Tag Archives: Heavy Cream

Individual Cheesecakes

Bday 001

Allison wanted her birthday cake to be cheesecake. And as always, I had to do something special. Since different folks like different tastes, I decided to make individual cheesecakes with a smorgasbord of sauces. Each cheesecake is about the size of a cupcake, and is complete in itself. And then there are the toppings with which each person can choose and complement their cheesecake. All the recipes are in this article, even if some have appeared earlier in other articles.

Bday 006

For toppings, I made a ganache, a caramel, a praline sauce, lemon curd, strawberries, blueberries, and pumpkin. The latter is because this year we celebrate Alli’s birthday on Halloween, and Halloween goes well with pumpkin cheesecake.

I obviously made way too many, and too much toppings. I was surprised to find that the lemon curd and the strawberries were probably the favorites, with the caramel running third. The ganache was not a favorite; as daughter Mindy told me later- who wants chocolate with cheesecake? Cheesecake is almost the anti-chocolate food.- She also said that she felt pumpkin mousse was not a topping for cheesecake, but if you want a pumpkin cheesecake, you should put the pumpkin in the cheese layer.

Individual Cheesecakes


  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
  • 3 Tbsp Butter
  • 3 pkg (8 oz. each) Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 cups Sour Cream at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

The above Ingredient list is broken into 3 parts- bottom crust, middle filling, and topping.


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Put cupcake papers into the bottom of 18 muffin cups
  3. For the crust, mix the graham crumbs, 2 Tablespoons sugar and butter until well blended, and press into the bottoms of the cupcake papers.
  4. For the filling, beat the cream cheese, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 3/4 cup sugar until blended. Add the eggs, one at a time mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Spoon over the crusts.
  5. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until the centers are almost set.
  6. For the topping, combine the sour cream, 1/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a small bowl. Spread over the surface of the warm cupcakes. Return the cupcakes to the oven and bake for another 5 to 7 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or over night.
  7. Remove the cupcake papers and arrange the individual cheesecakes for serving.

Since I made the seven toppings, I will give you recipes for each of them although you should probably only focus on a couple or three for your serving.

Ganache is a mixture of heavy cream and chocolate. I have used several of these in the past and am providing you with a pointer to some of those recipes as well as giving you a recipe herein. Perhaps the best previous recipe was with the home-made Ding Dongs. In that case, We wanted the ganache to set since it was an outside coating, and we wanted it to be shiny. So the amount of chocolate was more than the amount of cream, and we added fat (butter) for the gloss. Likewise, for holding cake pops together, we use a ganache. The recipe in the cake pop article is not strong enough compared to the recipe for white chocolate ganache in the Icings, Frostings and Glazes article; you really need a 4 to 1 ratio of chocolate to cream for cake pops. Here, we want a fairly liquid ganache, and use a 1 to 1 ratio.



  • 8 oz. Chocolate Pieces (any flavor or type, including white)
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream


  1. Place the chocolate in a microwave proof bowl
  2. Heat the cream in a sauce pan until small bubbles start to appear around the edges (just to a boil but not boiling!)
  3. Remove from the heat, and pour over the chocolate.
  4. Let the mixture sit undisturbed for 5 minutes
  5. Stir until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth

An alternative approach is to place the ingredients in a double boiler over simmering water and cook, stirring until it is smooth and all the chocolate is melted. Since the chocolate is in a heat proof bowl, and the sauce pan is out, this should be an easy change from heating the cream separately and waiting for the chocolate to melt.

Caramel is a mixture of heavy cream and sugar. Most of the caramel I have used I have made from salted caramel chips, and used a ganache recipe; it works. However, if you want a straight caramel without salt, then the recipe I have in the Guinness Gingerbread Cupcakes article does a nice job.



  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


The sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead. Cool it to room temperature and refrigerate it in a covered container. Reheat over low heat until smooth and spreadable.

  1. Melt the butter over medium heat in a sauce pan.
  2. Add the brown sugar and cream. Stir with a whisk until the sauce bubbles and gets sticky, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the vanilla and salt.

If ganache is Chocolate and Cream, and Caramel is Sugar and Cream, then I would say that Praline is Sugar and Sugar; it is a very sweet sauce, and this recipe adds chopped pecans to give it more of that Southern flavor.

