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Posts Tagged ‘cream cheese’

Chocolate Muffins with Cream Cheese Filling (makes 12 muffins)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

10 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

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

2 eggs— room temperature

1 cup whipping cream

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

8 tbsp (1/2 block cream cheese)— cut into 12 pieces

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line muffin molds with muffin liners.
  2. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, whipping cream and vanilla extract. Whisk to blend well.
  4. Pour cream mixture, melted butter into flour mixture. Use a spatula, gently FOLD IN until the batter just incorporated. Don not over mix. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Spoon batter into muffin molds to half full. Gently press in cream cheese pieces. Cover with remaining batter to the top of muffin molds.
  6. Bake in preheated 375F oven for 20-30 minutes. Remove muffins from molds and cool on a rack.
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I join a group on Facebook called Baking Wonderland, and people pose all kinds of delicious food photos all the time. This cheesecake recipe comes from Baking Wonderland. What caught my eyes was that it uses only 3 simple ingredients: cream cheese, chocolate and eggs. Yes, very simple. Flourless and oil free too. Original 6-inch cake recipe calls for 3 eggs, 120g cream cheese and 120g chocolate. Since I don’t have 6-inch cake pan, 1 block of cream cheese in U.S. is 220g, and 1 package of chocolate chips is 10 oz, I figure I will just kinda double up the recipe to fit my 9-inch cake pan , and conveniently save my time measuring the amount of cream cheese and chocolate chips.

Why trial #1? Well, because this is a VERY simple recipe (we tend to like simple works don’t we all?). And who doesn’t like chocolate?? Plus, I made a boo boo this time during baking– I was supposed to turn off the oven and let the cake sit in the oven for another 15 minutes after baking at 300°F, but I forgot to turn off the oven heat!! So my cake baked an extra 15 minutes at the end, creating a cracked cake top. 😦

I could hardly wait for the cake to chill so I could try the taste. But… uh oh! The cake was a lot denser than I expected, and it was just too crumbly– I just couldn’t make a nice cut at all.  My mood went straight down to the bottom. The taste was good though– rich creamy chocolaty with a tangy flavor from the cream cheese. At the end, we finished this big piece of “chocolate crumbs”. Consider its simplicity, I might try making it again.

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Flourless Chocolate Souffle Cheesecake Trial #1

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Flourless Chocolate Souffle Cheesecake Trial #1– crumbs, crumbs, crumbs…

Flourless Chocolate Souffle Cheesecake (makes one 9-inch round cake)

Ingredients:

Egg yolk mixture:
8 oz. (1 block) cream cheese– room temperature
10 oz (1 package) bittersweet chocolate chips
5 egg yolks– room temperature

Egg white mixture:
5 egg whites– room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar or fresh lemon juice

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange oven rack to lower 2/3 (so the cake bakes in the middle of the oven). Boil a pot of water.
  2. Line the bottom of a  9-inch springform cake pan with parchment paper. Then double wrap the bottom of cake pan with foil (or put cake pan in a larger shallow pan). Prepare another large roasting pan for the water bath.
  3. Put cream cheese and chocolate chips in a double boiler over medium heat. Stir until it melts half way. Remove from the heat and continue mixing until all blended well. The mixture will be dense and sticky.
  4. Add in egg yolks, one at a time, and mix well to combine. The better will look smoother.
  5. Whip egg whites on high speed (KitchenAid Stand Mixer speed 8) until no visible clear egg whites. Add in cream of tartar or lemon juice, continue on high speed (speed 8). When the egg whites become meringue looking, turn down the speed (speed 6) so it whips out big air bubbles, whip for another 2-3 minutes until pointy peak forms.
  6. Gently fold in whipped egg whites into egg yolk mixture, in 3 batches, until all blended well. Pour batter into springform pan. Smooth the top.
  7. Add boiling water to the roasting pan (water level is about 1-2 inches high), then put cake (if using larger shallow pan: springform cake pan in shallow pan, then together in the roasting pan) in the roasting pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F, for 15 minutes. Then reduce further to 300°F for another 15 minutes. The cake should be done at this point (toothpick/skewer inserted into the cake center should come out clean). Remove from the oven. Cool completely before chilling in the fridge. Served chilled for best flavor.

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This past summer when strawberries were in season, I made this roll after seeing the beautiful photos from 静心莲的BLOG, but my roll did not look pretty  like 静心莲的BLOG‘s~~ i don’t know why, but my cake roll never has the nice smooth golden top crust like many others. And this time I sprinkled too much chopped strawberries– which makes it worse to having a nice crust as the liquid from strawberries makes the crust more moist, more easily to peel off upon contact with fingers/ parchment paper/ cling wrap, and the strawberry color “smears” the cake the longer it sits. Frustrating!! I just don’t know what I did wrong as I followed the recipe to the T… On the good side, I love the flavor and colorful presentation– very different from a typical cake roll.

