Thursday, March 15, 2007

Hay, Hay, It's... Um, My Mother's Birthday

Here's the deal: I don't really do innovative in the kitchen. At least not when I'm baking. I'm OK with trying anything, no matter how weird, as long as I have A RECIPE OMG, but stick me with a general theme and a request to "come up with something interesting" and you'll find me tearing out my hair in desperation. HOWEVER, for my first ever Donna Day, I was going to change all that. I was going to boldly go where, OK, others had probably gone before, but I wouldn't follow on purpose.

Mocha-Orange Cheesecake

Except... it's my mother's birthday. My mother wanted cheesecake for her birthday, which was fortuitous as I couldn't justify baking two cakes in a single week. My mother wanted chocolate orange cheesecake. (My mother is probably getting tired of being namechecked in this here blog, and in such a disparaging manner. Can I tell you about the fabulous pork she made for our family lunch on Sunday? It was fabulous! And pork! Which is a meat!) And like the creature of habit I am, I just took a tiny peek at epicurious and just happened to search for "cheesecake," "orange" and "chocolate" - I swear it was an accident! - and found... this Mocha-Orange Cheesecake. And that, as they say, was that.

Orange-Mocha Cheesecake

Now, once I have a recipe, I'm perfectly fine with tinkering. For one thing, I wouldn't know a Pepperidge Farm Orange Milano cookie if, er, I bit into it, although chances are I would like it really a lot. I'm also not sure where I'd ever find frozen juice concentrate, and my booze collection pretty much consists of cooking sherry, and I didn't feel like tinkering about with forgot to buy sour cream. So really, I couldn't actually follow the recipe at all. Still, it was Mocha-Orange or nothing.

Mocha-Orange Cheesecake

I'm always surprised when something I do without a set recipe turns out fabulous, and this totally did (even if I had some, er, issues with construction). The crust is wonderful, the cheesecake layer fresh and intensely orange-y, and the ganache faintly coffee-flavored and fairly sweet. In fact, if you make this without the ganache you may need to up the sugar in the actual cake a bit. (Yes, that is a Moomin spoon. Do you know how long I've waited to post a recipe displaying my Moomin spoons? Longer than I've had this blog, that's how long!)

Layered Blotched Marbled Mocha-Orange Cheesecake

for the crust
150 g (5½ oz) crushed chocolate chocolate chip cookies
grated peel of one untreated orange
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp sugar
50 g (1¾ oz) butter, melted

for the cream cheese
250 g (9 oz) mascarpone cheese
400 g (14 oz) cream cheese (Philadelphia)
4 eggs
130 g (4½ oz) sugar
juice and grated peel of one orange
1 tsp instant espresso powder
50 g (1¾ oz) dark chocolate

for the ganache
240 g (8½ oz) dark chocolate
200 ml (6¾ fl oz) thick cream
2 tsp instant espresso powder
250 ml (1 cup) icing sugar

Whizz together the ingredients for the crust and press into the bottom of a springform pan (mine is 23 cm (9 inches) in diameter, but a smaller one would probably yield a prettier result). Bake at 175°C (350°F) for about ten minutes, let cool.

Mix the cheeses until smooth and, er, mixed. Add sugar, orange juice & peel and the eggs, whisk until combined.

Melt the chocolate for the cake in the microwave. Add 1 tsp espresso powder and about a third of the cheese/egg mixture, blend well.

Pour about half of the plain cheese mixture in the springform pan, then gently spoon over the chocolatey cheese. The plan here was to go for layers, but of course the chocolate mixture was much less runny than the plain orangey one, so that totally didn't work out. If you feel strongly about layers you could probably bake the bottom plain layer for a while, until it firms up a bit, then add the chocolate and top with the rest of the plain orange layer, but I did not have the time for that crap, so settled for dumping blips of chocolate in the pan, topping with the rest of the orange, and finally running a knife around the thing for a marbled effect.

Bake in a bain marie (wrap your springform pan in foil first!) at 150°C (300°F) for 50 minutes, turn off the oven and leave the cake there to cool.

For the ganache, heat the cream until almost boiling, the pour over the (chopped) chocolate and espresso powder, let stand for a minute and mix to combine. Blend in the icing sugar and let cool. Once it's thickened, whip until dense and fluffy and decorate pipe on top of the cake.

Mocha-Orange Cheesecake


Anonymous said...

you have moomin spoons. o_o I am in awe. Where did you get these moomin spoons? I love moomin trolls. ^_^

Oh, and the cheesecake sounds and looks delicious. If I had a kitchen, I'd try it...


deinin said...

AnnoyedWabbit, I got them from a shop here in Finland (or rather, my aunt got them for me for Christmas), but you can buy them online here. I'm trying to convince myself I don't need the forks, knives and soup spoons, too. SO CUTE.

Pille said...

The cake sounds wonderful (I'd make that for my dad's birthday in a fortnight, but K. has already promised to make a large tiramisu and I won't argue with him:), but yes, those Moomin spoons are wonderful! I've got the latest Xmas mug (and have featured it on my blog), and we gave the spoons as a gift to some friends, but I'm yet to buy some for myself. Would it still be fine to include them on my blog photos, too? :)

Peabody said...

Excellent entry!

joey said...

That is a fantastic looking cheesecake! And yes, I do like the construction :) Looks so tempting!

And OHMYLORD! The Moomin spoon!!! I love the Moomins! Ooooh, I want! :) Am going to check out that link right now!

Brilynn said...

Well done, your cheesecake looks awesome!
Furthermore, I'd never heard of moomins before, but those are the coolest things I've ever seen! I want some!

Ullis said...

Nostalgia! A moomin spoon! Lovely photos, and the cake sounds delicious.... yum....

I just found your blog and just want to say that I really like it – the food-ideas as well as your beautiful photos.

Zarah Maria said...

Moomin's rock! Moomin spoons and that cake rocks even more :)

deinin said...

Pille, the more Moomins, the better say I! I just got the Groke/Hattifattener spoon set this weekend. :P For when I'm feeling slightly menacing, y'know.

Peabody, thanks!

Joey, thanks! I'm always so surprised when I come across (non-Scandinavian) people who know Moomin.

Brilynn, you should check out the books as well as the spoons... and the comic strip (but not the Japanese animated thing, ugh).

Ullis, thank you! I think way more about what I should make for dinner than I did before starting the blog. In a good way, I think.

Zarah Maria, I had the Moomin family + My, in two versions, and THEN I realized there are Groke and Snufkin (super bad translation, IMO) and Fillyjonk and Hemulen ones as well! OMG.

Kate said...

hey this cheesecake competition has got me looking at cheesecakes in most of the blogs.And yours looks wonderful.i really need to eat some cheesecake now !

deinin said...

Kate - yes, even before the roundup I have about half a dozen new cheesecakes bookmarked NEEDING to be made. Now if I could only find enough people to EAT them...

Helene said...

That is a cake that would not last long with us! Looks great, loves the flavor combo.

deinin said...

Helene, the ganache on top made it fairly rich, so it didn't disappear as quickly as it might have - it was wonderful, but a small slice was quite enough. Especially as it meant there was more to savour later on...

Maria said...

Oh your cheesecake sounds and looks wonderful! I love chocolate and orange flavors together, they are like the perfect pair- and in a cheesecake- well now your talking dvivine!

Barbara said...

I've never heard of a moomin spoon but I do love the cheesecake you made. Thanks for joining HHDD.

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