Challenge for Battinburg Cake Bloggers!

Battinburg Challenge:  “National Day Of…” Kick-off

August 2013-Bikini Weather Chocolate Cheesecake

We love Holidays…not just the biggies; Christmas, New Years, Independence Day, and Thanksgiving, but we even make up our own (we actually hosted a “Christmas in July” party at our house last week!)  There, we served grapes, strawberries and bananas that we skewered together to make little Grinch heads (these were an absolute HIT);

Grinch

Christmas simply isn’t Christmas without both gingerbread men and Santa Claus…so we baked up some awesome gingerbread mini cakes with a cinnamon buttercream that we topped with mini decorated gingerbread men, and then we set out the plate of gingy men for Santa…these are THE MOST INCREDIBLE GINGY recipes given to us by really good friends and if you want them, well…you have to wait until the real Christmastime.

Gingy Boys  Santas Plate

And what would Christmas be without snow and snowmen?  Well…here in Charlotte it was going to be about a billion degrees for our Christmas in July party, so we decided to make melted snowmen cupcakes!  These were coconut cupcakes with a coconut cream macaroon filling and 7-minute marshmallow frosting dusted with some untoasted coconut (to keep it white).

Snowman1

We also served iced “hot” chocolate (which a baker friend of ours immediately described as a liquid brownie).  Several friends came with their Santa hats and holiday shirts, and it was a very enjoyable afternoon.  The long and short of all of this is…My family and I will take ANY opportunity to invite family & friends to our house for food & fun.  We actually make up reasons to celebrate and create tasty and fun goodies.  So here we go again only this time, it will be a monthly challenge we extend to all of you!

A couple of years ago we were excited to learn that here in the United States we have a “National Day” proclamation for each and every day.  We would write the food of the day on the white board in the office and, at least once per week, we would make our version of the food of the day and take those creations for our office mates to share.  WELL WE ARE BRANCHING THIS IDEA OUT!!!  We have decided to share our “National Day of…” food creations with you from now on!  Every week, we are going to look at the “National Day Of” foods for that week and either pick one or, as we did this week, consolidate several National Days’ foods into one luscious masterpiece!

THE AUGUST 2013 “NATIONAL DAY OF” CHALLENGE:

It’s August…bikini weather.  We wanted to make something wonderful for eating at a pool party and, for those who actually can wear a bikini, something that wouldn’t add too much to the waistline.  So, our first “National Day of” creation had to be light and low fat.  For the first week of August 2013, the National Food Days are:

  • August 1: Raspberry Cream Pie Day
  • August 2: Ice Cream Sandwich Day
  • August 3: Watermelon Day
  • August 3: Grab Some Nuts Day
  • August 4: Chocolate Chip Cookie Day

In looking at the National Food Days, we combined Chocolate, raspberries in Cream, and Pie  and, in conjunction with our desire for a low-fat and light bikini-worthy dessert, we created a Bikini Weather Chocolate Cheesecake.

We used low fat chocolate cookies, cut down on the butter and eggs by using egg whites, incorporated equal parts of fat-free and Neufchtel (low fat) cream cheese (you could substitute yogurt cheese if you had the time and inclination…we had neither for this one!).  The one ingredient we chose not to eliminate was the cream, but by using low-fat greek yogurt, we were able to cut the quantity quite significantly.  This cheesecake was light, creamy, and full of chocolate flavor.  We then covered it with a dark chocolate ganache and a fruit compote and garnished with fresh strawberries.  We served this at a business dinner and it was a hit!   The guys talked about it for days afterward.  The recipe follows.

Check back next week to see what creation we develop from next week’s National Food Days, which are:

  • August 5 – National Waffle Day
  • August 6 – National Root Beer Float Day
  • August 7 – National Raspberries in Cream Day
  • August 8 – National Zucchini Day & National Frozen Custard Day
  • August 9 – National Rice Pudding Day
  • August 10-National Banana Split Day

Thanks for all of your comments and emails.  We really appreciate the support and encourage you to step out of your culinary comfort zone and make some fun “National Day Of” delights for your friends and family too…then share them with us to try!

Ciao for Now!

V & K

August 2013-Bikini Weather Chocolate Cheesecake-2

Bikini Weather Chocolate Cheesecake

Yield:  One 10-inch cheesecake

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups low fat chocolate cookie crumbs
  • 3 Tbsp melted unsalted butter
  • 2-8oz Neufchatel cream cheese, softened
  • 2 8-oz fat-free cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp espresso powder
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teasp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate, melted
  • Pinch of salt

TOPPING: 

  • 1 quantity dark chocolate ganache
  • *1/4 cup Grand Marnier
  • 2 pints assorted fresh raspberries
  • 2 cups light whipping cream
  • Garnish with fresh strawberries (or raspberries) & mint sprigs, if desired

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Combine the cookie crumbs and melted butter in a medium-size mixing bowl. Thoroughly mix together, adding water if needed, then press into the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan.

Beat the two cream cheeses in a food processor until smooth. Add the sugar and process. Lightly beat the egg white in a separate bowl. Add the eggs 1 at a time, running the processor in between each addition. Add the heavy cream, greek yogurt, salt, espresso powder, and vanilla and process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. With the motor running, add the chocolate in a steady stream. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake until the center of the cake sets, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and loosen the sides of the cake with a thin knife. Cool completely. If you like it slightly chilled, refrigerate for about 1 hour.

Heat ganache to pouring consistency.  Pour over cooled cake and allow to set (about 1 hour)

In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine the Grand Marnier* and berries; mash; cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

To serve, slice the cheesecake, spoon the berries on the slices, and top with the whipped cream and mint sprigs. Alternatively, pour over the entire cake and allow to set before slicing.

* Raspberry liqueur or sugar-free raspberry syrup can be substituted.

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