Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake

20170227_000907Cheesecake is a delightful dessert rich in flavor and smooth on the palate. As much as I enjoy a slice of cheesecake I absolutely despise making it on my own. Cheesecake is up there on my list with Creme Brulee & Souffles when it comes to a severe inclination to avoid said recipes. It is not that I can’t make them it is just more tedious and I don’t enjoy making them like I do cakes and cookies. Baking is an outlet for me to reduce stress. Cheesecakes tend to create stress by wondering if the darn thing is going to crack despite doing everything correctly. There is only so many times you can get scalded by the hot water bath before you throw even cooking out the window. However, after taking a look at what I have prepared lately I was starting to see too much repetition. I decided I needed to venture out of my comfort zone and give myself a challenge like I had when in culinary school. The first item that came to my mind was the dreaded cheesecake.

20170227_001556My favorite flavor of cheesecake is cherry and I have made it a thousand times. My love of cherry cheesecake in particular stems from my childhood when I would make the No-Bake Jello brand Cherry Cheesecake box mix. Although it was a heck of a lot easier cheesecake to make, it wasn’t necessarily a real cheesecake (probably why I enjoyed baking it growing up). Besides the taste the cherries lend cheesecake, I also love the appearance. The red is a great contrast to the light cheesecake base and makes for a stunning dessert every time. I wanted to replicate this stunning look but with something other than cherries. That is where cranberries come into play.

20170226_172628I had some leftover cranberries frozen at their peak and needed to use them up so it seemed like a perfect fit. I made this for Valentine’s Day but it can be made for many other events such as anniversaries, Christmas, Independence Day, or even Go Red for Women parties which bring awareness to heart health. Although this is a skinnier recipe than traditional cheesecakes, I highly doubt the American Heart Association would define it as a heart healthy recipe. On average, cheesecakes similar to this one run about 575 calories and 22 grams of saturated fat while this cheesecake is 321 calories and 6 grams saturated fat (saving over 250 calories and 15 grams saturated fat per slice).

Although I enjoyed this lightened up version of a traditional cheesecake I would make a few changes next time to appeal more to my own taste. I think I would prefer a regular graham cracker crust to the chocolate, despite my love of the stunning color contrasts the chocolate crust provides. If you follow the recipe as is you will witness how much a simple swirl of tart cranberries provides an elegant touch to rich filling encased in a chocolate graham crust. Enjoy!

Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz. Chocolate Graham Crackers
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • 1 ½ cups Fresh or Frozen Cranberries (thaw if frozen)
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • ¼ cup Raspberry Liqueur (Chambord or Smirnoff Raspberry Vodka)
  • 3 tbsp. Water
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 12 oz.(2 ½ pkg.) Block Style 1/3-less-fat Cream Cheese; softened
  • 1 cup Plain Fat-Free Greek Yogurt
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1/8 tsp. Salt
  • 3 large Eggs
  • 2 large Egg Whites

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Wrap outside and bottom of a 9-inch springform pan tightly with a double layer of heavy-duty foil (or place in a turkey size oven bag and seal at top). Grease pan lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Place crackers in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Drizzle with oil and pulse until moistened. Press mixture into bottom and ½ inch up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a rack.
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 325°. Place cranberries, sugar, liqueur, and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cook 8 minutes or until cranberries have softened and mixture is syrupy. Cool for 20 minutes. Puree mixture until smooth with an immersion blender or pour contents into a food processor and pulse 1 minute.
  4. Combine 1 cup sugar and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl. Beat with stand or hand mixer at medium speed until smooth. Beat in yogurt, vanilla, and salt. Add the whole eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. In a separate bowl, beat the 2 egg whites at high-speed until soft peaks form. Fold beaten egg whites into cream cheese mixture. Pour filling over crust. Spoon cranberry mixture over filling & swirl together using the tip of a knife. Place springform pan into a metal baking pan larger than the springform pan. Add hot water to the pan to create a depth of about 2 inches. Bake for 55 minutes or until the center of the cheesecake barely jiggles when pan is touched.
  6. Turn off oven. Cool cheesecake in closed oven for 30 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven and run knife around the outside edge. Cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill in refrigerator for at least 8 hours.

