“After years of a busy life of building a business and serving on boards and enjoying desserts by chiefs on the road, it’s funny that I would be asked to make my favorite dessert: Black Out Cake. Life is so much fun and this really takes the cake … hmmmm. But the truth is, I have always been interested in cooking but was centered around the barbecue grill, not baking in the kitchen. Life is so interesting. And who doesn’t love chocolate cake with lots of thick layers of chocolate to drive you crazy. With most of us always on a diet, this definitely puts your diet on hold.”

Blackout Cake Pudding:
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 boxes Devils Food Cake Mix, and required
additions (eggs, water, vegetable oil)

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted,
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
4 Tablespoons butter
1 cup dry chocolate wafers or cookies

Pudding: In a large saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Stir in the half-and-half and milk. Add the chocolate and place the saucepan over medium heat, and begin stirring constantly. Keep the saucepan over heat and continue stirring until all of the chocolate has melted and all ingredients have mixed. The pudding will become much thicker. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl and place plastic wrap over the surface of the pudding. Cool for at least 4 hours.

Cakes: Prepare both boxes of cake mix according to the directions so that each box will fill two 8-inches round baking pans. Although you’ll bake 4 cake rounds, you only need 3 for this cake, so use the extra however you see fit. Allow the cakes to cool.

Icing: In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, mix the cream cheese into the confectioners’ sugar. It should form rough clumps. Place both chocolates and the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until the mixture is melted and combined. Pour the chocolate mix slowly into the stand mixer and turn it on low speed. Once the chocolate is incorporated, turn the stand mixer to high speed for 1 minute.

Assemble: Take the first cake round and center it on your serving dish or cake stand. Using a bit more than a third of the pudding, make a thick, even layer across the top. If your cake rounds are puffed in the middle, it will help to build the edge a bit higher than the center. Place the next cake round on top of the pudding layer, being sure to center it. Repeat another layer of pudding and top off with the third cake round. Use any remaining pudding to fill any gaps in the sides.

Spread a smooth layer of icing over the cake with a rubber spatula, starting on the top and moving down the sides. Apply the icing in blobs, spreading it with short strokes to achieve a final, smooth appearance with long, light strokes.

Place the wafers or cookies in a paper bag or folded-over section of parchment paper, and roll over it with a baking pin several times until they’re broken into fine crumbs. To cover the tops of the cake, simply spoon or sift the crumbs on top, then press lightly down with a dry paper towel to seat them. If you’d like to cover the sides, too, place the cake over a sink or other easy to clean area and throw small handfuls of crumbs at the side.

Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Serve straight from the refrigerator.

Men and Their Cakes

Dr. Timothy Harlan, Tulane University School of Medicine, Executive Director: Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine

“This gingerbread is a variation on one of the first recipes that I created for a restaurant in Charlotte. It was a small shop, but there was no business in spite of a great location. One of the first things I did was to start baking about 5 a.m. The warm, safe, homey aroma of gingerbread is a draw with its mix of molasses, vanilla, cinnamon and ginger. Sales rose five-fold in a week. With a recent diagnosis of Celiac Disease, I have to eat gluten-free. There are a lot of great gluten-free flours on the market that make fantastic baked goods but if you prefer the original, you can find it on my website at Dr.Gourmet.com.”

Gingerbread Cake
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon Canola oil
1/2 cup Z-Sweet or Splenda
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons molasses
3 large egg whites
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk the egg yolk until smooth. Add the Canola oil and whisk together until smooth. Add the A-Sweet or Splenda, applesauce, pumpkin and vanilla extract and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the molasses.

In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until they begin to be very frothy and white. Do not bet into stiff peaks (the egg white should about triple in volume).

Place the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and wheat germ in a sifter and sift into the mixing bowl.

Gently fold the creamed mixture together with the flour mixture. Add buttermilk and fold until smooth. As soon as the mixture is well-blended, add the frothed egg whites and fold together until smooth

Pour the batter into a lined 8-inch cake pan. Place in the preheated over and bake for 50 minutes.