Strawberry Cake Roll with Cream Cheese Filling 草莓蛋糕卷 (軟起士餡)

Strawberry Cake Roll with Cream Cheese Filling 草莓蛋糕卷 (軟起士餡)

Strawberry Cake Roll with Cream Cheese Filling 草莓蛋糕卷 (軟起士餡)– recipe adapted from 静心莲的BLOG

Ingredients:

Egg yolk mixture:
6 egg yolks
2 tbsp sugar

Egg white mixture:
6 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
4 tbsp sugar

4 tbsp cake flour
1 tbsp unsalted butter
3 tbsp milk

2 tbsp chopped fresh strawberries– about pea size– see note below

Fillings (see note below):
8 oz (block/tub) cream cheese
4 tbsp powder sugar
4 tbsp sour cream
10-12 whole fresh strawberries– remove stems and pat dry (see note below)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Position a oven rack in the middle of the oven. Line the bottom and 4 sides of a 15 x 10 x 1 inch jelly roll pan (no need to grease pan before lining)
  2. Combine butter and milk in a small bowl, microwave until butter melts. Mix to blend well. Keep warm.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar with a balloon whisk until pale yellow and fluffy.
  4. Whip egg white in a separate dry clean mixing bowl on high speed (I used KitchenAid, speed 8). When egg whites becomes small bubbles and no visible clear egg whites, add cream of tartar. Continue whipping on high speed (speed 8). Scrape down the bowl once.
  5. When egg white becomes white and very fine bubbles, slowly add in sugar, one tbsp at a time. Continue whipping on high speed (speed 8) until the meringue looks sheen like a pearl. Turn down to low speed (speed 4) and whip for 1-2 minutes. This is to whip out any bib air bubbles in the meringue and creating a cake with a more delicate, fine texture. Whip until soft peak stage (when lift whisk the meringue will have a 1 inch long, slightly curl soft tip).
  6. With a spatula, gently fold in 1/3 of whipped egg whites into egg yolk mixture until blended. Sift in cake flour in 2 batches, gently fold in flour until blended before each addition.
  7. Whip egg whites again on low speed (speed 2) for a few seconds, this is because whipped egg whites will start to deflate if not used immediately. Pour yolk mixture to whipped egg whites, carefully gently fold in until all mixed well.
  8. Gradually pour warm butter/milk mixture onto spatula and drizzle onto batter in circular motion. Gently fold in again to blend well.
  9. Pour batter to the prepared lined jelly roll pan. Spread to smooth the top. Tap a couple times to remove air bubbles. Sprinkle chopped strawberries on the top.
  10. Bake in preheated oven at the middle rack for 15-18 minutes. Remove from oven. Tap cake pan on a surface to release air trapped underneath. Transfer cake and parchment paper onto a cooling rack. Flatten out 4 sides of parchment paper to cool completely.
  11. While the cake is cooling, preparing the filling: microwave cream cheese briefly until it softens. Add powder sugar and sour cream, mix until smooth. Chill in the fridge.
  12. When cake cools completely, place another parchment paper (large than cake) on top of the cake and flip it over. Peel off the pan liner. Spread cream cheese filling onto the cake, with a very thin layer at the long side (farthest from you) of the cake. Line whole strawberries on the other long side (closest to you). Roll up the cake, then wrap up with parchment paper or cling wrap. Chill in the fridge before serving. Before slicing each piece, run knife in hot water and wipe dry with a paper towel to ensure a nice clean cut.

Regina’s Note:

  • Chopped strawberries: I was greedy, and I put too much! The result is strawberries draw out liquid, creating a sticky cake crust, and the strawberry color smears the cake the longer it sits… should cut down to just 1 tbsp, and more finely chopped.
  • Cream cheese filling: Too much cream cheese filling (greedy, and don’t want to deal with cream cheese leftover), making the cake a bit rich to the taste even with the whole strawberries as part of the fillings… should cut down to 5-6 oz and possibly skip sour cream.
Strawberry Cake Roll with Cream Cheese Filling 草莓蛋糕卷 (軟起士餡)

Strawberry Cake Roll with Cream Cheese Filling 草莓蛋糕卷 (軟起士餡)

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I saw lots and lots of pictures, read up on lots and lots of recipes, but I still can’t make it right(frustrations!!).  Some recipe bloggers said it was pretty easy and the results are guaranteed everytime, but not for me– the cake sometimes turns out slightly better, but other times not! 😦 I think there will be at least a few more trials until I get it right (golden crust that’s not sticky, tall and not shrink horribly, moist and very fine cake crumb)– I believe I did the batter correctly– my problem might be the oven (temperature and/or moisture), which is more challenging than mixing the batter… sigh.