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: ANN TAYLOR PITTMAN
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

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Strawberry Almond Cream Tart

20160606_110931As Spring comes to a close and we turn things over to summer on June 20, now is the time to enjoy the bountiful fresh fruit options spring provides. Luckily, here in Central Florida, you can find white tents and loaded pickup trucks all over the sides of the roadways selling fresh, in season produce and other oddities (such as gator jerky) on a typical drive home year round. This time of year, the main produce being sold at these mini markets of sorts are strawberries. Since I live rather close to Plant City (Florida), the winter Strawberry capital of the world and host of the annual festival dedicated to strawberries, it is not hard to come by an abundance of strawberries at affordable prices. With an abundance of fresh, irresistible strawberries, finding new ways to use them is not only fun but tasty.

20160606_111339-1Strawberries (and cherries) have always been my go to topping for cheesecake. As much as I love fruit glazed cheesecakes, I do have a problem with the cheesecake to fruit ratio often found in many recipes. The ratio ALWAYS leans heavily in the side of the cheesecake with minimal fresh fruit topping. I decided this needed to be changed. Why not make a cheesecake-esque dessert that focuses more on the fruit topping over the cheesecake filling.

20160606_111935The following recipe is the result of such a desire I have had since childhood. With this recipe, for once, the strawberries are the star of the show. Instead of being a simple topping, the strawberries are nestled in a thinner layer of creamy cheesecake filling and graham cracker crust, allowing them to shine. Perhaps even better than the taste itself, is the fact that this dessert will not set you back a ton of calories. In fact the tart is very low in cholesterol and high in vitamin C. It is perfect to serve at spring and summer parties and your guests will never suspect it is not as indulgent as it appears.

20160606_111325While on the topic of parties, this is also a great dessert that can be made in advance. You can easily make the crust and filling ahead of time (up to 2 days) and then assemble the dessert the day of the party. This will help free up some time to make all of the other items you may be serving that do not have the ability to be prepared in advance.

Notes:

  • This tart will easily serve 10 people. If you need it to serve more you can easily double (or triple) the recipe and divide the crust, filling, and topping evenly amongst two (or more) tart pans.
  • You may have some extra strawberries if your cartons managed to miraculously not have any squishy or moldy strawberries at the bottom.
  • Although I chose to use a 9 inch round tart pan, you may also use an 8 x 12 inch rectangular tart pan or 9 inch pie plate.

Strawberry Almond Cream Tart

Crust Ingredients:

  • 36 Honey Graham Crackers (9 sheets)
  • 2 tbsp. Granulated Sugar
  • 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; melted
  • 4 tsp. Water

Filling Ingredients:

  • 5 oz. 1/3-less-fat Cream Cheese; softened (about 2/3 cup)
  • ¼ cup Granulated Sugar
  • ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ tsp. Almond Extract

Topping Ingredients:

  • 2 cartons Fresh Strawberries; hulled & divided
  • 1/3 cup Granulated Sugar
  • ½ tbsp. Cornstarch
  • ½ tbsp. Lemon Juice
  • 2 tbsp. Sliced Almonds; toasted

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly coat a 9 inch round removable-bottom tart pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Place the graham crackers in a food processor and pulse to fine crumbs. Add the sugar, butter, and water. Pulse until the mixture is moistened. Place the crumb mixture in the prepared tart pan and press into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.Bake for 10 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  3. Once crust has cooled completely, prepare the filling. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and almond extract. Stir until mixture is smooth. Use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to spread the mixture evenly over the crust.
  4. To prepare the topping, place 1 cup of strawberries in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is pureed. In a small saucepan over medium heat combine strawberry puree, sugar, and cornstarch. Stir with a whisk until smooth. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and cook for 1 minute. Remove the glaze from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
  5. Combine remaining strawberries (approximately 3 cups) and lemon juice; toss to coat. Arrange the strawberries, bottoms up, in a circular pattern over the filling. Spoon the glaze evenly over the berries. Sprinkle almonds around the edge. Cover and chill tart for at least 3 hours.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(1 Wedge)

