Mascarpone Meringue Cake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Mascarpone Meringue Cake

Mascarpone Meringue Cake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

As the sun crept through my window on New Year’s Day, I gave myself a moment to hope. Depression has had its cold hands resting on my throat for a long time, but the ritual of a fresh new year offers opportunity like few other days can. I want to smile more. See more new things. Take more chances. Be better to myself. Love more. Forgive myself and be kind.

I also want to be more bold in the kitchen. I finally have the space, and maybe someday I’ll even have the appliance to really go bold with my kitchen experiments. I want to try bigger baking projects and be more creative, even though that’s never been my strong suit. 

I want to take more photos of every day life, including photos of myself. I still think the word “selfie” is stupid, but I want to stop being afraid of my own face. Instagram should be very interesting this year. 

Mascarpone Meringue Cake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

So, this Mascarpone Meringue Cake is my first step toward being more bold. I had never made baked meringue before the first time I tried this cake. It was massive and risky. I wasn’t sure if it would be any good. Turns out, it’s freakin’ amazing, and actually not that hard to make. It looks hugely impressive, though, and your friends will never ever believe you if you tell them it was easy. The hardest thing is getting is transporting it. May I suggest making your friends and family come to you?

You’ll need plenty of time and patience to make this cake. It has three elements that have to be made separately. None of them is tricky, especially if you have a stand mixer. You will need a lot of time, though. I recommend making your meringue layers the day before, and then mixing the other elements and constructing your cake the next day. 

Mascarpone Meringue Cake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I am nowhere near perfect, but I’m hoping we can grow together. Some people would probably say I should leave it to the experts, but I’ve never been particularly good at listening to some people. We might as well fail spectacularly. It will be an adventure, and it will taste awesome! 

Mascarpone Meringue Cake
Serves 12
A towering confection of crunchy meringue, mascarpone cream, and ridiculous amounts of chocolate ganache, Mascarpone Meringue Cake is a real life showstopper.
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Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
3 hr
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
3 hr
For the meringue layers
  1. 360 grams egg whites (from a carton)
  2. 2-1/2 cups sugar
  3. Pinch of salt
For the ganache
  1. 510 grams chocolate, semi-sweet or darker, chopped
  2. 2 cups heavy cream
For the mascarpone cream
  1. 1 cup whipping cream
  2. 2 tablespoons sugar
  3. 1/2 cup creme de cacao liqueur
  4. 500 grams mascarpone, softened
For the meringue layers
  1. Preheat your oven to 250F. Line three baking sheets with parchment. Use a round cake pan, 8 or 9 inches, to trace circles onto each piece of parchment. Set aside
  2. Splash a bit of vinegar onto a paper towel and wipe down the bowl and whisk attachment of your mixer to make sure they're super clean. This is just a bit of chemistry magic to help your egg whites foam properly.
  3. Add the egg whites and salt to the mixing bowl, and beat until the egg whites become foamy. This will take a couple of minutes. Slowly add in the sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Be patient. This may take ten minutes or so.
  4. Divide your meringue mixture between your three baking sheets. Use an offset spatula or a butter knife to gently coax the mixture into your circles.
  5. Bake your meringue layers for at least 2 and a half hours and up to 3 hours. They need to be completely dry on the inside. Rotate your pans every half hour or so, and if you're cooking on multiple racks, switch out the pans to rotate oven position as well. If you can only fit two in your oven, you can stash the third on in the fridge while the other two bake. Allow your meringues to cool completely.
For the ganache
  1. Place your finely chopped chocolate in a mixing bowl. Heat your cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Keep a close eye on it, and stir frequently. The moment you see bubbles, take the cream off the heat and pour it over your chopped chocolate. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and let it sit for a minute or so.
  2. Remove the tea towel, and begin gently whisking the cream and chocolate together. It will look a mess at first, but eventually, it will all come together in a glorious, glossy chocolate ooze. Put your ganache in the refrigerator to stiffen up a bit. You want it spreadable, but not drippy. I left mine in the fridge for about 40 minutes, giving it a stir every ten minutes.
For the mascarpone cream
  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, use the whisk attachment to beat the cream to stiff peaks, adding the sugar about halfway through. Add the creme de cacao, and whisk for a few more seconds to incorporate the liquid into the cream.
  2. Transfer your cream to a separate bowl. Add your mascarpone to the bowl of your mixer, and switch over to your paddle attachment. Beat the mascarpone for a couple of minutes just to make it a bit more light and fluffy.
  3. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and use a rubber spatula to slowly beat your whipped cream into your mascarpone. Once everything is evenly incorporated, it's ready for cake building.
  4. To construct your cake, carefully peel the parchment paper off the bottom of your meringue layers. Place the first layer on your serving plate. Dollop a third of the mascarpone cream on the first layer and gently spread it around. Do the same with the ganache. Add the second meringue on top of this, then more cream and ganache. Place the final meringue on top, then spread the rest of your mascarpone, and finally the ganache on the top. I gave mine a bit of sparkle with some gold sprinkles. Put your cake back in the fridge for an hour or two, just to firm up. You're a miracle worker if you can cut this and keep it all in one piece, but it will taste awesome no matter what.
Notes
  1. Building this cake may be a bit nerve wracking, as you may hear a few cracks as you construct. Don't worry too much about it. It won't show, and it won't affect the taste at all. Just be as gentle as you can and keep smiling.
Adapted from Sweetapolita
Adapted from Sweetapolita
http://awesomeon20.com/
Top 16 of 2016 | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Top 16 of 2016

Top 16 of 2016 | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

2016 was a battle. I feel beaten and battered and completely exhausted. I’m digging deep and finding hope for the future. Maybe this is the challenge we need to become the very best we are capable of. 

