What would you like, Birthday Boy?

Now that I’ve got more time on my hands and I’ve been neglecting my other hobbies, I’ve been trying to pick them up again and my stomach is looking for some sweet treats to eat and my hands are itching to make something delicious. Definitely doesn’t help that the article on bakeries around the world I posted on my Facebook, Twitter and G+ accounts are so tempting! (If you haven’t read it yet, you can read it here).

The plan is to make a birthday cake from one of his second favourite recipes (he loves his fruit cake, but unfortunately I’m not a fan so never made one before, I’ll leave that up to his mum) from the trusty ol’ The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, the raspberry cheesecake brownie.


Source: The Hummingbird Bakery

Sometimes the planning and excitement that accompanies this process is lost on those who are planning the day, but the OH is one of those people who appreciates a good surprise and the thought and attentiveness behind each person’s actions. It is for this reason that planning some things (like baking his birthday cake) in private without him noticing is quite difficult, but definitely worth the effort to see that smile on his face.

The recipe below can be found on GoodToKnow website if you don’t already own a copy of The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

Raspberry Cheesecake Brownie

For the brownie layer:
200g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
200g unsalted butter
250g icing sugar
3 eggs
110g plain flour

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) Gas 3.

2. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (do not let the base of the bowl touch the water). Leave until melted and smooth.

3. Put the butter and sugar in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment and beat until all the ingredients are well incorporated.

4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition.

5. Gradually beat in the flour, mixing well after each addition, then turn the mixer up to high speed and beat for a little longer until you get a smooth mixture.

6. Slowly pour in the melted chocolate and mix thoroughly. Pour into the prepared baking tray and smooth over with a palette knife.

For the cheesecake layer:
400g cream cheese
150g icing sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

7. Put the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment and beat on slow speed until smooth and thick. Add one egg at a time, while still mixing. Scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition. The mixture should be very smooth and creamy.

8. The mixer can be turned up to a higher speed at the end to make the mix a little lighter and fluffier, but be careful not to overmix, otherwise the cheese will split. Spoon on top of the brownie and smooth over with a palette knife.

9. Bake in the preheated oven for 30–40 minutes, or until the cheesecake is firm to the touch and light golden around the edges. The centre should still be pale. Leave to cool completely, then cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, or overnight if possible.

For the raspberry cream top layer:
300 ml whipping cream
100g icing sugar
150g raspberries, plus extra to decorate

10. Put the cream, sugar and raspberries in a freestanding electric mixer with a whisk attachment and beat until firm but not stiff.

11.Turn the brownie out onto a board and turn the right way up.

12. Spread the topping evenly over the brownie and decorate with more raspberries.

The one other thing I’ve been tempted to make for some time now since my friend brought me a compost cookie and some cake truffles from Momofuku Milk Bar are their Pumpkin pie cake truffles.


Source: Momofuku Milk Bar

I’ve made red velvet cake truffles in the past using the recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery, but ever since I had a taste of the pumpkin pie cake truffles, I knew that was going to be a twist on a recipe I’ve tried before that I am determined to master. Similer to the red velvet cake truffles, you’ll need to make the cake recipe first, but where the Momofuku recipe differs, instead of using plain cream cheese (I did anyway) to adhere the cake truffle balls) and having a chocolate coating, liquid cheesecake is used as the binder and to resemble the original pumpkin pie, the truffles will be coated with white chocolate graham crust.

All recipes below can be found on the Momofuku Recipes and How To’s section of their website.

Pumpkin Pie Cake Truffles

Pumpkin Pie Cake
115 g butter
125 g sugar
150 g light brown sugar
1 egg
25 g grapeseed oil
100 g buttermilk
1 g vanilla extract
175 g pumpkin puree
230 g flour
4 g baking powder
4 g baking soda
12 g kosher salt
4 g cinnamon
2 g nutmeg
9 g ginger

1. heat the oven to 350° F (approx. 180° C).

2. combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg, and mix on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. scrape down the sides of the bowl once more.

