A Cheesecake Inspired by The Big Apple

 

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Blueberry Raspberry Cheesecake by Megan Barnett
Story and Photos by Claudia Arredondo

Megan Barnett, freshman computer science major, enjoys riding her bike around the St. Mary’s campus.

When she’s not writing code or riding her bike, Barnett likes to make dessert.

Although she loves all kinds of desserts, brownies and cheesecake are her top two, with cheesecake taking the place for No. 1.
“Making cheesecake has always been one of my favorite things to do because in 2012, my family and I went to New York City and they had amazing cheesecake there. Now, whenever I make cheesecake I’m transported back to my adventure in the Big Apple,” Barnett says as she laughs.
“A hefty slice of cheesecake in New York was like $11, but it was worth it. Now I can make my own for less than that.”
Since Barnett enjoys both spending time with her friends and baking, she decided to combine the two and bake with her friend.
“It’s funny how this particular cheesecake was made. It happened because my friend and I really wanted to bake a cheesecake but instead of going to the store for one ingredient, we combined two recipes,” Barnett shares.
“Essentially, this cheesecake is a hybrid of two recipes we found online, so a Raspberry Blueberry Cheesecake.”
Barnett’s bubbly personality shows through her baking, she is precise with everything that she does and laughs throughout the whole process.

Barnett demonstrates the proper way to measure ingredients.

She emphasizes the importance of getting the measurements right before getting them near the bowl.

That way extra ingredients don’t accidentally make it into the mixing bowl.
“Sometimes if I have other berries I add those to the cheesecake as well. It’s great to have some extra color, it makes things pretty,” she says.

 

Blueberry Raspberry Cheesecake:

Ingredients

For the crust
• 2 ⅓ cups Graham Crackers
• ½ cup melted butter
• ¼ cup sugar

For the cheesecake:
• 4 (8oz) packages cream cheese, room temperature
• 1 16 ounce container sour cream
• 1 ½ cups sugar
• 5 large eggs
• ¼ cup all purpose flour
• ¼ cup milk
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the topping:

• ⅓ cup all-fruit blueberry spread
• 2 6 ounce baskets fresh blueberries

Directions

Make crust:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Wrap outside of 10-inch-diameter spring form pan with heavy-duty foil. Mix until all the crumbs are moistened. Press crumb mixture firmly onto bottom and 2 inches up sides of prepared pan. Bake until crust begins to brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer crust to rack and cool. Maintain oven temperature.

Make filling:
Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until will blended. Beat in flour. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating just until combined. Beat in sour cream, milk and vanilla. Pour filling into crust. Place spring form pan in large roasting pan, or bigger pan. Pour enough hot water into roasting pan to come 1 inch up sides of pan. Bake cheesecake until just set in center and top is slightly puffed and golden brown, about 1 hour. Turn off oven; keep door closed. Let cheesecake stand in oven 1 hour. Remove cheesecake from roasting pan with water. Refrigerate until cold, at least 6 hours. Cover; refrigerate overnight.

Make topping:
Run small sharp knife around sides of cake to loosen. Release pan sides. Transfer cake to platter. Stir blueberry spread in pan over low heat until melted. Remove from heat. Spoon spread over top of cake, spreading evenly. Add blueberries to decorate, then add raspberries. Additional berries may be added for more color.

Makes 10-12 servings.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies by Lauren Cook
Story and Photos by Tawny Davis

When thinking about her favorite foods, Lauren Cook, sophomore criminal justice major, wants to curb her sweet tooth with a chocolate chip cookie. Not wanting the extra sugar and aiming to make a healthier option, she decides to make oatmeal chocolate chip cookies which are dairy free, gluten free and vegan.
Her dream job is to become a professor—a desire that helped her choose this dish because she wants to create something that is sharable, but also healthy to eat.
“I actually love all types of food out there, but I love healthier options because there are just some days where I don’t want to feel like I’m eating just pure sugar,” Cook says.
“However, there are days where I just want pure chocolate.”
Cook decided on her cookies to share with her friends because St. Mary’s “homey and small vibe” makes her feel like everyone can come together and share.
“I chose this dish because they are easy to make and you can share with all your friends and family,” Cook says.
“Anyone can make them and add whatever they want to it to make it their own dish.”
Cook says that this is an easy dish to make because it is made up of a few ingredients and any topping or other ingredient of choice can be added easily.
“You can make it your own and it just involves mixing and making them into balls,” she says.
Cook’s secret is to use dark chocolate on top of regular semi-sweet chocolate because it is the healthier better option.
“The end result should be amazing because it is awarding to know that you created this dish for you and your friends,” she concludes.
Ingredients
• 1 cup of oats
• 2 bananas
• 3 tbsp of chocolate chips (or more if desired)
Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a bowl combine mashed bananas, oats and chocolate chips
3. Spoon tablespoons of mixture onto cookie sheet
4. Bake 14 minutes until edges are brown
Makes 12 cookies.

Rum Cake

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Rum Cake by Alexis Zepeda
Story and Photos by Sara Jauregui

This delicious Rum Cake manages to create a home away from home for the amazing chef, Alexis Zepeda, senior English major at St. Mary’s University. Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, Alexis manages to bring some flavors from her family’s traditional recipes to San Antonio, where she now resides for school.