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Weight Watchers: 11 Smart Points, 6 Points Plus, or 5 Traditional Points

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: JEAN KRESSY
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2016

Skinny Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake

1Hello friends! I hope everyone who celebrated Thanksgiving this past week enjoyed their holiday with friends, family, and lots of good food. I know our family had a delicious feast and this cheesecake was just one component. I was meaning to share this with you all sooner, however life, as usual, got in the way. I know that Thanksgiving has already passed, which happens to be the time most families enjoy pumpkin flavored desserts, but this was just too good not to share.

I have loved pumpkin pie since I was a kid. It was the only pie I would crave besides the Chocolate Ambrosia our family would order at holidays from Bishop’s (a local restaurant that has since closed). I think the fact that my mom couldn’t eat it, therefore it was never in the house, made me crave it that much more. As much as I love pumpkin pie, sometimes you just want to try something new without sacrificing the same flavors you know you love. This cheesecake is the perfect solution to that problem. I get the same pumpkin pie flavor I know and love, but with a new texture that excites the palate and broadens once restricted horizons.

2I am not ashamed to admit that I am not the biggest fan of preparing cheesecakes. I despise having to use hot water baths as I always manage to burn myself and the fact that the cooked cheesecake then has to chill before I can dig in makes the extra effort seem not worth it. My intrigue of trying a pumpkin cheesecake pushed me past my comfort zone and I have to say I was quite surprised with its success. Not only did I not burn myself but it was a lot easier to prepare than expected. The final product came out rich, creamy, and full of pumpkin essence. In the past I have managed to turn what should have been perfect cheesecake into dry, flavorless blocks of blah that only the trash can would enjoy consuming. Also I know my recipe is a success if the hubby approves since he is not big on sweets at all.

Let me not forget to mention that this recipe is a skinnier version than most. A traditional pumpkin cheesecake will run you as much as 700 calories and over 30 grams of fat for a SINGLE wedge. Sure this is not my lightest “skinny” recipe but it sure as heck is a lot lighter than most without compromising flavor. One wedge of this cheesecake comes in at only 262 calories and 7.8 grams of fat. That makes for a big difference to those watching waistlines. If you desire to save even more calories and fat, skip out on the dollop of whipped topping, as the cheesecake is still delicious on its own.

3Although the typical pumpkin consuming holiday has since passed, I know many also offer pumpkin pie at Christmas as well. If you are one of the many that do I highly recommend trying this recipe. If you don’t, make it a point to make this as a special treat for your household to try rather than waiting until next year. I guarantee you will not be disappointed!

Skinny Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake

Cheesecake Ingredients:

  • 1 Reduced-Fat Graham Cracker Pie Crust (Keebler Ready Crust)
  • 8 0z. Reduced Fat Cream Cheese (1/3 less fat); softened
  • ½ cup Sugar (preferably natural cane but you may sub granulated)
  • ¼ cup Light Brown Sugar; packed (preferably organic)
  • 1 (15 oz.) can Unsweetened Pure Pumpkin Puree
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 tbsp. Bourbon
  • 1 tbsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Allspice

Whipped Topping Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup Heavy Cream; kept cold
  • 2 tsp. Powdered Sugar
  • ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract

Preparation:

  1. For the cheesecake: Preheat oven to 350°. Bake graham cracker crust according to package directions or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer set to medium speed, beat the cream cheese and sugars together until smooth. Add the pumpkin puree and eggs, beating until the mixture is combined (scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed). Add the bourbon, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice and beat until well combined, about 1 minute. Pour the cheesecake mixture into the cooled graham cracker crust.
  3. Place the cheesecake pan into a large roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with approximately 1 inch of hot water. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until the center barely jiggles when you tap the side of the pan. Remove from the oven and roasting pan. Place on a wire rack to cool completely. Once the cheesecake has cooled completely, cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours but preferably overnight (gives flavors time to develop).
  4. While the cheesecake chills in the refrigerator, prepare the whipped topping. In a small bowl, add the heavy cream and powdered sugar. Beat by hand or with a hand mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold in vanilla. Cover and chill until ready to serve with cheesecake.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(1 Cheesecake Wedge & 1 tablespoon Whipped Cream)

bourbon pumpkin cheesecake

Weight Watchers: 5 Points or 6 Points Plus

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: BILL JAMISON & CHERYL JAMISON
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2015