Praline Sauce


  • 2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespooons cornstarch
  • 1 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. In a small heavy sauce pan, stir together the brown sugar and cornstarch
  2. Stir in the corn syrup and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thick.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the nuts and vanilla.
  4. Cool slightly, and serve.

I tried many recipes for a lemon sauce, and found I didn’t like any of them. Then I found this recipe for Lemon Curd, and the way the people at the party liked it, I think it is a real winner. As one person said, “I can’t wait to have my toast with lemon curd in the morning”.

Lemon Curd


  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks in addition
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest


  1. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add the eggs and egg yolks one at a time, beating each into the mixture. Mix in the lemon juice. The mixture will look lumpy but will smooth out in the next step as it is cooked.
  2. In a heavy bottom sauce pan, cook the mixture over low heat until it smooths out. The lumpy appearance disappears as the butter in the mixture melts. Increase the heat to medium and continue to cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. The thickened mixture should leave a path on the back of a spoon, and will read 170 degrees F on a thermometer. Don’t let the mixture go beyond 170 degrees, or boil.
  3. Remove the mixture from the heat, and stir in the lemon zest. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, and press plastic wrap on the surface of the lemon curd to keep a skin from forming. Chill the curd in the refrigerator; it will thicken as it cools.

The curd will keep in the refrigerator for a couple weeks, and can be frozen for a couple months.

For the strawberries, I made the Strawberry Sauce recipe that is macerated strawberries. Again, I had tried several different recipes to get a good strawberry sauce, and finally settle on this one; it is juicy and sweet.



  • 16 oz. strawberries, hulled and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice


  1. Mix the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice, cover, and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Taste the resulting sauce, and if not sweet enough, add more sugar. Some recipes go to 1/2 cup of sugar, while others start with only 2 Tablespoons of sugar.

I started with the idea that I would macerate the blueberries, but then, who would want smashed blueberries. They really would not be very appetizing. So I left the blueberries whole; maceration seems to need the fruit to be cut, or opened such that its juices can flow.


For this “sauce” I added a couple tablespoons of sugar and some lemon zest to the blueberries, but next time, nothing but the berries. I think the zest turned people off; blueberry lovers want the simple pure fruit!

So finally, here is the pumpkin mousse that Mindy said was not proper for a cheesecake; she said the pumpkin should be cooked into the cheese layer of the cheesecake and not painted on top. However, this mousse would make an excellent filling for a simple pie- say graham cracker crust. And it would require no cooking- ready in a jiffy!

Pumpkin mousse


  • 2 small boxes of instant vanilla pudding (sugar free is okay)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 -15 oz. can pure pumpkin/pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp clove


  1. In a large bowl, combine the vanilla pudding mix, milk, pumpkin and spices.
  2. Whisk until smooth

That is all there is too making the mousse. Use it as you like.

Black and White Irish Cream Cupcakes


This recipe was brought to my attention by my Seattle Muse who saw this picture. I decided to track the recipe down and make it. This picture has been “pinned” on social networking sites many times; I tracked the recipe down at the Better Homes and Gardens site, I found that nearly 40 people had rated the recipe such that it was at least a 4 star rating.

When I first made the recipe, I ran into several problems. Perhaps the biggest two were that when the batter is finished, the chocolate batter is far denser than the white batter, and so it is difficult to get the two batters into the cupcake papers with a nice vertical split of black and white. The white batter wants to flow over the chocolate batter giving a more marbled, if not horizontal split of black and white.

The second problem was with what they called the icing. It just didn’t come together. Instead I was left with brown fluff which was slightly moistened powdered sugar. I cheated on the recipe at this point and added more moisture until the “icing” came together. Even then, it was too stiff to swirl. (I was taught by my friends at the Decorette Shop that this is a glaze, not an icing).

At that point, I read the recipe reviews; there were only two. The newest review was interesting from the point that it said simply– please email the correct recipe for the icing–. So for a year, nothing had been done to the recipe on the web site. I wrote my own review calling the web site out for not correcting the errors.

