Grace under fire…

As we all know, I am not a graceful person. And yet I still for some reason think I am. I watch shows like Dancing with the Stars and think, I want to do that. Assuming somehow I will magically obtain grace and rhythm. Right before my ankle injury two years ago I was all set to take Latin dance classes at a dance studio. Bad ankle and dancing did not mix and so that never happened.
A while back my gym started offering Zumba class. It’s a Latin dance based cardio class. I thought, what the heck.
If ever there was a weekly reminder that I am a white chic with absolutely no rhythm, this is my class. But I love it so. I’m too busy being lost to realize that an hour has gone by and I have burned 700 plus calories to boot.
The class has a range of people in it, all shapes and sizes. It is fairly low impact so us fatties and the elderly can do it to…just go at your own pace. Most of us don’t really look like we know what we are doing. I mean, sure, you learn the routine and you can do the routine, but we don’t really look like dancers.
And then there is her. I stand there in my oversized t-shirt, baggy pants, ankle brace, sweaty hair matted to the side of my beet red face clumsily waving my arms usually in the opposite direction that the rest of the class is going. She, she is in some matching outfit. No hair is out of place. I’m not sure she is sweating. And she glides. Glides with such grace. When I look back at her she always gives me that half smirk, half smile and I give her a thumbs up usually…though really, I have a different finger in mind for her. She is just lucky I am too busy keeping up with the class to plot any sort of accident to happen to her. ;)
I have learned the key to looking decent in the class though. I stand next to the 60 plus year old man. My hip shaking isn’t that bad next to him. Though what is hard is to hold in my laughter when Beyonce’s Single Girls song comes on. Watching him actually put his hands up to “all the single ladies put your hands up” or attempting to swirl his hips to “if you liked it then you should have put a ring on it.” But you know what, good for him. I hope when I am his age I can still look just as ungraceful as I do now in cardio dance class.
The good news is that since it burns so many calories that I can come home and eat a HUGE piece of this Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake

Hazelnut Cookie Crust

12 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ¾  cups powdered sugar
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cornstarch
2 cups hazelnut flour

Cream the butter with the sugar until light. Add in the egg and mix well.
Mix together the flour and cornstarch. Add this to the creamed mixture and blend. Mix in the nuts thoroughly.
Form the dough into a bowl and wrap in plastic. Chill for about 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350F.
Using a 10-inch spring form pan or four 4-inch diameter mini spring form pans, press the dough down, looking for about 1/4-inch thickness. You will have leftover dough! Much. Make linzer cookies with it.
Poke holes using a fork to prevent the dough from forming bubbles. Bake for 15 minutes.
Set aside and let cool. It will not be baked all the way through.

Cheesecake Filling

2 ½ pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
2 ½  cups granulated sugar
2 TBSP all-purpose flour
1/3 cup hazelnut flour
5 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp Frangelico
¼  cup Nutella
2 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder

Cream the cheese and sugar until soft, about 3 minutes.
Add in eggs one at a time, scraping down after each addition.
Add all-purpose flour and hazelnut flour and mix well. Stir in the vanilla and Frangelico.
Take out 1/3 of the batter. Add the Nutella and unsweetened cocoa powder. Mix until fully incorporated.
Pour 1/3 of the original batter into the prepared pan with crust. Then pour the Nutella batter on top of that. Followed by the remaining 1/3 of the original batter.
Bake at 325F in a water bath for 1 ½ to 2 hours.
Remove from oven. Remove from water bath. Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Refrigerate for at least 5 hours or even better, overnight.
Glaze cheesecake if desired (if not, can be served then).  Place back in refrigerator for another hour, then serve.
Chocolate Glaze

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Place chopped chocolate in a medium bowl.
In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Remove pan from heat and add the chopped chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute then gently stir until chocolate is melted and the glaze is smooth. Gently stir in the vanilla. Transfer glaze to a small bowl and cover the surface of the glaze with plastic wrap and let cool for 5 minutes at room temperature before using.

