Flourless Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

So, as is not uncommon, this year my birthday fell on Passover. The first night, to be exact. So, of course, I made cake. Flourless chocolate cake “crust,” raspberry cheesecake layer, and classic vanilla bean cheesecake layer. I made this cake the last time my birthday fell on Passover, too, decorating with chocolate curls. This year, I went all-out with chocolate ganache and shiny glazed raspberries.

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Ganache Magic!

Chocolate ganache is magical. It really is the most magical food you can make and every time I whip a batch up, I’m enchanted. A very forgixving recipe, even if you mess up the proportions it’ll probably still come out okay. Part of what’s so magical is how easy it is to whip up and how versatile this concoction is. It’s my single most-made recipe. Observe:

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Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Cheesecake Macarons

I made some more french macarons!

These little guys are strawberry flavored. I sliced strawberries thinly, stuck them into the oven on low for a few hours until they were dried out, then ground them up and put them in the batter. Pretty light flavor, but still tasty.

Some have cheesecake filling and some have strawberry-chocolate ganache.

I accidentally over baked most of these, so I brushed them with pink luster dust to disguise the dark color! Oops!

Still quite tasty, though, especially dipped in chocolate.

chocolate+dipped+straewbery+cheesecake

Yummy Mousse/Chocolate/Cheesecake/Raspberry Thing

I don’t really have a name for this fabulous dessert, so I’ll just explain what’s in it, layer by later.

At the bottom, I cut out a ring of flourless chocolate cake.

Above the chocolate cake layer is a tin but decadent layer of dark chocolate ganache.

The pink layer is a tart raspberry mousse, made with raspberry and whipped cream. That was my favorite and I used the leftovers to fill a cake. So tasty and it helped lighten up this super-rich dessert quite a bit.

The chocolate layer in the middle is a mixture of mini chocolate chips and chocolate ganache. This added some nice texture with a crunch from the chips.

The light layer almost at the top is vanilla bean cheesecake. Deliciously perfect.

It’s all drenched in gooey chocolate ganache.

And drizzled with homemade raspberry sauce.

I was happy with how all the elements went together nicely. Even though this was a very rich dessert, most of us completely polished off out plates! Next I have to try this with a layer of ice cream…

More Macarons – Lemon, Strawberry, Chocolate, and Mint

I went crazy with the macarons and made about 100 little sandwiches over the course of one weekend.

 3 flavors of shells: lemon, chocolate, and strawberry.

The lemon shell was made with fresh lemon zest (easy peasy) but the strawberry was a bit more complicated.

Strawberry. I made this flavor by slicing strawberries very thin and baking the berries in the oven at a low temperature for a few hours to dehydrate them. When they were dry, I put them in the blender to turn them into intensely flavored strawberry powder and mixed that in with the macaroni batter.

3 kinds of fillings: swiss meringue butter cream, strawberry cheesecake, and chocolate mint.

The strawberry cheesecake was made using my favorite cream cheese frosting recipe and adding fresh strawberry puree.

The chocolate mint is a mint infused chocolate ganache. I soaked fresh mint leaves in simmering milk before making the ganache and combined with the dark chocolate it was the perfect hint of flavor.

These french macarons were gobbled up in no time.

They have a fabulous crunch on the outside but are soft and almost cake-like on the inside. 

 After 100 of these, I think I’m done with macarons for at least the next week.

My Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Birthday Cake!

It was my birthday last month, so of course I made myself a cake. And yes, I do make my own birthday cakes. I wouldn’t have it any other way. 
 

 My suitemates did make me a brownie cake though, and that was pretty awesome. 

 Anyways, this towering little cake is red velvet. 

4 layers: two with mini chocolate chips and 2 without. 

That’s a HUGE glop of chocolate ganache on top. Then I dumped some chocolate chips on it. 

Why? Because I can. 

The pink frosting, by the way, is cream cheese. So easy to make and oh so delicious. I didn’t take any pictures of the insides because we were too busy eating it. It was my birthday, cut me some slack!

Chocolate Macarons 2-Ways AND a Macaron Cake

I went on a macaroon-making binge. I made about 70 for an order. Then made more for a cake. Then made more for a party. I can’t even tell you have many egg yolks I had in my fridge, but it was so worth it. Wanna see?
These macarons are filled with a rich chocolate ganache – my favorite!

I experimented with a few recipes. These puffy macarons were made with David Lebowitz’s recipe, found here. They were tasty, reliable, and pretty easy to make, but I wanted a more shiny, classic-looking macaron.

Then I put the macarons on a cake. Why? Because I can.

By the way, this is a double chocolate cake filled with chocolate ganache and fresh raspberries, covered in more dark chocolate ganache.  You can stop drooling now.

 Yes, the cake is displayed on an upside down cookie sheet. I’m a college student, don’t judge. The macaron recipe, by the way, is from here. The were pretty and yummy, but kinda finicky and I’m not totally in love with this recipe yet. I’ll keep searching.

And another batch of chocolate macarons, David Lebowitz’s recipe again. There’s something to be said for consistency!

 These little gems were filled with a marshmallow fluff/chocolate ganache swirl.

 And then they were rolled in graham cracker crumbs.

Yes, s’mores macarons! Chocolate shells, fluff/ganache filling, and graham cracker crumbs. The only thing that would have made them better is to make the marshmallow filling from scratch and attack it with a blowtorch before sandwiching them to give it that campfire taste. These kept in the fridge for well over a week and they were so yummy. Very messy because the filling oozed all over until they had some fridge time to set, but it was worth it.

You’ll definitely want to be licking the spoon for these. Want to know my favorite thing about macarons?

They’re so easy to eat!

Peanut Butter Tarts

I made a cheesecake. Almond crust underneath lemon cheesecake, vanilla bean cheesecake, strawberry cheesecake all swirled together.  It was absolutely delicious, but it got sliced and eaten and smashed and digested before my camera got anywhere near it, so I don’t have any pretty pictures to share.
Instead, here are some peanut butter tarts. I’m not exactly sure what was in each one because I just started plopping different fillings to crusts rather haphazardly, but I do know that there was a ton of chocolate and peanut butter happening. 

Chocolate peanut butter ganache. 

Peanut butter cheesecake swirl. 

Crunchy and sweet peanut butter filling.

Dark chocolate ganache. 

And a yummy shortbread crust. The crusts, by the way, were baked in a toaster oven. Because I’m a college student and that’s just what we do.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Candy Cake

I swear, I really was planning on taking pictures of the inside of this cake. During the party I cut a nice slice and put it aside, promising myself that I’d take more pictures in the morning. Then my suitemates and I ate it. I’d apologize to you, but it was so tasty that I really don’t feel all that badly about it.

The cake had 3 layers: chocolate, peanut butter, and chocolate peanut butter swirl.

Layered with chocolate peanut butter ganache (just add some peanut butter and extra cream to your favorite ganache recipe) and chocolate peanut butter cream cheese frosting.

As you can see, it’s decorated in kit-kat bars, Hershey’s kisses, and colorful m&m’s.

And tied off with a ribbon, because you know I can’t resist.

This lovely cake was made for a candy-loving friend’s birthday.

The decoration was incredibly fast and easy – took only about 20 minutes total!

This cake was incredibly rich – perfect with a glass of milk around a table with friends.