Category Archives: Cake

Strawberry Cheesecake Cake

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Christmas-Strawberry-cheesecake-cake-
[ The Birth of Jesus Christ ] In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.   Luke 2:1, 4-5 ESV

GCS
Earlier this year my husband spent a week in Manhattan without me. He went to Hephzibah House to help out while the co-directors, Catherine and Russ, attended a conference on prayer. Upon his arrival at LaGuardia airport he rode an Airporter van to Grand Central Station.

Russ met him at Grand Central where they were to get on the subway for the rest of the trip to the upper west side. Having traveled through the lunch hour he was ready for something to eat. He and Russ decided on a sandwich at Juniors located in Grand Central Station.

At the end of the meal they bought a Raspberry Cheesecake to take with them and share with the staff. My adventure-seeking husband’s first call home that evening included a play-by-play description of Grand Central Station along with details of his lunch and especially the outstanding cheesecake from Juniors.

Grand-CentralKnowing how much I adore all-things-cheesecake, my sweetie thought all week-long about how he could buy a cheesecake on his way back through Grand Central Station and bring it back home to me.

As you can well imagine, wisdom took the place of sentiment and he decided against this grand   gesture.

Alice in GCS
Fast forward to November when my sous-chef dish-washing mom and I accompanied him back to NYC. It was of no surprise that he planned to take us to Juniors at Grand Central Station.

Alice-and-Cat-at-Junior's
I love this picture of my sous-chef dish-washing mom (not washing dishes) and our dear friend Catherine from Hephzibah House!

Juiors GCS
Along with our missionary friends and the Buck Family of Tennessee, we arrived at Juniors between meals but everyone agreed we must have some cheesecake.

It was there that Lee and I shared a piece of Strawberry Cheesecake Cake. It was divine. Sweet, but not too sweet. Strong strawberry flavor offset by the creamy cheesecake. Lovely.

I’ve never combined layers of cheesecake and cake before but I knew I had to give it a try. I surprised my family and friends at a Christmas party last week with my version of Strawberry Cheesecake Cake. This original recipe came from The Recipe Girl which I adapted to our taste.

plated-cheesecake-cake-
I used her suggested strawberry cake recipe, but will use this one of mine the next time.

strawberry-layer-1-
I added a layer of strawberry purée between each cake layer. I think it is a must!

cheese-cake-in-oven-
I have baked cheesecakes for many years. But during this process I learned something new that I wish I had learned many years ago. The Recipe Girl says to bake the cheesecake in a pan filled with 1” of boiling water to keep the top from cracking. I haven’t bothered to look up the science behind this, but it works.

cheesecake-layer-
The cheesecake layer turned out perfect.

cheesecake-layer-2-
The friends I served it to especially liked the frosting as well. I think it is one of the best I have ever made. I plan to post it as a separate recipe so it will be easy for me to find next time I go looking. :) Oh yes, and easy for you to find.

strawberry-cake-and-tree-
This cake takes time because after baking the cake and cheesecake the layers are cooled and frozen. Freezing them really makes assembly easy and they thaw pretty quick while sitting on a dessert table surrounded by lots of ooohs and ahhhhs!

3-layer-cheesecake-cake-
For the chocolate lover I can envision this as a chocolate cake, cherry filling and creamy cheesecake.

Have you ever made a cheesecake cake? What is your favorite?

Happy baking!
~Catherine

Strawberry Cheesecake Cake
 
Prep time
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Beautiful and delicious! This cake is worth the effort!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12-15 servings
Ingredients
CHEESECAKE:
  • Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ⅔ cup granulated white sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • ⅓ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
STRAWBERRY CAKE - your choice
PUREE:
  • 1 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar (unless the frozen strawberries include sugar)
FROSTING:
  • 12 ounces (1½ packages) cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup strawberry puree (frozen strawberries, thawed and blended in blender)
  • 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
  • 2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
Instructions
Prepare the cheesecake layer:
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Place a large roasting pan on the lower third rack of the oven. Place a kettle of water on the stove to boil. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray. Wrap a double layer of heavy duty foil around the bottom and up the sides of the pan (you want to seal it so the water from the water bath doesn’t seep into the pan).
  2. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to blend the cream cheese until it is smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Mix in the sugar and salt and blend for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure all is mixed in. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending after each addition. Finally, mix in the sour cream, whipping cream and vanilla (and food color, if using). Mix until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Set the pan into the roasting pan in the pre-heated oven. Carefully pour the hot water from your kettle into the roasting pan. Pour enough water so that there is about an inch of water coming up the foil along the sides of the cheesecake pan.
  3. Bake the cheesecake for 45 minutes. It should be set to the touch and not jiggly. Remove the cheesecake from the roasting pan and let it cool on a wire rack for at least an hour. When it has cooled, place the pan into the freezer and let the cheesecake freeze completely (4 to 5 hours or overnight).
Prepare the cake:
  1. Prepare and Bake two- 9-inch round strawberry cake layers (your recipe preference- see ingredient list and tips for suggestions) Once the cake is cooled it can be placed in the freezer for 4 to 5 hours or overnight. This will make it very easy to put together and frost.
  2. Puree strawberries and sugar in blender or food processor. Use for topping each layer and for making the frosting. A drop of red food coloring can be added if the color is too pale.
  3. Prepare the frosting: Use an electric mixer to combine the cream cheese and the butter, and beat until smooth. Add the vanilla, strawberry puree and cream and continue to mix until well combined. Mix in 2 cups of the powdered sugar. Add the third cup a little at a time until you reach a consistency that you're happy with. You may not use it all, or you may use more. Whip until your desired consistency.
Assemble the cake:
  1. Place one cake layer into the center of a cake plate or platter. Spoon strawberry puree over the layer but not quite to the edge. You do not want the puree running over the sides of each layer. Remove the cheesecake from the freezer, take off the sides of the pan, and slide a knife under the the cheesecake to release it from the pan. Trim the cheesecake, as needed to match the size of your cake layers (see *Tips). Place the cheesecake layer on top of the first cake layer. Add a light layer of strawberry puree. Place the second cake layer on top of the cheesecake.
  2. Frost the cake: Apply a crumb coat layer of frosting to the cake (see *Tips), and refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes, or until the frosting is set. Apply the second layer of frosting, if needed. Decorate, as desired, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Notes
*If you prefer to use a boxed mix, it will work just fine (just make two layers in two 9-inch pans).

*You can certainly bake this cheesecake in the oven without a water bath, but you run the risk of cracking the top of the cheesecake. The water bath is a safeguard against cracking.

*Measure your cheesecake layer against the cake layers. If the cheesecake layer turns out to be slightly larger size round than your cake layers, move it to a cutting board and use a knife to gently shave off some of the exterior of the cheesecake.

*How to apply a crumb coat layer of frosting: use a long, thin spatula or knife to cover the cake completely with a thin and even layer of frosting. Wipe off the spatula each time you’re about to dip it back into the bowl to get more frosting (this way you won’t be transferring any pink crumbs into the bowl of frosting). Don’t worry at this point about the crumbs being visible in the frosting on the cake. When your cake has a thin layer of frosting all over it, place it into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to “set” the frosting. Once the first layer of frosting is set, apply the second layer.

*If you are serving this cake at a party, it’s perfectly okay to leave the cake at room temperature for a couple of hours (the cheesecake thaws very quickly). Otherwise, keep it stored in the refrigerator. It also freezes perfectly. Freeze it as is, then wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in the freezer until it is needed. Leftover slices may also be wrapped and frozen.

*If there is any leftover it will last in the refrigerator for up to a week without getting dry. Each day it just gets better and better!

This recipe adapted from The Recipe Girl

 

 

How Control Freaks Let Go and Let God

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Eating Green Vegetables
Eating our green vegetables … Zucchini bars!

I asked my husband, “Am I a control freak?”

He said, “well, you are not a freak.”  Then he went on to explain how he sees me as organized and that I like to be in control but not in a frreaky way.

That wasN’T really good enough for me to not call myself a control freak but also realistic enough for me to realize that my controlling nature doesn’t always leave room for God to move as He will within my life.

Waaay last May (which seems like a lifetime ago) over a game of cards with two of our grandsons and their parents, we made the commitment for the grandsons to come to Tennessee to stay with us for 10 days in August.  At the time the calendar looked pretty clear and I was thrilled to think the boys would be with us for a full 10 days before starting back to school in Denver.

I joyfully began to make lists.  A list of food they liked to eat (with some help from their mom).  The list of  activities to keep them busy.  I made the too-hot to be outside list.  The rainy day list.  The outing in the car list — far enough away to make it a trip but not so far as to become boring. I talked to the neighbors to see who else had grandchildren visiting at the same time so we could have a play-date list. The really sad thing about this list of lists — it is all true!  (Help me! :))

So, when on June 27th my summer plans were turned up-side-down I was left sifting through my lists wondering how in the world it was all going to work out.  Immediately upon finding out my mom had breast cancer our schedule became jam-packed full.  Each and every day brought on another round of appointments in the nearest city with a regional medical center.  Did I mention that we live in the country, a 1 hour drive away from that medical center?

