I was provided with a copy of Secret-Layer Cakes cookbook for review and one to giveaway. All opinions are honest and 100% my own.
This layered cheesecake is a showstopping dessert. Chocolate and peanut butter come together in layer after layer. The only thing more impressive than how it looks is how it tastes.
Sometimes special occasions call for extra special treats! You know, the kind where you bring it to the table and everyone oohs and ahs. Then you cut a slice and it reveals an even more spectacular inside than was anticipated and everyone is amazed. There is something so special about serving a dessert like that.
I have been familiar with Dini Kodippili’s work on The Flavor Bender for quite some time. Her creations are always spectacular, so when I heard she was making a cookbook I expected no less. But the creations she made for this book surpassed even my wildest expectations.
Secret-Layer Cakes is just what the name implies. Each cake is a layered extravaganza. While the initial presentation is enough to wow them, there is something even better waiting inside. Maybe it’s a neopolitan cheesecake with a vanilla cheesecake sandwiched between a brownie base and creamy strawberry topping with a healthy layer of ganache on top.
Maybe a fudgy pistachio baklava cake is more your style, or a basil berry eton mess cake. Perhaps you’d prefer a cinnamon dulce de leche torta or a mile high chocolate peanut dacquoise cake. There are chapters devoted to cheesecakes, dessert mash-ups, no-bake cakes and ice cream cakes. Each of the pictures is as mouthwatering as the next.
My to make list is a mile long already and I’ve just had the book for a couple of days. Now here’s the thing. These cakes are not take a cake mix and a tub of frosting kind of cakes. They are all multiple layers of homemade goodness. So they will take a bit of effort, but they are worth the steps.
The recipes are easy to read and follow, even if there are quite a few steps. That should not be a deterrent at all. Again, these beautiful desserts are totally worth the effort. But it will behoove you to read through the recipe a time or two before you start. That way you have a clear understanding of what all you will need to do and how much time each layer will take. In the case of this cheesecake, the cheesecake layer needs to cool for quite a few hours before you move on to the topping and ganache. So it is best to start the day before you need to serve the dessert.
You will also want a kitchen scale. Weighing ingredients is actually the surest way to duplicate the recipe anyway. That way difference in scooping style or measuring equipment doesn’t lead to a difference in final product. These recipes are all written in grams and ounces which may be a surprise if you are used to standard American style cookbooks. But I do encourage you to see that as a plus!
Now let me tell you about this cheesecake in particular. If you are familiar with my blog, Cooking With Carlee, you will know that my extended family has dinner together almost every Saturday night. I am almost always the dessert committee. That way I have help eating the desserts I make and a built in tasting panel who is more than happy to be honest with me.
So I gave one of my brothers the choice of recipes to make out of this book after it arrived. I am terrible at decisions, so it was nice to have help! He picked this Buckeye Brownie Cheesecake and I can’t say I was surprised. My husband has a reputation for loving chocolate and peanut butter together, it is one of his few dessert weaknesses. So he was of course happy with the choice. I won’t lie, I was too!
So I went to work. My smallest springform pan is a 9″ rather than the 8″ that was suggested in the recipe. So my cheesecake doesn’t stand as proud as Dini’s, but it did probably make it a bit easier to cut reasonable sized pieces. This cheesecake is not an toothachingly sweet dessert, but is definitely a rich one. That is definitely not a bad thing, just something to keep in mind when deciding how large to cut the slices.
The bottom layer is a rich brownie base with plenty of peanut butter cups stirred in. On top of that goes a deliciously creamy peanut butter cheesecake layer. After that is all cooled, it is spread with a layer of what is essentially the filling of buckeyes. Then to top it all off, it is wrapped in a fudgy ganache. If you think that isn’t enough, you can garnish it with more peanut butter cups. Of course I had to do that too!
Just as promised, this cheesecake had presence. Just placing it on the table made my family’s eyes widen a bit. They knew it was going to be good and everyone restrained themselves a bit at dinner to save room for what was sure to be a great dessert. What they didn’t know is each slice had so many layers of goodness.
The served slices are even more impressive than the whole cake. My sister who is a sucker for buckeyes took a bite and mmmmmmed in goodness. The second bite resulted in a thumbs up and the declaration that this dessert is “top notch.” Everyone else agreed.
Next time you need a super special dessert, this is the thing for you! Don’t let the number of steps deter you. While there are quite a few things to do in total, each layer really is straight forward to make and assembly is easy. You don’t need any extraordinary skills or equipment to make this showstopper. Please give it a try and let me know what you think.
If you are interested in a copy of the book for yourself, we will be giving a copy away. Just enter below for the chance to win. If you aren’t the lucky one who gets a book, they are available for purchase as well. Prepare to be inspired!
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