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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

It's been quite a while, readers! I recently went to New York for a wedding that I was a bridesmaid in-- and that I provided a cheesecake for. It was a bit stressful making sure the cheesecake made it from Virginia to New York all in one piece and unscathed. But it made it there OK, and the hotel staff was very helpful! So the wedding cake was already included in the catering (phew!) so all I had to do was make a special cheesecake for the bridal party (the bride and groom are not fans of cake).

The bride, Dvon, loves the vanilla bean cheesecake from a certain restaurant named after a certain weekday. So after a little research, I discovered that the cheesecake is actually from a foundry, or factory, per se, that creates these confections. After even more research, I was able to find a copycat recipe that had rave reviews. The recipe is as follows (I doubled it so I could have enough to make a 10" cheesecake with a bit left over for an extra little 6" cheesecake! :))

The Crust:
  • 1 1/2 c crushed graham crackers
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c melted butter
  • 1 egg yolk
The Filling:
  • 16 oz cream cheese
  • 1 c sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp corn starch
  • 1c sugar
  • 2 Tbsp softened butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped 
First, crush the graham crackers. (a wine bottle and thick zipper bag comes in handy here)

Mix in sugar, then add egg yolk and vanilla. Then stir in melted butter.
Line a springform pan with non-stick foil, and press the cracker mixture into the pan.
Bake at 375 for 8 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool!

Then combine cream cheese, sour cream, corn starch, and sugar and mix well until sugar is dissolved.
Scrape the vanilla bean...

Then add the "caviar", butter and vanilla extract. Blend until smooth and do not overmix!
Mmmm be-speckled with vanilla goodness
Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. Cool for 1 hour! At this point, I had wrapped it several times over and popped it into the freezer. Then I moved it to a refrigerator the night before it was to be consumed, so it could thaw out.

As the finishing touch, I added a layer of French Vanilla Cool-Whip ( I would have made some whipped cream from scratch, but I didn't lug my Kitchenaid with me to New York). Then I added some purple roses and silver leaves (those were the colors of the wedding) and topped it off with some shaved white chocolate. And at Dvon's request, I added white chocolate-dipped strawberries around the edge.
That's the only picture I have of this cheesecake. I'm sure there were other pictures taken at the actual wedding.

I was so happy to find that the cheesecake was a hit! I thought it would be pretty tough to please New Yorkers since they are probably used to amazing New York cheesecake, but they loved mine! And I managed to snag a piece, and it actually was pretty awesome, if I don't say so myself! :)

Congratulations, Dvon and Brian!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Naughty Bachelorette Cake

Good day, readers! I have a rather risque cake to share that I recently made for one of my friends (she is married as of right now, so congratulations to Violet and Tramell!)

It doesn't involve nakedness, so I don't need to bring out the blurry-pixely- type editing for this one. It's a clothed sexy torso, complete with necklace and corset!

I started with a quarter sheet cake and two ball pans about 1/3 full (I am finding more and more uses for this ball pan, by the way... good investment idea!)

After trimming the cakes down, I placed the *ahem* spheres in the proper place and carved out a curvy figure.
Eek! Should I have blurred this...?
I base-iced the cake in the bride's fleshtone and also the pink she wanted the corset in. After that was smoothly iced, I added black Cornelli lace accents, ruffles, and strings.

And voila!
Ooh la la!

The heart-shaped pendant added a personal touch (it has her new initials!). She loved it, and it matched her pink and black bachelorette party theme. Success on my first naughty cake!

Monday, July 2, 2012

My First Wedding Cake!

Hello, all! I recently had the opportunity to make a wedding cake for a very awesome friend that had faith in me. :) Her name is Halle, and I've known her since 6th grade (eek so long ago!). I was honored to be part of one of the most special days in her life, both as a guest and as the wedding cake maker!

After our consultation, she went with a beach themed cake that incorporated her colors (magenta and Malibu blue). The tier sizes were 6", 10", and 14" and the flavor was marble cake (yum!)

Because I had to work as well, I had to work on the cake over two days. I started by baking all of my layers, then storing them securely. The next day, I iced the bottom tier and doweled it (about 8 dowels 1 1/2  " from the edge of the next tier). Then I placed the next tier on, iced it and doweled it, and so on. I placed three dowels into the top tier so it can support the beautiful topper (that was made by the bride herself!)
Each tier was filled with one layer of icing
I dyed fondant in the Malibu blue, then I traced and cut a wave shape to serve as the border of each tier. Then came the pearl border, the "sand" (about 50/50 blend of light brown and white sugars), and shells made of white chocolate in candy molds. I subtly incorporated the magenta into the shells.

The shells and starfish were pearl dusted!
I was so relieved to have finally delivered the cake, even though it was pretty fun making it.
As a guest of the wedding, I can actually say first-hand that my cake was delicious! (Uh, not to toot my own horn or anything ;) )

And most importantly, the bride and her groom, Matt, loved it too!
Congratulations, Halle and Matt! :)
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