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CHEESECAKE FACTORY STEFANIE’S ULTIMATE RED VELVET CHEESECAKE

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MENU DESCRIPTION: “Moist layers of red velvet cake and our Original Cheesecake covered with our special Cheesecake Factory cream cheese frosting.”

To make the best red velvet cheesecake like the great version that is made at Cheesecake Factory, we have to start with a good red velvet cake recipe. I studied several versions and eventually created an original red velvet formula that is moist, with the perfect color and size to layer into a 9-inch springform pan between a no-bake cheesecake filling. When the cheesecake sets up in a few hours, remove it from the pan and apply the delicious cream cheese frosting.The white chocolate curls pressed into the side of the cake can be made easily by dragging a peeler over the edge of a white chocolate bar. One 4-ounce bar will give you more than enough of the curls, but that’s okay, since many will fall off in the process of pressing them onto the side of the cake.

RED VELVET CAKE ¾ cup butter (1½ sticks), softened 1¼ cups granulated sugar 2 eggs

2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ¾ cup buttermilk 2 tablespoons red food coloring 103

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1¾ cups cake flour 5 teaspoons cocoa powder

½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt

CHEESECAKE FILLING ½ cup heavy cream three 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened

1 cup granulated sugar 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened 8 ounces cream cheese, softened 2½ cups powdered sugar

1 tablespoon whole milk ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract

GARNISH one 4-ounce bar white chocolate

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Make the red velvet cake by mixing the butter with the sugar in a large bowl for 1 minute using a mixer on high speed. Add the eggs, oil, and vanilla and mix until smooth. Mix in the buttermilk and red coloring. In a separate medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and blend with an electric mixer for about 30 seconds. Pour the batter into a buttered nonstick or parchment paper–lined 9-inch cake pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely. When the cake has completely cooled, remove it from the pan. Slice the domed top off the cake and discard. Then slice the cake through the middle. Place the bottom of the cake into the

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bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Place the pan into the freezer. Place the other half of the cake onto a plate and put it into the freezer as well.This will help to prevent the cake from contributing red crumbs to the white cheesecake filling. Make the cheesecake filling by whipping the heavy cream with an electric mixer in a medium bowl until it forms stiff peaks. Mix in the softened cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and cream of tartar until smooth and creamy. Use a spatula to spread half of this filling over the red velvet cake in the bottom of the springform pan. Carefully place the other half of the cake over the filling, then spread the rest of the filling on top of the cake. Chill for several hours. When the cheesecake has completely chilled, make the cream cheese frosting by combining the butter and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on high speed. Add the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla and beat for 2 minutes, or until smooth and fluffy. Remove the cheesecake from the springform pan. Use a spatula to completely cover the top and sides of the cake with the cream cheese frosting. Use 2 to 3 times as much icing on the top as on the sides. Use a carrot peeler to make small curls from the white chocolate bar by turning the bar on its side and dragging the peeler over the edge of the bar. Shave most of the bar into curls, then press the white chocolate shavings onto the icing on the side of the cake all the way around. Chill the cake for a couple hours. To serve the chilled cake, slice into 12 slices and serve.

• MAKES 12 SLICES. •

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PE CI E R F ET N O R C O SE RSI P E TO V

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CHILI’S CRISPY HONEY-CHIPOTLE CHICKEN CRISPERS

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MENU DESCRIPTION: “Tossed in our honey-chipotle sauce.”

After cloning the plain version of these breaded chicken fingers in Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2, I received many requests to knockoff this more flavorful sweet and spicy version. If you like big flavor and some heat, this is the clone for you. The breading technique is the big secret: first using a wet batter and then tossing the tenders in a dry breading. When the chicken tenders are fried to a golden brown, they are gently tossed in the secret honeychipotle sauce and served either as an appetizer or with corn on the cob and French fries as an entrée. HONEY-CHIPOTLE SAUCE 2 ⁄3 cup honey ¼ cup water ¼ cup ketchup

1 tablespoon white vinegar 2 teaspoons ground chipotle chile ½ teaspoon salt

6 to 10 cups shortening or vegetable oil (in a fryer or large saucepan) BATTER 1 egg, beaten ½ cup whole milk ½ cup chicken broth (Swanson) 1 ½ teaspoons salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper ¼ teaspoon paprika ¼ teaspoon garlic powder ¾ cup all-purpose flour 107

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¾ teaspoon paprika ½ teaspoon ground black pepper ½ teaspoon garlic powder

BREADING 1½ cups all-purpose flour 1½ teaspoons salt

10 to 12 chicken tenderloins

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Make the honey-chipotle sauce by combining all the ingredients in a small saucepan and heating over medium heat until boiling. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Heat the shortening or oil in fryer or a large saucepan to 350 to 360 degrees F. Whisk together all ingredients for the batter, excluding the flour, in a shallow bowl. Continue whisking for about 30 seconds to dissolve the salt. Whisk in the flour. Make the breading by combining all the ingredients in another shallow bowl or a pie pan. When you are ready to fry the chicken, dip each piece of chicken into the batter. Lift the chicken out of the batter and let some of the batter drip off, then toss the chicken into the dry breading. Completely coat the chicken with breading and let it sit for a bit in the breading while you batter and bread 2 or 3 more pieces. Carefully drop the breaded chicken into the hot oil and fry for 4 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the chicken from the hot oil onto paper towels while you fry the remaining pieces. When all the chicken is done, drop it into a large glass or metal bowl, pour the sauce over the top, and toss gently until all the chicken is coated with sauce.

• SERVES 4 AS AN APPETIZER OR 2 AS AN ENTRÉE. •

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Top Secret Restaurant Recipes, by Todd Wilbur  

Top Secret Restaurant Recipes Sample