Men and Their Cakes

Dr. Steve Price, Gastroenterologist at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates in New Orleans

“I have always loved cakes – mostly eating them. Growing up, my mother always tried to teach me how to bake her cake, but she gave up on me and taught my wife, Kathy, who’s an amazing cook. Once she learned the recipe I really wanted to try it. So Kathy taught me. I am always amazed not only how much work one cake can be, but if you follow directions like in chemistry class the cake comes out perfect.”

Betty Lou’s Birthday Cake
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks salted butter
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs separated
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup sour cream

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Butter 2 8-inch cake pans.

Mix flour, baking powder and salt, and set aside. Cream the butter in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy and light. Add the sugar, 1/2-cup at a time, and mix until fluffy and light. Add the egg yolks 1 one at a time and mix well between each. Add the vanilla. At low speed mix all the dry ingredients, starting with flour, then sour cream and ending with flour.

Mix well after each addition. Use a separate bowl and clean beaters, and mix the egg white to soft peaks. Then very gently blend the egg whites into the batter with a spatula. Pour the batter in the pans and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Butter Cream Frosting:
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 stick salted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pinch salt
5 Tablespoons milk

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl at medium speed until creamy.

Men and Their Cakes

Randy Fertel, Head of the Ruth U. Fertel Foundation and author of The Gorilla Man and the Empress of Steak: A New Orleans Family Memoir

“My ‘Aunt’ Clara – she was really a cousin – grew up two doors up the river from my mother’s home in Happy Jack in Plaquemines. She later lived in Home Place next door to my great uncle Martin, who was the great cook in the family and the source of Ruth’s Chris’ famous creamed spinach. Across the highway was Uncle Martin’s orange grove where we went to pick every Christmas, filling our trunk with heavy oranges and driving back to the city like a powerboat with our nose in the air. So, while the orange glaze can be skipped, including it for me makes it a Proustian experience.”

Aunt Clara Solis Purcell’s Orange-Glazed Rum Cake
1 1/2 cup butter
2 1/2 cup sifted sugar
3 cup sifted flour
7 whole eggs
1 teaspoon rum extract
1 teaspoon vanilla

Measure sugar and flour before starting (keep separate). Cream the butter and the sugar, adding sugar to creamed butter. Then add one egg at a time, beating after each addition. Then gradually add the flour, beating well after each addition. Add flavorings. Pour into an ungreased Angel Food or Bundt tube pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan when cooled. Clara writes, “I substitute 2 teaspoons of rum extract instead of 2 teaspoons rum and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Your choice.”

Orange Glaze:
1/2 cup orange juice frozen concentrate
Fresh orange zest (if desired addition)
1 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoons dark rum
1 cup confectioners sugar or 1/2 cup sugar

Heat orange juice, butter and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Add rum.

Pierce holes in cake. Saturate cake. Serve warm.

Men and Their Cakes

Lolis Eric Elie, Former Story Editor for HBO’s “Treme” and producer of the PBS documentary “Faubourg Tremé: the Untold Story of Black New Orleans.”

“It was a Christmas in the late 1970s. My friend Langston and I used to make the rounds, sampling and comparing Christmas cooking. By the time we got to Artie’s house, we were on desserts. His mother had made a pound cake with pecans and chocolate chips. That to me is the definition of heaven most apt to make sinners straighten up and fly right. The original recipe called for three cups of sugar. I reduced that and made some other adjustments for Treme: Stories and Recipes from the Heart of New Orleans.”

Pound Cake Paul Trevigne
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 large eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter an 8- or 10-inch Bundt pan.

Combine butter with sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, and beat on high until pale and fluffy, about 7 minutes. Stop the machine, scrape down the sides and add vanilla. Beat on medium for another 2 minutes.

Add eggs 1 or 2 at a time, mixing on medium until well blended after each addition. Add milk and salt, and beat briefly. Reduce speed to low and add flour, a little at a time, until just incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in half of the chocolate chips.

Sprinkle pecans into the prepared pan. Pour batter over. Evenly distribute the rest of the chocolate chips over the top. They will sink as the cake bakes.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 65 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool, then invert and unmold onto a platter.

