Monday, April 23, 2012

Easter Weekend - Baking Recap

Seeing as Easter has come and gone it's probably about time that I share my trials and triumphs in the kitchen over the long weekend. I made a dessert for Easter and, as any holiday is an excuse to bake in my house, I also tried a new scone recipe. Let's start with the scones...

I'm a huge fan, Starbucks' lemon-cranberry scones are most likely the reason so many of my pants are on hiatus in the back of my closet, and although I've got a pretty fantastic recipe of my own, I decided to try something new and incorporate fresh strawberries. I found a recipe to my liking for Fresh Strawberry and Vanilla Scones at Indigo's Sugar Spectrum and gave it a go!

I found that these scones came together a bit better than my go-to recipe, the batter was stickier and easier to form into a ball, however once out of the oven they were less flaky and a bit more chewy, the tradeoff for easier assembly. I also found the flavour was lacking a little bit, not as bright or tart as I'm used to, however with that being said I opted not to ice the scones so this may have made a difference. Overall, my go-to recipe is still a favorite however I'd be tempted to try these scones again with raspberries and lemon. 

Once the scones were cooled and consumed I set my sights on Easter dessert. I decided to go with another new recipe for Lemon-Blackberry Cheesecake from iVillage; the photo has peppered Pinterest and I just had to try it myself.

Unfortunately my cheesecake didn't come together as well as the photo - in defense of the recipe, I used low-fat cream cheese and an 8 inch spring-form pan, instead of the 9 inch called for in the instructions. I have plenty of excuses for these decisions but in the end the cake came out a bit jiggly in the middle and had more of a swirl pattern than two distinct layers. I think everything would have worked out, adjustments included, if I'd cooked the cake longer before adding the second layer, and again at the end - lesson learned. 

Although it wasn't perfect, the cheesecake still looked pretty - it didn't crack - and the taste was amazing! Honestly this cake is one of the best I've ever tasted, which is a lot. The blackberries aren't overly sweet and the lemon adds just enough pucker. It's very rich but not over-the-top like chocolate cheesecake often is. I will definitely make this cake again, with full-fat cream cheese, after I buy a new 9 inch pan.

Looking back it was a pretty successful weekend for baking. Although it wasn't perfect, I was able to try two new recipes which always present their own challenges, and a bit of excitement at the unknown.


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