To glaze the cake:
Place the chilled cake, still on the cake round, on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Slowly pour the hot glaze onto the center of the cake. Smooth the glaze over the top and sides, letting the excess drip onto the baking sheet.

Glaze recipe from Tish Boyle¢â¬â„¢s The Cake Book

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  1. that class sounds great, but the cake looks better ;)

  2. Sigh. There’s always a Her… (you forgot to mention she usually is in full battle make up as well, probably tattooed on because She never smears it).
    Let’s eat cake!!

  3. This looks so delicious and decadent! Totally worth the time at the gym :)

  4. Zumba is like “paying it forward” you get to burn the calories and then make them back with delicious treats! This cheesecake is heaven. Iadore hazelnuts!
    Thanks Peabody!

  5. I took that class once and was stuck next to someone just like your “friend.” She even stayed for the step class afterwards where as I had to go home and pass out on the floor. I bet she can’t bake a cheesecake to save her life though.

  6. What is most important is that you are having fun and losing calories…

    A gorgeous cheesecake! What a temptation!



  7. This cake is exactly the right reason to exercise! Gorgeous! And “her” is exactly the reason that I only exercise at home.

  8. My best friend is totally that girl. I’m glad we’re not in PE together anymore! As for that cheesecake… wow. All of that hazelnut flavor looks amazing!

  9. Hahahahah hilarious post!

    But… Chocolate? Hazelnut? and Cheesecake? My three favorite words and all together? Yikes. Looks like I need to sign up for Zumba and make this immediately.

  10. The only reason to exercise is so I can eat desserts like this. And I could never do anything but exercise machines with other people present – I prefer my Wii Fit. :P

  11. This cheesecake looks amazing! I want to make it but I don’t think they sell hazelnut flour in my town, any suggestions for a substitution?

  12. Yolanda says:

    Peabody –

    Good morning. I love you. When I read your posts I always laugh out loud. You have encouraged me to start the Zumba class that I have been putting off for six months, then I will not feel guilty when I go home and eat cake. :)

  13. I love your reasoning and that cheesecake looks great!

  14. Peabody, it is great that you are back and refreshed after your little break. I missed your posts. Your blog is one of my very favorites. I always laugh out loud at your stories, and the recipes are to die for. Thanks!!

  15. I’ve never taken a zumba class, but it sounds fun.

    The cheesecake looks delicious!

  16. I 100% agree with everything you say about Zumba. The best thing is I am concentrating so hard that though I know I look like a fool I don’t have time to contemplate it. I keep telling my instructor if they would just pass out shots of Tequila before class I could do SO much better! Need a little lubrication for my hips …lol

  17. I am laughing to myself picturing my dad at a Zumba class. OH MAN.

    (and I wont lie, I just put the beyonce song and may be jammin in my seat a little bit)

  18. Oh, I am glad you are back. My bum was missing the food.
    That looks absolutely lovely. Throw a raspberry on it and call it a healthy snack.

  19. Poppy Fields says:

    I am tempted by Zumba.
    But not as tempted as I am by that magically delicious-looking cheesecake! GodDAMN. Dare I add a little coffee into the mix? DARE I??

  20. I want to lick the screen. That looks AMAZING!

  21. I have yet to take a Zumba class that’s offered at my gym… but if I lived closer and you bribed me to go with a slice of that cheesecake, I’d be all over that class! Looks amazing!

  22. This looks so awesome! Nice photos. I’ve been wanting to try Zumba too – you may have inspired me

  23. Felice says:

    I am very sporty but dancing – forget about it. It is just me and my two left feet. I wish my gym offered more exciting classes though, instead of just two speeds. The cheesecake does look more my speed. Mmmmmmm.

  24. Your posts are always so funny…and strike a chord with me too! I’ve always wanted to dance and I enjoy doing it…even if I look a bit bonkers at it :) That older guy sounds too cute…good for him really!

