Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies

In college, my roommates once bought a bag of those plastic spider rings that are everywhere around Halloween. They then proceeded to cut the fake spiders off of the rings and place them all over my room so that I would find them when I least expected it.

Have I mentioned that spiders terrify me?

Have I mentioned the fear-rage I had for the months after that prank when I would unexpectedly find a fake spider in my sock drawer or behind my toothpaste?

They tried to reason with me, saying they were helping me get over my fear. While I know that was complete bullshit, I am now substantially less fearful of spiders (within certain size-constraints.)

So here is a cake that looks like a spider web.

This is a creamy pumpkin spiced cheesecake on top of a chewy brownie. This situation is just plain lovely.

You could definitely use a knife to swirl the two batters together, creating a more marbled effect. But I like clear-cut lines and festive patterns, so I minimally swirled.

You could also find some sort of gummy/chocolate spider at the store and strategically place it on the finished brownie-cake. I personally avoid fake spiders for obvious reasons, so I abstained.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies
makes 1- 8" or 9" round pan

Brownie Layer:
3/4 c butter, melted
1 c sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 c AP flour
1.2 c cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cheesecake Layer:
8 oz (1 standard package) cream cheese, soft
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 c sugar
2 Tablespoons AP flour
2/3 c pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon each ginger, cloves and nutmeg
- - -
1. Make your brownie layer: sift together cocoa, flour, salt and cinnamon; mix together melted butter, sugar, vanilla and eggs; fold wet & dry ingredients together until just combined; reserve 1/4 c of brownie batter and spread the rest evenly into a lightly greased cake pan
2. Make your cheesecake layer: in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix cream cheese until smooth; add sugar and combine; add puree and spices and mix until evenly distributed; add egg and mix on low until just incorporated; spread cheesecake evenly over brownie batter in pan
3. Transfer reserved brownie batter to a piping bag (use small tip <size 12> or if using a disposable bag cut to create a small opening in the bag); pipe batter onto the surface of the cheesecake layer in concentric circles
4. Using a knife, chopstick or skewer, start in the center of the innermost circle and drag through the batter in a straight line outward toward the edge of the pan; repeat this step to create a spiderweb pattern
5. Bake at 325 for 35-40 minutes; cool completely before slicing and serving

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