Sunday, January 22, 2006

Mocha Choka La La Yah Yah.....

After 2 valiant, yet failed attempts at making a cake this weekend, I finally came out on top with this Mocha Chocolate Chip Cheesecake. This picture is horrific and does not do this baby justice. She looked much prettier in person..... but like me, photographs HORRIBLY. So forgive her ugly mugg.
Now, let's talk a little bit about the cake mistakes first...... Sponge Cake. Man, I tell ya... Sponge Cake is a high maintenance little priss. With the careful "folding in" of all those egg whites and the need for the cake to be in a metal pan UNGREASED.....something about the cake needing traction to "climb" up the sides of the pan.....WHEW! A lot of work.
So I made her batter and had a mini debate with myself on if I should put it in a non stick pan, like I REALLY ( and I mean REALLY) wanted to, or if I should follow the directions and pour the batter in a metal pan with no grease....aghhhhhh! "Okay okay... follow the damn directions, Chan. Just do what they say and everything will come out fine... Just fine. The directions are obviously there for a reason." So I poured the batter out of the non stick pan I had already had it in (I was resisting authority at first...) and into a vintage tart pan I found on eBay. It is the ONLY bakeware I have that is metal and not non stick. I popped her in the oven where she rose beautifully. Her color was fabulous , she sprang back to the touch and...... she was gloriously stuck to the pan. I mean she and that pan had become one... there was no seperating those two. I didn't even try...I mean who am I to come between a Sponge Cake and her Pan? So we just ate her straight out of the pan.. from the middle out. And she was DELICIOUS! I added in fresh orange zest when mixing the egg yolks and that little bit of zest really did add a beautiful hint of orange. I am absolutely going to try this one again and I am going to put her in a non stick pan.... I think this would be a fabulous cake to carve and decorate. She has a firm body and very very little crumb. I will post again on this one.
The second cake I made to make up for this one sticking to the pan was a horrid mess... not even worth talking about. She was ugly and dry with a deep hole in the middle. The edges were almost burned and her center was still a raw goopy mess. I just threw her away... horrible.
Now... On to the glorious cheesecake. I think I have the cheesecake down pat. If I have learned how to make anything these past few months I have learned the cheesecake. The basic cheesecake lessons I have learned are these:
  1. All ingredients MUST be at room temperature. Let all the ingredients sit out for about 2 hours...
  2. Baking in a water bath REALLY does keep the cake from cracking.
  3. Slowly cool the cake....leave it in the oven with the door propped open with a wooden spoon for at least an hour.
  4. DO NOT overmix. Again, DO NOT overmix. Mix all ingredients until just incorporated. I know the hand mixer makes you feel powerful... it is the power tool of the kitchen... but please for the sake of the cake...put it down.
  5. Bake in a regular cake pan lined with parchment.... screw the springforms.

Those 5 little things really do make a huge difference in the way my cheesecakes come out. I mean, cheesecakes are no big deal to make. There are only a few ingredients and you can really get creative on flavoring them.... plus, hell... it's CHEESECAKE!

This one is Mocha with Chocolate Chips. I have never been a huge fan of mocha/coffee flavored things so I was a little skeptical when I was reading the recipe. But the picture of the cake sold me... I love love love anything with chocolate chips. The recipe is from The Whimiscal Bakehouse , a neat little cake deocrating book with some really good recipes. The recipe from the book calls for homemade chocolate cookies to be used for the crust but I was lazy and just used Nabisco Famous Wafers....

Here is the recipe:

3 cups chocolate cookies, crushed
¼ cup sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Crush cookies in food processor. Mix in sugar and butter. Stir until well combined. Press into 9” cake pan buttered and lined with parchment paper. Set aside.

2 ½ pounds cream cheese, at room temp
1 ½ cups sugar
½ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon instant espresso
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
6 large eggs, at room temp
1 ¼ cups mini semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.
Beat cream cheese on medium speed until smooth. Gradually add in sugar. Meanwhile simmer cream. Remove from heat and dissolve espresso and vanilla. Add the espresso mixture to cream cheese and beat on low to incorporate. Add in 6 eggs one at a time, beating on low until just incorporated. Pour filling into the crust. Scatter chocolate chips on top and carefully swirl the chips in with a small knife.
Place tin into larger pan filled with hot water. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes, or until cake is golden brown on top and set. Cool cheesecake in oven with heat turned off and door propped open for at least an hour. Let cool outside oven at least another hour. Cake can be then wrapped and placed in oven or freezer until ready to eat…..

Ohhh this is a tasty little cake. The mocha flavor is not too strong and even those who don't care for coffee will love this. Of course the chocolate chips melt beautifully in the cake and add just a hint of chocolate. So very delicious....

