Sometimes there are problems in your life. They are unexpected, out of the blue and you see your security starting to crumble a little. You don’t know what to do, how to act and how to face it because it might be a new problem, one you have never experienced before.
It’s a case of life giving lemons but not being able to make lemonade because they are sour or rotten. Not every lemon can be good I suppose.
When these problems come up, there is always a positive side according to my ma and I know she is right. Like yin and yang, light and dark, with every negative there must be a positive, a law of nature.
But sometimes you just can’t find it. You can search everywhere and try to convince yourself you have found that happy side but sometimes it is just too hard and you collapse under the strain. It is in these cases you must avoid the issue for a little bit of time. Calm yourself and let your passions overwhelm you so they can take you to a world away from reality, an ephemeral moment of peace and tranquillity before you are pulled away again.
This is what this recipe did for me. I do not want to think, act or speak, I just want to let my senses devour this cake in front of me so I can be one in my realm involving chocolate, ovens and buttercream snow. I need to be out of the real world and into the my own right now so here is how everything is looking to me.
I see a cake. A big round cake with beautiful twisted ganache swirls on the top. I feel a thick crusty layer of sweet biscuits, soft and crumby at the touch. I taste a smooth creamy layer of perfect cheesecake, its light perfection mingling with the dense richness of a dark brownie. Opposites are attracting and the three layers of this cake are coming together as one wonderful taste attraction.
I cannot remember, I cannot control, all I know is that all my senses are directed at this brownie-cheesecake hybrid with its devilish three layers working in unison. My nose is catching the scent of chocolate intertwining with the slightest hint of butter and a delicious creaminess. My eyes are assessing each layer. And my hands are gripping a dessert spoon so hard that its silvery steel is clammy against my palm.
Why not join me and lose yourself too? While I may have to, you can by choice, and I am pretty sure that choice is an easy one 😉
I found this recipe for the Ultimate Brownie Cheesecake from The Purple Foodie. It was a case of love at first sight with no optional-making, just set-a-date making. While the talented Shaheen really did go over the top on this with a white chocolate ganache and a jam layer as well, I was initially planning this spider web design, but with white chocolate instead of powdered sugar and milk.
I said au revoir to that idea and went for the random but pretty chocolate ganache swirl drizzle. Next time I may incorporate the jam in swirls throughout the cheesecake and skip the extra chocolate. Who knows?
Anyhow, here are my tips, variations and tricks on making this decadent delight – help yourself 🙂
- I dutifully greased and lined the bottom and sides of my springform tin – the cheesecake pieces cut like a charm and the base just slid right off when needed
- I added 1 tsp of vanilla essence into the biscuit base and used plain caster sugar – the cacao nibs were also ignored
- I refrigerated the crust to add sturdiness while preparing the brownie
- I recommend using Sheehan’s brownie recipe since the cooking times go well with the cheesecake and the amount of batter is exact – if you use your own, be very wary to make sure you follow the appearance instructions
- Refrigerate the brownie 3-4 hours or overnight to ensure a sturdy crust and no marbling with the cheesecake layer
- I added 1/2 tsp coffee essence into the brownie
- I used 250g cream cheese and 1/2 cup caster sugar (since the packets of Philly are that amount here over 230g or 8 oz)
- I increased the cream in the cheesecake to 90ml (by accident of course!)
- I had to bake my cheesecake part for around 35 minutes – the brownie was still perfectly moist and delicious but I think this should be your limit (after refrigeration it will not budge I promise!)
- If you are pouring ganache, be sure to keep your cake in the springform – the drippy effect will take away from the layering so let that set in the fridge before pouring jam/designing – then remove sides
- Nutella Variation: 1 tbs roasted hazelnuts in crust, 1/2 cup Nutella into brownie and cut down sugar to 150g, 1/4 cup into ganache
- Peanut Butter Variation: 1 tbs roasted unsalted peanuts into crust, use peanut butter instead of normal butter in brownie, make chocolate peanut butter ganache for the top
Also, this was my first large cheesecake which didn’t crack! I didn’t put it in a waterbath, I placed it one rack beneath, I tapped it on the counter for air bubbles, cooled it with the oven door slightly ajar for 30 minutes and that was that! A perfect crack-less cheesecake 🙂
Also, a tip on cutting: Use a sharp, hot knife wiped clean but immediately used because this cake is dense like the Amazon forest, if not more so 😉
Clean the knife in between each slice as well (unlike I did because I am impatient like that) 😛
And this is the recipe for chocolate ganache which is fool-proof. I just used all milk chocolate instead of a mixture due to the richness that is dark chocolate brownie 😀
So let yourself loose and throw away practicality as you indulge your senses in this heavenly dessert. It certainly is helping and I hope it will continue to bring luck so it is sure to do wonders for you.
Enjoy my friends.