Chocolate, Nutella and cheese cake

20140215-185722.jpgThe last week was a sweet one. Last Sunday was mother’s day in Norway and I made a nice Devil’s Food Cake with a thick layer of ganache. Then on Friday was Valentines day and we prepared heart shaped cookies (yes, it couldn’t have been cheesier) and cheese cake with passion fruit. That doesn’t sound too bad, does it?!

To keep the pounds at bay Theo and I went swimming and to the gym a few times. But my actual motivation to lift my a.. of the sofa wasn’t too strong. M excused himself by staying in bed and trying to get rid of his influenza. Lucky one!

20140215-185516.jpgThe recipe for the Devil’s Food Cake came from David Lebovitz. For the next time I could see us spreading a thin layer of raspberry jam on the first cake layer before adding the ganache or skipping the ganache as filling at all and just frosting the cake with it.

But here the recipe for the Devil’s Food Cake by David Lebovitz

For the cake:

  • 9 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1,5 cups cake flour (since you can’t get any cake flour in Norway, I substituted 1/3 with cornstarch)
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 0.25 tsp baking powder
  • 1 stick of butter (113gr)
  • 1.5 cups sugar (I reduced it to 1 cup)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 0.5 cups strong coffee
  • 0.5 cups milk
  • Preheat your oven to 325F. Take two 23cm springform pans and cover their bottoms and sides with parchment paper.
  • Sift the flours, cocoa, salt, baking powder and soda in a bowl, in another bowl mix the milk with the coffee.
  • Take a third bowl beat the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy. That takes about 5min and don’t forget to scrap down the edges. Add the eggs, one at a time. Stir half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, then add the coffee milk and when that’s completely incorporated add the rest of the dry ingredients.
  • Divide the batter into your two prepared cake pans and bake for approximately 25min  (I needed more like 30min, but that depends on your oven). Test the cake with a cake tester / toothpick, when it comes out clean out of the center of the cake it’s done. Let the cakes cool completely before frosting (otherwise your frosting might be migrating from your cake to somewhere else).

For the frosting / ganache:

  • 280gr dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa, chopped
  • 0.5 cups water
  • 1.5 sticks butter (170gr)
  • Place a bowl over a pot with barely simmering water and melt the chopped chocolate with the water, stir every now until melted. Take it off the water and stir in the butter, piece by piece, until smooth. Let it cool down until spreadable. This may take a while, so if you are impatient, set into the refrigerator and stir it every 5min or so until it’s just right for you.

Assembling the cake:

  • Place one cake layer on a platter or plate and spread a good amount of the ganache evenly on it. Place the second layer on top and frost the whole cake with the rest of the ganache.

20140215-185504.jpgThe cake keeps very well for a few days.

I had a baby’n mom meeting this week and one had just bought a box with frozen pure passion fruit puree to prepare a cheese cake for their baptism. I love cheese cake and I love passion fruit. Do you know those vanilla ice cream popsicles covered with passion fruit? *yum* When I heard that the grocery store had left a few boxes (cause those are only ordered when needed) munchkin and I had to do a walk to the grocery store and get a box. 🙂

20140215-185654.jpgThe recipe I liked best by reading the list of ingredients was a baked one which contains cream cheese and mascarpone, lemon zest and juice. So I started with a huge load of motivation (and craving) the preparation just to find out that some important notes were missing. Crap! How am I supposed to prepare a cake if the baking temperature is missing or it’s just mentioned to let it cool down after baking without mentioning the baking time nor temperature. *boohoo* Well, it came out well and here is the recipe

Baked cream cheese cake with passion fruit topping

For the bottom:

  • 225gr whole wheat crackers
  • 100gr melted butter
  • Preheat your oven to 180C.
  • Put the crackers in a freezer bag, close it and roll with a rolling pin over it to transfer the crackers into dust. Add the melted butter, mix thoroughly and press them into a 24cm springform pan. Try to make as even as possible layer.
  • Bake for ca 10min. Take it out and let it cool down on a cooling rack. Don’t take off the ring of the pan!