As she prepares for her future career as a graphic designer, her hobbies include art-making, photography, design, and just like any other talented foodie – eating!

“My favorite thing about attending St. Mary’s is that I am able to live in San Antonio, a city full of different flavors.” Cupcakes and ice cream are some of Alexis’s favorite sweets to try around town.

As a result, she spends a lot of time experimenting with traditional recipes by adding her favorite flavors to create new modern desserts. Alexis chooses to share this recipe because it holds a special place in her heart. This delicious Rum cake is a staple in every family function and is traditionally gifted to loved ones during the holidays from her mother.

She gives some tips on how to perfect the Zepeda family’s signature Rum cake such as pouring the glaze over the cake immediately after baking. “The warmth coming from the cake allows the glaze to seep into the cake which adds much more flavor”.

Another tip is to bake the cake for less time than the instructions from the box recommends. “Instead of baking the cake for an hour, I prefer to bake the cake for 45 minutes because it keeps the bread from losing its moisture.”

Finally, she suggests placing the finished cake on a decorative plate for visual appeal. “My family and I always gift Rum cakes to loved ones during the holidays, so every time I make one it’s like a celebration is waiting to happen!”

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 1 box of yellow cake mix (~18 oz.)
  • 1 package instant vanilla pudding mix (3.5 oz.)
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup Rum
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Glaze:

  • 1 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 3/4 cup of Rum

Makes 12 servings.

Directions

Begin by preheating your oven to 325 F. Grease a bundt cake pan with cooking spray or butter. Sprinkle crushed up pecans on the bottom of the pan. Follow instructions on the box on how to prepare your yellow cake batter. Pour the batter over the pecans and smooth out. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the bread is light golden in color. For the glaze, begin by melting the butter in a saucepan. Add in water and sugar and stir until boiling. Lower the heat and stir the rum into the glaze. After letting the cake cool for a couple of minutes, and while your glaze is still warm, invert onto a serving plate and drizzle part of the glaze on top. With the help of a fork, prick the surface of the cake and continue drizzling with the rest of the glaze. Cool to room temperature and serve.

 

Cheesecake

Cheesecake by Maria Garza and David Culbreth

Videography and Production by Jacqueline M. Bracero

Maria Garza and David Culbreth are both seniors at St. Mary’s University. They are making a cheesecake and explaining how they started cooking/baking together.

Ingredients

  • 4 bars of cream cheese
  • 1 container of sour cream
  • 1 box of graham crackers
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • A pinch of cinnamon

Directions:

Crush graham crackers into a fine powder. Mix cinnamon into graham crackers. Melt butter in the microwave for 30 minutes. Pour melted butter into graham crackers. Mix crust. Pour crust mixture into spring form pan and press to form crust. With an electric mixture, begin to mix the cream cheese one at a time with sour cream. Beat eggs into cream mixture one at a time.  Add sugar into cream mixture 10. Pour cream mixture into crust. Bake in the oven at 350 degree for 1 hour. Let the cheesecake rest until cool to touch. Place cheesecake in fridge for 12 hours. Serve and enjoy.

Taste of St.MU: Rich and Delicious 14 Karat Cake

14 Karat Cake by Fernando Tapia

Videography and Production by Jose Arturo Tapia

A demonstration about how to make his famous Carrot cake. He also includes a bonus demonstration over how to make the cream cheese icing. They came out great by the way.

14 Karat Cake

  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 ½ Teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2Teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • 1 ½ Cups of Oil
  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 Cups Finely Grated Carrots
  • 1(8oz) Can crushed pineapples, drained
  • 1 Cup Coconut
  • 1 Cup Nuts, Walnuts or Pecans

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Grease 3-9 Inch Pan. In a large mixing bowl stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, sal and cinnamon. Add sugar, oil, eggs and mix well. Stir in carrots, pineapple, nut and coconut and mix well. Divide the batter evenly between prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes before inverting it onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 lb. powdered sugar

Cream together butter, cream cheese and vanilla until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy (make sure butter and cream cheese are smooth before adding powdered sugar).

Mexican Wedding Cookies

Mexican Wedding Cookies by Kimberly Salazar

Videography and Production by Samantha Salazar

Kimberly Salazar, sophomore psychology major, bakes Mexican Wedding Cookies. The dessert represents her love of baking which stems from her mother and grandmother.

Ingredients

  • ½ lb. butter or margarine, softened
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Directions

Cream butter; add sugar and mix well. Add flour, nuts and vanilla. Roll into small balls and bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 325° for 20 minutes. Roll in powdered sugar after they have cooled.

Polvorones

Polvorones by Holly Basaldu

Videography and Production by John Paul Coronado

Holly Basaldu, a Speech Communication major at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas tells her story behind her favorite Mexican pastry dish, polvorones. She describes the recipe, her origins of baking and the unspoken bridge between culture and food.

Ingredients 

  • 2 sticks (16 tablespoons of unsalted butter at room temp
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup of confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts (optional)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Beat the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until smooth. Add the granulated sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Put the confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl. Roll the dough by two teaspoonfuls between your palms into balls. Arrange the balls on a large baking sheet, spacing them 1/2 inch apart.

Bake the cookies until golden brown or for 18 minutes. Cool cookies down for 5 minutes. Toss the cookies in the powdered sugar. Transfer the sugar-coated cookies on a separate plate.