Tuesday, September 29, 2009
I feel detoxed. A few weeks of self exile, away from the comp, and I actually feel cleansed. Perhaps it comes as a close second to a self imposed exile on a remote island in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do, nothing to look at, nothing to think about except for the lapping of the waves against the sand and the breath of the breeze swirling through palm fronds, with a boring sun and moonless nights.
This is the place where I wasn't......
These are the sea creatures that weren't.....
So, you see, it is a fact that, I was on no island but was completely in the middle of Somewhere with a lot of noise, plenty to think about and so much to do.
But I do feel cleansed nevertheless. Comps can be intensely intense, demanding and addictive. It was good to get away and ignore my laptop. Completely. Almost. It was refreshing to live life back in time.
And it was good to get a letter in the mail box this morning. I mean a real letter. Not an email, not a mobile text message, not a virtual image but a real touchable, tangible old fashioned letter/ greeting card and a family photograph from a good friend who is now back in her home in the States.
It was good to see colourful stamps from another country and my name handwritten instead of an official black inked 'stamp' with our name and address printed on the envelopes of bank statements and cell-phone or credit card bills.
It was good to tear open the sealed envelope wondering who the letter was from. It was good to have to scrutinize her handwriting, trying to make out the letters, the words, written in cursive and then wonder if you have lost the ability to read real writing. It was good to know that someone had bothered to lick some stamps and mail a personal letter.
Old times are always described as the 'good ole times' at any point in time. At this point in time the 'good ole times' could be described as the 'good ole real times' as opposed to our present virtual existence which will, one day, in turn, become the 'good ole times' 30 years in the future. I do wonder though how much more virtual could we get. Surprise me.
And speaking of surprises, surprised he was, my Hub, when I made him a birthday cake this year. Yes you read it correctly. 'A birthday cake this year'.
Because I've never baked him one before. Simply because he never did like cakes as in western cakes. But I have converted him over the years and the conversion is now complete. For him to actually like this rich rich bulls eye cheesecake and to say that it tastes just like ice cream is like faith had just found him or vice versa. And finally embedded itself. No questions asked.
I found the recipe at La Table de Nana's beautiful blog. It is a blog you must visit. It will inspire you. Endlessly.
Oh... how I heart cheesecakes.
Here's the recipe............The method for this cake is similar if not exactly the same for the zebra cake that I have made before. The only difference being that this one is chock-full of cheese, cheese and nothing much else but cheese. I do heart cheesecake. And you will too.
32 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tsp instant coffee powder
3 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup grham cracker crumbs
Adjust rack 1/3 up from bottom. heat the oven at 350 F 170 C. Grease an 8 inch springform cake pan on the bottom and sides well. Wrap the pan in one large piece of foil making sure the foil comes at least 2 inches up the sides of the pan. You will also need a larger pan for a water bath.
Beat the cream cheese in an electric mixer until smooth making sure you scrape the bowl well once in a while to make sure all of the cream cheese is evenly beaten and smooth. Beat in the sour cream and then the extracts. Then add the salt and the eggs one at a time until well incorporated. Keep scraping the occasionally after each addition.
Take the bowl off the machine and divide the mixture equally between 2 bowls. There should be about 3 cups of mixture in each bowl. Stir in the granulated sugar into one bowl and the brown sugar into the other bowl. The mixtures will thin out.
Remove about 1/2 cup of the brown sugar mixture to a small bowl and add in the coffee and cocoa powders. Stir well to mix and then pour it back into the brown sugar mixture and stir to mix well.
You will now have about 4 cups of mixture of each.
Start by pouring one cup ( I used 1/3 cup) of any one of the mixtures into the middle of the prepared pan followed immediately by the alternate mixture to be poured right on top of and in the middle of the previous one and continue to do that until both mixtures are used up (Do not shake the pan to let the batter spread because it will do so on its own). Do go to my zebra cake post if you would like to see the process pictured in stages.
When done place the pan in a larger pan and put it in the oven. While the pan /pans are in the oven slowly and carefully pour hot boiling water into the larger pan being careful not to get any water into the cake mixture. The hot water should come about 1 1/2 inches up the sides of the cake pan. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours. I think mine was ready before that.
When ready remove the cake from the water bath and allow to cool completely in the pan. When cool cover the top with a piece of cling film and refrigerate for at least 8 hours to allow to firm up. (I don't think I waited this long). :))
Remove from refrigerator, and unhitch the springform sides. Place a flat plate over the top of the cake and then flip it over (upside down) and then remove the springform bottom. Sprinkle some cracker crumbs over the base of the cake. The crumbs are just so that the cake does not stick to the serving plate and makes for easier serving.
Place a serving plate over the crumbed cake bottom and flip the cake over, right side up. Decorate with chocolate curls, barks or shreds. Decorate it any way you like.
Cut the cake with a knife dipped in hot water after cutting each slice.
Enjoy this creamy, cheesy almost ice-cream-like cake.
Then you'll know why I heart cheesecakes.