Un Pastiche

Brownie Mosaic Japanese Cheesecake

A pat on the back for myself please – this is the very first time I am actually posting something that I have baked on the very same day!! All my previous posts usually feature cakes baked a day ago, a month ago, even two years ago. What spurred me into action? Well, if you haven’t yet heard, SCS Dairy is holding their “Star Baker Challenge” and needless to say, I participated! Round 3 starts today, and I have to post something between today and next Saturday, and since I’ll be going to Sydney next week, I’ve no choice but to bake AND post something by today! Pssst: if you haven’t joined, well too bad for you! The grand prize is a trip for two to Melbourne, which I’m DYING to win even though I’ve already been to Melbourne a couple of times, because hey, I get to fly SQ there, stay in a 5-star restaurant AND dine at some pretty nice places which I have not been to yet. Of course, the runner-up prizes are not bad, but eye on the prize! :D If anyone is listening, I would actually really enjoy a trip to the SCS factory to see how these blocks of butter are made!

The first two rounds of the challenge were relatively easy – the first round was a free-for-all, you could bake anything you want, and the second round was “cookies”. I baked my ubiquitous earl grey blossom cookies for that. Because everyone was more or less guaranteed entry into the third round, I took very slipshod photographs of my bakes (cue lousy artificial lighting and gritty iPhone images). I’m embarrassed to even post them here.

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The theme for this third round is “cakes”, and because in this round, only 25 participants will be shortlisted to go into the fourth round, I have decided to ‘up my game’ by baking something not-so-simple, and to style the cake properly, so that if the judges are going to be looking at the photographs, visually, I hope they will like my photo – the photo above is what I’ve submitted :] If you are interested in to see the entries in the challenge, simply click on here. I’m quite impressed by the standard of the entries. In the first round, I saw people posting items like entremets and other complex desserts 0.o I hope the judges aren’t weirded out by my SCS butter pack – I used up three-quarters of my last block of butter on the brownies and the cake, and I didn’t want to go out to buy a new pack to photograph with, so I tried my best to make the block of butter less crumpled.

If you are thinking, what on earth is this that she has baked? Well, it’s a japanese cheesecake, with chunks of chocolate brownies in it. This idea came about because I was baking brownies for an order yesterday, but the brownies turned out a little too fudgy  - the centre seemed almost uncooked :/ So I tried to save the brownies by baking them again after I had sliced them into squares – bad idea because they spread and flattened. So I had to bake another batch for the order, and I was left with a lot of brownies which were flat and fugly :/ I also had cream cheese in the chiller which I wanted to use up before leaving for Sydney, so this idea was born! I did not exactly give birth to this idea, because I did recall that Deb from Smitten Kitchen had made this before (all the way back in 2007), and I’ve borrowed her idea, minus the crust and using my own favourite recipes.

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Here I am trying out a different mood, a la chiaroscuro, inspired by Linda Lomelin0 (a paltry attempt of course). If you’re not a fan of brownies and cheesecake together (like my mom), do give the individual recipes a try – there’s a reason why the brownie and cheesecake recipes are my favourites – I’ve baked these countless of times and they are always well-loved. For the cheesecake, as you can see, one side of my oven is hotter than the other, hence the uneven darkness. The top of your cheesecake should be smooth (mine’s dimpled because of the brownies). Refrigerate the cake for a smooth indulgent treat the next day (and also because it does not keep at room temperature well).

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Brownie Mosaic Japanese Cheesecake
 
Author: 
Makes: 2 6-inch round pans or 1 8-inch round pan
 
 

Ingredients
  • For the brownies:
  • 115g salted butter
  • 120g chocolate, preferably >60% cocoa content
  • 2 eggs
  • 70g castor sugar
  • 70g dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp instant coffee granules
  • 70g all-purpose flour
  • For the cheesecake
  • 4 egg whites
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 95g castor sugar
  • 170g cream cheese
  • 30g butter
  • 65g milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 40g flour
  • 10g cornstarch

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 170°C. Line a 6-inch square pan with baking paper.
  2. For the brownies: In a pot, melt butter and chocolate. Stir in the coffee granules and both sugars. Allow the mixture to cool slightly (the pot should be warm to touch) before adding in the eggs. Stir in the eggs one at a time, making sure it is completely blended. Add in flour and mix well. Spread into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for about 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. Cool in pan on wire rack. Remove from pan after 30 minutes, and cut the brownies into 3-cm squares for use in the cheesecake. Add cubes to cake batter as directed below.
  4. For the cheesecake: In a pot, melt cream cheese, butter and milk. Let it cool. Once cooled, add in yolks and lemon juice. Mix well. Finally, fold in sifted flour and cornstarch.
  5. Whisk whites together with sugar and salt until you get stiff peaks. Gently fold a third of the egg white meringue into the egg yolk mixture. Continue folding the remaining egg white meringue until completely combined.
  6. Finally, fold the brownie cubes in very gently. Pour the mixture into two 6-inch round pan. Place the pan into a shallow baking tray filled with water. Steam bake at 160°C for about 45-50 minutes, or until the center is slightly wobbly (with few crumbs sticking to an inserted toothpick).
  7. Cool in pan on wire rack. Remove from pan after 30 minutes. When completely cool, slice and serve.

Notes
Taste: Just the right level of sweetness for me – if you have a sweet tooth, I would recommend increasing the sugar in the cheesecake by say 10%.
Texture: The brownies are fudgy and a dream, and the cheesecake is light and spongy, like a sponge cake but more indulgent. Together, the contrast is amazing!
Storage: Individually, the brownies can keep at room temperature for 3 days, but I would recommend keeping both the brownie and cheesecake in the fridge. They will taste deliciously smooth!
Would I make this again?: Definitely!

 

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