My Crazy Cocina Caliente!!

Just a crazy little latina, stirring up trouble in the cocina!

Pumpkin Cheesecake! September 25, 2009

Filed under: Baking,cake — Vanessita! @ 11:17 am
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Earlier this week I posted about my experience in making my own pumpkin puree (thanks to the crazy canned pumpkin shortage!).

I took some time last night to finally make the pumpkin cheesecake I’d been craving for weeks, and boy- was it worth the wait!! 🙂

I had originally planned on making a recipe from my latest copycat cookbook, but the recipe called for sour cream which I didn’t have on hand (and I found that just a little strange).  So instead I referred back to a site I had bookmarked and made this deliciously creamy and tasty cheesecake!


I did make a few modifications- including using a different crust recipe, my changes will be red.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Originally From Gourmet (2003), posted on Epicurious.

For Crust (Not Included in the linked recipe)

  • 2 cups of Graham Cracker crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon of ground Cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons of melted butter

For Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin I used the homemade puree I made earlier this week.
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla I added just a tiny bit more 🙂
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional) I omitted.
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon**
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg**
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger**
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature

**Instead of putting in all these different spices, I just put in 1 1/2 tablespoons of Pumpkin Spice (which I bought earlier this week).

Make crust:

Stir together crumbs, cinnamon and melted butter.  It should have a crumbly not pasty texture.  Pour the mixture into your springform pan and spread/press to create a layer of crumbs on the bottom and 1″ to 1 1/2″ crust on the sides of the pan.

Set aside. I chilled mine while I worked on the cake ingredients

Make filling and bake cheesecake:
Put oven rack in middle position and Preheat oven to 350°F.

Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cream, vanilla, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl until combined.

Stir together granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in large bowl. Add cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer at high speed until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, then add pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth.

Pour filling into crust, smoothing top, then put springform pan in a shallow baking pan (in case springform leaks). Bake until center is just set, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool.


  • I filled an 8″ cake pan with water and put it on the bottom rack of the oven.  This helps keep the oven moist and will help prevent cracks in your cheesecake.
  • My cheesecake took about 55 minutes to bake through.
  • Let your cheesecake sit in the springform pan until it is FULLY cooled.  I took an angled spatula and separated the sides of the cake from the pan while it was cooling.  I left my cheesecake out for about 2 hours- you don’t want to put it into the fridge too soon or else cracks may form.
  • Recipes with cornstarch tend to create less/no cracks- the cornstarch helps keep all the ingredients together and fills any holes of air created by the eggs.
  • Speaking of eggs: DON’T OVERMIX THEM!!!  The more you mix your eggs, the more air you are bringing into your batter.  The less air the less chance of cracks forming.
  • Once the cake is cooled cover it in saran wrap and refrigerate.  Because I wasn’t serving mine right away I kept it in the springform pan and covered the entire thing.  Chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

So there you have it!!!
This was the first cheesecake I’ve ever made and the experience went really well.  I brought in the cake for my co-workers and it was gone within MINUTES!!  Everyone loved the cake.  I topped it with some cool whip and chopped pecans- it was a hit. 🙂


Baby Shower Cake September 24, 2009

This past weekend hubs and I attended a baby shower for his co-worker, whose wife is pregnant with their first baby! (It’s a Boy!)


The co-workers put together this adorable shower at the father-to-be’s uncle’s restaurant and we had a great time.  The restaurant served us some GREAT Dominican appetizers and the parents-to-be got many wonderful gifts including the baby’s crib.

Hubs asked if I would mind making the cake for the shower and I said I’d love to!!! His co-worker sent me a napkin with the design she was using through the shower and so I took my ideas from that.  I created a lion, giraffe, and a hippo- I wanted them to match the napkin’s characters as closely as possible.



I made the leaves and animals out of fondant that was kneaded with Tyclose powder.  After some research I found that the Tyclose powder would make the fondant hard to ensure my shapes didn’t sag or lose their form.

My original plan was to cover the entire cake in fondant but I rolled it way too thin, plus my frosting hadn’t crusted and it just created a giant mess (I was on a little bit of a time crunch).  So I had to toss over a pound of fondant away 😦 I knew I could cover it pretty smoothly with buttercream so I went that route to ensure I didn’t mess up again and had the cake done on time.

The bottom tier (8″) was Dulce De Leche cake (as seen previously in my blog, here).  This was by far the crowds favorite 🙂 I got so many compliments and I must say it’s also one of my personal faves.