Here’s the result–

The Look:

  • I finally got that nicely browned top crust that I always look for in a Japanese cheesecake, and the crust doesn’t get sticky after cooling.
  • But the cake top cracked pretty bad, which indicates oven temperature is too high, and possibly not enough steam in the oven (found out, after baking, that water dried out during baking!)–> next trial, use 350°F/325°F or even 325 all the way, and more water.
  • I removed cake from the oven right after baking, cool for a few minutes then remove the spring-form side (I was afraid moisture will trap and make the cake wet). At first the cake was tall and handsome, but it started to shrink in no time, HORRIBLY!!–> next trial, turn off oven after baking, take out water tray (to avoid extra steam in the oven which may cause the cake too moist), and let the cake stay in the oven for at least 20 minutes with oven door ajar opened.

The Taste:

  • Very light, and mild cream cheese taste even though I used original full fat version.
  • Lemon flavor is too subtle for me–> next trial, increase lemon juice to 4 tbsp.

The Texture:

  • Very fine cake crumb and moist, but not wet like bread pudding.
Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake Trial #2

Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake Trial #2

Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake Trial #2

Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake Trial #2

Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake Trial #2 (makes one 9-inch cake, spring-formed pan)

Ingredients:

Egg Yolk Mixture:
1 block (8 oz) cream cheese
4 tbsp unsalted butter
50 ml milk
1/4 tsp salt
5 yolks– room temperature
1 whole egg– room temperature
grated lemon zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp lemon juice–> should increase to 4 tbsp for more lemon flavor
1/2 cup cake flour

Egg White Mixture:
5 egg whites– room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
2/3 cup sugar

Method:

  1. Fill a shallow pan with tap water to half way, place the water pan at the lowest rack in the oven. Place another oven rack at the second lowest level, this is where the cake bakes. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease, and lined the bottom and side of a spring-form cake pan with parchment paper, leaving 2 inches higher than the rim of the cake pan.
  2. Melt cream cheese and butter in a big bowl over double boiler (alternatively can be done in microwave), add milk and salt and hand whisk with a balloon whisk until smooth. Cool slightly if the mixture is too warm.
  3. Whisk in egg yolks and whole egg, one at at time, and blend well after each addition. Add in lemon zest and lemon juice, whisk to blend very well.
  4. Sift cake flour to the yolk mixture in 3-4 batches, whisk to blend really well before next batch and no visible small lumps.
  5. Whip egg whites on high speed (KA stand mixer speed 8) until tiny bubbles form and no visible clear egg whites, add cream of tartar and continue on high speed (speed 8). Scrap down the bowl if necessary.
  6. When the egg whites turn white and the bubbles becomes more fine, slowly add in sugar. Continue whipping on high speed (speed 8) for a few minutes. Scrap down the bowl at least once. When the egg whites has a sheen look like pearl, turn to low speed (speed 4) for a few more minutes to push out big air bubbles. Whip until its is soft peak (curly tip on the whisk when lifted upside down).
  7. Gently fold in whipped egg whites to yolk mixture in 3-4 batches until all blended well and no egg white lumps. Slowly pour batter to the cake pan (this will avoid big bubbles and last check for any egg white lumps, you can also sift batter through a strainer to cake pan). Tap cake pan a couple of times on a surface.  Then place cake pan inside a larger baking pan (to catch any spills if it happens during baking).
  8. Bake at 375°F for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 325°F for 50 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a rack slightly before unmolding.

Regina’s Note (learning from the failure, and hope for success!):

  • Oven temperature: next trial, use 350°F/325°F or even 325 all the way.
  • Water tray: next trial, use a deeper/wider tray for more water.
  • Lemon Juice: next trial, increase to 4 tbsp.
  • Cooling cake: next trial, cool cheesecake in the oven (with temperature off and water tray removed) for at least 20 minutes. Then cool completely before unmolding.

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This recipe is from Diana’s Desserts, which is very popular over internet. Many recipe bloggers use or adapt from this recipe and said that the cheesecake is really light and soft. Long ago, I tried this recipe and it turned out to be a disaster– the top half of the cheesecake had a fine cake crumb but the bottom half was wet and dense like bread pudding. I was discouraged… until recently I saw people posting beautiful Japanese cheesecake photos on their blog, and I decided to give it a try.

