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Friday, 11 July 2014

Zebra Cotton Cheesecake


Please excuse me for repeating this Zebra Cake for the third time. If you remember, my first cake didn't quite turn out while my second cake had a very wet bottom. I am so fed up with removable bottom or springform pans. I mean, they are fine if you don't need to bake your cake in a water bath. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. Drum rolls please as I unveil my cake-hoisting device. Please don't laugh, ah....




Removing the cake is now a breeze. I just need to grab hold of the two criss-crossed aluminium strips with both hands and lift the cake out of the pan. Now I don't have to deal with this business of wrapping of the pan with aluminium foil or flipping the cake twice to get it onto the cooling rack.



I think I may have improved on my technique because this time, my batter did not deflate very much during mixing. That resulted in my batter maintaining its big volume and the cake rose much too high (this is my own theory). Due to that, my cake cracked. Since I used large eggs, I decided that I should use 5 instead of 6 eggs. Perhaps I should use a 9" pan in future and I'll have to find a bigger pan for the waterbath.


Disaster. An earlier bake that rose very high and cracked big time.

My top tips for this cake (this is more of a reminder to myself as some of you already experts with this cake) :

1. Egg whites must be beaten to stiff peaks. I am not very clever in telling when it is stiff, so I just tilt the mixing bowl. If the egg whites don't move, they are stiff. But being kiasu I tip the mixing bowl upside down for further confirmation. The egg whites are properly stiff if the meringue doesn't fall out. hah..hah...


Twin peaks.

2. Mix the cocoa powder and hot water in the mixing bowl that you intend to use for the chocolate batter. When your batter is ready, add a small amount first and mix it evenly with the cocoa paste before adding in the rest of the batter. This makes blending the cocoa paste together with the batter much, much easier.



3. When spooning the batter into the pan, use something that has a pointed tip. Maybe it is just me but I find that this helps in ensuring that your batter falls in a concentric circle which makes for a neater layering. 

And don't attempt to make too many layers because the stripes will converge and you will not get distinct stripes.


Plain batter.
Put the cocoa batter on top of plain batter.
The plain batter on top of cocoa batter.
Repeat till batter used up. My layering sucks. The bull's eye has gone off center.
Still cracks. Sigh....

4. You must bake this cake in a water bath or else no go. An ordinary cheesecake can survive without a waterbath but not this one. I know because I have stubbornly baked a cotton cheesecake without a water bath before and ended up with a very ugly cake.


No water bath, you get the Hunchback of Notre Dame Cake. Wrinkly and out of shape.

5. After the cake is baked, leave it in the oven with the door ajar for about 20-25 minutes. It is worth the wait because this will prevent the cake from deflating and shrinking. After that, you can remove the cake, unmould and peel off the baking paper.



6. Chill the cake overnight before slicing it or else you will not get neat cuts. This is a very soft and fragile cake. Slicing it prior to chilling will result in a very messy looking cake. Not nice for presentation. 




As you can see, I still have some room for improvement. I still can't get clean cuts. This latest bake is the best so far. I love this cake a lot. The texture is melt-in-your-mouth, just like eating ice-cream. A worthwhile bake my friends!










Zebra Cotton Cheesecake
Recipe source : Adapted from Cook With No Books

Notes : 
i. I baked the cake in an 8"pan which I think is too small. A 9" pan would be more appropriate.
ii. For layering the batter I used two Chinese soup spoons. Three soup spoons per layer of batter.

Ingredients : 
- 50g butter
- 250g cream cheese
- 120ml milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract

- 140g fine granulated sugar
- 30g superfine flour (or ordinary cake flour)+ 20g cornflour, mix both and sift
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder mixed with 2 tablespoons hot water to form a runny paste
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar

- 5 egg whites (I used large eggs. If using smaller ones, you need 6)
- 5 egg yolks

Method :
1. Melt cream cheese, butter and milk over a double boiler.
2. Cool the mixture and fold in egg yolks and vanila extract.
3. Then sift in the flour and cornflour mixture bit by bit and fold to combine.
3. Add cream of tartar to the egg whites and whisk until foamy.  Gradually add sugar and continue to whisk until stiff peaks.
4. Take 1/3 of the egg white mixture and fold into the egg yolk mixture to lighten it.
5. Then add the egg yolk mixture into the egg white mixture and mix well. 
6. Divide batter into 2 equal portions.
7. Into one portion, add the cocoa paste and fold to mix evenly.
8. Using two ladles, ladle the batter into the pan, alternating between the two batters until all the batter is used up.
6. Bake the cake in a water bath for 1 hour and 20 minutes at 140C.
7. When the cake is done, leave it in the oven for 20 minutes with the door ajar.
8. Remove the cake from the oven, unmould and peel off the baking paper.



