Woody’s Marble White and Dark Chocolate Cheesecake

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Serves: 12 to 16

Oven Temperature: 450˚F/230˚C, for the chocolate biscuit;
                                 350˚F/175˚C, for the cheesecake
Baking Time: 7 to 10 minutes, for the chocolate biscuit;
                       45 minutes (50 minutes if using a silicone pan for the water bath)
                        plus 1 hour with oven off, for the cheesecake

Traditionally, marble cake recipes call for making a single batter and using part of it to create the darker chocolate batter. In this version, I made two separate batters, one with white chocolate and the other with bittersweet chocolate, so that each batter had a perfect flavor and consistency. The crust is a chocolate biscuit (Beesk WEE), which looks almost like patent leather and can be easily cut with dental floss. You can also use a chocolate or vanilla crumb crust. The cheesecake is baked in a water bath to give it a custardy texture.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: This recipe is in The Baking Bible. You can see step-by-step photos and comments on Rose's Alpha Bakers bake thru blog, which is linked on our The Baking Bible's page. You can enter the recipe's name in the search box at the top of the Alpha Baker's home page. 

Plan Ahead Make the cheesecake at least one day before serving.

Special Equipment For the Chocolate Biscuit: One 17-1/4 by 12-1/4 by 1 inch half-sheet pan, coated with shortening or nonstick cooking spray, bottom lined with parchment and then coated with baking spray with flour (have the parchment extend one inch past one of the long sides of the pan); One large wire rack; One baking sheet or extra half-sheet pan, lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray.

For the Cheesecake Filling: One 9 by 2-1/2 inch or higher springform pan, the sides coated with shortening, placed in a slightly larger silicone pan or wrapped with a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil to prevent seepage. For the sides cut a 30 by 2 inch wide band of parchment. Wrap and press it against the inside walls of the pan. Use shortening to coat the overlapping ends to hold them in place. Lightly coat the parchment with nonstick cooking spray; An expandable flan ring, 8-3/4 inch pot lid, or 8-3/4 inch cardboard template; One 12 inch round cake pan or a roasting pan to serve as a water bath.

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Preheat the Oven Thirty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Set the oven to 450˚F/230˚C.

Mis en Place
   * 30 minutes ahead, set the eggs on the counter at room temperature
      (65˚ to 75˚F/19˚ to 21˚C).
   * Into separate bowls, weigh or measure the egg yolks and egg whites.
   * Sift the flour onto a piece of parchment or into another small bowl.

Make the Batter

1) Mix the Cocoa and Water In a small bowl, with a silicone spatula, stir together the cocoa and boiling water until smooth.

2) Stir in the vanilla, cover tightly with plastic wrap to prevent evaporation, and cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes. To speed cooling, place the bowl in the refrigerator. Bring the mixture to room temperature before proceeding.

3) Mix the Egg Mixture In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk beater, place the egg yolks, half the egg whites (1/4 cup/59 m/60 grams) and the 2/3 cup/133 grams of sugar. Beat on high speed until thick, fluffy, and tripled in volume, about 5 minutes.

4) Lower the speed to medium and add the cocoa mixture, beating a few seconds until incorporated.

If you don’t have a second mixer bowl, scrape this mixture into a large bowl and thoroughly wash, rinse, and dry the mixer bowl and whisk beater to remove any trace of oil.

5) Sift half the flour over the egg mixture and, using a large balloon whisk, slotted skimmer, or silicone spatula, fold it in gently but rapidly until almost all the flour has disappeared.
6)Repeat with the remaining flour until all traces of the flour have disappeared.

7) Beat the Egg Whites into a Stiff Meringue In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk beater, beat the remaining half of the egg whites and the cream of tartar on medium-low speed until foamy. Gradually raise the speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form when the beater is raised.
8) Gradually beat in the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised slowly.

