Rico, consists of a spongecake baked in a sheet pan for 8-12 minutes (depending on how well calibrated your oven is!) which is cooled and  filled with fruit puree/ganache/jelly/buttercream virtually anything you want then rolled up and covered with again ANYTHING YOU WANT. This was my class’s test for the week, we where separated into groups and each group got a different recipe.

My group’s recipe consisted of a Pistachio Spongecake, filled with Italian Lemon Buttercream and as for the coating a simple Dark Chocolate Ganache.

Easy you say?! NO. Here’s some facts

Number one… rolling up a pistachio spongecake is frustrating because it WILL break, no matter how well you roll this baby up it WILL BREAK!

Number two… Italian butter cream consists of a meringue (whipped egg whites cooked with hot sugar syrup) when my team took it out of the fridge and we tried softening it with a whisk the butter started separating and we ended up with what looked like a really f!@$%# up version of scrambled eggs. We panicked but then we fixed it by adding tons of powdered sugar and it was as if nothing ever happened (Phew!)

Number three… The ganache was perfection but of course when covering a broken up pistachio spongecake with it..it just looks wrong! try picture a very rustic tree trunk… How did we fix this problem? By adding tons of broken up pistachio pieces of course!

Number four… The candied lemons…oh why did we even consider this it only takes about 5 to 6 hours to make (no rush!) When we where being evaluated our Chef told us: “Well they look beautiful but they’re undercooked they needed about 4 more hours!!!” So… lesson learned?  Unless I’m planning on sleeping in my classroom for a day and a half..not going to make those.

We had a rough time to say the least fixing the cake, the buttercream, the ganache, covering up the huge cracks, making the candied lemons, everything that could possibly go wrong DID. Did i panic? YES Did I feel like crying? YES Did I ever feel like this cake was mocking us and was never going to work out? YES and YES!

The result you ask? I never got to taste it but everyone gave us compliments and the Chef took three generous bites of our roulade which means it wasn’t bad at all!

Will I make this again? Probably only that next time to avoid the “moss covered tree trunk look” I will cover it up with butter cream and THEN add the ganache..just sayin’.

Here are some nice angled pictures of our tree lookin’ roulade in all its glory:

 

 

Life inside the oven: An introduction

10 Jun

Welcome to my little corner of the internet!

My name is Adriana and I’m a Pastry Chef student from Puerto Rico and I’ve been baking for 6 years now.

Many people have asked “So… how did this baking craze start?!”, all I can say is I started experimenting on M&M cookies when I was 16 after I got sick and tired of baking the “boxed stuff” and after that all hell broke loose and I moved on to baking breads, croissants, pies, cheesecakes and whatever else I could bake that would make my mouth drool.

Eventually this turned into an addiction whilst I was on college, I started baking at 3 am in the morning (when everyone’s asleep and my kitchen is quiet and solitary), I baked numerous batches of cookies, breads, brownies only to sell them at school where I got some nice recognition and money!

Instead of studying for Art History classes I started studying and collecting copious amounts of recipes. I thought this was only going to be a hobby BUT after being in college for 4 years and feeling like it just wasn’t my thing I decided to drop out and go to culinary school in 2011.

So..this is my story, this is how it all began!

And another thing… don’t let anyone EVER tell you that baking (or cooking) is just a hobby, because it is way more than that, it’s an art form it takes patience, skills and discipline some got it and some don’t.

Do i think i have this? well there’s only one way to find out!

Stay tuned for more stories, recipes and pictures of some of my creations (: