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Halloween Cheesecake & a Spidery Chocolate Cake

I made two cakes this year for Halloween, the ever reliable La Bete Noire from Bon Appetit (aka The Black Beast), and an ice cream inspired, vibrantly colored cheesecake.

I had a little white chocolate ganache leftover from another recipe, and decided to use it give the top of my bete noire a little Halloween twist with a web pattern and made it home to a couple of bittersweet chocolate spiders.  I was in a bit of a hurry when I topped the cake so it is not as pretty as I would have liked, but I think it still did the trick:

On to the cheesecake.  A little while ago I entered an ice cream inspired cheesecake into a contest – aka the Big Kid Cheesecake (the inspiration came from an ice cream called “SuperKid” that despite its kid-oriented colors and flavors, happens to be a huge favorite of mine).  At the time, I had an idea for another few ice cream flavored cakes, but ran out of time to make them, and others I had in mind.  One of them was to be based off an orange and licorice flavored ice cream that often goes by the name Tiger Tiger , so naturally, I filed it away until Halloween.  Using the Big Kid Cheesecake as my starting point, here was the resulting recipe:

  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate cookie crumbs
  • 6 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 6 tbsp melted butter
  • 4 8 ounce packages of cream cheese
  • 1 1/6 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup orange puree (I used well drained canned mandarin oranges blitzed with my stick blender)
  • 2 tsp orange extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp anise extract
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • orange and black paste food coloring
  • 1 to 1 1/2 containers of cream cheese icing.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Prepare a 9 inch springform pan by lining bottom with parchment and lightly greasing sides. Wrap outside of pan (not covering top) with at least two layers of heavy duty tinfoil.

Mix together cookie crumbs, brown sugar and melted butter.  Press this mixture into bottom and up sides of pan.  Set aside.

In stand mixer, blend together 4 packages of cream cheese and the 1 1/6 cups white sugar until creamy.  Add sour cream and first quantity of whipping cream until combined.  Lastly, add eggs one at a time.  Scrape bowl a few times during mixing.

Divide mixture into a 2/3 and 1/3 quantity (about 4 2/3 cups and 2 1/3 cups of mixture).  To the larger quantity add orange puree, orange extract, vanilla and enough orange food coloring to make a vibrant color.  To smaller quantity add 1/4 cup whipping cream, anise extract and lots of black food coloring to make a good solid color.

To assemble cake, pour half the orange mixture into prepared crust.  Slowly pour black mixture into centre of orange filling (it will naturally push out to the sides).  Pour remaining orange filling on top of all.

Place prepared springform pan with pre-baked cake  into a larger roasting pan or similar.  Place in oven and pour enough water into the larger pan to come up about an inch along the side of the tinfoil wrapped springform, being extra careful not to splash water onto cake itself (this is your water bath).

Bake the cake in the water bath for about an hour and a half or until centre no longer jiggles.  Turn oven off, leave oven door slightly ajar, and allow the cake to cool without removing from water bath.  Once cooled, remove springform pan from the water bath and place in the fridge to completely cool.

Remove cake from springform by running a knife around the edge and using a cake spatula to free it from the bottom and move to serving plate, removing parchment in process (sticking it in the freezer for a while can help firm the cake enough to safely do this)

To decorate take a quantity of cream cheese icing (about a cup) and tint with orange food coloring.  With a star tip and icing bag, pipe rosettes around edge of cake.  Take another smaller quantity of cream cheese icing and tint black with the food coloring.  Use a small tip with icing bag to place dots for accent amongst the rosettes.

The resulting cake, which I did not get to capture a photo of a slice of before heading out the door.  There will be a deep black ribbon through the middle of the cake.

Happy Halloween everyone ! 🙂


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