Image courtesy of Skyhorse Publishing
If you have a cookbook weakness – you know, the one where you are unable to put down a cookbook because of the amazing photos and incredible recipes – then by all means, please do not look at United States of Cake, by Roy Fares. Do not scroll down this page and look at the luscious Cinnamon Rolls or the Strawberry Cheesecake. If you do, just remember that I warned you and I won’t be coming to your house to wash your dishes. (I know you are going to want to make the Strawberry Cheesecake – it’s so heavenly!)
Named Sweden’s Best Pastry Chef of the Year (2010), Fares revamps classic American desserts with a balance between sweet and salty. The results are richer, more flavorful versions of American sugar-saturated favorites. In United States of Cake, he shares over 50 recipes ranging from classics to modern favorites. Along with each recipe is a photo of the finished creation.
The book is divided into five categories:
- Soft Cakes – included in this section are banana bread, spicy date loaf, carrot cake, chocolate espresso bundt cake, raspberry blondies, plus a few others.
- Cookies and Sweets – here you will find classics such as snickerdoodles, peanut butter cookies, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate fudge, and other goodies.
- Cakes, Pies, and Cheesecakes – Devil’s food chocolate cake, Magnolia Baker’s banana cake, red velvet cake, Key Lime pie, Michigan apple pie, and several others round out this category.
- Cupcakes and Cake Pops – Nutella cupcakes, Oreo cupcakes, S’mores, peanut butter cake pops, and Nutella cupcakes are included in this section.
- Sweet Breakfast – apple pancakes, granola, waffles, cinnamon rolls, and blueberry muffin recipes, as well as a couple more.
Image courtesy of Skyhorse Publishing.
I am delighted that I am able to share with you Fares’ recipe for Strawberry Cheesecake. It truly is delicious and would be great for any special occasion, or just because.
- 15 graham crackers
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp salted butter
- 3 3/4 cups cream cheese
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sour cream
- 3 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 lb strawberries (frozen or fresh)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Juice from one lime
- 20 fresh strawberries for decorating
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius), convention function.
- Run the crackers into fine crumbs in a food processor. Add the sugar and mix together. Melt the butter and add it. Mix well and distribute the mixture evenly on the bottom of a springform, 8 1/2 inches (22 cm) in diameter. Flatten the surface lightly with the back of a tablespoon. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius), convention function. Beat the cream cheese and sugar in a bowl until fluffy. Add the vanilla extract, and mix them in the bowl until fluffy. Add the vanilla extract, and mix them in the bowl together with the flour. Whisk for 3-4 minutes and then fold in the sour cream with a spatula. Then fold in one egg at a time and the egg yolk and mix thoroughly.
- Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 225 degrees Fahrenheit (110 degrees Celsius) (do not open the door) and bake for 55 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the cheesecake stand in the residual heat for another 50 minutes. Remove and let cool. Let the cheesecake stand in the fridge for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight, so that it hardens properly.
- Boil the strawberries, sugar, and lime juice until the strawberries have become mushy. Blend the mixture until smooth with a hand blender and pass the sauce through a sieve. Allow to cool in the fridge.
- Draw a thin knife around the edge of the mold before it is removed. Rinse the knife with hot water a few times during that process. Drizzle the strawberry sauce over the pie and garnish with strawberries.
If you are baking with regular oven, then you ought to raise the temperature about 25 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius).
This recipe is from United States of Cakes by Roy Fares and reprinted with permission.
So far I have tried a few of the recipes from the book, the most recent being Strawberry Cheesecake. Though the directions call for an 8 1/2 inch springform pan, I used a 10 inch springform and it came out absolutely beautiful. My husband told me that the recipe is “a keeper.”
Don’t judge the cake by the above picture. It was taken early in the morning before my husband took it to work to share with his co-workers. I am lucky that he saved a piece for me. Here is a snapshot that I shared on Instagram so that you can see what it looks like with a little bit of the strawberry sauce on it:
I have also made a couple of batches of cookies:
Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies – these little treats did not last long.
Snickerdoodles – I could definitely taste the butter in these cookies and cannot complain about it. I will be making these again in the near future.
United States of Cakes is a book that I am happy to add to my collection. Don’t be jealous – you can get your own copy at your local bookstore or at Amazon.com.