Here is the verdict–

The Look:

  • As you can tell from the picture, the cheesecake was still quite tall and handsome (I believe it’s because of the large amount of eggs used) even after cooling and shrinking.
  • I personally would like the cake browned a bit more to a beautiful golden brown with smooth top crust, not the wrinkly crust after cooling!–> maybe increase oven temperature to 350°F during last 10 minutes of baking?
  • After cooling, the cake surface sticks upon contact with cling wrap, finger… turning the cake quite ugly with patches missing everywhere. Why?? Could it be oven temperature too low/ too much steam/ not baked through??

The Taste:

  • I used low fat cream cheese so the cake didn’t have much of cream cheese taste to it.
  • Very very light lemon flavor too–> will increase amount of lemon juice and add grated lemon zest next time.

The Texture:

  • This time the cheesecake has the fine cake crumb texture. It’s moist but not wet like bread pudding. It’s very similar to my souffle cheesecake.
Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake Trial #1

Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake Trial #1

Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake Trial #1– recipe adapted from Diana’s Desserts (makes one 8-inch round cake)

Ingredients:

2/3 cups (140g) fine granulated sugar
6 egg whites
6 egg yolks
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
4 tbsp (50g) butter
1 block/8 oz (250g) cream cheese
100 ml fresh milk
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup (60g) cake flour
1 1/2 tbsp (20g) cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Boil a pot of water. Prepare a shallow pan (I used my meat roasting pan). Grease and line the bottom and sides of a 8-inch round cake pan with parchment paper, leaving 2 inches above the rim.
  2. Melt cream cheese, butter and milk over a double boiler. Cool the mixture. Sift in the flour and the cornstarch, mix well. Add egg yolks, lemon juice and mix well again.
  3. Whip egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Add in the sugar and whip until soft peaks form (curly tip on the whisk when lifted upside down).
  4. Gently fold in whipped egg whites to the yolk mixture in 3-4 batches, until well blended.  Pour into the cake pan. Tap on the surface once.
  5. Put the shallow pan/roasting pan at the lowest rack. Pour in boiling water carefully. Then carefully place the cake pan inside the water pan.
  6. Reduce temperature to 300°F. Bake cheesecake in a water bath for 1 hour 10 minutes or until set and golden brown.
  7. After baking, turn off oven and continue let the cake sit in the oven for 30 minutes with oven door ajar open. Remove from cake pan and continue cooling on a rack. Chill completely before serving.

Regina’s Note:

  • Baking method: Water bath vs. steam bake–> I wonder if steam bake method will make the cake more dry and produce fine care crumb rather than wet pudding-like texture.
  • Cooling in the oven: Maybe removing water pan and take away extra steam will make the cake surface less sticky?
  • Oven Temperature: I used 300°F but original recipe uses 325°F. Could this make my cake look pale browned and sticky because not baked through?
  • Cream cheese: Should use full fat original version for a full flavor.
  • Lemon juice: Should increase to 2 tbsp next time for more lemon flavor, add lemon zest too.

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Western cheesecakes are usually very rich and creamy in flavor, and dense in texture. But Japanese cheesecakes, on the other hand are creamy and lighter, and it suits Asians’ taste better. Years ago, when I made Japanese cheesecake it was a disaster– the top half of the cake is like a cake, but the bottom half is so moist and wet like a pudding! Since then it has been out of my mind, until recently I have all ingredients on hand, and decided to give it another try.

Well, this time around my cheesecake turned out pretty good. I couldn’t wait for it to cool and chill, so I sliced a piece while it was still a little warm. I was kind of disappointed after the first bite– the cake is still a bit moist (at least it wasn’t like pudding moist this time!) compare to the store bought ones, but drier than the souffle cheesecake that I made before. I chilled the rest of the cake in the fridge and had some the next day. Guess what– the texture of the cheesecake turns out surprising differently! It is soft, light and yet a bit creamier than freshly baked– tastes just like those individually packed Japanese cheesecakes I bought at the Chinese grocery stores! Yes, finally I did it!

Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake
Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake
Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake-- To leave a smooth edge after slicing, a serrated knife is needed.
Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake– To leave a smooth edge after slicing, a serrated knife is needed.

