Sunday, September 18, 2011
50/99: Ginger Cheesecake with Gingerbread Crust
This cake is kind of a big deal because it marks a very special day. This cake means that I am officially over half way through the book. I really can't believe it. It feels like yesterday (actually it was 163 days ago) that I went to the bookstore and happily stood in the checkout line with Rose's Heavenly Cakes snuggled in my arms. This past week, I even had to go to the grocery store and buy another 20 pound bag of sugar. I guess that's just another piece of evidence that proves that I've spent the last few months immersing myself in sugar.
It's actually been a great 163 days. I think one of my favorite things about this whole experience has been how cakes bring people together. You never have cake for a sad occasion. This bake through ensures that I will have at least 2 celebratory moments with friends each week. It's a pretty great way to live--plus the fact that I get to try two new cakes every week. The surprising part of it is that I have actually lost 5 pounds since I started this because I'm being much more intentional about eating healthy so that the sugar doesn't overwhelm me.
But enough nostalgia for now. On to the ginger cheesecake.
The ginger cheese cake might be where I gain those whole 5 pounds back--tonight. I absolutely love cheesecake and this one is no exception. I ended up making the gingerbread men and women cookies to go along the side of the cake since Rose's cake looked so adorable. I had to order some cookie cutters from Amazon but I think it was worth it. I'll just have a gingerbread party during Christmas time this year.
The result: A deliciously tempting, creamy ginger cheesecake. It tastes like Christmas and kind of looks like earth day. Seriously. This is what i think of when I look at the gingerbread people on the cake:
The cake was actually quite easy to accomplish. One of my best friends, Alyssa, was in town and graciously offered to help me out too so that was fun. Meanwhile, my roommate and some other friends were constantly trying to sneak a cookie. I finally doubled the recipe and made some extras with the big cookie cutters. We all liked the cookies which really surprised me. I couldn't find light molasses as Rose requested so I used the regular kind. I thought it would be a little too strong for me but surprisingly, despite the horrible smell while I was mixing the dough, it turned out great.
The most difficult part of the cake was waiting 24 hours to cut it. When I finally got it out of the oven (after an hour of baking) my stomach was growling; It smelled great. But into the refrigerator it went so as soon as today rolled around I was ready. It popped out of the pan beautifully and I placed the gingerbread men all around it. Rose said that if you pushed hard enough then they would just stay on the sides. I didn't have her luck. As soon as I cut into it, they all fell face forward. I kept putting them back up but alas, sometimes you just have to realize that you're fighting a losing game.
The strangest part of the process was grading the ginger into a bowl and then squeezing the juice out of it. I had no idea that you could juice ginger. It wasn't terribly difficult but it was definitely new for me.
Overall it was great. My only mishap was that I forgot my cardinal cheesecake rule: Always double the crust. It is the best part. Ah, well. There's always next time.
As for the tasting results, Alyssa said she was trying to keep from licking her plate and I had seconds... or thirds. I really like ginger and I adore cheesecake. I saved half of it to give to some friends who are coming over tomorrow so I'll have more taste testers then!