I told him that would not be possible as I cannot carry my mixer by myself. However, my sister can move hers and I would ask her to bring it to his house the next time I was up in DE. He considered this for awhile and then decided the best thing to do would be to send me the cookbook and have me make the cheesecake for him when he next time came to Richmond.
I got the book and shortly thereafter saw the recipe he wanted. The man has a serious chocolate habit! Junior's cheesecakes are made on a spongecake base. In this case, the base was a chocolate sponge.
The creamy center is also a chocolate base - 10 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, I might add! My brother was in charge of the chocolate chopping. He is an extremely good chopper. The top of the cake is covered in what Junior's refers to as a fudge mirror and then you make a web of chocolate strips across the top. We used a combination of dark and white chocolate for the webbing. More chopping for the brother! Our web was a little thick due to imprecise cutting of the piping baggie, but nevertheless, I think it looked quite pretty.
This is one massive cake. It says to use a nine inch pan. If you do, it better be at least four inches high. My pan is three inches high and our far cake surpassed that height. Eventually it would be only three inches high, but that was due to an unfortunate incident.
Junior's gives you very precise directions to obtain a perfectly smoothed top cake. I tried to follow those instructions precisely. However, the first oddity I noticed was the sponge itself. I found it to be extremely difficult to blend the chocolate half into the egg whites. I decided not to worry about it and baked the cake. All looked fine, until as the cake cooled it began to pull away from the sides. I knew that meant the bottom of the cake would be a bear to remove from the tray, but you can't fix that midstream.
I then mixed the main batter according to the game plan. All went well, except as I was filling the cake pan, I realized there was a lot of batter. Everything else had been so precise I decided this cake would not rise as most others do. I went ahead and put all the batter into the pan. I have been baking for over 40 years, by now I should know to trust my judgement, but no, I had to listen to the damn recipe. Curses upon my anal little head and its insistence to follow a recipe exactly on the first go-round.
Sure enough as the cake baked it began to rise far above the heights of the pan's sides. I watched through the window nervously for the batter to collapse over the side and fall into the water bath. It remained stable until the time came to test the cake for doneness. I gave it the Junior's test and it appeared to be baked.
Hah! Not so much. As I tried to remove the pan from the water bath without soaking my pot holders I tipped the pan - the layer of batter that had come over the top of the pan was in fact nicely baked. Unfortunately some two inches of it below the pan's sides were still molten liquid chocolate. Slosh over the side and into the water bath - thank God for the water bath - it captured the overflow. It looked disgusting, but at least the mess was contained.
I was quite dismayed about what this was going to do to our smooth cake, but felt I had no choice but to reinsert the cake into the oven. I sent it back to Hades for I believe another 20 minutes or so. With the mess the edges were now in, I knew that removing this cake from the pan was not going to be pleasant. In fact, it was not as horrible as I feared. There was a slight crust formed around the very top edge and I had to do some creative carving to get the cake to release, but overall it came out pretty nicely. The top had a slight indentation, but nothing a little swirl of whipped cream wouldn't cover. The indentation made application of the chocolate mirror slightly difficult, but considering the cavern I expected it was not too daunting.
We let the cake chill appropriately and then we cut into it. As you can see the slices looked quite delectable. Even I, who can chow down on an excessively rich dessert with the best of them, did not want a large slice of this cake. My brother gifted me with the cookbook because as he said, you'll be the one baking them for me! So, now I have this little gem in my hands. I told him I would be happy to make additional cakes for him, but I am not making the same cake every time he comes to visit. Then again, this is the first time he's been down in years, so who knows, maybe by his next visit I will be ready to try and defy death by chocolate once again!
Obviously the next time I bake a Junior's cake I will listen to my instincts and not overfill the pan. I think I will also use my own sponge cake recipe as I found theirs to be a tad dry. I'll do theirs one more time to ensure I did not mix it improperly, but it was much more time consuming than my old stand-by from the Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook.
I also love that the Junior's cookbook has recipes for individual cakes, made in muffin tins, so I am going to try for them the next time. It will make sending home the extras so easy.