Cherry Cheesecake Cookies

DSC_0373Christmas is quickly approaching and you know what that means… Cookie season!!! Holiday dessert tables always have cookies and are adorned year after year with the traditional family favorites. These favorites typically include sugar cookies, gingerbread men, and anything peppermint infused. I love all of these but sometimes you just want something fresh and new to try. That is why each year alongside the traditional cookies, I always make sure that I add one new cookie to the platter that everyone can try to enjoy alongside the usual favorites.

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It is from that tradition that I created my annual dedication to diverse holiday cookie options in the month of December. For the next few weeks you will be seeing many posts on cookies that I find can be a great addition to any holiday dessert table. I started this year with Cherry Cheesecake cookies. These cookies have been sweeping the social media airwaves as of late but I actually came across this cookie back in 2010 and fell in love. Cherry cheesecake was always a favorite of mine as a kid and melding those flavors into the portable ease of a cookie is heavenly.

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I like to make the cookie dough ahead of time not only to save precious time for baking other things but also because these cookies do not have a very long lifespan after they have been baked. It is best to make them the day they are going to be devoured because the cream cheese filling causes them to spoil at an accelerated rate. Also the extended chilling time will make it much easier to shape and roll the dough balls in the graham cracker crumbs.

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The formula I use makes about 2 dozen cookies and is enough for my family at the holidays, but if you have a larger family you can certainly double the recipe. Once the cookies have been baked be sure to store them in an airtight container for no more than 2 days.

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Cherry Cheesecake Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1¾ cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 1 (8 oz.) Pkg. Cream Cheese; softened
  • 10 tbsp. (1 ¼ sticks) Unsalted Butter; softened
  • ¾ cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ½ cup Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 1 (20 oz.) can Cherry Pie Filling

Formula:

  1. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter, and sugar together on medium-high speed until the texture becomes smooth and creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture. Mix the dough together until it is incorporated. Do not overmix. Refrigerate the dough overnight.
  2. Heat the oven to 350°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the graham cracker crumbs in a small bowl. Place the cherry pie filling in a shallow dish. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and then roll in the graham cracker crumbs. Place the dough balls 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Use the back of a tablespoon to make an indentation in the center of each dough ball.
  3. Use a small spoon to place 3 cherries in the indented center of each cookie. Be sure to strain off as much of the filling/juice to ensure the cherries do not end up swimming in a cherry bath and creating a soggy-centered cookie. Bake the cookies until golden around the edges, about 12 to 15 minutes. Be sure to rotate the pans halfway through the baking time to ensure even cooking.
  4. Cool cookies on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  & STAGING

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM STEPHANIE MATTHEWS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2013

Pumpkin Cheesecake Roll

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With the onset of fall many families have their own go to favorites that remind them of the season. For some it may be caramel apples, others pecan pie, but for me nothing screams fall like Pumpkin. Pumpkin pie is usually my go to dessert this time of year, especially for Thanksgiving dessert but after many years of the same slice of pie and a dollop of cool whip you start to want to branch out a bit, keeping the similar flavors of pumpkin pie but transformed into a new dessert. I stumbled on a pumpkin roll recipe and I won’t lie it looked a bit daunting. Even in culinary school I remember making a similar sponge cake and having to quickly roll it while it was fresh out of the oven and still on fire just to ensure an easy roll later. I let these thoughts fend me off for a little while and was tempted to make some cupcakes instead. That was until I ran into a quaint little jar of Sparkling Pumpkin Cider while at the market and for some odd reason or another it inspired me to give the pumpkin roll a try. I imagined paring up the elegant roll with a glass of cider in a champagne glass and from that moment on I was sold to the idea of taking this recipe on.

