Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Bride of Magazine Challenge: Chocolate-Ricotta Icebox Cake

We had people over last weekend for a BBQ and a swim.  When I say "people", that should really be synonymous with "guinea pigs to help us eat things that I won't make for just 2 people."  Luckily, my best friend from elementary school, her husband and kids and my mom are all well aware of the fact that coming to my house means trying things that are new and may not work out.
Part of the fun in trying new recipes is that you never know exactly how things are going to work out.  The pictures always look fantastic, but between home execution, differences in ingredients and weather, and general poor writing of instructions things don't always turn out as planned.  If you come to my house for a meal, more likely than not you're going to be eating something that hasn't been made here on the mountain before.  A sense of adventure can be important.
It was with this sense of adventure that I started reading the comments on Martha's website for this cake.  "A bite of banality" was one review, and there were a bunch more for how tasteless and horrible the cake was.  I took none of the suggestions for improving the cake and soldiered on.  There were going to be 5 extra people to help eat a 10 serving cake that I could check off as a part of the Magazine Challenge.  How bad could it be?
I present to you now from the July/August 2006 issue of Everyday Food, Chocolate-Ricotta Icebox Cake:

12 oz semi-sweet chocolate (I used the cheap, store house brand...I don't often buy the really good stuff)
2-15 oz containers cottage cheese (I used 14%, but you could go lower.  Again, it was the house brand on sale)
3/4 c heavy cream
1 pkg chocolate wafers (I think they're Nabisco in the US.  They're Mr. Christie here)

1.  Grease the sides of a 9" springform pan.  Line bottom with waxed paper, and make a collar for the sides of the pan, using the grease to hold in place.  Set aside.
2.  In a large bowl, melt chocolate in the microwave at 40% power, stirring every minute until smooth.
3.  Using an immersion blender, blend cottage cheese in a large bowl until smooth.  Add warm chocolate all at once and blend together.  Do not let the chocolate sit too long or it will start to thicken.
4.  In a smaller bowl, beat heavy cream to stiff peaks.  Fold into the chocolate mixture.
5.  Arrange half the wafers in the bottom of the springform pan.  Spread half the chocolate-cheese mixture over top.  Repeat wafer and cheese layers.  Cover cake with plastic wrap pressed to the surface of the cake, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving.

Adapted from Everyday Food, July/August 2006

I had some questions with this cake.  Like why the base wasn't crumbs.  But the recipe is 4 ingredients.  I probably was a little heavy-handed with the cookies, but I wanted to cover as much of the bottom as possible.  We debated whether or not the waxed paper on the bottom was necessary, and decided that it probably wasn't, but there would have been some cheese leakage.'s your call.  I would leave it on the base for serving.
Ready for the fridge!  Mine was in for 6 hours, but it was better the next day.  The longer you leave it, the more chance it has to set up and the cookies have to soften.  I was glad for the waxed paper around the edge the first night.  Getting the sides of the pan off without the paper would have been a nightmare, and I would have had cheese everywhere.
The cake itself, indicating that I could have done a better job of folding in the whipped cream.  I added the chocolate in 2 batches, and that was a mistake.  It started to firm up before the second batch and my blender was warm when I was done incorporating all the chocolate.  I read comments about "semi-set concrete", and those were true.
But tasteless?  I don't agree.  It was rich, and not very sweet but you knew it was chocolate.  We cut it in 12, and that was big enough.  Banality on a plate?  It's not highbrow dessert - it reminded me of the icebox eclair dessert you make with graham crackers, pudding and Cool Whip.  It's really a no-bake cheesecake, and with 2 containers of cottage cheese it's cheaper than a regular cheesecake.  With enough time to set up, I'd make it again.

1 comment:

  1. Love it. My mom would never experiment on guests and I do it all the time. I guess I might not if it were someone I was really worried about impressing, but none of my friends are in that category - they know me too well! ;)

    I read the title, expecting something like a chocolate mayonaisse cake, so this is not what I expected. It is tempting to try though!