That got some results. Colleen, the test kitchen cook wrote a new review stating that —all the recipes on the web site are tested before being published. She got a good vertical separation of the batters by using two scoops, one in each hand, and releasing them together for the cupcake. And, oops, there is an error in the icing recipe–. Is that not total vindication and an oxymoron? The recipe is tested but there is an error!

Anyway, I had already embarked on a process of discovering how to do it better. I first felt I had to address the size of the recipe which stated it made 28 cupcakes- who wants to make 28 cupcakes at a time? I mean, the muffin tins come in multiples of 6; I have a lot of tins and this would take all of them. My approach was to reduce the recipe to 6 cupcakes while experimenting; it is easy for anyone to double the recipe once or twice to get 12, 18, or 24 cupcakes, as many cupcakes as they would like.

My second step was to even out the density of the two batters. This could be done by either thickening the white batter with more flour, or thinning the chocolate batter by adding water. It turns out I did both. I thickened all the batter, then when I added the chocolate to half the batter, I also added water to keep the batters more consistent. That is the recipe I am giving you here. Here is the picture of my results.

first six 003

Black and White Irish Cream Cupcakes

For 6 cupcakes


  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cups AP flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 Tablespoons boiling water
  • 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 Tablespoons Irish Cream liqueur
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1 recipe Irish Cream Ganache
  • 1 recipe Irish Cream Glaze


  1. Allow butter and egg to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Prepare 6 muffin cups with cupcake papers. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  2. Mix the cocoa powder in the boiling water and stir with a rubber spatula until smooth; let cool.
  3. Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
  4. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add the sugar, liqueur, and vanilla and beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the egg and beat well.
  5. Alternate the flour mixture and buttermilk, beating on low speed after each addition just to combine.
  6. Divide batter in half (about 3/4 cup); stir dissolved cocoa in one half. Fill cupcake papers with some of each batter.
  7. Bake about 20 minutes; cool for 5 minutes in pan on racks. Remove and cool completely.
  8. Spread tops with Irish Cream Ganache; let stand about 1 hour to set. Spoon Irish Cream Glaze onto centers of cupcakes and spread with the tip of a spoon or knife.

Irish Cream Glaze


  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Irish Cream Liqueur
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla


  1. In a small bowl stir ingredients together. Glaze needs to be thin enough to spread; add drops of water and stir if it is too thick. If it is too thin, add more powdered sugar by the teaspoon at a time.

Irish Cream Ganache


  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 Tablespoon Irish Cream liqueur


  1. Bring heavy cream to a boil; remove from heat and add chocolate. Let stand 5 minutes. Add liqueur and stir until smooth. Cool until slightly thickened.

The two batters are more consistent now, but are still too thin to stay on their own sides of the cupcake while the second batter is scooped and put in. Thus, if the vertical divide is really important for the looks, I think you will have to go with what Colleen says and put the two batters in the cupcake simultaneously using two scoops and two hands. Maybe a friend will offer to help with this step and handle one of the scoops.

I think the ganache recipe is superb, and will save and use it even without the black and white cupcakes. However, the glaze is not the right stuff to use on the cupcakes; I made some and refrigerated them for a couple days, and the glaze all melted where it was on the ganache. There is too much liquid in the ganache for the glaze. I would suggest using a simple Royal Icing or Buttercream, but must admit I need to try it first myself. But, do not expect the glaze to look nice after a couple days!

The cook time seems to be somewhat critical. I left a batch in the oven for an extra 5 minutes and it dried the cupcakes out and made than hard- more like biscuits- rather than soft and moist. The 20 minutes is just right for me.

I did learn one other trick from the recipe- how to make cupcakes without papers. This is nice since you then do not need to peel papers and have a trash receptacle around. All it takes is to grease and flour the muffin tins; the cupcakes turn right out. I tried it with a cooking spray the first time, but I disliked getting the tops of the muffin tins all sticky and messed up. So the second time, I used shortening and kept it inside the indentations, and then floured them; this worked well. The only trouble was when I was scooping the batters and trying to handle two scoops simultaneously, they would drip onto the top of the muffin tins. Other than looking bad before and after being in the oven, the muffin pan cleaned up easily.

The original recipe used only the white of the egg; I might go back and try that again. I dislike throwing the yolk away, and my thoughts are that first, it might be adding some color to the white batter, and second, it might be stiffing the cooked cake since it does contain cholesterol.