3. on low speed, stream in the oil, buttermilk, and vanilla extract. increase the mixer speed to medium-high and paddle for 4 to 6 minutes, until the mixture is practically white, twice the size of your original fluffy butter-and-sugar mixture, and completely homogenous, with no streaks of fat. don’t rush the process. stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

4. on very low speed, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until your batter comes together and any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated. scrape down the sides of the bowl.

5. detach the paddle and remove the bowl from the mixer. dump the pumpkin puree into the bowl and, with a spatula, fold them into the batter.

6. pam-spray a quarter of sheet pan and line it with parchment, or just line the pan with a silpat. using a spatula, spread the cake batter in an even layer in the pan.

7. bake the cake for 25 to 30 minutes. the cake will rise and puff, doubling in size, but will remain slightly buttery and dense. at 25 minutes, gently poke the edge of the cake with your finger: the cake should bounce back slightly and the center should no longer be jiggly. leave the cake in the oven for an extra 3 to 5 minutes if it doesn’t pass these tests.

8. take the cake out of the oven and cool on a wire rack or, in a pinch, in the fridge or freezer (don’t worry, it’s not cheating). the cooled cake can be stored in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days.

Liquid Cheesecake
225 g cream cheese
150 g sugar
6 g cornstarch
2 g kosher salt
25 g milk
1 egg

1. heat the oven to 300° F (approx. 150° C).

2. put the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed for 2 minutes. scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. add the sugar and mix for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sugar has been completely incorporated. scrape down the sides of the bowl.

3. whisk together the cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl. whisk in the milk in a slow, steady stream, then whisk in the egg until the slurry is homogenous.

4. with the mixer on medium-low speed, stream in the egg slurry. paddle for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and loose. scrape down the sides of the bowl.

5. line the bottom and sides of a 6 x 6-inch baking pan with plastic wrap. pour the cheesecake batter into the pan, put the pan in the oven, and bake for 15 minutes. gently shake the pan. the cheesecake should be firmer and more set toward the outer boundaries of the baking pan but still be jiggly and loose in the dead center. if the cheesecake is jiggly all over, give it 5 minutes more. and 5 minutes more if it needs it, but it’s never taken me more than 25 minutes to underbake one. if the cheesecake rises more than 1/4 inch or begins to brown, take it out of the oven immediately.

6. cool the cheesecake completely, to finish the baking process and allow the cheesecake to set. the final product will resemble a cheesecake, but it will be pipeable and pliable enough to easily spread or smear, while still having body and volume. once cool, the cheesecake can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Graham Crust
150 g white chocolate
25 g brown butter
55 g sugar
6 g kosher salt
100 g butter, melted
60 g heavy cream
190 g graham cracker crumb

1. toss the graham crumbs, sugar, and salt with your hands in a medium bowl to evenly distribute your dry ingredients.

2. whisk the brown butter, butter, and heavy cream together. add to the dry ingredients and toss again to evenly distribute. the butter will act as a glue, adhering to the dry ingredients and turning the mixture into a bunch of small clusters. the mixture should hold its shape if squeezed tightly in the palm of your hand. if it is not moist enough to do so, melt an additional 14 to 25 g (1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons) butter and mix it in.

3. eat immediately, or deploy as directed in a recipe. the crust is easiest to mold just after mixing. stored in an airtight container, graham crust will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature or for 1 month in the fridge or freezer.

Basically to make your pumpkin pie cake truffles, first make and bake your cake. To get it in the right shape and form, break the cake into large chunks and put this in the food processor so you get cake crumbs. In a large bowl, slowly mix the liquid cheesecake with the cake crumbs until you get a firm (not not too moist) cake mix that you can shape like dough. Once you’ve got the cake mix shaped into truffle balls, roll each one into melted white chocolate (you’ll need approximately 90g of this) befor rolling each coated truffle with the graham crust.

I’ll post updates and photos of my progress once I start getting my hands dirty (yes, but in a good – and tasty – way!) with mixing and baking!

Have you tried either of the recipes above for the raspberry cheesecake brownies or the pumpkin pie cake truffles? Have you got any tips or alterations to the recipes you wish to share? Have you any favourite (or disaster) recipes from either The Hummingbird Bakery or Momofuku Milk Bar?

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