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I must admit I was quite surprised at its overall simplicity. I had a lot of concern over how the end result would be but as long as you follow the directions you really run into no problems at all. I have honestly had more problems with cookies that appear much simpler than this. Not to mention this type of cake is by far the easiest you will ever make and the most divine on the taste buds. Instead of having to cut and trim layers the cake batter is simply spread into a sheet pan prepared with greased parchment paper that makes removing it from the pan and rolling it a breeze. By rolling the cake while it was still warm, the cake was able to cool and be trained into the shape necessary to prevent it from cracking or breaking after spreading the filling in place.

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I allowed the cream cheese to soften at room temperature to ensure a smooth frosting and easier spread onto the cake. Make sure the cake is completely cooled before trying to spread the frosting on and then gently re-roll it into a tight cylinder. To get the glamorous look that will make every holiday table shine, all you need is a dusting of confectioners’ sugar and some spiced pecans. If you can’t find spiced pecans, regular pecans you find in the baking aisle can be toasted and then top the cake as shown. The roll can be stored in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic or sealed in an airtight container for up to three days.

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Roll

 

Pumpkin Roll Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Cake Flour; sifted
  • 2 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • ½ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 5 Eggs
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 cup Pumpkin Puree
  • Fluffy Cheesecake Frosting; ingredients and formula below
  • Confectioners’ Sugar
  • Spiced or Toasted Pecans

 

Fluffy Cheesecake Frosting:

  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter; softened
  • 2 cups Confectioners’ Sugar; sifted
  • 8 oz. (1 pkg.) Cream Cheese; softened; cut into pieces
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

 

Formula:

  1. For the Pumpkin Roll: Adjust oven rack to the middle position. Heat oven to 350°. Line an 18 by 13 inch rimmed sheet pan with greased parchment paper. Combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside. With an electric mixer on medium-high, beat eggs and sugar until thick and pale yellow in color, about 6 to 10 minutes. Add the pumpkin puree and mix on low speed until incorporated. Gently fold in the flour mixture until combined. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Give the pan a gentle tap to expel air bubbles and even out the batter. Bake the cake until it is firm and springs back when touched, about 15 minutes. Immediately after removing the cake from the oven, run a knife around the edges of the sheet pan to loosen the cake. Turn the cake out onto a clean sheet of parchment paper dusted with a generous amount of confectioners’ sugar. Gently peel off the parchment paper attached to the cake while baking and discard. Beginning from the short end, roll the cake with the fresh piece of parchment into a log and allow it to cool seam side down, about 1 hour.
  2. For the Fluffy Cheesecake Frosting: With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the cream cheese, one piece at a time, making sure to beat thoroughly after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat until thoroughly blended and no lumps remain. Before assembling the cake, be sure the mixture is at room temperature for easiest spreading.
  3. To assemble the roll, gently unroll the cake and spread the cheesecake frosting evenly, leaving a 1 inch border around all the edges to prevent the frosting from leaking out the ends when you roll it. Gently re-roll the cake snugly around the filling, leaving the parchment paper behind as you roll. Wrap the finished roll in plastic wrap and refrigerate until filling is well set and chilled, at least one hour and up to 2 days. When ready to serve, remove the plastic wrap, dust with confectioners’ sugar and top with pecans.

 

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  & STAGING

 

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Spicy Gingerbread Cakes w/ Cheesecake Frosting

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12 days until Christmas all you foodie lovers. Boy has time flown by this year. I hope you’ve all finished your crazy gift shopping and can relax and enjoy the next week and a half unlike myself lol. This week I have taken a break from the hunt for unique Christmas cookies and decided to bring you a post about another holiday favorite… the classic Gingerbread. Now I could have just done the typical gingerbread cookie to stick with my cookie themed posts for the holidays but what fun would that be. Gingerbread cookies are classics not unique additions to the confection table so I switched it up a bit and put a twist on both the Gingerbread cookie and cake formulas I had found, turning it into a kid-friendly holiday table-snatch recipe as much as those quaint little gingerbread men (& women) are.

