Archive for the ‘Cakes’ Category

Best Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Yield: 12 to 16 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes | Bake Time: 55 to 65 minutes

For the Crust:
2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs (about a 14-oz package of cookies)
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Cheesecake:
32 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
2 cups (about a 15-oz can) canned pumpkin
4 eggs, at room temperature
2½ tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground allspice

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Double-wrap the bottom and outside of a 9-inch springform pan with heavy duty foil. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into the bottom of the springform pan. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

2. Bring a pot of water to a boil for a water bath.

3. Beat together the cream cheese and the sugars on medium speed until smooth and creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, about 3 minutes. Add the pumpkin and mix on low until completely incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well until fully incorporated and scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and beat until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg, cloves and allspice and mix on low to incorporate.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared crust. Tap the pan on the counter to release any air bubbles. Place the pan into a larger pan (a roasting pan is great for this) and pour the boiling water into the larger pan until it is about halfway up the springform pan.

5. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until the edges are set, but the middle still jiggles a little. Keeping the oven door closed, turn off the oven and let the cheesecake rest in the oven for 1 hour. After 1 hour, remove the cheesecake from the oven, carefully remove it from the water bath, remove the foil and place the cheesecake on a wire rack to cool completely, about an additional 2 hours. Once completely cool, refrigerate for at least 6 hours (preferably overnight).

6. Cover any leftover cheesecake with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Wrapped, the cheesecake can be frozen for up to 2 months.

 

Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ingredients:
For the crust:
5 oz.ginger snaps, broken into large pieces
3 tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground cloves
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. ground allspice
½ tsp. salt
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup heavy cream

Need:
Food Processor
Electric Mixer
Springform pan
Roasting pan

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 325˚ F and place an oven rack in the lower-middle position.  Wrap the outside of a 9-inch springform pan tightly with two pieces of foil.  Spray the inside of the pan lightly with cooking spray.  To make the crust, combine the graham crackers, sugar, and spices in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse to process until evenly and finely ground.  Add the melted butter to the bowl and pulse again until the crumbs are evenly moistened.  Transfer the crumbs to the prepared springform pan and press firmly into an even layer on the bottom of the pan.  Bake until fragrant and browned at the edges, about 15 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool 30 minutes.  Set the pan inside a larger roasting pan.

Bring about 4 quarts of water to a boil; maintain at a simmer.  To make the filling, combine the sugar, spices and salt in a small bowl; whisk to blend and set aside.  Line a work surface with a triple layer of towels.  Spread the pumpkin on the towels and cover with a second triple layer of towels.  Press firmly until the towels are saturated with excess liquid.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth and softened, about 1 minute.  Add about a third of the sugar-spice mixture to the bowl and beat at medium-low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute.  Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed and repeat, adding the remaining sugar mixture in two additions.  Add the pumpkin puree, vanilla and lemon juice; beat at medium speed until blended, about 45 seconds.  Add 3 of the eggs and mix on medium-low until incorporated; repeat with the remaining two eggs.  Add the heavy cream and beat at low speed until combined, about 45 seconds.  Use a rubber spatula to give the mixture a final stir by hand.

Pour the filling into the springform pan, over the crust.  Smooth the top.  Pour enough simmering water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.  Bake until the cake is slightly wobbly when the pan is shaken and the center reads 150˚ F on an instant-read thermometer, about 90 minutes.  Transfer the roasting pan to a wire rack and cool until the water is just warm, about 45 minutes.  Remove the springform pan from the water bath, discard the foil, and run a paring knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake.  Cool until barely warm, about 3 hours.  Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours and up to 3 days.

To serve, remove the sides of the springform pan.  Slide a thin metal spatula between the crust and the bottom of the pan to loosen.  Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

 

Pumpkin Spice Bars

Makes 9-12 servings

  • 1 1/2 c. canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 c. canola oil
  • 1/3 c. non-dairy or organic milk
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 t. vanilla
  • 1 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. ginger
  • 1/2 t. nutmeg
  • 1/2 t. garam masala

Icing:

  • 3 T. Butter
  • 1/2 c.  cream cheese
  • 2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1/2 t. vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix pumpkin, oil, milk, sugars and vanilla with an electric or stand mixer.
2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and garam masala.
3. Add dry ingredients to wet, and mix until just combined.
4. Spread batter into an 8×8 baking pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until set.
5. Meanwhile, prepare frosting by beating together margarine, cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla.
6. When pumpkin bars have completely cooled, frost.

Monkey Bread

Yield: 1 loaf, serving 6 to 8

Total Prep Time: 1 hour | Total Rise Time: 2 hours | Bake Time: 35 minutes

Dough:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, 2 tablespoons softened and 2 tablespoons melted
1 cup milk, warm (about 110 degrees F)
1/3 cup water, warm (about 110 degrees F)
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 package instant yeast
3¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for work surface
2 teaspoons salt

Brown Sugar Coating:
1 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted

Glaze:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons milk

1. Butter Bundt pan with 2 tablespoons softened butter. Set aside.

2. In a large measuring cup, mix together milk, water, melted butter, sugar and yeast. Mix flour and salt in standing mixer fitted with dough hook. Turn machine to low and slowly add milk mixture. After dough comes together, increase speed to medium and mix until dough is shiny and smooth, 6 to 7 minutes. Turn dough onto lightly floured counter and knead briefly to form smooth, round ball. Coat large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Place dough in bowl and coat surface of dough with cooking spray. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in a draft-free area until dough doubles in size, 50 to 60 minutes.

3. For the sugar coating: While the dough is rising, mix brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Place melted butter in second bowl. Set aside.

4. To form the bread: Gently remove the dough from the bowl, and pat into a rough 8-inch square. Using a bench scraper or knife, cut dough into 64 pieces.

5. Roll each dough piece into a ball. Working one at a time, dip the balls into the melted butter, allowing excess butter to drip back into the bowl. Roll in the brown sugar mixture, then layer balls in the Bundt pan, staggering seams where dough balls meet as you build layers.

6. Cover the Bundt pan tightly with plastic wrap and place in draft-free area until dough balls are puffy and have risen 1 to 2 inches from top of pan, 50 to 70 minutes.

7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Unwrap the pan and bake until the top is deep brown and caramel begins to bubble around the edges, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a platter and allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.

8. For the glaze: While the bread cools, whisk the confectioners’ sugar and milk in a small bowl until the lumps are gone. Using a whisk, drizzle the glaze over the monkey bread, letting it run over top and down the sides of the bread. Serve warm.

*Note: To make without a stand mixer: In step 2, mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the flour, then add the milk mixture to the well. Using a wooden spoon, stir until the dough becomes shaggy and is difficult to stir. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and begin to knead, incorporating the shaggy scraps back into the dough. Knead until dough is smooth and satiny, about 10 minutes. Shape into a taut ball and proceed as directed.