Thursday, October 4, 2012

Light PB-Oreo Cheesecake

Today my little boo, Amiko Nashita Lumi, turned 7.

Boy, the hype of the birthday has been going on since September. She crossed each date on the calendar and her grin grew bigger and bigger even Cheshire would be ashamed of his. She was busy browsing for her birthday cake recipes even though I have lots of cookbooks at home, saying that by browsing, she could see people’s comments about the recipe. How she sounds like an old lady. Pages after pages, blog after blog, we came across a recipe called Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte by Browneyedbaker taken from the book Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan.

To be frank, I am not a fan of any torte. Torte with its multi-layered sponges and oftenly too rich of a texture and filling is rather too heavy for me and even a cake monster like Amiko.  But reading the recipe and seeing there isn’t any layering required, the recipe looks more like a simple cheesecake recipe, providing I make a serious alteration here and there to the rich recipe. I am intrigued. Who can resist peanut butter and oreo combination? Nobody. Unless he or she is from planet uptight and no-fun.

This recipe calls for very minimum ingredients which yield maximum deliciousness. The original recipe calls for a 9 inch springform pan and mine is for a 7 inch pan. So, do not attempt to make it in a larger pan if you do not double the recipe.  I use my cool Kaiser spill-proof 7 inch springform pan to make cheesecake and other high fat cakes because any size larger than that would mean to much fat intake, which is bad because then I would have more unpaid debt of jogging to my unused running shoes.

So here is my less ‘sinful’ recipe:


¼ cups finely chopped salted peanuts
½ tsp instant espresso powder (or finely ground instant coffee)
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
¼ cup finely chopped semisweet chocolate
15 Oreo cookies, throw the filling except for 5 cookies, finely crushed.
2 tbs salted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup non-dairy whipping cream
3-4 tbs confectioners’ sugar, sifted
6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cups salted peanut butter – crunchy or smooth
2 tablespoons milk

How To:

-Prepare a 7 inch springform pan.
-Put the Oreo crumbs and melted butter in a small bowl and stir with a fork just until the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan (they should go up about 2 inches on the sides). Freeze the crust for 10 minutes.
-Bake the crust for 10 minutes in the 175C oven, then transfer it to a rack and let it cool completely before filling.
-Whip the cream until it holds medium-firm peaks. Scrape the cream into a bowl and refrigerate until needed.
-In another bowl beat the cream cheese with the confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until the cream cheese is satiny smooth. Beat in the peanut butter, chopped peanuts, chopped chocolate, coffee, cinnamon, nutmeg, and milk.
-Using a large rubber spatula, gently stir in about one quarter of the whipped cream, just to lighten the mousse. Then gingerly fold in the remaining whipped cream. Scrape the mousse into the crust, mounding and smoothing the top. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight; cover with plastic wrap as soon as the mousse firms.
-To remove the pan: It’s easiest to warm the pan with a hairdryer and then remove the sides, but you can also wrap a kitchen towel dampened with hot water around the pan and leave it there for 20 seconds. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

How I love this cake!

I offered my husband to take a quarter of the already tiny cake to share with his friends in his office, there are only 4 people in his office, and he said a simple no way. He wanted to have them when he got back. I was thinking, “Yea, right. As if your daughter won’t finish them before you get home.”

The presence of the spice in the cake is actually what makes the cake so different with the ordinary cheese cake. The small amount of cream cheese mixed with the whipped cream also renders a mousse like sensation yet you can still taste the classic cream cheese flavor in it. So complex, yet it is so light and satisfying. I am thinking of making another batch but with homemade strawberry jam in place of the peanut butter so I could have a pink version or purple with blueberry jam. Oh, the possibilities!

Have fun making your cake and say no to overpriced who-knows-what-cheese-in-it store bought cheesecake!

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