Men and Their Cakes

Richard Borne, Owner of Spa Atlantis

“Participating in this article has been very nostalgic for me. My mother, Isma, passed away 10 years. I am the youngest of eight children. We came from a modest upbringing, but even with so many children, each of us was made to feel special. Every year for our birthday, mother would make our favorite cake. Her Red Velvet Cake was the favorite of Kenny, my brother.

His wife tried to make it for him a few times and he always told her ‘it isn’t like my mom’s’ – so this recipe has caused some strife in the marriage. A special thank you, Betty, my sister in law, who had the foresight many years ago to gather all of the family recipes and put them in one book to give as Christmas presents.”
Isma’s Red Velvet Cake
Frosting – do first to cool:
1 cup milk
1/4 cup flour
Dash salt
1/2 cup Crisco vegetable shortening
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine the milk, flour and salt in a small saucepan and cook, whisking, until it thickens. Set aside to cool.

Combine the Crisco, butter, sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl, and using an electric mixer, cream until light and fluffy. Combine the Crisco mixture with the pudding base and whisk until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate until well chilled.
1/2 cup Crisco vegetable shortening
1 stick butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ounces red food coloring
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans. Cream together the Crisco, butter, sugar and eggs. In a mixing bowl, combine the sifted flour, cocoa powder and salt and sift the mixture together into a separate mixing bowl three times.

In a separate small bowl, combine the buttermilk, vanilla and red food coloring.

Add the dry ingredients to the creamed Crisco mixture in batches, alternating with the buttermilk mixture and beating until just combined. Combine the baking soda and vinegar and gently fold into the batter.

Pour into the prepared cake pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cakes.

Men and Their Cakes

Barry Garner, Biology student at Tulane University, ROTC/National Guard cadet and cookbook production assistant for Wohl & Co.

  “There isn’t much opportunity to bake in dorms or student apartments, so at work I go all out. When I came to New Orleans from the Pacific Northwest to attend Tulane University, I arrived with enough culinary aptitude to barely feed myself. Learning to test cook for the books I work with Kit Wohl to produce showed me the way around a kitchen. The parade of chefs in and out challenged me and taught me how to put this recipe together from a couple different ones. The first time I baked this cake we vastly underestimated its richness and it took us a couple weeks to finish it off. Make sure you’ve got a crowd coming to help eat this one.”

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cake
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups peanut butter
1 cup melted butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt, optional
1 1/4 cups butter, softened
3 1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
mini peanut butter cups

Cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter and add the chopped chocolate. Stir until melted and smooth.

Empty the saucepan into an electric mixer and mix in the sugar using a whisk attachment. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking between each egg. Whisk in the vanilla, flour, salt and baking soda.

Divide the batter between three greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans. Bake for 23-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center can be cleanly removed. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pans and placing on a wire rack to finish cooling.
Filling: In an electric mixer, mix the peanut butter and melted butter with a paddle attachment. Immediately stir in the brown sugar as well.

Gradually pour in the powdered sugar while mixing constantly. Be sure no clumps form. Add the vanilla and salt, if desired, and mix until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until ready to use.
Frosting: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat the butter until fluffy. In a separate bowl, mix the confectioners’ sugar.

Gradually mix the sugar mixture into the butter, adding milk gradually at the same time. Beat until smooth and then mix in the vanilla.
Assemble: Place one of the cake layers on a serving plate. Spread half of the peanut butter filling evenly and smooth the top. Make sure the filling is thick all over; this will separate the cake layers. If the filling is too hard to spread, gently warm it over a double boiler.

Place a second cake layer on top of the filling, being careful to center it, as it will be difficult to move once placed. Repeat another layer of filling, using almost all of it, and top with the final cake layer.

Using the remaining filling, even any gaps in the edges of the filling between layers. If the cake doesn’t hold firm, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour.

Evenly spread the frosting over the top and side of the cake using a rubber spatula. Place the mini peanut butter cups on top. Cover the plate with a cake cover and refrigerate until 30 to 60 minutes prior to serving.