The top tier (6″) was Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake (also seen previously in my blog, here).  I filled it with Molly Jean’s Cheesecake Filling.  It was mega mega YUMMY!! A great and tasty combo for sure!

While it wasn’t perfect as per my standards I received so many wonderful comments regarding the cake.  The dad-to-be kept gushing on how nice the cake was 🙂 I’m so glad the parents-to-be and the crowd loved the cake! 🙂  It’s a wonderful feeling to receive compliments on something you worked hard on.


SK’s Birthday Cake September 1, 2009

Filed under: Baking,cake — Vanessita! @ 3:32 pm
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My parents anniversary was in July and for some reason or another I was unable to bake them a cake.  So, since July my mother has been bugging me about making them a post-anniversary cake.


The hubs and I decided to take Sunday and drive out to the farm to visit my parents so I figured this was the perfect chance to bring them their happy-late-anniversary cake.  I searched the Internet to find something simple and yummy and not too sweet since my dad doesn’t have the biggest sweet tooth.  I also knew I wanted to fill whatever cake with pineapple since that’s my dads favorite filling.  After searching a few of my “usual” websites I came across Smitten Kitchen’s Best Birthday Cake.  I figured this yellow cake would be the perfect cake to pair with my pineapple filling.

This cake is SO GOOD!!!  It’s very light and fluffy, soft and very tasty.  It went GREAT with some pineapple filling and a cream cheese frosting.

During the week I cranked out a few more roses in a deep orange color to decorate my cake with.  Overall I think the cake ended up  looking pretty good!


***WARNING! This recipe creates A LOT of batter!!!  I’ve made it twice so far and both times I’ve had to toss out some batter because it was just too much!***

Best Birthday Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Yield: Two 9-inch round, 2-inch tall cake layers, and, in theory, 22 to 24 cupcakes, two 8-inch squares or a 9×13 single-layer cake (I have yet to audition the cupcakes, shame on me)

4 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour (not self-rising) I couldn’t find cake flour so I substituted 1 cup of regular AP flour MINUS 2 tbsp PLUS 2 tbsp of corn starch.  Worked well in this case.
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups buttermilk, well-shaken

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and line with circles of parchment paper, then butter parchment. (Alternately, you can use a cooking spray, either with just butter or butter and flour to speed this process up.) I didn’t use parchment circles, I just greased my pans with Wilton Cake Release- that stuff is great!

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture will look curdled). Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is just incorporated.

Spread batter evenly in cake pan, then rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles. (I like to drop mine a few times from two inches up, making a great big noisy fuss.) Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge of pan. Invert onto rack and discard parchment, then cool completely, about 1 hour.  I had to bake my cakes (at 350) for a little longer, perhaps it’s just my oven though.

RoseCake3Pineapple Filling
Taken from CakeCentral

1 box of Vanilla Pudding Mix
1/2 a container of Cool Whip
1 large can of Pineapple Chunks (or tidbits) WITH JUICE!

Mix together the Vanilla Pudding Mix with the can of pineapple (including juice!).
Mix well and let it chill for 5 minutes.
Fold in the Cool Whip until incorporated and chill for an hour.

All in all this cake is great!! I’ll def. be making it again (I actually already made it twice, the 2nd time for cupcakes).  It was a hit with my parents and my cousins/aunt/uncle who were over as well.


Wilton Cake #3 August 27, 2009

Filed under: Baking,cake,Wilton — Vanessita! @ 9:30 am
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Tuesday was a happy but kind of sad day- it was the last class of my first Wilton course.  I totally intend on signing up for the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th courses but I know not all the girls will return and I really had a great time getting to know everyone.  I really learned a lot and in the course of 4 weeks I’ve learned how to make crazy looking clowns, pipe a rainbow, make drop flowers, pretty polka dots, and I’ve mastered the Wilton Rose.  Ok- so maybe I haven’t mastered it yet BUT I did learn how to make it and I cranked out more flowers than anyone else in my class!  So give me some credit, please. haha. 🙂


Here’s the cake I made during our last class.  I made 6 purple Roses and placed them in the center of the cake (I’m all about being imperfect and who cares that they aren’t perfectly centered, lol!).  I made a few leaves and then a few sweet peas across the bottom shell border (which I still haven’t perfected!).


Overall I love the way this cake looks.  And my frosting skills have also improved!!! I didn’t have nearly as many “blobs” on this cake, it was pretty smooth looking!


