Salted Caramel Pecan Cheesecake


Hello friends! I’ve been extremely busy lately, with the ending of the first semester of school, exam week, marking, planning for the second semester of school, and moving my classroom. Thank you for being so patient with me, I promise this cheesecake is worth it.

As some of you may know, before starting teaching, I spent 8 years working in the restaurant industry. The last restaurant I worked for, Moxie’s, a well-known chain up in Canada, had a dessert almost identical to this one. However, for a recent staff meeting, I decided to make my take on the Salted Caramel Pecan Cheesecake.

This recipe is two recipes amalgamated together, as well as my own few touches… therefore, I consider the final recipe all mine. I’ll still link to the original recipes I used, but I’ll post my “changed” recipe below. I used the crust recipe from here, and changed it. This is the filling recipe that I used, again, changing it as I needed it.

I will let you know, all you health-conscious people out there – this recipe is gluten-free! My principal is actually unable to eat gluten, and I really wanted to make cheesecake, so I took a page out of the Moxie’s playbook and decided to make the crust of the cheesecake out of pecans. Because I was never in the kitchen of Moxie’s, I never knew the recipe, so I found one online and went with that, adding in my own touches here and there.

I was SO sad, because I forgot to take a picture of the whole cheesecake, and I was so proud because the cheesecake didn’t even crack! Usually, because my oven is old and temperamental, any cheesecakes I make end up cracking, but this one didn’t! It was so beautiful and I’m mad at myself for forgetting… Oh well… Next time!

P.S. This cheesecake was awesome. I rarely make cheesecake, because when I do, I’m the only one who eats it (unless I give it away). This one was DECADENT, but incredible. It was perfect.

Ingredients

Yield: 1 10-inch cheesecake

For the salted caramel:

1 c. sugar
6 tbsp. butter, room temperature
½ c. heavy cream
1 tsp. salt

For the crust:

2 c. pecans, coarsely chopped or ground
1 tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
½ c. butter

For the filling:

36 oz. (or 1 kg. or 2½lbs.) cream cheese, room temperature
1½ c. sugar
½ tsp. salt
4 eggs
½ c. sour cream
¼ c. heavy cream
½ – ¾ c. homemade salted caramel (depending on preference)

To make the salted caramel, have the cream, butter and salt ready to go near your stove. Make sure the cream and butter is room temperature, and the butter is divided up into tablespoons so you can add a tablespoon at a time.

Place the sugar in a medium saucepan. With the heat on medium-medium high, stir sugar constantly with a wooden spoon or a heat-resistant rubber spatula. Sugar should start to melt, and become a deep amber colour. Keep stirring, and do not let sugar burn.

When all the lumps have melted, turn the heat down to low and add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, adding the next tablespoon when the first one is melted. It is very important – STIR THE CARAMEL CONSTANTLY. Once the butter is incorporated,take off the heat and add the cream and the salt. **If the caramel starts to seize up when adding the cream, the cream was too cold! Make folding motions (as if to “fold in” the cream) if this happens, keeping the caramel moving. Do this until the cream becomes incorporated into the caramel, and you have a thick sauce.

Transfer caramel to an air-safe container, and let cool. Caramel will thicken more as it cools.

To make the cheesecake, preheat oven to 375°F. Line a springform pan with parchment paper (the bottom and sides), and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the pecans, sugar, and salt, and toss with a fork to combine. In a small, microwave safe bowl, melt the butter and add to the pecans. Toss to combine, then press into the prepared springform pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then let cool on a wire rack while you prepare the filling.

Lower oven heat to 325°F. Fill 1-2 metal loaf pans or roasting pans with warm or hot water, and put in the lower rack of your oven.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the cream cheese and beat until fluffy. Add the sugar and eggs, one at a time, and beat well. Add in the sour cream and heavy cream, and beat again. Finally, add in the salted caramel. Add in amount of salted caramel to your personal taste. I added half a cup in first, then added a bit more because I wanted a stronger caramel flavour in the cheesecake.

Beat all ingredients so that caramel is incorporated throughout the filling and filling is smooth, not lumpy.

Pour cheesecake filling into springform pan. Place pan in preheated oven (on the middle rack).

Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes, then turn the oven off. Leave the cheesecake to finish cooking in the warm oven until the cheesecake is room temperature. Transfer cheesecake to refrigerator, and chill completely before slicing with a hot knife and serving.

Garnish cheesecake with leftover caramel sauce.

