The Big Reveal: Willow Bird Baking’s FINAL Challenge #5 Cheesecakes

by Julie Ruble on November 3, 2012 · 9 comments

Willow Bird Baking Challenge was a 5-week series wherein I introduced a new challenge each week. The challenges required you to get innovative in the kitchen. I was beyond impressed with the results. You all came up with creative flavor combinations, constructed gorgeous desserts (or savory treats), and tackled some things you had never tried before! These amazing ladies completed at least four out of the five challenges:

Kelly (all 5 challenges!)
Robyn of Almacucina (all 5 challenges!)
LeAndra of Love & Flour (all 5 challenges!)
Shelley of C Mom Cook (all 5 challenges!)
Ala of Wallflour Girl
Paula of Vintage Kitchen Notes
Shanna of Pineapple and Coconut
Dianna of The Kitchen Prep
Heather of Bake, Run, Live

A special thank you to Kelly, Trudy, and Erin, who joined me for Willow Bird Baking Challenge Google Hangouts to introduce each new challenge!

Challenge #5 was to innovate cheesecake in some way that symbolized your personal culinary journey, because that’s what Willow Bird Baking is all about: celebrating our life lessons and steps toward kitchen confidence. Thank you all so much for joining in the fun!


Paula

Paula Made: Raspberry Cheesecake with Chocolate Crumb Crust (see more at her blog, Vintage Kitchen Notes)

Comments:“Just as I said I’m not a cupcake baker or lover, I am a cheesecake baker and absolute lover. It really is one of my favorite things to make. Can´t have enough recipes or need-to-try new flavor combinations. So when Julie of Willow Bird Baking announced the last challenge was to innovate on cheesecake, well, it was the perfect way to say goodbye.”




Dianna

Dianna Made: Nutella Caramel Swirl Cheescake Bars (see more on her blog, The Kitchen Prep)

Comments: “The best part of these is the Nutella Caramel I adapted from a Bobby Flay recipe for Peanut Butter Caramel. It is amazing drizzled over vanilla bean gelato {or, you know, eaten directly off a spoon.}

Again, Julie, I have really enjoyed taking part in your challenges and getting to know you a little better! Your blog is among my favorites and I wish you continued success and look forward to reading about more of your adventures.”




Shanna

Shanna Made: Halloween Candy Cheesecake (see more at her blog, Pineapple and Coconut)

Comments: “This challenge really was a challenge for me. I am not really a fan of cheesecake, nor have I ever made one in my entire life. I had a few mishaps and learned from my mistakes in case I ever decide to make a cheesecake ever again, but I am proud of how my first cheesecake came out. And it keeps my kids from eating all their Halloween candy. Win-win!!”





Rhyann

Rhyann Made: Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes with White Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Chocolate Ganache (see more at her blog, Cooking College Chick)

Comments: “For the cheesecake challenge, I made mini pumpkin cheesecakes (mainly because I don’t have a spring form pan) with a gingersnap crust, topped white chocolate chip cookie dough and chocolate ganache. I’ll admit, it’s quite a combo but it’s really good. I think these mini cheesecakes are significant to me, because it shows how far I have come as a baker. When I first started my blog, I don’t think I could have come up with something like this. It makes me really excited to see what lies in my baking future!”



Bianca

Bianca Made: Pumpkin Spice Cake Cheesecake (see her blog Sweet Dreaming)

Comments: “I’m an avid follower of your blog and thought I’d join in on the last segment of your baking challenge. Here is a pumpkin spice cake cheesecake I made last week.”




Heather

Heather Made: Pumpkin Gingersnap Mini Cheesecakes (see more at her blog Bake Run Live)

Comments: “For our final challenge, I made pumpkin gingersnap mini cheesecakes. I used store-bought gingersnap cookies as the crust. No need to crush them- a whole cookie goes in the bottom of the cupcake liner! Then a simple pumpkin cheesecake batter gets spooned over each cookie. A quick bake, and you have a fun hand-held dessert that you can take to a Halloween party!”



Robyn

Robyn Made: Mini Lemon Meringue Cheesecakes (see more at her blog, Almacucina)

Comments: “Whenever I found myself closing the restaurant on a Sunday night, after the last table finally left and the money was counted and the floor was swept and the pots were washed and the trash was taken out, a slice of Lemon Cheesecake was the treat I packed up for myself (and a couple of brownies and a diet coke for Kenny) to take home. I don’t know why, but it just seemed like the right thing to do.”



LeAndra

LeAndra Made: Coffee Turtle Cheesecake (see more at her blog, Love & Flour)

Comments: “For the finale, I used your coffee cheesecake recipe and decorated it turtle-style by adding a few chopped pecans, mini chocolate chips and caramel sauce across the top. A family friend is known for her turtle cheesecakes, and since she once tried to teach me and a few friends how to cook, this seemed an appropriate representation of my culinary journey.”



Kelly

Kelly Made: Carrot Cheesecake with Pineapple Cake & Mango Mousse

Comments: “When I first started baking, I only baked chocolate cakes and the occasional fruit cake. A carrot cake was the first cake to make it into my regular rotation so I decided to do a carrot cheesecake. It’s paired with a pineapple cake and a mango mousse all wrapped in a joconde imprime. The mousse and joconde were inspired by the several hours of staring at the Daring Bakers’ pictures and daring myself to try something they did.”



Shelley C.

Shelley Made: S’mores Cheesecake (see more at her blog, C Mom Cook)

Comments: “I am not sure that this represents my full culinary journey, but it’s the flavor combination that has popped into my head first for each of the challenges. So I finally used it for the cheesecake challenge – s’mores.

It didn’t work out exactly as I’d intended. I’d envisioned it more like the ones you make, with the cheesecake layer topped with another full layer. I’d planned on making the top layer be a rich chocolate mousse with marshmallow pieces folded into it. But then my cheesecake layer came all the way to the top of the springform pan (and here I was thinking my pan was big), so I had to switch to plan B – extra ganache and toasted marshmallows!

The result was delicious. Decadently sweet and truly delicious. I’d like to try again, to see if I can make my original vision work. And I can’t wait to try lots more cheesecake varieties, thanks to you (you are truly a cheesecake queen!). Thanks so much for these awesome challenges. I have had a lot of fun with them and am really proud to have been a part of this fun month with you.”



Congratulations to all of the participants of Challenge #5 for their fantastic work!

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