Men and Their Cakes

Allan Hebert, Retired Economist

 “I became interested in cooking when I moved out of state and could no longer get my mom’s cooking. My mother was a wonderful cook. My favorite dish was stuffed bell peppers. She made absolutely the best I’ve ever tasted. Even though I have her recipe, I’ve never been able to replicate it. I don’t have this problem with her Caramel Fluff Angel Cake. Growing up in sugar cane country, we incorporated brown sugar and syrup in many dishes.

But when my mother combined these tastes with whipped cream and angel food cake, I was smitten. I remember my first bite and relive that moment every time I eat it.”
Carmel Fluff Angel Cake
1 cup cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
12 large egg whites at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Frosting and filling:
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup          firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup Steen’s Cane Syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cake: Set oven rack at middle position and preheat to 350 degrees.

Add the sugar to a blender or a food processor, and process for about 1 minute until the sugar has reached a superfine consistency. Using a sifter, sift half of the sugar, the cake flour and the salt together. Reserve the other half of the sugar.

In a bowl, use a mixer with whisk to slowly whisk the egg whites and cream of tarter until the mixture is foamy. Continue mixing while slowly adding the reserved sugar. When soft peaks are forming, add vanilla and almond extracts. Continue mixing until the extracts are incorporated.

Fold the sugar-flour mixture into the egg whites in 3 to 4 small batches, using a rubber spatula until fully incorporated. Using the spatula, transfer mixture to 12 cup ungreased tube pan with a removable bottom (like an Angel Food Cake or Bunt).

Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a skewer into the middle. It is done when the skewer comes out clean and the cracks in the top of the cake are dry.

When done, invert pan onto a wine bottle or a cooling rack. When cool, remove from pan by running a knife along the interior of the pan and lift out the removable bottom. Run knife along bottom of cake and tube to release it from the removable tube.

Slice horizontally into three layers using a sharp serrated knife.
Combine whipping cream, brown sugar, syrup and vanilla. Chill for 30 minutes. Whip and spread between layers, on top and on the sides of cake. Chill in refrigerator before serving. Serves 12-16.

Men and Their Cakes

Paul Martory, Captain of the New Orleans Fire Department

“Lots of mistakes happen when we’re cooking at the engine house, because when the alarm goes off, no matter what’s happening, we’ve gotta go. That’s how the ugly cake got started.

But firemen don’t like to throw food away. So, what do you do with a cake that’s cracked and crumbly and doesn’t come out of the pan quite right? You tear it up into pieces, make some pudding and layer it all together in a bowl topped with whipped cream. It isn’t the prettiest cake around, but it can be pretty tasty. Tip: if you’re short on time, substitute the from-scratch cake and homemade pudding with a box cake mix and instant pudding.”
Ugly Cake
3 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 2/3 cups sugar
4 large eggs
*Chocolate Pudding, chilled until partially set but still pourable (recipe
3 cups heavy cream
9 Tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.

Sift the cake flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside. Combine the buttermilk with 1 1/2 teaspoons of the vanilla extract and the orange extract and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk and ending with the flour. Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan and bake until the cake is light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack and allow the cake to cool slightly. Turn the cake out of the pan onto a rack and allow to cool completely.

Cut or break the cake into 2- to 3-inch pieces. Line a large mixing bowl with plastic wrap and place about 1/4 of the cake pieces in the bottom of the bowl. Spoon about 1/3 of the pudding over the cake. Repeat with layers of cake and pudding, ending with the last quarter of the cake pieces.

Top with plastic wrap and press down to compact everything. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight before serving.

When you’re ready to serve the cake, place the heavy cream in a large, chilled mixing bowl, and beat until mixture just begins to form soft peaks.

Add the confectioners’ sugar and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla and beat until stiff peaks form. Uncover the molded “cake” and turn out onto a large serving plate or platter, peeling off the plastic from what will now be the top mound of the cake. Spread the whipped cream all over the cake and serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 hours before serving.
*Chocolate Pudding
5 cups milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon instant powdered espresso, optional
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup cornstarch, sifted
4 large egg yolks
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup coffee concentrate (such as Cool Brew) or strong brewed coffee
2 Tablespoons Kahlua
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place 4 1/2 cups of the milk, 1/2 cup of the sugar, the salt and espresso powder in a heavy, nonreactive saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.

