Friday, February 22, 2013

Less sinful Brownie Cheesecake

      I regularly make brownies since I discovered the awesome recipe to a fudge brownie that uses only cocoa powder and no chocolate. This time, I wanted something more than just brownies. I wanted a brownie cheesecake. It's not all that easy to get proper cheesecake here in the Netherlands. There is a cafe in Den Haag that sells American-style cheesecakes. Cheesecake is also sold in Starbucks and some cafes. But it's not like I can pick one up from a supermarket or any old neighbourhood cafe. So I get left to my own devices if I am craving cheesecake. Either that, or take a trip down to Den Haag to buy some.  It's not far...30 minutes away by tram...but still....

     Cheesecakes are not something that I bake regularly. I have made a really delicious raspberry cheesecake in the past. I have also fiddled with making low-fat quark cheesecakes, but they don't hit the spot. Since I just have to 'healthify' almost any recipe that I find, this brownie cheesecake is a lower fat version of the fudgy brownie mentioned earlier combined with an almost full-fat cheesecake layer.

     The result? Brownie cheesecake at less than 250 calories per slice! That has got to be one of the best things I have ever made! Okay, so 250 calories is still quite a bit if you're on a calorie-controlled diet. However, considering that a slice of similar cheesecake is usually more than 400 calories, you can appreciate how 250 calories isn't all that bad. Here's the money-shot:

Can you believe it's only 250 calories per slice?

     Even while being lower in fat, the brownie layer is still dense and chocolatey. The cheesecake layer is light and almost mousse-like. This is definitely a good treat even after a big dinner because it won't make you feel 'heavy' like most other cheesecakes.

Brownie Cheesecake
makes one 9-inch cake (8 slices)

For the brownie:
80g light margarine spread (such as Flora Light)
1/3 cup plus 1 TBSP cocoa powder
1/3 plus 1 TBSP caster sugar*
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/4 cup plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder

*Add 1 to 2 TBSP sugar or Splenda if you like sweeter cakes

For the cheesecake:
120g cream cheese (not low- fat)
1 large egg
1/2 pot plain low-fat yogurt (55g)
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

*Add 1 to 2 TBSP sugar or Splenda if you like sweeter cakes

1. Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease a loose-bottomed 8 or 9-inch cake pan.
2. In a bain marie, or a bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt the margarine with the sugar and cocoa powder. Stir every minute until smooth. This should take less than 5 minutes.
3. Leave to cool while preparing the cheesecake mixture.
4. For the cheesecake, gently whisk all the ingredients together until no lumps remain. You can do this by hand or use a mixer.
5. Now back to the brownie. Sift flour and baking powder together. Add the egg and vanilla extract to the butter/cocoa powder mixture and mix well. Fold in the flour.
6. Pour the brownie mixture evenly into the prepared cake pan, reserving 2 TBSP of mixture if you want to create a brownie swirl.
7. Slowly spoon the cheesecake mixture onto the brownie mixture and smooth the surface to cover as much of the brownie layer as possible.
8. Drop the remaining brownie mixture randomly on the cheesecake mixture and use a butter knife to create swirl patterns.
9. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 35 minutes, until the cheesecake is slightly puffed and not wobbly when you shake the pan.
10. Cool at room temperature then transfer to the fridge to chill.

Keeps for up to 3 days covered in the fridge.

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