Japanese Cotton Soft Cheesecake– adapted from Diana’s Desserts (makes one ???  size round pan plus a loaf pan)

Ingredients:

Egg yolk mixture:
8 oz (1 block) cream cheese
4 tbsp unsalted butter
100 ml heavy cream
1/3 cup cake flour
1 tbsp tapioca starch
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon zest
6 egg yolks

Egg white mixture:
6 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
2/3 cup sugar

Method:

  1. Position oven rack on the lower third of the oven. Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease cake pans. Prepare a deep roasting pan, and boil a pot of water.
  2. Melt cream cheese, butter and cream over a double boiler. Whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool.
  3. Sift in cake flour and tapioca starch to cream cheese mixture, whisk to combine. Mix in lemon juice ,grated lemon zest and egg yolks, one at a time. Stir to combine.
  4. In a different medium mixing bowl, whip egg whites until foamy. Add in cream of tartar and whip until the mixture resembles of very fine bubbles. While the mixer is on and turning, gradually pour in sugar. Whip on high speed until soft peak (curl tip when lifted) forms.
  5. Add 1/3 of whipped egg whites to yolk mixture. Use a balloon whisk to gently mix well. Then FOLD IN remaining whipped egg whites in 2-3 batches.
  6. Pour batter to greased cake pans (about 70-80 percent full). Then place cake pans in a deep roasting pan. Carefully pour in boiling water into roasting pan. Water level should be about half the height of cake pans.
  7. Lower oven temperature to 300°F. Steam bake cheesecake at the lower third of the oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave cheesecake in the oven for 1 hour. Cheesecake will shrink. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Chill the fridge before serving. The flavor and texture is at the best when it is chilled. To leave a smooth edge on the cake, use a serrated knife to slice the cake, wiping the knife clean after each slicing.
Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake-- melting cream cheese, butter and cream over double boiler.
Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake– melting cream cheese, butter and cream over double boiler.
Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake-- cheesecake batter after folding in whipped egg white. See how fluffy the batter turns out?
Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake– cheesecake batter after folding in whipped egg white. See how fluffy the batter turns out?
Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake-- the cakes shrink after cooling in the oven.
Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake– the cakes shrink after cooling in the oven.

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Cherry Cream Cheese Braid Bread

Cherry Cream Cheese Braid Bread

This is the first I made braided bread. As you can tell I need more practice! Don’t be intimidated by its look, it is actually quite easy to braid, and fun too. I initially wanted cream cheese filling, but added chopped tart dried cherries, hoping to break up the richness of cream cheese. After I braided the bread, I let it slow rest in the fridge overnight– and comes the problem: while those dried cherries didn’t taste too tart to me while I chopped them, but letting it sit in the fridge overnight brings out the tartness. After baking the filling tasted too tart to go well with cream cheese filling. Oh well, next time I should just skip the cherries, or go for a savory version of braided bread.

I forgot to take pictures of the braiding part, but I found this braiding pastry video that shows the braiding method.

Cherry Cream Cheese Braid Bread

Cherry Cream Cheese Braid Bread

Cherry Cream Cheese Braid Bread

Cherry Cream Cheese Braid Bread

Cherry Cream Cheese Braided Bread (makes 1 large loaf)

Ingredients:

Ingredients:

Dough:
2 1/4 cup bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp dry milk powder
4 tbsp sugar
2 tsp dry yeast
1 egg
125- 150 ml warm water
2 1/2 tbsp butter

cherry cream cheese filling– recipe follows
egg wash

Method:

  1. In the mixing bowl mix well the first 5 ingredients then add in egg. With dough hook attached and starts kneading, slowing add water to form a dough. Add a little more water if necessary. Drop in butter and continue to knead the dough until it doesn’t stick to the bowl and pass the “membrane” test. (pull a small piece of the dough, use two hand to stretch the dough to a very thin layer– if the layer doesn’t tear then the dough is ready to proof. Otherwise, continue kneading until it passes the test).
  2. Transfer the dough to a big bowl. Wrap the bowl and leave it on a warm spot to rest/proof until double in size.  (To speed up the resting time a little you can sit the bowl on a moist hot towel, or sit the bowl on top of a pot of hot water).
  3. Lightly knead the dough on a board a few times to punch out big air pockets trapped inside. Roll out to a 9×13 inch rectangle of 1/2 inch thickness. Spread cream cheese filling on the middle 1/3 of the dough. Make diagonal 1-inch strips on the other 2/3 of the dough. First fold both ends over the filling. Then pull strips, alternating, to the other side crossing over the filling. For the last strips, just tuck in at the bottom (as seen on braiding pastry video). Place on a large baking pan (greased or lined with parchment paper). Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge overnight.
  4. Let the chilled dough sit in room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour before baking. Preheat oven to 375°F. Apply egg wash on the top of the bread. Bake in preheated 375°f oven for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan and cool on a rack.

Cherry Cream Cheese Filling:
1 block cream cheese, softened
4-5 tbsp powder sugar
3 tbsp dried tart cherries– roughly chopped

Method: Whisk cream cheese and powder sugar until smooth. Stir in dried cherries.

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