The cake itself is a red velvet cake filled and covered in cream cheese frosting.  After asking the wonderful girls on the WC board for some help finding the best red velvet recipe, I was forwarded to Bridget’s blog where she did a fabulous red velvet recipe comparison.Roses2

My co-workers probably agreed with Bridget’s findings because they all told me how wonderful this cake tasted.  Mine came out SUPER moist and wasn’t too dense.  It’s definitely a front runner for the best red velvet I’ve ever had.  It didn’t taste as good as it could have since I had to cover it with a layer of Wilton icing (aka NOT yummy!!!)…but I’m sure fully covered in cream cheese this cake would be phenomenal.  Below is the recipe:

Red Velvet Cake
Taken from The Way the Cookie Crumbles, Originally found on Apple A Day.

Makes 1 8-inch 3-layer cake

For the cake:
2½ cups cake flour
1½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1½ cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons (1 oz.) red food coloring  I used gel food coloring and only used about half an ounce.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar

For the frosting:
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
12 ounces butter, softened
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1½ cups chopped pecans (optional)

1. For the cake: Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa, and salt into a medium bowl.

3. Beat eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until well combined. Add dry ingredients and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.

4. Divide batter evenly between 3 greased and floured 8″ round cake pans.

5. Bake cakes, rotating halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Let cakes cool 5 minutes, then invert each onto a plate, then invert again onto a cooling rack. Let cakes cool completely. I baked this cake in my 8″ round, 3″ deep pan- I put all the batter into this one pan and baked for about 75 minutes on 325 degrees.

6. For the frosting: Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until combined. Add sugar and beat until frosting is light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes.

4. Put 1 cake layer on a cake plate, level off with a serrated knife, and spread one-quarter of the frosting on top. Set another layer on top, level, and repeat frosting. Set remaining layer on top, level, and frost top and sides with the remaining frosting. Press pecans into the sides of the cake, if desired. **Tip: after leveling cake, turn it upside down to reduce numbers of crumbs. I also did a crumb coat on the outside, let it set for ten minutes, then finished with remaining frosting. I did the same.

5. Chill for 2 hours to set frosting.

So there you have it- a deliciously yummy red velvet cake!!! Thanks Bridget!


Wilton Cake #2 August 26, 2009

Filed under: Baking,cake,Wilton — Vanessita! @ 11:41 am
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This post is a bit delayed seeing how I baked this cake up last week, but I had to share it with you guys!

I’m not too proud of the actual decorations on the cake- my frosting wasn’t the right consistency so my flowers didn’t look very pretty.  But I am proud of the cake inside- it was YUMMY!!!


During our third class we learned how to make drop flowers using a closed star tip.  The flowers (if made with the right frosting) can be VERY pretty and are super simple to make.  Using our small #3 round tip, we made the little dots in the center of the flowers and I made some extra dots around the cake as well.

The cake inside is a Hershey’s cake I sort of made up on my own.  I had looked around and found a bunch of recipes but they involved baking with a lot of caramel and I didn’t want my cake to fall apart when I took it out of the pan.
I also half-cheated by using a cake mix- but hey, it worked and tasted delicious!!! Don’t hate! 🙂

Snickers Cake
Cocina Caliente Semirginal 😉

1 Box of German Chocolate Cake Mix
1 Pack of Fun Sized Snickers Candies
1 Bag of Caramel Candies
4 tbsp of flour
1 Batch of Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Frosting

Prep your oven per box instructions.

Chop up the Snickers (I used about 8 Fun sized bars, feel free to use more) and set aside.
Chop up the Caramels (I cut these pretty finely, I didn’t want HUGE globs inside the cake.  I also used about 12 caramels) and set aside.

Prep the Chocolate Cake Mix per the box instructions.

When you are done making the batter, dump your chopped candies into the flour.  Make sure to mix it up really well so that each candy is fully coated in flour.  This will help the candies stick to the inside of the batter versus dropping to the bottom of the mix (top of the cake).

Once the candies are covered in flour, lightly mix them into the cake- making sure they’ve been evenly distributed.

Make sure your pans are very well greased!!!

Bake as per the box instructions.

AND VIOLA!  Easy Peasy Snickers Cake.

I filled the layers with the Hershey’s Chocolate Icing but topped it with the standard (overly sweet) Wilton icing recipe.  The chocolate on chocolate though was SOOOO good.  My co-workers loved it when I brought it in the next day for my managers birthday.


Oh- and I thought I’d share the EXTREMELY creepy Wilton Clowns that we also learned to make during this weeks class.  I don’t think I’ll EVER be making these things again- they’re just so creepy looking!!! ACK!

ClownsScary, huh?