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Now I love the flavor of gingerbread, especially in coffee, but I have never been a huge fan of the cookies. This is usually because they are always dry and either too bland or too overwhelming spicy, as if I poured an entire jar of powdered ginger and cinnamon in my mouth. ICK!!! If the original gingerbread formulas tend to be so consistently bad, how in the world then could I expect to translate a dry, dull cookie into a moist mini cake full of bold ginger flavor? Let me tell you it is a challenge but not impossible and totally worth it!!!

gingerbread cupcake stout

To start the Gingerbread makeover, something had to be added which could compliment the flavor of ginger without overwhelming it. I wanted a bold and spicy mini cake that wasn’t dried out and dusty on the palette. Step one is, surprisingly, to find a good stout. Reason is, stout provides a malty tang that compliments the molasses already in standard gingerbread formulas. I chose to use Weyerbacher Old Heather Imperial, which is a unique brand found at Whole Foods, but I recommend Guinness as well since it’s an affordable and widely available stout.  Buy yourself a 6 pack and drink one (or a few) as a reward once you finish baking 😉 If your against using alcohol, which I know many people out there are, you can substitute coffee for the stout although I don’t recommend it as it does impart a bitter flavor as opposed to the perfect compliment of the stout. Another substitute often used is orange juice but that is far too sour in my opinion… but hey if you don’t like alcohol and love to experiment then go ahead and try it. You may fancy it.

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With the stout adding a complimentary flavor and much needed moisture to the cake, it was time to turn to the spicy portion of the formula. Too much powdered or ground spice will give an undesirable dusty texture I was trying to avoid at all costs. So I stuck to a reasonable amount of ground ginger for bite and a little cinnamon and allspice to support the ginger flavor. Without the abundance of ground ginger the flavor lacks. Using black pepper and blooming it with the other powdered spices helps draw out the ginger’s pleasant burn without having to increase the powdered spices further. An additional punch of ginger is added with some grated fresh ginger and viola ginger is back in gingerbread!!!

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On to the frosting. I needed something simple and delicious that wouldn’t distract to heavily from the bold, spicy ginger flavor I worked so hard to achieve and was going to without a doubt make sure I maintained. Cheesecake came to mind and seemed to fit that bill with ease. Three ingredients and a bit of whipping provided me with the perfect Cheesecake frosting to pipe onto the gingerbread cupcakes. The formula produces approximately 24 cupcakes. Try them for the holidays. Even the gingerbread skeptic like myself will find them a delight!!!

 

Spicy Gingerbread Cupcakes with Cheesecake Frosting

Gingerbread Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups Cake Flour
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¾ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ¾ tsp. Salt
  • 16 tbsp. Unsalted Butter (2 sticks)
  • 2 tbsp. Ground Ginger
  • 2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Ground Allspice
  • ¼ tsp. Black Pepper, finely ground
  • 4 Eggs, room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups Sugar
  • 4 tsp. Fresh Ginger, grated
  • ¾ cup Molasses, Robust or Dark
  • ¾ cup Stout Beer

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg. Instant Cheesecake Flavored Pudding (small box)
  • Milk
  • 1 pkg. Cool Whip

Gingerbread Cake Formula:

  1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat to 375°. Fill a cupcake/muffin tin with cupcake liners. Grease lightly with cooking spray. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat until bubbling. Stir in ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and pepper. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. 
  2. Whisk eggs, sugar, and fresh ginger in a large bowl until light and frothy. Stir in the melted butter/spice mixture, molasses, and stout until incorporated. Add flour mixture to egg mixture and whisk until no lumps remain. 
  3. Pour the gingerbread batter into the prepared cupcake liners. Gently tap the pan on the counter to release any trapped air bubbles. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean (a few clingy crumbs is perfect), about 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Cheesecake Frosting Formula:

  1. Empty contents of instant Cheesecake Pudding mix into a medium bowl. Add half the amount of milk called for according to the package directions. Whip until the pudding thickens and begins to set, about two minutes. Gently fold in the container of cool whip. Fill a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and serve.

 

 

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM ERIKA BRUCE

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2012