Mini New York Cheesecakes

Done 3

Okay. I want to make dessert. I want to make a yummy dessert. No, strike that, I want to make a really great, turn someone into putty in your hands, yummy dessert. Wait, but it has to travel well and be easy to make. (Not asking for too much, am I?) The downside? There’s just two of us and how much dessert does anyone really want left over. And throwing away dessert is not an option.

Enter small batch baking and the genius of Christina over at Dessert for Two. She is my go-to site for this sort of thing. These Mini New York Style Cheesecakes were not just good … they were delicious … they were phenomenal. They were so simple to make, they can be thrown together at any short notice.

You know a recipe is successful when someone looks across the table at you, grinning from ear to ear, and the only word that could be mustered is ‘WOW’. And, yes, after that reaction, I will make these for you again and again.

I may experiment a little and instead of the sauce Christina made, cherries, or blueberries, or … well, the possibilities are endless!

This recipe makes 4 mini cheesecakes, using a regular cupcake pan.

  • 6 ozs cream cheese, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 C + 2 T sugar
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 1/2 t lemon juice
  • 4 Nilla wafers (or other small cookies)

For the sauce:

  • ¼ C sour cream
  • 2 T brown sugar

Preheat oven to 375.

Add 4 paper cupcake liners to a cupcake/muffin pan.

Cookie

Drop a cookie in each liner, flat side down.

NOTE: I used a cookie and a half. The Nilla wafer doesn’t quite fill the entire bottom, and I’m a crusty kind of gal (no comments). I also thought that a few smashed graham crackers with butter might work.

Ingredients

In a small bowl, beat together the cream cheese, egg, sugar, vanilla and lemon juice. Beat very well until combined.

NOTE: You are going to look at this batter and think it’s just not going to be enough or too much, but it’s the perfect amount!

Ready to Bake

Divide the mixture between the cups and bake for 15 minutes.

Baked

Let cakes cool completely, then refrigerate at least 4 hours.

NOTE: They’re a bit puffy when they come out, but as they cool they fall a bit.

Topping

When ready to serve, stir together the sour cream and brown sugar and pour on top of each cake.

NOTE: I zested a bit of lemon on top of each just to make them look pretty – not that they lasted long enough to be seen as pretty. Also, I removed them from the paper liners before serving. Good thing too! Can’t have anyone sitting at the table LICKING paper cupcake liners!

Sour Cherry Streusel Cake

This recipe was shared with me many, many moons ago by one of my pals at Nigella’s Kitchen Forum.

This cake also happens to be my son’s favorite sweet comfort food. It is one of two sweet things my son will request – the other being my kitchen sink oatmeal cookies. The cake is light and delicate with sour cherries and a crispy, buttery streusel topping.

It doesn’t ship well.

My making this can only mean one thing – VISITING WEEKEND AT CAMP! I cannot wait to put my arms around that skinny boy. I know. I know. He’s a man – HA. He’s 21. He’s my baby. I don’t care if he’s 51. He’s my baby.

Enough filler. Let’s get back to our regularly scheduled cake.

Although the recipe is originally called Platz (Mennonite Streusel Cake), it came to me as Sour Cherry Streusel Cake and that is how it shall forever be known. The recipe comes from Johanna Burkhard’s 400 best Comfort Foods.

And besides, if I had told my family that their now beloved Sour Cherry Streusel Cake was actually called Platz, I don’t think they would have been quite so quick to love it! And until I bought the book, I would never have thought to make this with other fruit! I think it was more of a sour cherries – yum – what could be better than that! The book recommends cherries or apricots. I’m thinking blueberries!

And I wait patiently every year until late spring/early summer for the sour cherry crop to be ready. And sometimes I miss it.

I was very lucky this year, and came across some at the Farmer’s Market in Union Square Park. I pitted all of them and put some in the freezer for use later in the season. Did I mention I love my cherry pitter? Well I do! Not as much splattering and the fruit doesn’t get too damaged in the process.

Cake:

  • 2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/3 C butter, at room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1 C half-and-half or light cream
  • 1 1/2 t vanilla extract or grated lemon zest
  • 4 C pitted, drained sour cherries or other seasonal sliced fruits

Crumb Topping

  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 C butter, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter using a pastry blender or fork to make coarse crumbs.

Beat egg in a bowl; stir in cream and vanilla. Stir into flour mixture to make a thick batter.

Drop small spoonfuls of batter into a generously greased 13 x 9-inch cake pan and spread evenly.

Top with cherries in a single layer.

Combine flour and brown sugar in a bowl. Cut in butter using a pastry blender or fork to make coarse crumbs.

Sprinkle evenly over fruit. Bake on middle rack in oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until top is golden.

Place pan on a rack and let cool. Cut into squares and serve.

Makes 12 squares

NOTE: In a dash of occasional madness, I have been known to add almond paste (1/2 a tube) to the cake batter and a little almond extract (1/2 teaspoon). And to incite further frivolity in my house I have made 1 1/2 times the streusel topping!

And just coz I know you want it – one me peek at the cake …

Zebra Cake

Still totally loving Cake Keeper Cakes. Every recipe a winner. There was no picture of this cake in the book so I was a little hesitant at first. How could this possibly look like a zebra? What if it doesn’t? What if it just blends together?

And so what if it does? It will still be a cake. It will still be good. It will be a tie dyed cake instead of a zebra, but really, who cares. This blog has taught me to celebrate the mistakes – and those of you who follow me with any regularity know – I am not hesitant to share them. I think it’s important to share our flops. I am not sure about everyone else’s kitchen but not everything that comes out of mine is perfect. When it isn’t perfect, I want to know why. I depend on my blogging friends to help me untangle whatever went wrong – with the exception of rolling out anything – TOOOOOOO SCARY!

I am very pleased to say – that even without a photo in Lauren Chattman’s book – this cake was simple and BEEEE-U-TIFUL!

  • 2 C unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1 C milk – whole or 2%
  • 1/2 C vegetable oil
  • 1/2 C (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 2 T unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder

 

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9-inch round cake pan with a circle of parchment paper and lightly grease the bottom and sides of the pan.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until mixture is light and creamy and the sugar has mostly been dissolved, about 5 minutes with an electric mixer. Mixing on low, stir in milk, butter, vegetable oil, and vanilla, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally.

NOTE: I had a little trouble with one of the cakes from this book. The trouble was sever overflow. I think the problem was not using a handheld electric mixer, but using my beautiful pink Kitchen-Aid instead. I think the Kitchen-Aid over beat my batter.

Stir dry ingredients into wet, 1/2 C at a time.

Transfer 1/3 of the batter into a bowl, add cocoa powder and whisk to combine.

NOTE: I used the bowl I had combined the dry ingredients in. How many bowls can you use for one cake?

Place 1/4 C of vanilla batter into the center of the pan and let it spread slightly on its own. Place 2 T of chocolate batter in the center of the vanilla. It will push out the other batter and, as it sits for a moment, will also spread itself. Alternate two batters, repeating the technique until all the batter has been used up.

NOTE: Here come the scoops again. I have a large scoop that I use for cupcakes. I used a 1/4 C measure and filled it with water, poured it into my large scoop and it fit! I did the same with a 2 T measure. This made the process of striping so much easier!

Bake for about 40 minutes, until the cake is light gold and a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen, invert the cake, remove the parchment paper. Reinvert on to a wire rack and let cool completely before slicing.

NOTE: LOOK! STRIPES!!! And it isn’t really chocolatey at all. Not overly sweet. Very, very tender. I may make a chocolate glaze for the next time.

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