In a mixing bowl combine the remaining 1/2-cup sugar, the cocoa and the cornstarch and whisk to combine. Add the remaining 1/2-cup of milk and whisk until smooth.

Slowly whisk some of the hot milk mixture into the bowl, then add the contents of the bowl to the hot milk mixture and whisk until completely incorporated. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a gentle boil. Continue to boil gently until the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes.

In a small bowl whisk the egg yolks. Slowly add 1 cup of the hot cocoa mixture to the egg yolks and whisk to combine. Whisk this mixture into the hot cocoa mixture in the pot and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook, whisking constantly, until the pudding thickens slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. Do not allow the mixture to boil.

Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl and place a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface. Set aside to cool.

Melt the chocolate with the butter in a small saucepan or in a double boiler, and when slightly cooled, whisk the chocolate mixture into the pudding base along with the coffee concentrate, Kahlua and vanilla.

Cover again with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator until chilled but still slightly pourable; use in the “Ugly” Cake recipe as described.

Men and Their Cakes

Dr. Patrick McSweeney, Veterinarian and owner of Animal Medical and Surgical Hospital on Causeway in Metairie

 “I am an athletic person but diet occasionally to drop 20 or so pounds. Oddly, when I diet via Atkins, I eat very little carbohydrates but interact with them daily. In other words, I bake or make candy daily but never touch any of it. My employees says, ‘You get smaller and we get larger.’ It seems like torture to others but works just fine for me. So I bake. Sometimes it’s pralines and sometimes it’s a brioche or gooey brownies from scratch. My clients also seem to appreciate my baking. They have been offered, and happily consumed, my pralines, brownies, banana nut bread, cinnamon rolls and carrot cake. Beverly, my wife, enjoys taking my baking to her prayer group at St. Dominic’s Catholic Church.”
Triple Layer Chocolate Cheese Cake
2 cups of chocolate wafer cookies crushed or 1-8 1/2 ounce box crushed cookies
3/4 cups sugar
3 8 ounce cream cheese packages
3 eggs
1 Tablespoons vanilla extract, divided
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups sour cream, divided
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup powered sugar, sifted
8 1-ounce squares semi-sweet chocolate
2 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup, plus 1 Tablespoon butter, divided

Crust: Blend 2 cups of 1 8 1/2-ounces box of crushed chocolate wafer cookie crumbs, 1/4-cup sugar and 1/2-stick plus 1 Tablespoon butter, melted. Press onto bottom and 2 inches up the sides of a 9-inch spring form pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper.

First layer: Combine 1 8-ounce package cream cheese and 1/4-cup sugar. Beat on medium speed until fluffy. Add 1 eggs and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla and beat well. Stir in 2 ounces melted semi-sweet chocolate square and 1/3-cup sour cream. Spoon over crust

Second layer: Blend 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, 1/3-cup firmly packed dark brown sugar and 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour and beat until fluffy. Add 1 egg and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla and beat well. Stir in 1/3-cup chopped pecans. Spoon over chocolate layer.

Third layer: Combine 1 8-ounce package cream cheese and 1/4-cup sugar and beat until fluffy. Add 1 egg and bet well. Stir in 1-cup sour cream and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon almond extract. Spoon over pecan layer.

Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour. Turn off oven and leave cheesecake in oven for 30 minutes. Open oven door and leave in another 30 minutes. Cool then cover and chill in refrigerator for at least 8 hours. Remove from pan. Spread with warm glaze and garnish if desired.

Glaze: Melt 6 semi-sweet Chocolate Squares and 1/4-cup butter. Remove from heat. Stir in 3/4-cup sifted powdered sugar, 2 Tablespoons water and 2 Tablespoon vanilla. Stir until smooth. Spread over cheesecake while still warm. Cook until set and garnish as desired.