Comments on "Mocha Choka La La Yah Yah....."


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (January 22, 2006 2:02 PM) : 

That cheesecake looks sooo good. I definitely think cheesecake should come next on my to-bake list. I was wondering why you say not to use springform pans though. I like them and have always had good experiences using them.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (January 22, 2006 5:01 PM) : 

Yuuum. I love a good cheesecake!


Blogger Stephenie said ... (January 22, 2006 7:40 PM) : 

AND it tasted like heaven! This was the perfect marriage of mocha and chocolate chips, and the crust was amazing. The mocha flavor was so subtle, just perfect - it didn't overpower the chocolate at all but complimented it.
I hear the last piece calling to me from the fridge now...
Thanks Chan!


Blogger Alicat said ... (January 22, 2006 8:02 PM) : 

That looks amazing chan! Don't diss the pics! :) Cheesecake is my faaavorite dessert of all time. :D


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (January 23, 2006 5:25 AM) : 

Wowser, that look sdelish! I'd be interested to know, or maybe not... the nutritional value, but then it might scare me away ;) On second thought, I don't want to know, ignorance is mliss :P

I'll have to try it sometime! LOVE your blog :)



Blogger Chan said ... (January 23, 2006 11:30 AM) : 

hey there all..
From Our Kitchen: I don't care for springforms because they are too damn fragile (mine are all warped to hell and back) and they ALWAYS leak no matter how many freaking layers of tin foill I wrap around the bottom. And I can never get them off the bottom portion of the pan... I HATE HATE HATE that. I really like using just a pain ol' baking round for them.... My friend Stephenie (see above) and I wne to a cooking class and the dessert chef there told us about using a cake tin... and it works beautifully. Just my opinion!
Stephie: So glad you liked it... I am going to bake you up a few of them and freeze them so that when the urge hits you will be satsified! :) Again, thanks for having us over the other night and the homemade pasta was SO VERY GOOD! Love you...
Alicat: You need to try this one.. you will love it!:)
Andree: I have NO IDEA what the nutritional value of this is... but let's put it this way.. my thighs quiver when I get near it. They literally shake in fear...and my mouth waters. EEEK!
Love to all...


Anonymous Ivonne said ... (January 23, 2006 8:33 PM) : 

This cheesecake looks incredible!

And I love your description of sponge cake being a little priss ... too funny!

Great blog!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (January 23, 2006 10:55 PM) : 

That's good to know. I've never had problems with mine, but I haven't used it a whole lot either. I do have that problem with getting it off the bottom part though. So how do you get the cheese cake out of the pan? It looks so beautiful and perfect in your pictures, without any cracks. I'm sure I'd break mine.


Blogger Chan said ... (January 24, 2006 7:45 AM) : 

I let the cheesecake cool completley then covered the top with saran wrap... Flipped it onto a plate then flipped it back to it's final resting place... pulled the saran wrap off SLOWLY so as not to pull off the top of the cake....pretty simple stuff!:)
Try it and let me know....

PS.. Just make sure that you do butter up the pan. That of course keeps the sides from sticking! -C


Blogger michelle said ... (January 24, 2006 2:05 PM) : 

Hi Chandra, I think your cheesecake pics look great! You had me laughing so hard I think that coffee got spewed all over my computer! Thanks for laying out your cheesecake hints - I'll definitely follw them. And I'm the same as's hard to follow authority when that little baker inside you is screaming for you not to follow the directions! Keep baking, you're already a pro in my mind just for sticking with it until it works!


Blogger Colleen said ... (January 25, 2006 5:01 AM) : 

looks yummy! can't wait to try it!!!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (January 25, 2006 8:41 AM) : 

Well it looks like I just have to make a cheesecake now! Really, I should make 2 and compare the two methods, but that's a lot of cheesecake... Hopefully I can squeeze it in sometime this week, and I'll let you know if I suceed.


Blogger latifa said ... (January 26, 2006 1:41 PM) : 

1- A funny & a clever cake name.
2- Your photos may not look pro but defenitly delicious.
3- why you didn't use springform pan?
4- we would like to see more cheesecake stories.
Happy Baking.


Blogger Culinarily Obsessed said ... (January 26, 2006 6:23 PM) : 

Tag you're it! =)


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (February 12, 2006 9:34 AM) : 

Ok, getting back to The Sponge Cake... it's one of my fave cakes. My Granny in Australia used to make the BEST sponge this side of the black stump. We learnt how to make 'em in school, but never as good. My Tip... cut an exact sized layer of parchment paper for the bottom of your non-stick tin. Cake won't stick the the bottom and should pull away from the sides when cooked anyway. Mmmmmmm Sponge cake with real/fresh whipped cream in the centre and passionfruit icing. MMmMMM!!
Aussiegal in AL


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