Nanaimo Bar Tart


Well, another original recipe. This recipe came about quite suddenly. Paul and I had been talking about tortes and tarts, and my mind just started wandering when Paul went to work.

I wondered if a Nanaimo Bar Tart could possibly work, and started thinking…. I took a shortbread recipe for the crust, and changed it up a bit, as well as using the custard powder and turning it into a thick custard, topping it off with a smooth chocolate topping.


I threw it all in the fridge to set up. That was the hard part – waiting for it to set to make sure that everything tasted good and worked together. However, the waiting and experimentation paid off, because WOW did taste good!

The tart turned out very good, but very rich, and already I’m cursing the slightly-bigger-than-normal piece that I cut for myself and finished with gusto because it was just THAT good. Either way, if you are a Nanaimo Bar fan, then this tart should be right up your alley!

Enjoy an original recipe! 🙂

Ingredients

Yield: 1 8-9 inch tart

For the tart shell:

1 c. butter
1¼ c. flour
¾c. coconut
½ c. sugar
¼ c. cocoa

For the custard layer:

¼ c. plus 1 tbsp. custard powder
1 tsp. vanilla
3 tbsp. sugar
2½ c. milk

For the chocolate layer:

½ c. butter
1 c. chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a medium microwave safe mixing bowl, melt the butter. Add in the flour, coconut, sugar, and cocoa. Mix together until combined, and press into the tart pan and up the sides, trying to make as uniform and even as possible.

Bake the tart shell in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, and set aside to cool while making the filling.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the custard powder and sugar, then gradually pour in the vanilla and milk while whisking to create a cohesive sauce with no lumps. Whisk over a medium heat until a full boil and the custard thickens, whisking frequently. Once the custard thickens, pour into the cooled tart shell and let thicken and cool.

In a small microwave safe bowl, combine the butter and chocolate chips and melt on short bursts, combining until smooth.

Once the custard has thickened more, and formed a skin on top, pour the chocolate over top of the tart and even out, being careful not to mix the custard into the chocolate.

Let cool and set completely, in the fridge or on a wire rack, then slice and serve. Store in the refrigerator.

Lemon Loaf

Well, this humble lemon loaf serves as two milestones on the blog now. Firstly, this is my first post of 2017! Happy New Year everyone! I hope you were able to ring in the new year with loved ones, and that 2017 has been treating you well so far. I’m back to work now, and I have to say, I missed it. Sure, I loved having two weeks off, but by the end of the two weeks, I was going a little stir-crazy. I guess that’s what happens when you love your job!
Secondly, this lemon loaf post is my 100th post on the blog! How exciting! I’ve brought you 100 recipes so far, shared them with you all. I wanted to make a beautiful Pumpkin Chocolate Ganache cake for the 100th post, but cakes require lots of planning, and this lemon loaf just sort of came to be. These kinds of posts are all over the blog, the “I’ve been meaning to write a post and I just made something really good today, so why don’t I just put it on the blog?!” Either way, I am overdue for a cake recipe, and I am sure the cake I planned on will make an appearance soon. 🙂


This lemon loaf also got some rave reviews, and if you are a Lemon Loaf lover, this recipe is for you! Soft, moist loaf cake with a lemony glaze that is just right. I found the original recipe here, and the original author labelled it as “Better than Starbucks Copycat Lemon Loaf”. Well, I have to say, this lemon loaf is pretty darn good.

This Lemon Loaf is also so easy! It’s a one-bowl recipe, and can be whipped up in no time.

Go make some today! Chances are you have most, if not all, of the ingredients in your pantry!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 loaf

For the loaf:

3 eggs
1 c. sugar
1 c. sour cream or Greek yogurt
½ c. canola or vegetable oil
2 tbsp. lemon zest
1-2 tbsp. lemon extract (I put 2 tbsp.
1½ c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt

For the lemon glaze:

1 c. icing sugar
3 tbsp. lemon juice (or slightly more or less, for consistency)

 

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a loaf pan, or coat with Miracle Cake Release.

In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs, sugar, and sour cream and whisk well until combined. While whisking, drizzle in the oil. Add in the lemon zest and lemon extract (and note that you CAN’T use lemon juice instead of lemon extract in the loaf cake – it will alter the flavour or consistency), and whisk again.

Add in the flour, baking powder and salt, and whisk until just combined. Some lumps in the batter is okay, you just don’t want raw flour that you can see in the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top.

