Friday, January 16, 2009
A DECADENT CAPPUCCINO BROWNIE CHEESECAKE
Cheesy, Chocolatey Cappuccinoey
Once in a BAD BAD while I indulge in cheesecakes as I sinfully do in brownies and anything chocolatey. But what I do love even more is a combination of chocolate, cheese and coffee. This cake was over the top. It was rich as in cheese, dense as in brownies and addictive as in caffeine. A killer combination. So I did away with the whipped cream and served it 'plain'. As plain as only plain could be.
Inspired by the enchanting Chinese bowls I had bought and displayed in my previous post I took pictures of this decadent cake in the garden. As you can see, I went over the top with that too and while I was thinking flowers and of what kind I should use (inspired by Denise from chicky egg in her recent Apple cake post photos) I remembered the bunch of dried roses hanging off the corner of my gilt-framed mirror in our bedroom. A fresh bouquet of roses that was given me by my children for my birthday a year ago which I had, as I always do, when I 'm lucky enough to get a bouquet of roses, hung them upside down in the least humid area of our home and I let them dry to a crisp. It would last forever.
Being extremely partial to dried roses I sometimes think they are more beautiful than fresh ones. Call me strange, but there is something very romantic in dried aka dead roses. They remind me of old oil paintings in their subdued, muted tones. Shriveled and blurred at the edges and not quite distinct.
Back to the cake....
Having added 2 heaped tablespoons of instant coffee to a basic brownie recipe I have come up with a brownie bottom with a slightly bitter edge to it and combined with the creamy cheese top the flavour becomes lusciously cappucchino-ey. I love the strength and flavour of the coffee when it melds with the warm, dark chocolate in the oven. The aroma was quite incredible. It started off as a dark and smudgy flow of edible molten lava ready to solidify into a sticky mass just so as to suspend a rich, moist and creamy top. Cheesecake, brownie and coffee heaven.
An absolutely immoral combination.
Now with the recipe...
The Cappuchino Brownie Bottom :
150 gm butter
125 gm dark semi sweet chocolate
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup plain flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tbsp instant coffee granules
1/2 cup of walnuts, chopped
Over a double boiler of simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate. Once melted take it off the heat and add in the eggs, sugar and essence. Mix well. Add the flour, cocoa and coffee granules. Stir with a spatula and fold until just mixed and no flour remains visible. Add the walnuts. Mix them in. Pour into an 8 inch removable bottomed pan that has been buttered and floured. Bake in a pre-heated oven of 150 C for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the top is quite firm but not too firm.
Note : You will not need the whole batch of brownie mix. Leave about 1/2 to a cupful of mixture behind. You can bake the extra in cupcake cases later.
TIP : When the brownie bottom is done you will notice that the top would have puffed up a little making a very slight dome. Don't worry. Just take it out of the oven and let it cool so that it settles down and the surface will level itself ready for the cheese layer.
The Cheesecake :
500 gm cream cheese
2/3 cup castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
4 eggs, lightly beaten
Cream cheese in a mixer until smooth. add the sugar, essence and continue to beat until smooth. Add the eggs a little at a time until well mixed. Pour batter over the brownie bottom and bake in 170 C oven for 40 -45 minutes or until the top of the cheesecake feels firm and is a lovely golden brown, amber almost. Turn off the oven an allow to cool in the oven with the oven door slightly ajar so that the cheesecake will not crack.
Note : I allowed the cake to cool a few hours before removing.
TIP : There is no need for a water bath with this recipe. The cheesecake cooks beautifully without it.
TIP : As I did not want the brownie layer to be over baked I padded a baking tray with some newspapers and placed the cake tin on top.The paper gives the brownie some insulation from the heat so that it does not overcook.