9) Add the Meringue to the Batter  Using the large balloon whisk, slotted skimmer, or large silicone spatula, gently fold the meringue into the batter. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and using a small offset spatula, smooth the surface as evenly as possible.

10) Bake the Cake Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. Have ready a small sharp knife.

11) Unmold and Cool the Cake Run the tip of a sharp knife around the sides to dislodge any cake that may have attached itself to the sides of the pan and unmold the cake at once. Slip a small offset spatula under the edge of the parchment to loosen it. Grasp the parchment and gently slide the cake onto the wire rack. Let the cake cool completely, about 20 minutes.
12) Invert the cake onto the baking sheet, or inverted half-sheet pan, and peel off the parchment. If not using it right away, cover with plastic wrap.

13) Cut the Cake Pieces Begin by cutting the cake into two unequal rectangles width wise: one needs to be 8-3/4 inches wide for the round cake base.

To make the round cake base: Set the expandable flan ring on the cake and mark around it with the tip of a sharp knife. Use scissors to cut out the disc.

To make the side pieces: use a long serrated knife and a ruler to cut a 10 by 5-1/4 inch rectangle from the remaining cake rectangle. With the knife, cut the rectangle the long way into three strips, each 1-3/4 inches wide. Alternatively, with the tip of a sharp knife mark where the cuts should be and use scissors to cut out the strips.

Wrap each cake piece in plastic wrap to keep it soft and fresh, and refrigerate them until ready to line the pan and add the filling.

14) Line the Springform Pan with the Cake Press the three side strips, with the top crust sides facing the sides of the pan, against the parchment. Trim one of the pieces to make a seamless fit.
15) Set the cake disc, with the top crust side facing down onto the bottom of the pan and wedged against the side strips.
16) Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap while you are making the filling.

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Preheat the Oven Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Set the oven to 350˚F/175˚C.

Mis en Place
30 minutes to 1 hour ahead, set the eggs and cream cheese on the counter at room temperature (65˚ to 75˚F/19˚ to 21˚C).
   * On separate cutting boards, coarsely chop each chocolate.
   * In a large pot, preferably with a spout, heat a few quarts of water to very hot to the touch. Cover the pot.
   * Sprinkle a tablespoon of cream of tartar into the cake pan (which will prevent the pan from discoloring during baking).

Melt the Chocolates
1) Use a small microwavable bowl, stirring with a silicone spatula every 15 seconds (or use the top of a double boiler set over hot, not simmering, water, stirring often--do not let the bottom of the container touch the water) to heat the white chocolate until almost completely melted.
2) Remove the white chocolate from the heat and stir until fully melted. Let it cool until it is no longer warm to the touch but is still fluid.

3) Repeat the same process for melting the dark chocolate.

Make the Batter
4) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk beater, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until very smooth, scraping the sides once or twice, about 3 minutes.
5) Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until smooth and scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice.
6) Add the cream, vanilla, cornstarch, and salt, and beat on medium-low speed until incorporated. Detach the whisk beater and use it to whisk in any mixture that has settled to the bottom of the bowl.

7) Pour 2-1/2 cups/590 grams of the batter into a medium size bowl. Scrape the melted dark chocolate into it and, with a large whisk, whisk until the batter is a uniform color.

8) Scrape the melted white chocolate into the stand mixer bowl. Return it to the mixer and mix on medium-low speed for about 30 seconds or until the white chocolate is incorporated.

Mixing the Two Batters
9) Pour about half (500 grams) of the white chocolate batter into the springform pan and spread it evenly with a small offset spatula.
10) Spoon the dark chocolate batter on top of the white chocolate batter and spread it evenly.

11) Scrape the remaining white chocolate batter over the dark chocolate batter and spread it evenly. Use a whisk or large spoon to swirl the two batters lightly, in an over and under motion to create a marbled effect.

Bake the Cake
12) Fill the water bath pan with a half-inch of water and whisk the cream of tartar until it dissolves.
13) Set the springform pan into the larger pan and surround it with 1 inch of water.

