Time to reveal what I made for this month's Cake Slice Bakers... The choices this month, taken from Maida Heatter's Cakes, were a Cuban coconut pound cake, an apricot strip, a mocha chip chiffon cake and a chocolate brownie cheesecake. When Joe offered to make a meal for Mother's Day a couple of weeks ago, I volunteered to make the pudding. As we are all rather fond of both Brownies and Cheesecakes, having made several of both over the years, honing various recipes to as near to perfection as we possibly could, this month's choice seemed a no-brainer. Two of our favourite desserts combined into one... It couldn't fail!
The first step was to make the brownies. This recipe was almost identical to one I brought back from the U.S. after living there thirty years ago. It was always my go to brownie recipe until I discovered the soft fudgy results of Nigella Lawson's brownies... Which are by far the best you will ever taste. But I digress and I do think for this particular cake you probably need something a little firmer and drier so they don't disintegrate in the cheesecake. So I stuck to the recipe. They didn't have the crackly surface you get with a good brownie and they really were quite dry, but maybe I over cooked them.
The next step requires them to be frozen making them even more solid, before cutting them into small chunks which are then folded through the cheesecake mixture before baking. There was a huge amount of mixture.
This is then baked until golden brown and then cooled in the tin. I've never baked a cheesecake that has turned quite so golden but that seemed to be okay... it wasn't burnt! Maida Heatter suggests using an all in one cheesecake pan as it is baked in a surrounding bath of water, but as I don't own such a pan I used a springform tin and securely wrapped it in tin foil before putting it in its bath. The cheesecake didn't leak out and the water didn't seep in so that was all tickety boo.
When cool, the cake is turned out upside down onto a layer of clingfilm and it is only then that the biscuit crust is sprinkled over the base. I've never made a cheesecake before that wasn't cooked on its base.
I suppose it meant the base wasn't soggy, but instead it was rather dry and crumbly... So crumbly the crumbs went everywhere when I turned it back the right way up on its plate!
But it looked very nice and wholesome and everyone tucked in enthusiastically.
My verdict... Well it was a bugger to slice, but that aside it tasted okay. Okay enough that the whole thing disappeared rather rapidly. That said, there are not many cakes or puddings that don't disappear rapidly with my husband and four sons around. But personally, I was disappointed. I expected more and from something that took this much effort I expected a LOT more. Brownies are wonderful... Cheesecakes are wonderful... and I really hoped that combining the two would be awesome, but it wasn't. It was okay but not great, so I wouldn't bother making it again. Often with a recipe that is disappointing I will tweak it and play around until I get something better, but I just don't have confidence that this will ever be something better. This is not one of those occasions when the sum of the parts is better than the individual parts.
At this point I will usually give you the recipe but as it is something I wouldn't make again, I don't feel I can recommend it. So frankly, I can't be bothered to type out the very long instructions. If you really want to try it then bake your favourite brownies... Freeze them until firm, cut into chunks and then stir them into your favourite vanilla cheesecake recipe before baking. I reckon that should work! Personally I'd rather just bake brownies, make a cheesecake and have them separately.
However, do check out what the other bakers have done this month on the links below. We've had some new people join the group and maybe they had more success with this than I did. I'm interested to see how the other cakes turned out too!