Last week, I made two Piecakens as donation for a school Christmas concert. So I gave one of my recipes a festive spin, and made changes to another one to see if I could improve.
The first was the chocolate-raspberry piecaken (click here for the recipe), which is the same recipe that went viral a few weeks back. And no, that is not a chocolate cherry piecaken, as some people have thought - it's a raspberry pie in that chocolate cake! Although chocolate and cherry are a great combination, I find that larger groups tend to prefer raspberry and dark chocolate because the taste of cherry can turn many people off. So a Raspberry-Chocolate Piecaken, I made, but with one change - I made a crumble-top raspberry pie. It became festive with the addition of a chocolaty Christmas tree and some icing to represent snow. A few shiny truffles and Christmasy chocolates topped it off.
Scroll down to find out how to make a chocolaty Christmas tree!
The second cake was my Apple-Crumble-Top Piecaken recipe - which is an apple pie inside a cheesecake. This time I made an more traditional apple pie that was fully encased in a pie crust. And I did not bake the crumble top onto the cheesecake. Instead, I baked the cheesecake (with pie inside, of course!), then let it cool and pour Dulce de Leche caramel sauce on the top. I then sprinkled an abundance of cookie crumble on top, that I pre-toasted (and cooled!) in the oven separately. I felt this would make the cake easier to cut. It also made it easier to include caramel sauce. After all, who doesn't love apple pie with caramel sauce??
Here is my recipe for cookie crumble topping...
Cookie Crumble Topping Recipe:
1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup butter, melted for 55 seconds in the microwave
1/4 cup granulated sugar (or brown sugar, but I like chunky organic cane sugar for this)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Mix together in a small-to-medium-sized bowl. Using your hands, squish together to make larger chunks or balls (about 1" or less in size). Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, checking them at 10 minutes to be sure they don't burn and simply, toast and brown a little to harden them a bit. Let cool fully, then sprinkle over your cheesecake.
How to Make a Simple Chocolate Christmas Tree:
You can make Christmas trees out of chocolate with no real tools but a Ziplock bag. Simply place melted, tempered chocolate in a Ziplock bag, cut one tiny corner off and squirt the chocolate onto a piece of waxed paper in swooshing motion to make a tree. If you don't like the look of your tree, you can use a gloved finger to make more swooshing motions to better shape the tree until you get the shape you want (provided the chocolate is still wet and hasn't set). Make sure you make a tree 'trunk' so you can stick it into the cake. Let the chocolate tree set in the fridge on the waxed paper for 15 minutes, then tuck it into the top of the cake. Use white icing to decorate around the base of the tree for 'snow'. You can even decorate the tree with candies or candy cane pieces to make it more festive.