Two Delicious Cakes Not Made by Me

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Pumpkin cheesecake. Photo by Keri White

Every now and then someone will bake for me. That is a happy day indeed and, as it turns out, occurred twice in the last month.

The first treat was a pumpkin cheesecake from my dear friend Leslie Kase. Kase, a nice Jewish girl from Kansas City by way of Chicago, came to Philly for love and stayed. She is a great hostess, a world traveler and, as I learned last week, a good baker.

The second came from my husband Matt, a nice Jewish boy who commandeers the kitchen when inspiration strikes with excellent results. He took it upon himself to make a “Philly Fluff Cake” which, despite the name, has nothing to do with our fair city. Its origins are said to trace back to a baker named Harry Zipes in Great Neck Long Island, New York, and the current standard bearer for the Philly Fluff is Natale’s Bakery in Summit, New Jersey.


The “Philly” in the cake’s name refers to the brand of cream cheese used in the batter rather than the City of Brotherly Love. Regardless of its origins, it is delicious and my husband’s rendition was quite good.

Leslie Kase. Photo by Keri White

Leslie’s Pumpkin Cheesecake | Dairy
Serves 8

For the pumpkin, use canned, unsweetened pumpkin or mashed fresh pumpkin that you roasted or boiled.

Crust:
1½ cups gingersnap crumbs
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup butter, melted

Filling:
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1½ cups sugar
2 eggs
¾ cup cooked pumpkin
¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg

Fresh whipped cream for serving, if desired

Heat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Make the crust: Melt the butter in a 10-inch glass pie plate in the microwave. Add the crumbs and sugar; mix and press them into the bottom and up the sides of the plate.
Bake for 10 minutes; let it cool while you make the filling.

Make the filling: Beat the cream cheese, sugar and eggs until smooth. Add the pumpkin, then stir in the flour and the spices. Mix well. Pour the mixture into the pie shell and bake for 50-60 minutes until the filling is set in the middle.

Cool and serve it topped with fresh whipped cream, if desired.

Philly fluff cake. Photo by Keri White

Matt’s Philly Fluff Cake | Dairy
Serves 12

One interesting twist was the pan used; traditional Philly Fluffs use a flat-topped tube pan, but we didn’t have one, so my husband used a Bundt pan with ridges. He greased it thoroughly, and this resulted in a crispy, almost caramelized crust that, while nontraditional, was pretty darn terrific.

½ cup vegetable shortening
2 cups flour
2¼ cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons salt
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
6 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
For topping: ¼ cup powdered sugar

Whipped cream to serve, if desired

Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a pan — if using a ridge Bundt, be sure to grease every nook and cranny thoroughly.

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl; set it aside.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and shortening until fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until blended. When the flour is incorporated, beat it for another 2 minutes until the batter has a paste-like texture.

Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla, and continue beating for another minute until the batter is completely blended. Pour it into the prepared pan and bake for about 55 minutes until the edges are golden and a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool the cake, remove it from the pan and, using a sifter or a wire sieve, sprinkle powdered sugar on top of the cake.

 

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