Tuesday, March 30, 2010

TWD—Coconut Lemon Mini Tea Cakes and The Ultimate Cheesecake Throwdown

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Our recipe this week, chosen by Carmen of Carmen Cooks, is the Coconut Tea Cake on pages 194-195 in Dorie’s book, Baking From My Home To Yours.  I made these with lemon as suggested in the Playing Around section and I halved the recipe.  I used lite canned coconut milk.  I omitted the rum and toasted the coconut.  How’s that for blunt and to the point?

I made these about three weeks ago.  I shared them with my “reality sisters”.  I love that term.  Some friends and I get together as often as we can on Thursday nights to watch Survivor together.  We usually don’t start watching the show until at least 9:30, then we talk and pause the show over and over and it often takes about 2 1/2 hours to watch the one hour program.  I always bring goodies to share and so do a couple others.  There’s usually 4-5 of us.  We are all true blue Survivor fans.  Definitely fun times that I’m REALLY going to miss when we move—sistas, you know who you are!

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The halved recipe made 12 mini bunts and 12 mini cupcakes.  I doused them in a quick powdered sugar glaze that I made.  And sprinkled them with some more coconut.

Lemon Coconut Glaze, by Katrina Smith

2 cups powdered sugar

3 tablespoons coconut milk

juice from half a lemon (was about 2 tablespoons)

1/8 teaspoon lemon extract (optional)

Whisk together until smooth and free of lumps.  Add the milk last in tablespoonfuls until desired consistency as you might not need all of it.

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These were really good.  We all liked them.  I will make these again for sure sometime, they would be great for a shower or party or even if sometime I’m just not in a chocolate mood.  What?  It happens. ;)

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Great pick, Carmen.  Check out the other cakes on the TWD Blogroll.

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We had an Ultimate Cheesecake Throwdown with some friends again.  You may recall the throwdown we had in February for French Silk Pie.  (I lost.)  I can take it. 

This time we decided on cheesecake.  Our fearless judges, a couple of missionaries from our church and my friend, Marina, came ready to give it their all.  Did you know it’s hard to get some great pictures when everyone is anxious for the judges to pick a winner so they can all taste it, too?  And would you believe I forgot to take a picture of my completed Key Lime Cheesecake?  Sigh.  Dan and I were originally going to both just do plain cheesecake for the contest, but ultimately decided to each do whatever kind of cheesecake we wanted.

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Dan’s cheesecake of choice was White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake, the judges did not know whose was whose.

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Dan’s big, beautiful cheesecake had a chocolate crust, a ribbon of raspberry puree throughout and some sliced almonds on the top for some great crunch.  Get a look at this---

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I know, it looks like he went to the nearest bakery and picked up a cheesecake!  He definitely wins for the look of his cheesecake.  I’m so not a decorator.

I made my Key Lime Cheesecake the night before as I knew cheesecake takes on more flavor after it sits for a day or so.  Here’s my one lame picture of the cake fresh out of the oven.  I was happy it was perfectly smooth on top.

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I baked the cheesecake in a 10 inch pan, so it was only about an inch thick, but served it with a blueberry compote and some whipped cream with each slice.  Whipped cream that I whisked by hand, thank you. ;)

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I have to say, this Key Lime Cheesecake is really good.   It’s so creamy and is just perfect with the blueberries.  I’ve had it before.  It was one of the delicious desserts I had at one of Paige’s classes sometime last year.  And when Dan and I decided to go with any cheesecake we wanted, I knew this was the one I wanted to make.  Did I mention Chef Paige has a new blog?  I have a BIG  binder stuffed full of all the recipes I’ve gotten from Paige’s classes I’ve taken and they are all just wonderful.  If you haven’t yet, check out her new blog.

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Here’s the recipe for the throwdown winning recipe.  Yep, two out of three went with the Key Lime Cheesecake!  But they all had a really hard time deciding.  The cheesecake was super creamy, smooth and perfectly tart.

Key Lime Cheesecake with Blueberry Compote, by Paige Vandegrift (I followed the recipe exactly!)

Graham Cracker Crust:

5 oz. graham crackers, finely ground (about 1 1/2 cups crumbs)

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

Line a 9-inch square baking pan with 2 criss-crossed sheets of foil, leaving an overhang. (I baked mine in a traditional 10-inch springform pan and lined the outside of the pan with foil.)  Butter or spray the pan.  Combine the crust ingredients until well mixed and press into the pan in a compact even layer.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until just beginning to brown—8 minutes.  Cool.

