Sunday, April 7, 2013

Orange-Nutella Layered Cheesecake

My Dad and I have birthdays that are exactly two weeks apart (his being March 20th, and mine being April 3rd). Since he lives about an hour away, we usually celebrate our birthdays together, and this year the deal was that he would pay for dinner if I supplied the cake.

He told me this about a week or two ago, and I spent some time looking through recipes on my bookshelf, my Pinterest, on baking blogs, and everything else you can think of. Everything seemed either too expensive, or just not quite right. I pretty much knew I wanted to make a cheesecake, but not much else.

After enough searching, I decided that I wasn't going to find the right thing.

My mind kept, for some reason, going back to a day in December when my boyfriend made us some hazelnut hot cocoa with orange peels boiled in, to make a delicious and rich orange-y, chocolate hazelnut goodness. Something about the combination of these things really stuck with me, so much so that I decided to make a cheesecake that would combine these flavors.

 photo IMG_5450_zpse79cf4bf.jpg

My 2nd inspiration for this cake was a cheesecake recipe on I used the recipe for their rainbow cheesecake a little over a year ago for my friend's birthday. I loves combining colors and making layers, and it seemed like orange and brown would go really well together (although, there was no dye in this cheesecake, so it's actually a brown and off-white, but a girl can dream.

I made this cheesecake, and it went over SPLENDIDLY.It's very rich and creamy, and the layers look beautiful stacked on top of each other. The orange compliments the subtle hazelnut flavor perfectly, and it's just right for a spring birthday.

Most of the credit for this cake comes from this recipe at, I pretty much just added the orange and nutella flavors. The guys over there really know what their doing, because this cheesecake is seriously gigantic and delicious.

 photo IMG_5452_zpsb7199ec9.jpg


  • 2 cups finely crushed graham crackers
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

  • 4 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 (13 oz.) container of Nutella
  • 3 TBS orange juice concentrate (thawed)
  • Zest from one orange


  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees. Before you get started with the crust, make sure your 9 inch springform pan is water tight. I do this by carefully wrapping a few layers of foil on the outside of the pan, so water cannot get into the pan. Be careful not to rip the foil or water will get into your cake and ruin it!

  2. Mix crushed crackers, 2 tablespoons sugar, the cinnamon and salt together in a bowl. Then mix in butter with your clean fingers, until crumbs are pea sized. 

  3. Press all of the graham cracker mixture into the prepared springform pan. Press it down firmly in the pan.
  1. Bake the crust for 10 minutes on a low oven rack. Remove from the oven, and cool completely before continuing. Turn oven temperature down to 325 degrees.
  1. To make filling, cut cream cheese into pieces and add to a mixing bowl. Whip until smooth, maybe 4 minutes. Then add 1-1/3 cups sugar, and continue to beat until smooth again, another 4-5 minutes. Next, add vanilla, salt, sour cream and heavy cream; beat until smooth. Add in 1 egg at a time, beating briefly between each egg.
  1. Once the mixture is well combined and very smooth, divide evenly into 2 bowls. In one bowl, add the orange zest and orange juice concentrate and mix well, set aside. In the 2nd bowl, add the nutella and mix well.
  2. Starting with whichever flavored batter, pour some directly into the center of the cooled crust, then a little more of the opposite flavor. Continue alternating batters by pouring them directly in the center, this will create layers so each slice has equal(ish) amounts of both flavors. Then, to make my design I just ran a butter knife across the top a few times to give it the 'spiderweb' effect
  3. Place cheesecake into a baking dish on oven rack, and fill baking dish (or a deep frying pan!) with boiling water about 1 inch up the side of the springform pan.
  4. Bake at 325 degrees in the water bath for 1 hour and 40 minutes to 1 hour 50 minutes or until set but still jiggles slightly 2 inches from the edge. If cheesecake begins to brown on top, cover loosely with foil during last 5 minutes of baking.
  5. Turn off the oven, open the oven door a crack, and let the cake cool in the oven for 1 hour. The slow cooling will help it not crack.
  6. Loosely wrap the dish in foil so the foil isn't touching the top of the cake and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  7. When ready to remove cake, run a clean narrow knife around the edge of the dish, remove the foil, unlock the spring, and carefully lift off the outer ring.

 photo IMG_5451_zpsc713da04.jpg


Friday, April 5, 2013

Two Hundred Fifty-Two - A Poem

Last year, I was a part of a writer's group that had a writing challenge. The challenge was, in 250 words or less, write anything involving a wish.

My wish was to have more than 250 words, and I wrote a sonnet, where technically, that wish was granted (although maybe I should write a 3rd sonnet about how that wish was not granted as much as it was earned).

I spent the last hour re-writing, rewording, and putting the finishing touches on it. I liked it enough to share it, and since it's the first sonnet I've written since high school, I thought maybe making it public would give me more incentive to write more of them. I know it needs work but it's been - Oh Dear God - 10 years since I have written one.

(Also please note that this rough draft was written last July, when Scott Walker had just shrugged off a recall election, and we were in the middle of a terrible, terrible drought up here in Wisconsin, to explain the few lines that aren't synced up with current events.)

Two Hundred Fifty Two
Pam Gabriel

Before me lies a toil, one so daunting
To search the depths of my own weary heart
To solve one thing in this world that's haunting
Only two hundred fifty words, to start

And in those few words, find my greatest wish
Something grand, and above all else, perfect
Bring back a loved one I so dearly miss?
Or help a suff'ring friend I'm desperate to protect?

Bring them back to where I feel they belong
Let them wake up, without hunger or pain
Though something so farfetched feels so wrong
I sudd'nly won't awake with powers gained

Instead of taking Godlike leaps and bounds
Perhaps I should keep my feet on the ground

So many problems I could write about
In less than a page I must express them all
Wish for some rain to end this scorching drought
Or for another chance to get Scott recalled

With ideas so vast, and words so few
To say it all would be fiercely tough
What I would like the most is more words to use
Even a second page would be good enough

Then I could say it all, express my plight
Tell you my woes, 'til my voice disappears
Stand upon my soap box, all day and night
A thousand more words, I'll be rid your fears

Desperately I wish a miracle to bring
It will sweep through and solve every little thing

Even if I could, it would not come true
But this one did, with two hundred fifty two!

I'm a clever gal, ain't I?

(You don't have to answer that)

In other writing news, It's Camp NaNoWriMo, and I'm hoping to write more poetry (maybe something less structured), as well as maybe some short stories or screenplays. We'll see if they actually end up here or not. April started almost a week ago, and this is the first thing that resembles writing that I've done, so we'll see.