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. This looks SO amazing. It’s been ages since I had a good cheesecake, thanks for reminding me to put this on my list of things to eat!

  2. I’d love to take dance classes – and I have 2 left feet. What a gorgeous cheesecake.

  3. As I was reading this post, I was honestly thinking to myself, “Well, if there’s any dance class for me, that one’s it. I wonder if they offer it in Paris?”

    Then I got to the cheesecake and remembered that I am probably even less graceful than you say you are, and I might as well just stick with what I know I can do and make cheesecake.

    Thanks for helping me get my priorities in order!

  4. Oh Peabody, you teased me, with your quick posting one week later. You really are taking a break. I will try to hold myself together, by baking my way through your archives. I wish you well, and hope for your speedy return. You know one way for you to get your inspiration back, is to buy a lot of box cake mixes and prepared icing. That will snap you right out of it in no time.

  5. Beautiful cake!! And hey, you just get in that class and shake it, baby – don’t worry about anyone else :)

  6. Mmm, this cheesecake is totally indulgence-worthy :) It looks fabulous, Peabody. I love those types of classes at the gym. I’m always off a beat, but I have so much fun doing it!! Screw that girl who smirks. One day she’ll trip over her own feet and who will be laughing then? (You and me :) ) Sorry I’ve been away from blogging/commenting for so long. I just finished up with my exams and am finally getting around to my google reader :) Everything looks delicious!

  7. Good heavens that looks amazing, I think I just gained 5lbs by reading this!

  8. Of course that cheesecake looks gorgeous and delicious, but I really loved your gym story. I’ve been wanting to take a zumba class for years. All the classes at my gym are at crummy times, so I never get to go.

  9. That cheesecake looks so good!

  10. Mandy F says:

    This post is awesome! I am actually a Zumba instructor, and fellow baker. I actually also use Byonce’s “Single Ladies” in my class! I’m so glad you found Zumba and love it! I love it too, although I assure you that I am not a “her.” I’m sweating right a long with my class! Thank you so much for sharing your love of Zumba… and this delicious cheesecake recipe!

  11. I’ve made two Nutella cakes recently. One cheesecake two days ago. And cheesecake brownies last weekend. All this somehow tells me that Nutella cheesecake would be next on the list :P

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