Her Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake with Pumpkin Seed Brittle and Cinnamon Nutmeg Cream won the Cheesecake of the Year contest. Now get to know the woman behind the winning recipe, and how she felt when she found out the big news!
When I baked my first cheesecake: I can't recall how old I was exactly, but I do remember the first time I baked a cheesecake. Growing up, my grandfather would always bake a classic New York–style cheesecake with cherry topping; we always looked forward to visiting and getting a big slice of that delicious cheesecake. Sometime when I was around 10, he thought I was ready to carry on the tradition and we baked that classic cheesecake together.
Number of winning cheesecake: 8633rd -- because that's how many cheesecakes I've gone through to get to this winning recipe. ;)
Why baking is a passion of mine: I love how much of a science it is. It's very exciting waiting on bated breath to see if your cake rises properly or if your crême brulée sets just so. I always bring dessert to any occasion I am invited to and I love experimenting with new flavour combinations any chance I get.
Why I like photography: As a mother with two young sons, I wanted to capture their growth as much as possible. I got my first DSLR camera when my son was around 6 months old and have been trying to improve my photography skills ever since. One of my dream jobs would to be a food stylist, so if I have an excuse to pretend that I am, I get really into it!
The story behind my cheesecake: When I saw the Real Women of Philadelphia contest, I asked my family to name their favourite cheesecake I had ever made; every one of them said my pumpkin cheesecake. It's a recipe I've been playing with for many years to get it just right. But I knew a plain ol' pumpkin cheesecake wasn't good enough to win a grand prize, even if my family loved it.
Fall is my favourite season. Every year I anxiously await the return of a popular coffee shop's Pumpkin Spiced Latte. Advertisements had just started for these delicious lattes when I was brainstorming ideas for my contest entry. It made perfect sense to me -- Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake. I really wanted to have a few additional flavours and textures to help my entry stand out.
Anyone who knows me knows I love my whipped cream. I thought a simple cinnamon and nutmeg cream would be perfect to bring out the spice in the cheesecake. I sat back and thought, well, it just isn't decadent enough... it needs more sugar! In comes the brittle to save the day. The brittle was a great addition and I took the idea from a cheesecake I had made years ago that included pistachio brittle. I tried a couple of different techniques before I settled on the brittle recipe included in my entry. I have to admit, most of the pieces of brittle didn't make it anywhere near the cheesecake; they were just too tasty on their own.
Three words to describe how my cheesecake tastes: Warm, cozy autumn.
Who my taste testers were: My family was the first to test out the cheesecakes. I brought an entire cheesecake to work (it was barely enough for the 20+ staff I work with) and gave my cousin some to bring back to his roommates at university. As far as I know, it was well received all around!
What you can expect from me next: I am a sucker for baking, so probably a dessert recipe. My husband has an immense sweet tooth, which helps in two ways: It inspires me to bake/experiment more and it prevents me from gaining weight because he eats most of what I make. It's really the perfect marriage.
For today’s giveaway, we want to know your cheesecake story. (Thanks to member Lily Erlic for inspiring today’s question with her cheesecake Forum topic!)
What was your most memorable cheesecake?
Whether you made it yourself, or sampled someone else’s, everyone has a cheesecake story! Answer the question in the comments section below by 6 pm ET today and 2 of you will be randomly selected to win a one (1) year subscription each to Canadian Living Magazine!*
*Some restrictions apply. Click HERE for Official Rules for today’s Canadian Living Magazine giveaway!
This giveaway is now closed. We will randomly select 2 of you and send you a Private Message by tomorrow at noon. We'll report back soon and let you all know who won!
UPDATE: Congratulations to the winners of this giveaway, Kelly Kleinjan and marysawyer!