All through July my sous-chef dish-washing mom and I would make that drive from appointment to appointment.  God was so good to us. He continually met our needs, giving us strength and even sometimes laughter to get where we needed to go.  We listened to praise music and talked about how blessed we were to be able to make the drive to a medical center where she could get treatment.  We counted all our blessings each and every day.  We had each other, a good car to drive, health insurance, loving medical staff, and at home my Chief Culinary Consultant oftentimes had dinner on the table when we arrived home at the end of a long day.  My knight-in-shining-armor.

Brothers
As July gave way to August I felt the weight of August 10th fast approaching.  The day my little grandsons, ages 6 and 8 would arrive in Tennessee.  I would look over the lists and pray the Lord would make a way for those little boys to have a wonderful summer experience while at the same time not letting my mom down when I thought she needed me most.

Jeremiah 29:11 is that often-quoted scripture when we are looking for events and life in general to go our way.

11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 

As I prayed prior to my little boys arriving  I felt a lot of comfort from those words.  It was going to be alright.  Everything will work out.  But it wasn’t until I really tagged on the next verse did the peace come for me.

12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lord, Jeremiah 29:12

It wasn’t until I let go and let God did everything really fall in to place.  You see, I have the ability and desire to take my mom where she needs to go, when she needs to go.  The Lord has given me the freedom each and everyday to do for my family.  But sometimes all those “can do” and “must do” get all mixed up.  But it wasn’t until I started trusting Him and praising Him did He unveil His plan for my time in August.

When my little grandsons were here God provided so many neighbors and friends who lined up to help mom get to her daily radiation treatments.  And for me He took away the guilt that I should be the one driving her to and from.

On Hummingbird Watch
There is so much comfort in knowing and believing that long before events happen in our life we have a Heavenly Father that cares enough about each of us to orchestrate just the right plans to get us through each and every life situation.

In my last post,  Woo-Hoo From The WHOot  I mentioned I would tell you why August 20 is important to my God-story ….

Our grandsons arrived on August 10 and flew back home on August 20.  Each and every day I began the day in two ways — first, thanking God for clearing the way for beautiful time spent with our grandchildren.  Second, wondering are they up yet? :)

header-2014
On August 20THE WHOot  used some of my pictures and a recipe of mine on their blog and it has created a firestorm of activity on my blog.  Without a doubt I know that God provided that activity for me when I couldn’t do it for myself.  And when I was tired and worn out (August 20) He chose that day to create the biggest amount of activity on my blog that I have ever had. Coincidence?  I think not.

My dependence on Him continues to sore as time and time again He shows me how a relationship with Him is the most important thing I can have in my life under the sun.

To me, the most important part of Jeremiah 29 isn’t the part that God says “I’ve got you in my plans” but the part that says “12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.” He hears me. 

Praising Him through our life circumstances makes all the difference.  My prayer for you is that no matter what you are going through today, you will call on His name, praise him, and know that you are in HIS plans!

Have a blessed weekend,
Catherine

P.S.  Oh, I almost forgot … the first picture of my little guys holding a zucchini and eating zucchini bars — we just wanted to show their mom and dad that they were indeed eating their green vegetables at Grandma’s!

Zucchini Bars With Browned Butter Frosting
 
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Perfect end of summer dessert when zucchini is plentiful and desserts are always on the menu!
Serves: 48 bars
Ingredients
Bars
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil*
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini (about 2 medium)
  • 1½ cups chopped pecans (optional)
Browned Butter Frosting
  • 6 tablespoons butter (do not use margarine)
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 to 10 tablespoons milk
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom and sides of 15x10x1-inch pan with shortening or spray with cooking spray.
  2. In large bowl, beat granulated sugar, oil and eggs with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in zucchini and pecans. Spread in pan.
  3. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and top is golden brown. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
  4. Meanwhile, in 4-quart saucepan, heat butter over medium heat until light golden brown; remove from heat. Stir in powdered sugar, vanilla and milk until smooth and spreadable. Spread Browned Butter Frosting on cooled bars. For bars, cut into 8 rows by 6 rows.
Notes
This is a Betty Crocker recipe I have used for years and it always turns out wonderful.
*I decrease the oil from 1 cup to ¾ cup because I just don't think it needs 1 cup. Very cake-like and moist with ¾ cup.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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