Last Friday I discussed baking multiple batches of blueberry muffins so I thought I’d follow up with another baking post. Before we get to the cake of the story though, it’s interesting to think about why I like baking more than cooking at this point in my culinary evolution. Baking is exact, so much so that you often weigh things like flour to make sure you really have a “cup”, and while you can ad lib, changing one thing too much gives you something distinctly different than what you started out with. An example is adding bananas to a plan cake recipe, bananas add a lot of water and the end result is edible, but not quite perfect. In any case it’s often not as easy as just following the recipe, if anything measuring everything just so lets you focus on the harder stuff – ever try making your own pizza? Making the dough is easy, putting the toppings on is easy, stretching the dough – harder than it looks!
My guide for cheesecakes has been The Joy of Cheesecakes ($13 @ Amazon) and my most recent attempt was the marble cheesecake, a plain cheesecake with some sour cream plus 4 blocks of chocolate swirled in. Made the crust from graham crackers – why miss out on the fun by buying crumbs? I use a Kitchen Aid stand mixer and that makes the process a lot easier, doing it with a hand mixer is tedious, especially if the cream cheese isn’t almost melting. The challenge of cheesecakes isn’t in combining the ingredients (muffins are much fussier in that regard), but in the baking. If you’re trying to get a crack free cheese cake you have to baby it, even putting the spring form pan in a water bath. It’s often a source of great stress for those new to cheese cakes. Can’t say I’ve mastered them, instead I’ve learned that a few cracks don’t affect the taste at all!
Baking for me is family time. Making bread or dessert, something that doesn’t matter if it goes wrong – not the same when it’s dinner you’re cooking. Good to get the family in the kitchen and enjoy making something from scratch instead of buying it ready made.