Notes: 8/21/2015- I baked some more of these cupcakes, and at the last minute decided to experiment with further stiffening the dough. So I added another 1/4 cup of flour making it a total of 1 cup flour instead of the 3/4 cup. It made for more total batter- I could have made at least 7 cupcakes, and the amount of batter to save for the white side needs to be increased if you are doing this; my seventh cupcake would have been totally chocolate. I was worried about the cooked product being dry; it wasn’t. It was nice and soft, with the exception of the outside. I cooked the cupcakes an extra 3 minutes to make certain they were cooked completely; I have a tendency to under-bake my products, and was reminded of that this week and decided I had to get out of that mode- thus the extra cooking time. As noted, unfortunately that dries out the outside and the cupcakes are slightly crusty. I will say that stiffening the batter did make a difference in getting it into the cupcakes; it is nearly enough to do each half as a separate operation instead of putting both colors into the cupcake simultaneously.

Semi-Home-Made Cake Batter

When you need just some cake to decorate, it is easy to buy a box of cake mix at the store and make it up. It contains all the dry ingredients, and all you need to add are water, eggs and oil. Mix 30 seconds at a low speed, and 2 minutes at a medium speed and you should get a perfectly lovely cake.

But if you want, you can use the dry mix in the cake box as a base, and modify the wet ingredients to add taste and richness to the batter. That is what I mean when I say semi-home-made. You save time by not having to measure out the dry ingredients, but you add flavor by your choice of wet ingredients.

The reason for using semi-home-made cake batter is to give your cakes a richer taste. About a year ago, the Decorette shop gave out tips on making additions and changes to the normal way store-bought cake mix are made in order to make them semi-home-made.

I have been using those tips, but have had one problem; most of my cupcakes collapse while they are cooling and no longer have a mushroom shaped top. I decided to take the tips apart, and use only a single one in each batch of cupcakes until I discovered what was going wrong.
ccakes 001

What was going wrong seems to be when more moisture is added to the batter. I felt I would have to cook the cupcakes longer in order to dry them out, and I did, even though a toothpick came out clean. But still, the cupcakes crashed.
ccakes 024

And then I received a hint indirectly from my Seattle Muse that I should cut back on the “water” equivalent if I were to add the sour cream or yogurt. For ½ cup of sour cream or yogurt, I reduced the “water” equivalent by ¼ cup. I still increased the cooking time by 10%- 21 minutes instead of 19 minutes, and I was happy to have nice mushroom tops on the resulting cupcakes.
ccakes 025

While I am using cupcakes as a test vehicle, you can also make these same changes to a standard cake as specified by the back of the cake mix box.

The tips from the Decorette Shop without change were:

  • Add 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Instead of 3 eggs use 2 egg whites and 2 eggs
  • Replace water with buttermilk or milk
  • Replace oil with melted butter (but double the amount of melted butter
  • Add vanilla bean paste for even more flavor

My taste buds didn’t really detect many of the changes; maybe more sensitive tastes would detect the difference. I ended up with just a couple of the changes, and I even modified those. My changes are:

  • Replace most water with a mix of milk and cream
  • Add 1/2 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

If the back of the box calls for 1 cup water, I reduce the total milk and cream to 3/4 cup. And I make the mix of milk and cream 3/4 milk and 1/4 cream. This means that if you have Half-and-Half, you would use 1/2 milk and 1/2 Half-and-Half since it is half milk and half cream. If you use heavy/whipping cream, then you might have to calculate the appropriate amount of milk and cream. It would be nice if the cake box calls for 1 1/4 cups water, because then you would have 3/4 cup milk and 1/4 cup cream. When the box calls for 1 cup water, I used 1/2 cup milk and 1/4 cup heavy cream and got good results; that is slightly less milk and more cream than should be according to my 3/4 to 1/4 rule, and that is why I specifically mention that case.

You are invited to try the other tips given by the Decorette Shop; I am only saying that my taste was not sensitive enough to see the difference.

November 2016: I had reason to make a “pull-apart” cake using the mini-cupcake cups this month, and felt that I should update this post to reflect that experience.

