They say it’s your birthday. Well, Happy Birthday to You!
Today’s post is part of a birthday surprise for Brandy, a young (oh yes, you are!) blogging friend. I was asked to participate in a Virtual Surprise Party for Brandy’s 30th birthday. You may know her as Nutmeg Nanny (two guesses on that name and one answer is yes, she is a nanny!) but I know her as a sweet, quirky girl who I’ve now seen get engaged, shop for a wedding dress and celebrate an important birthday; all through the magic of Twitter.
This is a communal effort but I love that it’s been kept small and more intimate. Each of us has taken on one course and if given the opportunity I’ll always choose dessert. I love making them. I love eating them. Nuff said?
I’ve been dying to make a cheesecake with some flavors from one of my favorite cakes and now I had the opportunity. To be honest I was CERTAIN that I would include some form of adult libation. I mean how could you NOT include booze in a dessert for a girl who puts on the ‘The 12 Boozy Days of Christmas?’ each year.
As it turns out; this was also Abby Dodge’s subject for February’s #baketogether challenge. Each month Abby gives us inspiration and a recipe and we can run with it. Follow as is or in Abby’s term, ‘Switch It Up’ if we choose. I did choose. I loved the crust with the ground almonds and my guests raved over the salted caramel and chocolate topping.
This was a trial; one of the few times when I struggled to get something to work; to elicit that OMG response upon tasting. I tried, I really did. I started with wanting something that would work with pomegranate arils but also had my heart set on caramel, so I mixed some pomegranate liqueur into a batch of caramel. It was OK. But just OK and that sort of meant I pitched it. I wanted stellar!
I ended up ditching the idea of pomegranate altogether; as gorgeous as they are…they are also so seasonal and I didn’t want to limit this cheesecake to just the middle of winter so moving on..
I decided to make the cake and maybe get an inspiration from the end result.The cheesecake alone is filled with things I love. Almonds in the crust, mascarpone and white chocolate in the base…it seemed easy enough to add just a bit of somethin’ somethin’ to the caramel, right? Wrong! I asked for suggestions on Twitter; I even contemplated making several caramel sauces and doing a taste test but in the end it really was simple. White chocolate in the base. Almonds in the crust? No I did not add a coconut liqueur…but opted to just KISS it (Keep It Simple Stupid) and went with the Scharffenberger Chocolate Liqueur that I had just made for Valentine gifts and a martini. Once that decision was made it was so perfect I was only irritated with myself that I had suffered getting there!
Make this dessert for someone you love. Make it for you. But make it. I made this for Brandy and only wish she could share it with me. Happy Birthday Sweetie!
I hope you will enjoy our Virtual Birthday Party…visit some of my cohorts for additional courses:
1. Soup Course- Healthy Green Kitchen
2. Salad Course- Living Mostly Meatless
3. Pasta Course- Cooking With Books
4. Meat Course- Farmgirl Gourmet
5. Cheese Course- Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body