Our contributor, Miso of Miso Bakes, is here with a new recipe for Valentine’s Day …
This Valentine’s Day, I wanted to keep it simple. I realized most people prefer rich cheesecakes or silky mousse cakes during this loving holiday, so I figured a sugarpaste or buttercream tutorial would not be too practical.
Today, I would like to share how to make ladyfingers. They are a must when it comes to making tiramisu and Charlotte Russe mousse cakes. You may definitely use this recipe if you would like to create the mentioned cakes. However, this time around, I used ladyfingers to decorate a cheesecake… that I purchased from my favorite bakery! I told you I was keeping it simple, right? If you aren’t pressed for time and have a favorite recipe, please feel free to bake it the day before and keep it well chilled.
Cheesecakes are divine, but to be honest, they are quite plain in appearance. By all means, is perfect the way it is for those summer night barbecues or potluck, but for Valentine’s Day, you want your cheesecake to be dressed appropriately, too!
recipe by Miso Bakes
4 large eggs, separated
35 grams of sugar (for yolks)
65 grams of sugar (for egg whites)
70 grams all-purpose flour
30 grams cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
STEP 1: Preheat your oven to 350 F. Spray 2 half-sheet pans (13×18) with nonstick spray and line with parchment. Measure the height of the cake. With a marker and small ruler, draw a line that is about half an inch taller than the height of the cake or mold. Lightly spray top of parchment with nonstick.
STEP 2: Mise-en-place: Prepare sugar, separate eggs, sift dry ingredients together and set aside. It helps to coordinate your bowls since the recipe calls for two different measurements of sugar.
STEP 3: In a stand mixer bowl, break the yolks and add vanilla extract and sugar.
STEP 4: Whip on medium-high speed until the batter falls into itself in thick ribbons. Transfer batter into a clean bowl and wash the stand mixer bowl, making sure there are no traces of egg yolk remaining. Dry the bowl with a kitchen towel. If there are traces of fat in your bowl or if your bowl is wet, your meringue will never happen. You will be heartbroken.
STEP 5: Pour egg whites (make sure you have no traces of yolk in your whites) into bowl and whisk at medium-high speed until it looks like cappuccino foam.
STEP 6: With the mixer still running, rain in sugar in three additions. Beat until your meringue is glossy and it looks like shaving cream.
STEP 7: When you gently pick your whisk up, the meringue should have a little stiff peak. Or, if you feel brave enough, grab the bowl and flip it over. The meringue should cling onto the bowl and not plop out.
STEP 8: Take a scoop of the meringue and fold it into your egg yolk mixture. We call this the sacrifice as its purpose it lighten the thickness of the yolk batter before we fold more of the meringue in. Once sacrifice is incorporated, fold in half of the remaining meringue until majority is incorporated but streaks of meringue still remain. (Picture 8)
STEP 9: Gently add half of the dry mixture and again, fold until a few streaks of flour remain.
STEP 10: Fold in remaining meringue. Fold in remaining dry. Your final product should look like this.
STEP 11: Put batter into piping bag with round piping tip. I wanted skinny fingers so I used a tip that was about 1 centimeter wide. Pipe batter into fingers. Or, if you’re using the fingers as a band* around a cake, pipe side by side for easier application. You may also pipe letters with the batter.
STEP 12: Dust twice with powdered sugar.
STEP 13: Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes. Time may vary depending on size and oven.
NOTE: If you are going to use the fingers as a band around a cake, measure the circumference of your cake so you know how long your band needs to be.
Completing the cheesecake:
STEP 14: Melt a handful of chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. Make sure the bowl does NOT touch the water. Or, if you would like, you may microwave the chocolate in a bowl at 30-second increments.
STEP 15: Pull cheesecake out of fridge. Using a spoon or spatula, spread a thin layer of chocolate on bottom half of fingers.
STEP 16: Adhere to cake. Continue all around.
STEP 17: Tie a ribbon if you would like, and garnish to liking. I kept it simple and used strawberries. If you would like, you may brush the top of berries with a bit of warmed and strained apricot jam for a nice gloss.
I had extra batter, so I piped separate fingers, dusted them with cocoa and powdered sugar along with a sprinkling of almonds before I baked. They make wonderful accompaniments to coffee or tea.
Happy Valentine’s Day!