14) Bake for 25 minutes. For even baking, rotate the pan halfway around. Continue baking for 20 minutes (30 minutes if using the silicone pan).
15) Turn off the oven without opening the door and let the cake cool for 1 hour. When moved the center will barely move.

Chill the Cake
16) Remove the pan from the water bath but leave the silicone pan or foil in place to catch any liquid that may seep from the cake. Set it on a wire rack to cool to room temperature or just until warm, about 1 to 2 hours.
17) To absorb condensation place a paper towel, curved side upwards, over the pan with the ends overhanging. Place an inverted plate, larger than the springform pan, on top of the paper towel.
18) Refrigerate the cheesecake for 4 hours or overnight.

Unmold the Cake
19) Remove the plate, paper towel, and silicone pan (or foil). Blot off any water from the top of the cheesecake.
20) Run a spatula between the sides of the springform pan and the parchment and release the sides of the springform pan. Carefully peel off the parchment by rolling it as it releases from the cake.

21) If the cheesecake’s sides above the biscuit are uneven, run a small metal spatula under hot water and use it to smooth the sides even with the biscuit.

Cut and Serve the Cake
22) We recommend using dental floss for cutting cheesecake, which will slice through the biscuit as well. With both hands, tauntly hold a length of dental floss centered over the cheesecake. Slice through the cheesecake and crust with a sawing action to the bottom. Pull the dental floss out one side. Repeat the process for cutting the slices to be served. (Alternatively, cut the cheesecake slices with a heated knife.)

Store Airtight: refrigerated, 5 days. Do not freeze as the texture will become less smooth.

 Marie Wolf's photographed by Jim Wolf

Marie Wolf's photographed by Jim Wolf

Beer Braised Short Ribs

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Serves: 4

Prep time: 1 hour

Oven Temperature: 350˚F/175˚C

Braising time: 1 to 2-1/2 hours / Crock pot time: 4 to 5 hours

Meaty beef short ribs are braised with vegetables in an amber beer. This is one of our favorite winter recipes. Serve alongside noodles garnished with the dish’s demi-glaze and crispy bacon bits.

We prefer to cook the meat until tender with just a little bite--not falling off the bone, which we find dries the meat and ruins the texture.

Several step-by-step photos are shown at the bottom.

Prep Ahead It works best to brown the ribs and sauté the vegetables 1 day before completing the dish. The overnight refrigeration will solidify the fat for easy removal.

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Set Up for Equipment and Ingredients (Mis en Place)
 * Dutch oven (or large skillet, if you opt for the crock pot method, see Notes)
* Small metal or glass bowl
* A paper towel lined plate
* A large strainer set over a medium bowl
* In a gallon reclosable bag, place the Wondra flour, salt, and pepper, and combine.
* Dice the onion into 1/2 inch size pieces. Place them in a large bowl.
* Slice the carrots into 1 inch long pieces and celery into 3/4 inch long pieces.
    Add them to the onions.
* Peel the garlic, leaving them whole
* Slice the jalapeno pepper (ribs and seeds removed) into 1/4 inch slices. Place them in a small bowl.
* Dice the red bell pepper into 1/2 inch size pieces. Place them in a small bowl.

Brown the Ribs                                                                                               
1) Individually, dredge the short ribs in the flour mixture.
2) In the Dutch oven, fry the bacon over medium heat until almost crisp. Remove the bacon onto paper towels set on a cutting board. Drain off all but 2 to 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat into the small bowl.
3) When cool dice the bacon into 1/2 inch long pieces, cutting away fatty pieces to be reserved for another dish. Place the diced pieces into a small container, cover, and refrigerate. 
4) Brown the ribs on each of their sides except for the bone sides, for about 5 to 6 minutes total.
5) Remove the ribs to a paper-towel lined plate. Then place the ribs into a medium bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.

