The manfriend’s working on a campaign at the moment, and Wednesday nights are potluck nights. With themes! This week was all-American week, and he signed us up to make dessert. I had a few ideas rolling around in my head, but here’s how the conversation went:
“Or how about red velvet cake?”
You don’t say “no” to that kind of enthusiasm… Not that I didn’t want to make a delicious milk-chocolate-and-gooey-marshmallow thing. So it works out.
First things first: we make crust. Graham crackers and sugar. Butter! Melted butter goes in after you have crumbs.
Press into a springform pan with your fingerthings. Easy!
Cheese with melted milk chocolate. Some eggs. Standard, delicious cake things.
Pour it in! I am so not left-handed.
I took this photo right before I opened a cabinet situated, perilously enough, right above this pretty pretty thing and a box of something or other fell out INTO MY CAKE. Awful. But cheesecake is awesome because, a) DELICIOUS and b) forgiving. You can always top it with something to disguise cracks, imperfections, or total epic disasters such as a box imprint. I just kind of roughly smoothed it over, told myself it was okay and maybe freaked out a little anyway. No big deal.
Onto the make-everything-right-in-the-world-again marshmallow topping. Fluffy business. Warm egg whites and sugar. Dump in some marshmallows… Let them hang out for a while. They get all big and soft and whippable.
Speaking of whippable. This is what you want… Especially if your cake looks all sorts of FUBAR like mine did. Day-saving meringuey marshmallow.
You’d never know what lies beneath.
And BOOM. You don’t need a torch. I did this under my broiler. Monitor it carefully and be prepared to jump on a chair to disable your smoke alarm… Just speaking from experience.
(Recipe from the never-fails-me Epicurious)
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 9 crackers/1 packet)
3 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Milk chocolate filling:
9 ounces high-quality milk chocolate (such as Lindt or Ghirardelli), chopped
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2 large egg whites
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
12 large marshmallows, cut into quarters with wet scissors
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. In a food processor, crush graham crackers into crumbs and combine with sugar. Add melted butter; pulse until mixture is evenly moistened. Press onto bottom of 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides. Bake until set, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven; cool. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
Stir chocolate in top of double boiler set over barely simmering water until smooth. Remove from over water and cool to lukewarm, stirring occasionally.
In a big bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, and salt with a hand mixer and blend until smooth. With mixer running, add whipping cream and mix just until blended. With mixer running, add melted chocolate, then add eggs 1 at a time, blending and scraping down sides after each addition until mixture is smooth. Pour batter over crust in pan.
Bake cake until outer edge is slightly puffed and cake is barely set in center (center will look shiny and move slightly when pan is gently shaken), about 55 minutes. Transfer cake to rack. Run small sharp knife around cake to loosen. Chill uncovered until cold, 8 hours or overnight. (Note: I did not completely chill the cake, just let it cool. All was okay.)
Whisk sugar, egg whites, 3 tablespoons water, cream of tartar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt to blend in large metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water; whisk constantly until sugar dissolves and mixture thickens and is hot to touch, about 3 minutes. Remove bowl from over water and stir in marshmallows (keep water simmering in saucepan). Let stand until marshmallows soften, about 3 minutes. Set bowl with mixture over simmering water; using hand held electric mixer, beat until stiff shiny peaks form, about 4 minutes. Beat in vanilla.
Scrape topping onto cheesecake. Using spatula, spread topping to edges of cake, swirling decoratively. Let stand until set, about 15 minutes.
Using kitchen torch, lightly brown topping in spots. (Or preheat broiler; place cake at least 4 inches from heat source and broil just until topping is lightly browned in spots, watching closely to avoid burning, about 2 minutes.) Cover and chill cake until cold. Serve only to people you like.