Key Lime Filling:

3  8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature (I used the 1/3 less fat kind)

1 cup granulated sugar (Would you believe I was OUT of sugar when I set out to make this late Sunday night—all I could find in the house was some ultrafine sugar-so that is what I used!)

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, sifted (or 1 tablespoon cornstarch)  I used flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup strained key lime juice (or bottled key lime juice, Nellie & Joe’s is a good brand)

3 eggs, lightly beaten, room temperature

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In the bowl of an electric mixer, briefly beat cream cheese to break it up.  Beat in the sugar until smooth; scrape the sides.  Beat in the flour and salt; scrape the sides.  Add the lime juice and vanilla and beat in.  Scrape the sides.  Beat in the eggs in two or three additions, just until smooth and fully incorporated.  Scrape the filling into the prepared pan.

Place the pan on a half-sheet pan and place on the oven rack in a preheated 325 degree oven.  Pour in hot water to come up at least half as high as the filling in the pan.  Bake until just set—40-45 minutes. (I did mine 40 minutes.)  Cool to room temperature (about 2 hours).  Chill, uncovered, until cold (at least 2 hours, but cheesecake may be baked a day or two ahead.)

To portion, lift cold cake out of the pan using the overhanging foil (or remove the sides of the springform pan).  Cut the cake using a sharp, thin knife dipped in hot water and wiped dry in between cuts.

Serve topped with a spoonful of blueberry compote and some whipped cream.

Blueberry Compote

2 3/4 cups blueberries (about 14 ounces) (I used frozen, thawed)

6 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon lemon juice (I used lime)

4 1/4 teaspoons cornstarch (1/2 ounce)

zest of 1 lime or lemon (I used the zest of three key limes)

Combine the berries with the sugar and citrus juice and let macerate for 30 minutes.  Transfer the berries to a saucepan.  Dissolve the cornstarch in a small amount of water and add to the berries with the zest.  Bring to a boil, stirring gently.  Let boil until the juices are clear and very thick—about 30 to 60 seconds.  Empty into a bowl and cool to room temperature without stirring.  Chill.  Makes a generous 2 cups.

*A couple notes I took in class--DO NOT overbeat cheesecake!  Flour protects it from curdling.  If your cheesecake doesn’t have flour, be sure to bake it in a water bath.  Add eggs last—it helps the cheesecake not rise then fall.  Once you start adding liquid to the cream cheese, you never get rid of lumps.

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And for the record, Dan’s cheesecake was delicious.  The two judges who picked the Key Lime said they liked that it was more creamy and true cheesecake-like.  White chocolate, raspberry and chocolate crust—GOOD!  Thanks for playing, Dan.  We’re trying to decide what to do next for a throwdown.

Sorry to stick this in with TWD, it just won’t get done if I don’t do it all in one night.

36 comments:

Nickki said...

WOW. So much to drool over on this post! Firstly, your cakes look beautiful. I was so tempted to use lemon, but I ended up going with lime.

Gorgeous cheesecakes! My favourite dessert of all time :-)

chocolatechic said...

Beautiful coconut cakes, and what fun with the cheesecakes.

Anonymous said...

Hey there! Did you use a springform pan? I read somewhere that water from the water bath tends to seep pass the springform pan, resulting in a soggy base. Any idea how to get around that? Thank you!

Karen said...

Yum! Those little minis look delicious! :) Great job on your smooth topped cheesecake! :)

Clivia said...

I also have people over for Survivor every week, though it's dwindled to just three this year. Your cakes look beautiful with the glaze.

carmencooks said...

MMm, your cakes looked so good - I'm so glad you liked them!! Thanks for baking with me.

Yum, all that cheesecake also looks delicious. :)

Fallon said...

I love SURVIVOR TOO!! It something my dad and I have been watching ever since the show started. I call it good bonding time ;)

Can you believe I've never tried a key lime pie of any sorts type of dessert. I'm not a huge fan of cheesecake but something about the key lime makes my taste buds water! Congrats on the win!!

Flourchild said...

Yum I love what you did with the coconut bread..it looks so good!
The cheesecakes look yummy too!

Maria said...

I love that the missionaries were judges. I am sure you didn't have to twist their arms:) The cake looks lovely too!

Anne said...

Oh I love key lime cheesecake. Yum. How fun!

Kim said...

Love the little cakes. So pretty. The cheesecakes have me drooling.