60 comments:

  1. very nice improvement wor. I recall you made something like this before. this one looks nicer

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  2. Very nice strips you have, if i bake, sure won't get so nice strips...

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    1. Aiya...don't say like that lah...You haven't tried yet :)

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  3. I'm laughing so loud on your hunchback cake description.. Dear dear you really make me laugh leh.. Gonna be frank.. Not gonna try (baking) this cake coz egg whites need to be separated and beaten until jadi whipped cream first.. That's 1.. Another thing is the water bath.. I very lazy one la, I dont like extra work like these.. hehe..
    But I have to say the zebra pattern is very neat and nice.. If I bake this, I wont separate the eggs, no water bath, and I'll just swirl the cocoa, haha..

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    1. Morning, Louiz! hah..hah...egg whites beaten until jadi whipped cream, you are farnee :D

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  4. I love cotton cheese cake. My daughter has not made for a long time now. Lovely stripes! Very nice.

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    1. Well, another baking project for her for the next school holidays!

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  5. Eh ..not black and white ? Haha

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    Replies
    1. Yah hor? This one different species hee..hee...

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  6. Clap, Clap, Clap!!!! Phong Hong!!!! I like your idea of using crisscrossed aluminium strips to remove the cake. Wow, your zebra cake looks gorgeous and I love the zebra stripes. They look so evenly done and beautiful. I can imagine how delightful this cake is and definitely would love to have tea appointment with you later before the cake disappeared in no time.

    Thanks for sharing, Phong Hong. I definitely going to try this recipe of yours as I am starting to love baking now even though my baking is still hopeless *sigh* :( Do enjoy your day with your melt-in-the-mouth cake and warmest regards :)

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    Replies
    1. Ivy, what do you mean your baking is still hopeless? You have done very well, lots of improvement! So you see, baking is very addictive. Once you start you just want to keep baking. Do try this cake and surprise yourself!

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  7. I can see that you are brave enough to go thru many trials and not giving up. Thumbs up to you for this perfect zebra print cake. It looks good. For me, whatever how hard i try, I sure know my cake will crack on top no matter what. Well done to you.

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    1. Hi Mel! If I like something, I never give up. I wish I was like that when I was in school hah..hah...

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  8. PH, the zebra stripes are very beautiful and even!

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  9. Very nice crumbs despite the uneven top...I usually just hold the paper to lift it out of the mould...your method is safer:D

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    1. Jeannie, I will keep trying until I get a smooth top :) For square tin I can lift the paper but for the round one, it is quite tricky for me. Scared the cake will drop.

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  10. Another lovely cheesecake, mind sharing some. No one will say 'NO' to this cheesecake.

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    Replies
    1. Kimmy, I would be glad to share with you!

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  11. wah.. so nice lah, i don't care about the surface, cracked or wrinkled lah.. but the zebra patter seems to be so perfect, so even like copy & paste only, haha!!

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  12. so how many times have you baked this?? wah, can see a lot of effort done on this!! and cotton cheesecake, aiyoh, read this and i can imagine how fluffy and soft the cheesecake is already!! one of my favorite lah.. haha, wait!! seems like i've told you so many favorites hor?? :D

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    1. Many times already, wor. This cake is top favorite for me in terms of taste and texture. A bit troublesome but worth it. Hmmm....feel like baking it again soon :)

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  13. Oh Phong Hong, i like the lovely zebra pattern ... so nice! Never mind about the slightly cracked top, it's still a delicious cake you've baked !

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    1. Thank you, Karen! So when are you going to try this? hee..hee...

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  14. That is one lovely and yummy looking cake!!! *drool*

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    1. Thanks, Lina! Can have a few slices after a marathon :)

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  15. Hi Phong Hong, wow... that's look good. The zebra effect is really beautiful. Well done!!
    You're getting better and better in your baking, never mind the crack as long as it taste good.

    Have a nice day. Regards.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Amelia! But I still want to get rid of the crack :)

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  16. Beautiful patterns and I must applaud you for you creativity in making the strips to make removing of the cake a breeze.

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    1. Thanks, Veronica! hah..hah...I am clumsy and need something foolproof.

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  17. Haiz .... I wish to see your post earlier. Do you know why? Just 2 days ago, I baked one. Because I wanted fast & easy that I was lazy to put the water underneath, instead I put a bowl of water beside, end up wrinkly cheesecake I got :( Lesson learn. Thanks Phong Hong for the tips :)
    Your cheesecake this time has gorgeous zebra look and is perfectly baked. Well done!

