Thanks to everyone who voted for your favourite recipes from the Cheesecake of the Year gallery. After a week of voting, we have the results.
A big congratulations to Leigh-Anne for her delicious Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake, the winner of our Community Choice Cheesecake Award!
Read on to learn more about this avid baker and her cheesecake adventures!
(Click photo for recipe!)
Why is cheesecake your favourite dessert?
I love the versatility of a basic cheesecake, and while it is wonderful in that simple form, the possibilities are endless in what you can make with it. I've always loved (and still love) baking in any way, shape or form, but I find cheesecake is my favourite outlet to be creative. I was super excited about this contest and couldn't stop baking !
What inspired your winning Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake?
I initially made this cake a few years ago for a co-worker, but have tweaked it over the years. I always think of my sister when I make it, because she loves chocolate and hazelnut. I think it's a classic dessert combination, and I was inspired to make a cake that brought those flavors front and centre.
What do you think makes this particular recipe so special?
I think this cake is special because it incorporates hazelnut flavour into every layer of the cake, from the biscotti in the crust, the liqueur in the ganache, the hazelnut puree to the chocolate covered hazelnuts on top. I wanted a smooth texture in the cake and as I've been making my own nut butters this past year, I decided to use that concept as part of the cake.
Who were your taste testers during the contest?
My taste testers were co-workers, family and friends, people who have had many of my other cakes. I made the Cherry Blossom cake for my Dad's 76th birthday party during the contest, and I took the leftovers camping with friends the next day. I made the Rhubarb Crisp cake on my mother's mention of rhubarb and using her tried and true crisp recipe (and she loved it btw !). The other cakes had been made for other family functions, weddings and anniversaries and such.
I brought this Chocolate Hazelnut cake, the Blue Hawaiian, Irish Barm Brack and the Big Kid cakes into my workplace and wanting to do a little good with the cakes besides satisfying people's sweet tooth, I'd asked that if people enjoyed the cake, to make a donation to the Canadian Cancer Society. I am myself one year out of active treatment for breast cancer and just recently back to work, and have other family members, including my father, directly impacted by cancer. It's a cause near and dear to my heart, and I am pleased to say my workplace raised a little money for a worthy cause.
What is your funniest cheesecake story?
My funniest cheesecake story probably is the time that I thought a mouse had somehow gotten into my oven. I went to check in on my cake and as I approached the oven I heard a loud squeak. Horrified, I moved away and sure enough when I went near the oven again, "Squeak!!" I actually ran to the grocery store and purchased all new ingredients and made a new cake that night after I'd checked the oven out. I had started the second cake when I realized that the combination of my old, uneven floors in my kitchen, and a whistle tea kettle that had a little water left in it was the culprit. I felt pretty stupid!