Let’s go to our happy place and talk about food. Here are your 16 favorite posts of 2016. Eat, drink, and be merry every single day.

16. Caramel Toffee Cheesecake

15. Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

14. Chocolate Peanut Butter Gooey Butter Cake

13. Cranberry Glazed Turkey Meatloaf

12. Poinsettia Champagne Cocktail

11. Brown Elephant Cocktail

10. Parmesan Fried Gnocchi

9. Transformer Chicken

8. DIY Air Conditioner

7. Passion Fruit Green Tea

6. Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf

5. Double Chocolate Muffins

4. Classic Crunchy Peanut Butter Cookies

3. Chicken Parmesan

2. Peanut Butter Fudge

1. Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels

Enough sadness. Let’s go be awesome. 

White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake

White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Have we all started permanently wearing our stretchy pants for the Thanksgiving to Christmas holiday party bonanza? I miss the days when I actually had to wear spandex to work. What do you think would happen if I showed up in tights and a leotard at my East End Glasgow school? Can we sit on the floor? Desks are for suckers.

This whole moving debacle is putting a a massive wrench in my plan to cook all the things. I might maybe sort of be co-hosting a waffle party this weekend, but I’m about to put most of the stuff in my kitchen into a box. I may not know who I am for a while.

White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Before moving madness hit, I made you a cheesecake. Actually, I made you a White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake that you can serve as your Christmas dessert this year. Prepare to be loved by everyone.

This cheesecake has a chocolate cookie base and creamy white chocolate peppermint cheesecake studded with peppermint bark, then the whole thing is topped off with a white chocolate mousse and scattered with crushed candy canes. Not only is it festive and beautiful, but it’s one of the best cheesecake’s I’ve ever eaten.

If you can’t get peppermint bark where you live, you can make your own. It’s pretty easy. Here’s the peppermint bark recipe I used. Don’t worry about fancy molds. Just spread the chocolate out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Oh, and you only need half of this for the cheesecake. You can only make half or save the other half for snacking.

White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I can’t wait until I can invite the world over for dinner in our new place. Until then, please please please make this White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake. It’s so very awesome.

White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake
Serves 12
White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake had better be in your face very very soon, like now.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
10 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
10 hr
For the crust
  1. 2 cups (around 20 cookies) chocolate cookie crumbs (like oreos or bourbon biscuits)
  2. 3 tablespoons butter, melted
For the filling
  1. 24 ounces cream cheese, softened
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 4 ounces white chocolate, melted
  4. 1-1/2 tablespoons flour
  5. 1-1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
  6. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  7. 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  8. 3 eggs
  9. Approximately 1-1/2 cups pepermint bark pieces
For the mousse
  1. 1/2 cups cool whip, thawed
  2. 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  3. 2 ounces white chocolate, melted
  4. 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
  5. 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  6. Crushed peppermint candies, optional
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F (175C). Prepare your 9-inch springform pan by wrapping the outside with plastic wrap and then foil to keep any water from seeping in when you put it in a water bath.
  2. Use your food processor to crush up your cookies into fine crumbs. (If you don't have a food processor, you can put the cookies in a zip top bag and and smash them with a rolling pin or other heavy object.)
  3. Add the melted butter to the bread crumbs and pulse until your crumbs resemble wet sand.
  4. Pour your crumb mixture into your springform pan, and press the crumbs evenly into the bottom of the pan. Bake your crust for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool while you get on with your cheesecake filling.
  5. Reduce oven heat to 325.
  6. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat your cream cheese until smooth. Next beat in the sugar, then scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  7. Beat in the melted white chocolate, flour, heavy cream, salt, and peppermint extract, and give the bowl another scrape.
  8. Beat the eggs in one at a time. Scrape and beat once more to make sure the mixture is completely smooth.
  9. Scatter your peppermint bark pieces evenly over your crust. Pour your cheesecake mixture over the crust and peppermint bark.
  10. Place your springform pan into a large roasting pan. Place the whole thing in the oven. Pull the rack out a bit so you can reach it easier. Pour hot water into the roasting pan until it's about halfway up the side of the springform pan. Gently push the oven rack back into place, close the door, and bake your cheesecake for an hour.
  11. When the hour is up, turn off the oven, but don't open the door. Leave the cheesecake in the oven for another 45 minutes.
  12. Remove the springform pan from the water bath and allow the cheesecake to cool on the counter for an hour. Transfer the cheesecake to the fridge to cool for at least four hours before adding the mousse.
  13. To make the white chocolate mousse, add all the ingredients to a mixing bowl, and beat together until thick and smooth.
  14. Carefully spread the mousse over the top of the cheesecake, and return it to the fridge for another four hours at least.
  15. To add a bit of festive cheer, crush up a candy cane, and sprinkle the bits over your cheesecake just before serving. They'll be crunchy the first time around, but they'll melt in the fridge. It' fine. They make a cool watercolor effect and still impart peppermint flavor.
Adapted from Baked by Rachel
Adapted from Baked by Rachel
http://awesomeon20.com/
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