Bake in the preheated oven for 50-52 minutes, or until top is domed and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. I started checking the loaf around 45 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow loaf to cool in pan for 30 minutes before turning onto a wire rack.

Place a piece of parchment paper under the cooling rack, and in a small mixing bowl, whisk together the icing sugar and lemon juice. The more juice you add, the thinner the glaze will be, so don’t add it all in at once. I made a thick glaze that I had to help move across the top of the loaf cake and slowly drizzled down the sides.

Slice and serve. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Pear Cake with Chai Caramel Frosting

A friend of mine celebrated a birthday the other day, and I wanted to surprise her with a cake! I decided to take to Pinterest, and found a few different recipes that struck my fancy. I decided to make up my own cake with a few different things, so I decided on a Pear Cake with a Chai Caramel Frosting.

I told her this, and her response was “I mean the pear is a little odd… [but] I like your masterpieces they always turn out delicious!”

The frosting idea I found from this pie recipe, and the flavours sounded so delicious, that I couldn’t resist. I actually found different recipe that I put together, so I’m considering this cake an original recipe! However, I did find the cake recipe here, the base frosting recipe here, and I made a few changes to make it my own.

I have a small jar of Chai spice, and it is AMAZING. All the flavours of Chai in spice form, so I don’t have to brew tea or steep Chai tea bags in parts of my recipes when I want that beautiful Chai flavour.

Holy man this cake turned out so good! The flavour of the pear wasn’t too intense at all, just nice and subtle, but still there, and the Chai and caramel flavours worked so well together. It was such a gorgeous cake and flavour pairing. As I told the lucky birthday girl, “I’m getting cake envy, and I made my own birthday cake!”

Ingredients

Yield: 1 8 inch cake

For the cake:

6 ripe pears, medium sized
¾ c. brown sugar
¾ c. sugar
3 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. nutmeg
2 eggs
½ c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla

For the frosting:

1 c. butter, at room temperature
2 c. icing sugar
1 c. caramel sauce, homemade or storebought
1-2 tsp. Chai spice* (depending on preference)

To make the cake, peel, slice and core pears, and toss in a medium bowl with sugars. Leave for 1 hour, then puree in a blender.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 8 or 9 inch cake pans, or three 6 inch cake pans. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Add in the pear puree, eggs, oil and vanilla, and whisk until just combined.

Pour batter evenly into the prepared cake pans, and bake for 30-33, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Remove from oven and cool in pans about 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.

To make the frosting, cream the butter until fluffy in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Add in the icing sugar and beat until incorporated and fluffier. Add in the caramel, beat again. Add in the Chai spice*, starting with 1 teaspoon, and adding more if you want the Chai flavour stronger.

Once cakes are completely cool, level them, then layer the cakes with the frosting. Frost inside layers of the cake, then the outside and top. Slice and serve.

*An alternative for the Chai spice could be Chai tea ground very fine.

Caramel Pear Pie


This is a combination that I didn’t know whether or not it would work out. I mean, I knew it should taste pretty good, but I was still a bit unsure of how the final result would be.

Oh. My. God.

This pie blew me away! So good!

Paul absolutely loved it. As in, he didn’t say a word until his first piece was done, then proceeded to tell me “That’s one of the best pies I’ve had in a long time”, followed by “That needs to go on your blog.” So sweet.

But yes, this was a really good pie. Make it. Sooooo fantastic. I really can’t say more. It’s a great pie all around. 🙂 I found the original recipe here, and the only thing I left out was the Chai. I left it out, because I incorporated the Chai spice in the Pear Cake with Chai Caramel Frosting that will be coming out on the blog as well. (Spoiler alert – I went on a pear and caramel kick, and it was awesome!)

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9 inch pie

1 recipe Flaky Butter Pie Crust
1 c. caramel sauce, homemade or store bought
6-7 medium or large pears
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/3 c. plus 2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. flour
1 egg
1 tbsp. water

Peel, core and slice pears thinly. Toss pears in lemon juice and 2 tbsp. of sugar. Set aside for 20-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Roll out pie crust and trim edges. Drain the extra juice from the pears, then add the rest of the sugar and flour and toss. Press the pears tightly into the pie crust, mounding slightly in the middle. Cover with either a lattice-top crust or a single layer crust. If topping with a single layer crust, be sure to cut slits in the crust for ventilation.

Beat the egg and water together, and brush over the top of the pie.

Place in the preheated oven, and bake for 20 minutes. Lower the temperature to 350°F and continue baking for 30-35 minutes, until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling.

Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before slicing and serving.