Sauté the Vegetables  
6) In the same pan with the drippings, add in the onion, carrots, and celery. Stir to coat the vegetables with the drippings. Cook over medium-high heat stirring occasionally until they start to brown, about 5 minutes.
7) Add the beer, 1-1/2 tablespoons of the tomato paste, cumin, chili powder, and pepper flakes.
8) Bring the mixture to a simmer. Stir to combine, scraping the bottom of the pot.
9) Add the garlic cloves, jalapeño slices, and bay leaf. Simmer the mixture for 1 minute.
10) Empty the vegetables and juices into the large strainer over the medium bowl. After a few minutes, turn over the vegetables and press lightly. Then return them to the  Dutch oven.
11) Stir in the diced red bell pepper.
12) Transfer the juices to a small bowl or 1 cup glass measure with a spout and tightly cover it with plastic wrap.

 13) Nestle the short ribs with their bone sides down into the vegetables and cover. 
 14) Refrigerate the ribs and vegetables, and the juices until the fat solidifies on top of the juices,  several hours or overnight.

You can braise the dish in an oven or transfer the vegetable and ribs to a crockpot (see Notes).

* Have ready a large strainer over a medium bowl.

Oven Method

Preheat the Oven                                                                                         
*Twenty minutes or more before braising, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven.   
* Preheat the oven to 350˚F/175˚C.

Braise the Ribs
15) Skim off and discard the fat from the juices and any on top of the ribs and vegetables.
 Add the juices to the Dutch oven. Add enough water to cover the ribs halfway up.
16) Braise for 1 to 2 hours, or until the ribs are tender, but still on the bone.
When almost done, lower the oven temperature to 200˚F/93˚C.

Make the Sauce                                                                                                                             
17) Transfer the ribs to a medium bowl.
18) Empty the vegetables and juices into the strainer. Remove the bay leaf.
19) Transfer the vegetables and ribs to the Dutch oven. Sprinkle the cilantro leaves and half of the diced bacon over the ribs and vegetables and cover. Place the Dutch oven into the oven and turn it off.
20) Transfer the juices to a small frying pan and skim off as much of any fat as possible. Reduce the juices by half, or until they form a medium-thick glaze on a silicone spatula. Pour the juices into a gravy boat or pitcher.

Make the Noodles
21) Cook the noodles as per the instructions on the box.
22) Drain and return them to the pot. Add the remaining tablespoon of tomato paste and a little of the glaze and stir to coat the noodles. Add black pepper to taste.

Place the noodles on a plate. Spoon the vegetable mixture and ribs alongside the noodles. Drizzle the ribs and noodles with some of the sauce. Garnish the noodles with the remaining diced bacon.

*Beers I recommend: brown ales, Scottish ales, lagers.
*The refrigeration step can be skipped if making the dish in a shorter period of time. The sauce, however, will be oily from the fat that you may not be able to skim off.  

*Crockpot Method                                                                                                                    
14) Skim off the fat from the juices.
15) Place the juices and vegetables in the crock pot. Nestle the short ribs into the vegetables. If needed, add enough water to cover half way up the ribs.
16) Cook for 3 hours on HIGH. Then cook for 1 to 2 hours on LOW until the ribs are tender but still firmly on the bone. When almost done, turn the crock pot to WARM.



Gâteau Très Orange


When I was growing up, I was spoiled by my grandmother who squeezed fresh orange juice for breakfast every single day. Pasteurized orange juice from a container or bottle paled by comparison.

I have always loved the flavor of orange, almost as much as lemon which is my top favorite, but never more so than when I started making recipes from Jamie Schler’s new book Orange Appeal. Her book, focusing on many ways both sweet and savory, inspired me to create this cake that is the most orangey cake in my repertoire.

Arriving at the precise amount of orange zest to orange oil was a delicate balance. Too much orange oil and it becomes almost petrol in flavor. For us, these amounts work perfectly. You can vary them according to your own tastebuds.

