Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Cheesecake

On my latest wedding anniversary, a few well wishers on Facebook reminisced about the kind of cake we'd had at the reception.  We served cheesecakes I had made over the week prior to the big day.  I had never undertaken a baking project like that before (or since), and I didn't save any money by doing it myself.  Except, maybe, I would've shelled out twice as much to delegate such a scrumptious cake to a pro...a scrumptious cake I almost didn't get to enjoy.  You see, the venue's event planner attempted to hurry us to the next reception custom at the moment we dared to sit down to have a piece.  I know, right?  The baker-bride gets her cake tax, so, dearie, sustenance comes before slinging a garter.  Every time.

The cake that inspired one of our wedding party to go back for fourths (ushering is hungry work, too, after all) is called Captivation Cheesecake, a recipe from a Wilton book I borrowed from my sister-in-law.  I think the title is A Treasury of Wilton Wedding Cakes, Updated Edition, but my memory isn't crystal clear on that anymore.  (Sister-in-law--you know who you are--am I right on this?)

And I mention all this because I attempted to recreate the cake the other day.  Just one cake, I mean, not the entire construction project.  Even so, gentle reader, all did not go smoothly.  After seventeen years, I'd forgotten a couple of tips from the baking marathon of yore. 

The reason why I decided to make another wedding cheesecake is because THOMY suggested I bring one to our church's Easter potluck brunch.  We're invited to bring something from which we may have been fasting during Lent or some special treat in which we don't indulge very often.  Based on the Facebook comments about our anniversary, THOMY thought it would be awesome to share the joy of wedding cheesecake.

I couldn't deny anyone such awesomeness, that would be uncharitable.  So I dragged out the ole Wedding Cheesecake Pan and Mixing Bowls I used back then.

As well as the hand mixer. 

This was my mom's from the 1970s.  I got a newer one as a wedding gift, but it's motor burnt out in less than a year.  This one just keeps  going, I think in defiance of its avocado green casing.

Now, the first thing I forgot regarding this recipe is that it makes a LOT of graham cracker crumbs for the crust.  Too much for one cake, even though the recipe claims everything listed is for one 9" cake or two 6" cakes. 

When I first made this recipe, I simply used the excess in more cake crusts since I needed roughly a gazillion cakes.  Now I was stuck with about three cups more than I needed.  What to do?  What to do?*

Next I forgot that one should melt candy chips in the microwave before the very point the bottom gets burnt and breaks the bowl.

This development was a real bummer.  I panicked for a full half minute, trying to figure out how I was going to get myself to the grocery store for more candy melts when my car was blocked by a contractor repairing our driveway that day. 

But no!  An Easter miracle met me right there in the kitchen.  I had just enough white chocolate chips left in the bag to add to the unburnt stuff.  So I melted them, very carefully.  Disaster averted. 

Also, I'd forgotten how heavy a glass mixing bowl is when filled with batter that sloshes and slicks the edges of the bowl.  Pouring the glop into the pan without dropping the whole thing and flipping the pan onto the floor felt like an Olympic event for a few harrowing seconds.  I guess I'm not as young as I used to be when I first hefted a full mixing bowl to make Wedding Cheesecake.

In the end, however, I managed to reproduce my original results. 

And the cake was well received at brunch.  I even had a taste of THOMY's slice, and we got to take some home which is way more than we managed to do all those years ago.  And that is as it should have been, as long as I got my tax.  Not that I wasn't thinking about myself on Easter Sunday.

*What I did with the excess crumbs shall be revealed in a later post.  Soon.

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