Cake 33: Orange Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache

I initially tried to make a guilt-free blood orange cake with chocolate ganache. I can’t even begin to describe how badly it turned out. To sum it up – it was raw goop in the middle, and goose poop green. I really botched it. So I tossed it and started over with a not guilt-free regular orange cake. Deal with it, peeps. 🙂

I over-baked my cake by about 5 minutes, so I reduced your bake time below to 30 minutes. It’s still delicious, but I imagine you folks would want a more perfect texture on yours than mine had!

I also included a picture of my extra good looking baking assistants who anxiously await dropped goodies and “mop the floor” as I go – Otto von Bisbark the shepherd retriever mix, and Ford Prefect the beagle.

Orange Cake Recipe Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups of flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups of sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons orange extract or orange flavoring
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3/4 cups orange juice

Orange Cake Recipe Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I used my Wilton flower-shaped pan to remind everyone Spring is here! Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. in your kitchen mixer, cream the softened butter and orange flavoring. Add the white sugar a bit at a time and cream until your butter-sugar mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat just until blended after each one. Alternate adding the dry ingredients mixture and the milk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. While continuing to mix, slowly add the orange juice into the batter. Beat until smooth. Pour into your cake pan and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the cake springs back when gently pressed and your toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Chocolate Ganache Recipe Ingredients

  • 8 ounces of bittersweet chocolate
  • 3/4 cup of heavy cream

Chocolate Ganache Recipe Directions

Chop the chocolate and put into a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the whipping cream just until it starts to boil. Remove the cream from the heat, and pour over the chopped chocolate. Let it sit for a few seconds, then stir the two together until you get a creamy chocolate ganache. Allow it to cool for several minutes at room temperature before you pour it over your blood orange cake, starting in the center and working your way outward. Garnish with a slice or two of orange, an orange peel curl or whatever you think looks nice.

I skipped the garnish this time because like a total loser, I’m probably going to sit at home and eat this cake all by myself.

Cake 17: Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake

I know I have done the chocolate and pumpkin thing before when I did the chocolate cake with pumpkin cream cheese filling, but it was Thanksgiving and this is what my dad wanted, so I obliged. It’s still a very different recipe. He made a lot of tasty cheesecakes and other things growing up, and is quite the chef and baker. But this Thanksgiving cheesecake was a doozy, so my dad, brother and I had to pool our efforts to get it out in time. It’s basically two cheesecakes in one.

Below is the recipe we modified for our purposes, and honestly, we took a lot less time than this because we were in a hurry and we were competing for oven space, but if you want it done right – start early and take your time. It’s definitely a prepare-ahead kind of Thanksgiving dessert. It’s a complicated cake recipe, but it is decadent and worth it, plus it does so well sitting in the refrigerator!

There are four parts you’ll need to make: chocolate fudge pecan crust, chocolate cheesecake, pumpkin cheesecake and chocolate ganache. (If you ever wanted to cut your work by a lot and simplify, you could do one or the other cheesecake and skip the combo. The crust and cheesecake even without the ganache would be delightful. So mix and match as you see fit!)

Photos by Cody Bashaw.

Fudge Cookie Pecan Crust Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 cup toasted pecans, crushed
  • 6 or so fudge cookies (we used Oreo Fudgees)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)

Chocolate Cheesecake Recipe Ingredients

  • 8 ounces semisweet baking chocolate (chopped)
  • 0.25 cup brewed coffee
  • 12 ounces cream cheese (softened)
  • 0.75 cup white sugar
  • 0.5 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter (melted)
  • 16 ounces cream cheese (softened)
  • 0.75 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 0.5 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 0.25 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 0.25 teaspoon allspice
  • 0.125 (1/8) teaspoon cloves

Chocolate Ganache Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 12 ounces chocolate (chopped)

Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe Directions

  1. Fudge Cookie Pecan Crust: Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Toast 1 cup of pecans on a baking sheet in the oven for about 5 minutes or until browned a bit. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool completely. In a food processor, or in our case a big sealed plastic bag, chop the fudge cookies and pecans until you get about 2 cups worth of crumbs. In a bowl combine the crumbs and the melted butter and stir together. In the bottom of a 9″ spring form pan, press the crumb mixture completely into the bottom until you have a uniform, flat crust. Lower the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Chocolate Cheesecake: Heat about 1 inch of water in the bottom of a double boiler over medium to high heat, and place the 8 ounces of chopped chocolate and coffee in the top. Heat slowly, and stir consistently. In a separate bowl, put the 12 ounces of softened cream cheese, sugar and salt. Beat on low for a minute, then on medium for two more minutes. Scrape the batter down the sides of the bowl. Continue mixing, adding one egg at a time and beating on high for about 20 seconds each. Add the vanilla and beat in. Last, add the chocolate mixture in and beat in completely. Use a rubber spatula to turn the batter over a couple times and make sure it is blended evenly. Pour over the crust in the springform pan and set aside at room temperature to prepare the pumpkin cheesecake.
  3. Pumpkin Cheesecake: Coat the inside of a 9″ round cake pan (width is important here, folks) with about a teaspoon of butter. Line the pan with parchment paper and coat that with the other teaspoon of butter. In a large bowl, mix the 16 ounces of cream cheese, sugar, flour and salt and beat on low for 1 minute, then high for about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat on high for about 20 seconds after each. Add the vanilla. Then add the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, allspice and cloves and beat until mixed completely. Use your rubber spatula to turn the batter a couple of times and make sure it’s mixed completely. Pour it into your prepared cake pan.
  4. How to Bake Cheesecakes:Put a pan with about 4 cups of hot water on the bottom rack in your 300 degree oven, and it should be at least a few inches below the center rack. Place both cheesecake pans on the center rack and bake for 60 to 70 minutes. Leave the oven closed to reduce the risk of cracking. Turn off the oven after that time, and leave them in the oven for an additional 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool at room temperature for about a half hour in the pan. Then refrigerate the chocolate one, but keep the pumpkin one out, both still in their pans.
  5. Chocolate Ganache: In a saucepan, heat the heavy whipping cream, butter and sugar over medium heat. Pour in the sugar, stir, and bring to a boil. Put your chopped chocolate in a bowl and pour the boiling cream mixture over the chocolate. Let it stand for about 5 minutes, then stir until it’s completely blended and smooth. Cool at room temperature.
  6. How to Assemble Cheesecake: Pour about 1 cup of the ganache over the chocolate cheesecake in the springform pan. Invert the pumpkin cheesecake, top side down, onto the chocolate layer and ganache. Press down gently to set the cake. Wrap the entire pan and chill in the refrigerator for a few hours. (Now go put your feet up because you’re probably totally exhausted by now.)
  7. How to Finish the Cheesecake: Remove the plastic wrap from the pan, and wrap a hot towel around the sides of the pan for a minute or so. Slowly, carefully release your spring to remove the springform pan rim. Pour the remainder of the chocolate ganache over the two-layer pumpkin and chocolate cheesecake. Refrigerate at least another 30 minutes.

*Phew* You are finally done! This thing may seem like a complicated recipe, but if you take your time and prepare, it is easy to manage and totally worth it. The chocolate pumpkin cheesecake recipe is absolutely decadent and delicious and perfect for a Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert that will wow your family and friends.

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