For the filling:

  • 225gr mascarpone
  • 600gr plain cream cheese (goat cream cheese could be very nice too)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 eggs yolks
  • the zest of 2 lemons and the juice of 1.5 lemons
  • 4 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 120gr sugar (maybe more)
  • Turn down the temperature to 150C.
  • Mix all the ingredients until smooth and adjust the amount of sugar if you like it sweeter. Pour the mixture into your springform pan on top of the cracker bottom.
  • Bake for 45min or until the center is well set and doesn’t wobble when you move it. Leave the cake for another 30min in the oven, with the door slightly open. Then take it out and let it cool completely.

After the baking

20140215-185633.jpg

The surface got a couple of cracks. Quite common for cheese cakes. The passion fruit puree is still liquid.

20140215-185646.jpg

The topping:

  • 250gr of passion fruit juice / puree
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 6 gelatin leaves*
  • Soak the gelatin leaves for 5 min in cold water. Bring the passion fruit with the sugar in a pot to boil, taste if it is sweet enough, if not add a bit of sugar.
  • Take it from the stove and squeeze the water out of the gelatin leaves one at a time and dissolve them in the warm passion fruit puree.
  • Let it cool down until it starts to get firm at the edges, then pour it on top of the cake and set it into the refrigerator (best over night) until passion fruit puree has become firm like jello .
  • Next day hold a knife under warm water before running it around the edges of the springform pan.

*If you rather want to have a creamier topping, use only 4-5 gelatin leaves.

20140215-185705.jpg 20140215-185700.jpgBy the way what did you get for Valentines day? What did you do? I got a beautiful card with a picture of my three boys and some marzipan and in the evening we had potato gratin with oven baked salmon and glazed carrots. A candle was lid and we enjoyed a nicer than usual dinner.

I’m sure you are still wondering what’s about the Nutella I mentioned in the title…am I right?! Well, Smittenkitchen had prepared chocolate hazelnut linzer hearts  a couple of weeks ago and since Friday was Valentines day we had to prepare them. The dough was kind of fragile and I was cursing a lot when another heart shaped cookie broke while I tried to lift it off the counter or under transport on to the baking tray. But all the sweat and curse words – they are worth it. Just give it a try. I swapped the hazelnuts with almonds and reduced the sugar like usual.

20140215-185612.jpgLinzer cookies filled with Nutella adapted from Smittenkitchen

  • 140gr toasted almonds
  • 250gr all-purpose flour
  • 0.75 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 225gr butter, at room temperature
  • 145gr 100gr brown sugar
  • 100gr 50gr sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 0.5 tsp ground vanilla or 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • as much Nutella to spread between each cookie as you like
  • Ground your toasted almonds and mix them with the flour, baking powder, salt and ground vanilla (if you use vanilla extract, add it together with the egg yolks). Cream the butter and sugars until light and creamy, add the egg yolks one at a time, and beat until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated.
  • Divide the dough into two to three batches, wrap them in cling film and chill them for at least an hour in the refrigerator.
  • Preheat your oven to 175C. Place parchment paper on a baking tray.
  • Take the cookie dough wraps, one at a time, out of the refrigerator. Sprinkle your counter top lightly with flour and roll the dough about 3mm thick out. Cut hearts out and cut out of half of them the center out e.g. a star, a mini heart or a circle. Repeat with the rest of your dough wraps, knead the leftovers together, wrap, chill, roll out and cut out again. Transfer your cookies onto your baking tray with parchment paper but leave a little bit of space between them.
  • Bake them for about 8-10min or until the edges start to get brown, rotate after half of the time to get them equally brown. Let them cool completely on a cooling rack.
  • 20140215-185556.jpgTake one heart without a missing center and spread a layer of Nutella on it. Cover then the Nutella with another heart which is missing it’s center. Do the same with the small “center pieces”.
  • Keep the cookies in an air tight container, if there are any left for storing.

M cooks usually very nice dinners like spaghetti with chickpea sauce or quesadillas with black bean spread and feta cheese or pad thai but every now and then, fortunately, he has to have a veggie burger and frenchies. He is an American after all. 🙂

20140215-185537.jpgOur munchkin was one afternoon so tired that he fell asleep in his baby carrier and continued sleeping even though I took it off for another 1.5 hours at home.

20140215-185546.jpgThis video about Trondheim is making you all to want to come and visit Trondheim. It was taken in December 2013 / January 2014. We think it’s a beautiful one and it even causes goosebumps.

Have a nice week and enjoy the video!

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