I started with a box of cake mix that gave the directions as follows:

  1. 1 1/4 cups water
  2. 1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
  3. 3 whole eggs

The directions were to preheat the oven to 325 degrees for dark pans and 350 degrees for light pans. Mix the ingredients including the box of cake mix for 2 minutes, put into the pans and bake for 14-19 minutes for cupcakes.

Now I was making mini cupcakes, so the time had to be adjusted accordingly. And I discovered that the bottoms of the cupcakes were starting to burn, so I baked them (they were in dark pans) with the pans in a sheet pan to protect the bottoms. Because of that insulation of the bottoms, the cooking time came out to be about the suggested time even though the cake size were small and the heat should penetrate to the middle of the cake faster than for a full size cupcake.

I also decided to only make half the box of cake mix at a time so that I could focus better on the cooking. I got 36 cupcakes out of each half of the box of cake mix. Here is the ingredient list I used:

  1. 1/2 box white cake mix (just over 8 ounces)
  2. 3/8 cup milk
  3. 1/8 cup heavy cream
  4. 1/4 cup sour cream
  5. 1/3 cup melted butter
  6. 2 whole eggs

As a side note, I nearly forgot to get the butter ready. I cut the 1/3 stick into small chunks (2 x length and 6 x across) and put it in a small dish. I was going to use the microwave for 30 seconds to melt it, but didn’t want to be cleaning the microwave after melting the butter. So I slipped the small dish into a sandwich baggie, sealed it, and everything went better than I had expected.

The other experience I had was in filling the cupcake cups. First, I piped the dough into the cups for better control. Originally, I piped around the edges and let the center fill itself. It doesn’t fill as well as hoped. So I starte piping the bottom center and letting the dough push itself out to the edges of the cup. This seems to work better.

The second thing to note is about the reuse of the cupcake pans. I discovered that during the cooking there seems to be moisture pushed out and through the cupcake paper. If that moisture is on the bottom of the pan cup when the pan is reused, the cupcake paper wants to pull away from the cupcake paper; the paper seems to fall off the cupcake. So be certain to use a paper towel and wipe the cups of the pan dry before putting the papers in for making the second half of the box of cake mix.

Curd-based Mousse

Once I learned to make a good curd, and was thinking about what I could do for the green of St Patrick’s day, I decided to make a lime version of the curd, and then convert it into a mousse. The curd recipe says that all you need to do is substitute lime for lemon.

lime mousse 002

Lime curd is not really green- it is still a yellow color, so I added a few drops of food color to the curd to get a definite green color for my lime curd.

This recipe will also work with the lemon curd if you want. And it is also easy to expand the recipe from 6 servings to more. I increased the amounts of the ingredients by 50% and could have easily gotten 10 servings- I only needed 8 servings so the rest went into the refrigerator for me. The increase of 50% means the 10 ounces of curd becomes 15 ounces. And when I finished making the curd, I had about 20 ounces so the recipe could be doubled with a single recipe of curd.

Curd-based Mousse


  • 10 ounces curd of your choice
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 cup fresh berries as garnish


  1. Whip the cream to the soft peak stage
  2. In a second bowl, mix the curd and cream cheese until smooth
  3. Stir the curd mixture into the whipped cream until well blended
  4. Divide into 6 glasses
  5. Divide the fresh berries among the 6 glasses
  6. Refrigerate until serving

Since I was making this as a St. Patrick’s day dessert, I had also made Two-Tone Brownies and added green food color to what is normally the white cream cheese frosting layer. That is why the brownies also appear in the photo.

I hope this gives you some ideas for dessert, and how to tie the desserts to the holiday if necessary by using a little food coloring.

Rum Sauce

Marlys got this recipe in 1970 from Glenna Morris- I think she was a Bridge Playing friend. It is an excellent sauce for desserts, like dense cakes and ice cream and is very simple.
rum sauce

Rum Sauce

(Glenna Morris, 1970)

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon rum flavoring or rum to taste (real rum gets stronger as it sits).

Combine and boil one or two minutes the sugars, butter and cream. Add rum.

I used real rum when I made my sample. This sauce is nice in that it is not a cornstarch based sauce, but instead is based on the butter and heavy cream.