Wednesday, January 9, 2013

It's Good, but not that Good

Store bought Cheesecake
I make a good cheesecake.  I do.  Rarely as 'pretty' as the one on the left, but they taste better because they are homemade.

I have friends who love my cheesecake, so much that I have taken to packing one in my suitcase when I visit.  Alas with my busy school schedule, I have not done any traveling recently.  When we're on the phone, there is an element of wistfulness when we speak of the delectable dessert.

Christmas came and went, and instead of traveling, I worked on a manuscript.  In spite of being on a semester break, I didn't have time to make these creamy sweets.  I am ashamed to say:  I pouted too.  I love Cheesecake.  Finally, I finished the manuscript and bought the ingredients and made...

Chocolate Cappuccino Cheesecake

Every ingredient measured
I try to carefully follow dessert recipes, especially when it's a new one, because I don't bake often enough to know how to 'wing it.'

I doubled the recipe, but forgot to double the dark chocolate.  In went more cocoa and sugar to compensate, which threw off my timing and I added the cream too soon.  The recipe was adjusted and readjusted, with each addition of more coffee, or more sugar.  Tweeking it with a little bit of this and a little bit of that until finally I ran out of vanilla.

I surrendered, poured the batter in the pans, and then I licked my fingers.

Big Mistake.  It's been a long time since I baked anything more complicated than a batch of brownies.  But this was as perfect as a chocolate cheesecake could be.  It's possible that it was simply chocolate deprivation, or maybe it really was that good, but I had to wrestle my inner glutton to the ground before I managed to get the two pans in the oven.

My house smelled of something extraordinary.  Then I had to let them cool in the fridge.  Every time I opened the door, the fragrance tempted me to sneak just a smidge.  I was strong.  (Actually I left the house. It was easier.)

It fell and cracked.
Not pretty but mmmmmmmmm
When I got home, I made a place for these pans of goodness in my freezer.  Frozen, they travel well, whether it's in a suitcase or snuggled into a box for overnight shipping.  The first time I did that my friend had to use a hack saw to cut into his hand delivered 'birthday cake.'  After that I started cutting each cake into serving size pieces, with wax paper between each piece, before freezing.  Frozen they keep well and don't seem to lose their flavor (much).  I admit they lose all of the elegance that a whole cheesecake brings to a table with all that wax paper sticking up all over the place.

This year's new recipe, Chocolate Cappuccino Cheesecake, called for a dollop of cappuccino whipped cream on top of each piece.  Smooth, rich, creamy , just sweet enough, dark chocolaty, lightly coffee...


Frozen I packed one for overnight shipping.  Safely packed into a box with a nice little Christmas card tucked in with it, I took it to my favorite shipper.  The clerk took care to type everything properly into his computer.  "Personal Gift of Baked Goods.  Christmas Card.  Total Value $10.00.  No Insurance Needed."

And then he handed me the receipt, asking how I was going to pay for it.  The bill was $116.17.

"What?  You're kidding right?"

No.  Apparently not.
  • I spent less than that to send 100 pounds of books to Canada - overnight.
  • I could pay my car insurance, my water bill, and a trash bill put together with that.
  • I can take my children out for a birthday celebration -with dessert - for that.
  • I can have a massage.
  • I could by a one-way airplane ticket to someplace nifty.
  • I could buy 1/2 a text book for that.  (You can't buy 1/2 a textbook, but you get the idea.)

$116.17 ??

I don't think so.  I love this guy.  He's my best friend.  But - no.  I'm not going to do that...

Sighing heavily, I took the box away from the guy behind the counter.  I left the store and broke the bad news.

Gayle McCain, Author
Forest of Mists,
Kivi & the Lizard People
My friend was nice about it.  I suspect he wanted to whine and tell me to go back into the shipping shop.  He didn't.  But I could tell he had been really looking forward to a delectable Chocolate Cappuccino Cheesecake.

So now... hiding deeply in my freezer, is a cheesecake.  Waiting for either a party where I need a dessert in a hurry, or time to travel.


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