Monday, March 21, 2011

Too Much is Never Enough

Henry has said for years that he isn't afraid I will spend all of our hard-earned money.  Nope, he is more concerned that I will give it away.  He's probably right.  You are unlikely to spot me at the mall buying shoes, clothes or jewelry (of course, that shows in the way I dress) but I'm a soft touch when someone is hungry or in need.  In my next life, I hope I get to be one of those "Secret Millionaires" who pretend they are just like the rest of us, then give much-needed funds to deserving individuals and organizations, amidst flowing tears, screams of disbelief and hugs.

Since I am in this life however, I fulfill those urges by pulling a complete overload when someone asks me to bring food to a potluck dinner or bake a birthday cake.  What, a simple birthday cake?  As I have posted several times (most recently a week or so ago), if one cake is good, then three are better!

I held to that standard this past weekend when yet once again, I offered to bake a cake for a friend's birthday party.  Luckily for me, she loves cheesecake and as we all know, I AM THE CHEESECAKE QUEEN and I could bake them in my sleep.  Nonetheless, they are pretty spectacular looking and the best thing is that they require no frosting or complicated decorating.  No pastry bags needed!

You already have my basic cheesecake recipe (courtesy of Glenn Powell and Elise Griffin-Hughes) which calls for 3 pounds of cream cheese, 2 1/2 cups of granulated sugar, 6 eggs and a 10 x 3-inch round (not springform) pan.  In case you missed it, here's the link:

For this latest birthday extravaganza, I made the Chocolate-Espresso Cheesecake as detailed in the above post.  It was yummy, but you already know this.

I also made the basic vanilla version (posted there as well).  For the crust, I pulverized about half a package of Vanilla Oreos and combined it with 4 tablespoons of melted butter (gotta love all that fat!)  I then topped the finished cake with sliced fresh strawberries, glazed with a little melted strawberry jelly. 

For the third version, I decided upon key lime.  The crust consisted of 7 oz. gingersnaps, ground with 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon of lime zest, then combined with 4 tablespoons of melted butter.  I then placed the 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar (as called for in the basic recipe - a little less if you want) in the food processor with 2 tablespoons of lime zest and 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh ginger.  This is what I used to add to the cream cheese in the electric mixer.  To the basic batter, I also added 1/2 cup of key lime juice and 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract.

I will refrain from modesty and admit that all three of these cheesecakes were fabulous.  If you tried any one of them on its own, you might even venture so far as to say it was the best cheesecake you ever ate.  Sampled at the same time, however, the winner for the evening was the vanilla-strawberry version.  I'm convinced it had something to do with those Vanilla Oreos!

Go, Laura!  You're so special, you deserve 300 cakes!

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