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    Replies
    1. Hi DG! Thank you! Yup, there is no shortcut to the waterbath. I actually dread it too but I see that it makes a lot of difference.

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  18. For me it looks ok now, nothing in particular to be improved!

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  19. Hello Phong Hong,

    Paying you a visit here. Oooo, very yummy looking cheese cake you baked here. I love cheese cakes but too lazy to bake my own as I don't cook and I don't bake.

    May I know what brand of cream cheese you use? Thanks in advance for your reply. I don't bake but my sister does so maybe I go and ask her to bake me a cheese cake following your recipe.

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    1. Hi Mun! I used Tatura for economic reasons hah..hah...I actually prefer Philadelphia Cream Cheese but it is getting more expensive. Oh, I see you don't cook or bake. Since your sister does, get her to bake this cake. It is a good cake and everyone will love it. And thanks for coming over!

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  20. Hi Phong Hong,
    Wow, you are very innovative! Creative and "Clever-tive"! Hehe!
    Your cake looks wonderful and delicious, with very nice zebra stripes. When I think of doughnuts, baked chicken and cheesecake, automatically, Phong Hong comes to mind! wink! :)

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    1. Hi Joyce! hah..hah...So, I should really think of making doughnuts next, huh? hee..hee...

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  21. Hi Phong Hong, I think you don't give yourself enough credit in making this fabulous creative Zebra cheese cake. It does not look like a simple easy cake...take patience, skill, and a steady hand to make those Zebra patterns, alternating with the chocolate and plain batter until its all used up, plus your creative method of removing the cake. The crack in the cake is caused by 'overbeating' the batter, but it was only slightly overbeat! Better to overbeat a little, than underbeat which would cause the cake to fall flat...either way, it is stunning, very moist, and simply delicious! xo

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    1. Hi Elisabeth! Thank you for your compliments! I really need more practice on beating, and I really don't mind at all. I love this cake a lot for the taste and amazing texture. I'll bear in mind your advise and try not to over beat the batter :)

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  22. Phong Hong, you are getting better and better at this! Soon you will be selling these to your colleagues lah.

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    Replies
    1. Yen, aiyo...I can't sell lah, so shy hee..hee..

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  23. Dear Phong Hong, my zebra cake is the same, always crooked bulls-eye too! But our end result is gorgeous!! Now I also am thinking of butter cake. Aiyah.

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    1. Ya hor, don't know why the bull's eye moves haiyah....Don't think of the butter cake, just bake it!

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  24. You must be a big fan of cotton cheesecake huh..I cant remember when was my last bake of a cheesecake, hehehe..I know you will be getting better and better, next time I have to call you cotton cheesecake sifu ^_^

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    1. Adoi, Sonia! Paiseh lah...you are my sifu not the other way around hee..hee...

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  25. Ok so this is how to make the zebra stripes! Thanks for sharing, I am going to bake this soon!

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  26. Oh, PH, I could see that your third attempt was a very successful one!

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    1. Thank you, Jozelyn! I am so happy :)

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  27. First of all i like your cake hoisting device! I once put two strips of paper criss crossing like how you did yours when i made a cheesecake with a biscuit base using a springform pan. Normally, i would just leave the cake in the pan but i had to transfer that particular one onto a board because it was not meant for personal consumption. Next time, i will use aluminium strips like what you did, it's much stronger than paper definitely :) Coming back to the cake, i think you have improved leaps and bounds!

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    1. Hi LHB! Oh, I see! I ought to do that too for biscuit based cheesecake. I have seen videos on how to transfer to cake from the pan to the board but it is too scary for me! I have improved, eh? Thank you!

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  28. I will use your method when I bake without using the removable bottom pan in the waterbath, your tips is great and honestly myself also fed up wrapping those aluminium foil whenever I want to bake using the waterbath when requested. Thank you very much for sharing this Zebra Cotton Cheesecake, I will bake it and hopefully it will turn out yummy & good!!

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    1. Hi Red Velvet! Good luck with your Zebra Cotton Cheesecake. I am sure you will do it well!

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  29. Well done! I've never attempted baking cheesecake, even before discovering my dairy intolerance. Not much of a baker.. I can only drool and sigh with envy.

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    1. Don't worry Shannon hah..hah...I am lactose intolerant but luckily can eat cheese.

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  30. Hi! I mentioned b 4, I will try 2 bake this zebra cheesecake & I did, d cake was yummy & cottony soft although my zebra pattern was not as nice & pretty as yours, this is my 1st time @ making this kind of cake, will bake again to get a better zebra lines, thank you 4 sharing.

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    1. Hi Red Velvet! Glad to hear that your cake turned out well. The patterns take practice and I am sure you will do better in your next attempt!

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