DessertObsessed said...

those mini tea cakes are so cute! and that is one gorgeous cheesecake! I'm eating cheesecake right now but its not as pretty as Dan's!

Paige said...

Katrina, Your Key Lime Cheesecake looks great (but I have to admit I'm biased). And I am so impressed that you whipped the cream by hand!

Cathy said...

Oh, your tea cakes are adorable! They are just perfect in mini bundt form. They really would be ideal for a shower or any kind of spring party. Love your glaze, too! And the cheesecake throwdown looks like tons of fun - I know I'd have a hard time choosing!

bakingwiththeboys said...

I love your throwdown posts -- congratulations on this one. You must have been so relieved to get that offer quickly. Keeping track of my two boys in this house is getting very onerous. One left a "present" in the toilet right before a showing. Good thing I happen to glance in for a last minute check. Fortunately, we don't have to move but, now that it is on the market, i really want it to sell.

Lisa Ernst said...

Both cheesecakes look great, but I have to say, the lime and blueberry combination sounds fantastic! Also, I'm glad you've found a TWD recipe you're really happy with.

mike said...

Over the top, once again - I love it! Love the coconut lemon glaze - that's a keeper. And I'm sure it's probably good even "without" the rum! :) Glad you were able to share it with "real" people! Wow - that cheesecake looks amazing - I'm sure your friends are appreciative of all your baking talents!

lasinthekitchen said...

Katrina - your mini-bundts look AWESOME! I can't believe it made so many mini-bundts and cupcakes! I thought of you when I made my glaze - just whipped it up myself, no recipe. (Whoop de doo, but it is a big thing for someone anal like me...)
I LOVE key lime anything so I can see why your cheesecake would win. Your throwdowns sound soo fun! =)

jillbert said...

I'm having chocolate withdrawals with all this lemon and lime! Ha ha. I made the tea cakes with light coconut milk too, but I forgot to mention that in my post. Your cheesecake looks just perfect! Congratulations on winning the throwdown!

Valerie said...

Um, where do I start? This post is inudated with decadence. Your coconut tea cakes are adorable, Love that you slathered them with icing. And that cheesecake is pure food porn. :)

Emily said...

I wonder where Dan got his recipe from? It looks great.

Yours looks amazing! Perfectly smooth. Congrats on your win! I wish I was one of the judges..

Art and Appetite said...

Wow! The cake looks so good and moist! Specially with the coconut glaze, YUM!

Of course, the cheesecakes looks delish, infact, I just had some today.

Art and Appetite said...
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Tracey said...

Love your mini bundts, I went that route too! I thought these were good, especially one the second day as the texture improved. Your night of tv watching and talking sounds like a blast!!

Congrats on the cheesecake victory :)

5 Star Foodie said...

The mini bundt cakes are so cute, I love the glaze!

spike. said...

Victory! congrats. both cheesecakes and the little coconut cakes look fab.

The Cooking Photographer said...

How fun!! I would love to be your taste tester. Cheesecakes are so tough for me, some turned out beautifully, others fail horribly.

Those coconut lemon mini tea cakes are amazing looking too. Wow.

Valerie said...

Those tea cakes need to come to my house right now! :) The cheesecake looks delish too.

Pamela said...

I love the throw downs that you and your friend have going with each other! That's such fun. The mini tea cakes look great, especially with the glaze.

Lisa Michelle said...

WOW..a cheesecake throwdown..why can't I live near you?? I would have chosen the white chocolate raspberry simply because they're one of my two fav flavor combos.
Also, Your mini tea cakes look divine :)

Cooking Foodie said...

Delicious post... love the tea cakes and where do I start about the cheesecake... i think yours looks like it came from a bakery... its a perfect slice!
I am so glad I found your blog :)

Mimi said...

Your mini bundts are cute. We are making this for Easter and I plan on making minis too. Congrats on the throwdown win. Both cheesecakes sound good, but I have a tree full of limes just waiting to be made into a cheesecake.
Mimi

Daniel said...

Looks great Katrina. I think the next throwdown should be something like Mac and Cheese.

Tiffany Winters said...

Oh I wish I were there to be one of the judges... They both looked so good.

Tiffany Winters said...

Oh, and... BEAUTIFUL new kitchen! I can't wait to visit you!

Barbara @ moderncomfortfood said...

Double yum! I'm a citrus fanatic, and your lemony tea cakes look really fabulous. And a cheesecake throwdown also? How lucky you are and how I wish I'd been there with you.