  25. I haven’t tried zumba yet, but it sounds fun! This cheesecake looks AWESOME! I was trying to figure out what that wonderful looking dessert was with all the layers and had to skip down to the recipe before I even read your post. :-) Mmmmm.

  26. Looks amazing. Wish I could eat dairy sooo badly.

  27. Yay for earned calories! The cake is BEAUTiful.
    Obviously I don’t have a license to dance Single Ladies not because of my age but because of my Y chromosome :)

  28. at least you’re having fun with it. I hate exercising, walking in general, so I do weights which I like because I can sit down and do them. Bad huh? But at least lifting weights burns a ton of calories.
    I don’t even want to comment on the cheesecake because it’s looks too good and I’m starving right now. lol

  29. OMG i’m so making this! Hazelnut flour? Is it powdered hazelnut?

  30. So if I come to class with you and Zumba, can we go home together and eat this cake? That has to bee so out of sight good.

  31. super-delicious!! i have a very good mental image of that man, and it is totally cracking me up!

  32. A friend took me to a step class once, it was horrible, I was so uncoordinated and kept falling off my stepper. I’d rather just have the cheesecake…

  33. Oh god, this looks SO good. I love hazelnut anything. As for classes…I am terrible and classes. I have NO coordination. I pretty much just jump around, practically fall, risk injury. I stick to the machines I know how to use. :)

  34. I love the crust! Cheesecake is a tad too rich for me, but I would not be able to pass up a piece of this!

  35. The old guy’s smart. Where else can you watch a large group of women gettin’ hot & sweaty dancing? it’s good for his heart too! You know, I run so I can eat cake. It’s a necessary evil. Good for you for dancing for your cake!

  36. Yeah, yeah–I know working out is good for your health. But I pretty much only work out so I can have more room for things like this! Being able to eat more is my #1 motivator :)

  37. Now I’m picturing my DAD dance to Beyonce. And it’s awesome. I needed a giggle. Thanks!

    And it goes without saying that your cake looks glorious.

  38. I’m the beet red faced older person with a bad foot next to you waving my arms, by mistake, in your face, completely out of sync with the class, music, etc., but with a big smile on my face. I’ll have a piece of that cheesecake. YUM!

  39. I love your logic, and your braveness! You would look good standing next to me if I were in that class … dance anything scares me!

  40. Wow sounds fabulous!

  41. pass me a slice of that cake!

  42. I have to say, size and grace don’t necessarily always go together. I am the clumsiest person I know. Seriously. I mean, I even slipped and broke my own nose in high school – with a door for hell’s sakes! Anyway, I think the fact that you are brave enough to go in that class in the first place (plus you play hockey!!!!) are just freakin’ awesome and impressive to begin with! I don’t even have the grace and coordination for that.

    Now, please pass the cheesecake!

  43. I love Zumba and this cake looks absolutely fantastic.

  44. Whenever anyone asks me to dance I give them the look that says “I can clear a room trying to sing, can you imagine what I can do with dancing?”. Seriously. No rhythm. I can move pretty good sitting down but once I stand up? Hilarity ensues and medics are called.

    But I’d risk it for a piece of this cake….

  45. You must have rhythm, your dads a drummer!

  46. Hey, maybe you don’t look like “her” in the class, but at least you aren’t like me – I fell off the step in a step class once. Right on my butt. So embarrassing. cheesecake looks amazing!

  47. Deliciousness!

  48. That is just the ideal portion size for me as it looks so delicious and moist that anything else smaller would be too little. :) xx Rico-Recipes

  49. This looks totally decadent. I think that was my husband dancing next to you. LOL

  50. Her twin sister is in my Thursday evening Body Sculpting class. One of these nights I’m going to punt my step into her flat, tight backside with my big flabby right leg.

    And then go sit down in the locker room and eat a slice of this!

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