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
4 eggs
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.


cherry potato said...

hello, it's happy to see you back!

Ju (The Little Teochew) said...

So good to have you back, Zu!!! Blogworld was incomplete without you. I really missed having you around :( Am so glad you finally have a breather from the Raya cooking and baking. Ah, bull's eye cheesecake is next on my to-do list. How did you guess? ;) I'm happy to hear that your hubby loved it. Cheese and more cheese ... what's not to like? Finally, thank you for your lovely comments on my blog. Looking forward to your next post!

Ninette said...

You're back! Hurray, even though being Nowhere or Somewhere was fun for you. That cheesecake is a wowzer. Since I'm on a diet, I'm glad I get to view it from afar. Otherwise, I couldn't resist.

La Table De Nana said...

I missed your posts too:)

And your cake is beautiful!
I am so fond of handwritten notes you have no idea..sometimes I miss the connection so much..I'll write a letter.. handwritten..scan and send..just so there is something a little more tangible than my keyboard.
If I get a letter in the mail in cursive I am excited especially when it says Mom and Dad of The Bride..or Nana and Grandad..with our address and a stamp..and a postmark....I don't think the post office knows how many different people live here:)

My new friend lived in the south of France for years..an artist..with friends quite frankly everywhere. She became disillusioned w/ the computer and told all her friends she would only send handwritten notes now..I asked what happened? She said no one wrote.
She is a person you would want to write to..kind..caring..artistic..and so well read:)

But the instant gratification of a keyboard and "send" was what people were used to already.~

Your letter looks special:) I have a niece thats end sme special:)

Have a wonderful day.

Zurin said...

Cherry potato, tq its good to be back!

Ju, tq for missing me :)n the greeting you sent. that was so sweet. :)

Ninette, tq too. ill join u on the diet soon. :)

Monique,oh your poor friend. I feel for her. Instant gratification is indeed what the computer gives to people. its good , its bad , it makes us impatient and we lose the pleasure found in expectancy and waiting and finally the worth of it. Its no wonder that time flies these days. We need to slow down and learn to respect and appreciate time.

tq for sharing your thoughts Monique. I love that.

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

Welcome back.

Elin Chia said...

Hi Zurin,
It's so good have you back after a month's break. This is a beautiful cheesecake and I am sure it's a winner! Thanks for sharing :))

terri@adailyobsession said...

oh i missed u n ur funny posts:D
this cheesecake looks good,n the white choc curls r perfect deco for them. good job! am just about to do a new york cheesecake, n ur cake sounds like one of those heavy new york-chicago types of cheesecakes tt i like. but daren't attempt it bc i failed to make a convincing zebra cake:(

Zurin said...

Sophie, Yes it is good :)

Sonia, Tq :)

Elin, Tq, welcome:)

Terri, I missed ur posts too.

aww...the zebra cake did not look like a zebra? try again try again..

Nadia said...

cantiknyaa.....mummy, whose feet are those? LOLOLOL...hmm i should try this...you know what happend today? i wanted to bake a cake this morning, and so i took butter out..left them on the counter...and i rememberd i have an exam to turn in by monday midnight so i went and studied and then i cooked lunch etc then went to hamzah's soccer...and so in between all that, the kids ask what's the butter doing there? i said oh put it back in the fridge...
later on on the way back home in the van, hamzah complained that sakinah always too tiredto bake LOLOLOL...bec i had just said that I wanted to bake a cake today but i was too lazy...and she said sakinah also like that..she apparently wanted to bake cookies yesterday but half day she cancelled LOL..and I said..

no, GM and I do that too LOLOLOLOL we take the butter out, then later on decide malas la LOL..
and then he said,

"but I'd make it!"

lol then I said, well, I think sakinah and I think of the cleaning afterwards..that's why malas LOL

sigh...so many things I want to make tp malas when thinking of the cleaning..but one of these days inshaallah lol

Zurin said...

Juli, lolol hamzah hamzah.

and the butter always suffers.

Kate at Serendipity said...

Welcome back! I love that bulls-eye cake! You're back and I'm off for two weeks... I'll catch up when I get back, though!

Anonymous said...

Wow! I chanced upon this via Ovenhaven and what do I know? A fellow TTDI-ian with fantastic baking skills! I love this cake! Hope to try it soon :))

Btw where do you buy your baking supplies in TTDI? Bake with Yen at the Pasar?


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