Serves: 12 to 14

Oven Temperature: 350˚F/175˚C

Baking Time: 50 to 60 minutes

Equipment One 10 cup metal fluted tube pan, coated with baking spray with flour


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Preheat the Oven

* Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven.

* Set the oven at 350˚F/175˚C.

 Set Up for Ingredients (Mise en Place)

* 30 minutes to 1 hour ahead set the butter and eggs on the counter at room temperature (65˚ to 75˚F/19˚ to 23˚C).

* With dish washing liquid, wash, rinse, and dry the oranges and zest them (see Notes).

Make the Batter 

1) Into a 2 cup/500 ml glass measure with a spout, weigh or measure the egg yolks. Add 60 grams/1/4 cup of the sour cream, and vanilla, and whisk lightly until combined.

2) In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the flat beater, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and orange zest and mix on low speed for 30 seconds.

3) Add the butter and the remaining 122 grams of sour cream. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1-1/2 minutes to aerate and develop the cake's structure. The mixture will lighten in color and texture. Scrape down the sides.

4) Starting on low speed, gradually add the egg mixture in 2 parts, beating on medium speed for 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients smoothly.

5) Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the surface evenly.

 Bake the Cake
6) Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted near the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed. The cake should start to shrink from the sides of the pan only after removal from the oven. Rotate the cake halfway around after the first 40 minutes of baking.

 Shortly before the cake is finished baking, make the orange syrup.

Orange Syrup

Makes: 102 grams/6-1/2 tablespoons/96 ml

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1) Reduce the orange juice by about 1/3 and stir in sugar until dissolved. Add the orange oil. Cover it and set it aside.

Apply the Syrup and Cool the Cake

2) As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, place the pan on a rack, poke the cake all over with a wire cake tester, and brush it with about one-third (34 grams/2 tablespoons/30 ml) of the syrup. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes. Invert the cake onto a serving plate.

3) Brush the top and sides of the cake with the remaining syrup. Cover with plastic wrap and cool completely.

 Store Airtight: room temperature, 3 days; refrigerated, 5 days; frozen, 2 months.


* The zest incorporates most evenly into the batter if set on a piece of parchment and allowed to dry for several hours. It then can be frozen for several months.

* When Seville oranges are in season the juice gives a more intense orange flavor to the syrup so the orange oil can be omitted. Do not use the Seville orange zest as it is very bitter unless candied in marmalade. Blood orange zest, however is a great alternative.


* The best way to reduce the orange juice is to pour it into a 4 cup/1 liter glass measure with a spout that has been lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray. Microwave it on high power, stirring every 30 seconds to prevent air bubbles, which would cause the juice to burst out of the container. This will take about 15 minutes. Alternatively you can reduce the orange juice on the cooktop, stirring constantly.

*You can replace the reduced orange juice with an equal amount of frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed.

To see the posting on Orange Appeal Click on this link.

Orange Appeal

This Month's Recipe: Rose's Favorite Flaky & Tender Pie Crust

Flaky with its laminations from the blending of butter, cream cheese, and heavy cream throughout the flour, this pie crust is most quickly made in a food processor.  A smidgen of baking powder makes the crust more tender and flavorful. 



This recipe will be enough for a single crust for the standard pie plate, Rose's Perfect Pie Plate, a deep dish pie plate, or a 9-1/2 to 10 inch tart. It can easily be doubled for 2 crust pie or strips across the top. 

Food Processor Method

1) Process flour, salt, and baking powder to blend. 
2) Add cream cheese and process until coarse.
3) Add butter cubes and pulse until peanut size. 
4) Add cream and vinegar and pulse until butter is the size of small peas.
5) Scrape dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Use latex gloves or cover hands with plastic bags and press dough until it holds together in one smooth flat disc.
6) Wrap, and refrigerate 45 minutes before rolling.