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Oprah Winfrey's Chocolate Tofu CakeCompiled by Vicki McClure Davidson
Oprah Winfrey is an American television presenter, media mogul, and philanthropist. Her popular, internationally-syndicated talk show, "The Oprah Winfrey Show," has earned her numerous Emmy Awards and is the highest-rated talk show in the history of television.
Born into poverty to a teen mother in Kosciusko, Mississippi in 1954, Winfrey overcame many childhood adversities and traumas, including being raped when she was 9 years old and becoming pregnant at age 14. Her son died in infancy. At age 17, Winfrey won the Miss Black Tennessee beauty pageant. Winning an oratory contest, she received a full scholarship to Tennessee State University, a historically black institution, where she studied communication. Her first job in the entertainment industry was with a local radio station while she was still in high school. After college graduation, Winfrey struggled to get a toehold in the television industry until she was offered in 1981 a Chicago talk show job titled "A.M. Chicago." A few years later, with growing viewership, she changed the name of the show to "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and soon, her talk show was airing nationally.
Her show initially targeted just woman, but Winfrey expanded beyond typical talk shows and her intriguing, controversial topics attracted a wider demographic. Her warm, down-to-earth demeanor endeared her to millions of viewers.
Over the years, she has been involved in many charitable causes. Oprah invested $40 million and much of her time establishing the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls near Johannesburg in South Africa. The school opened in January 2007.
She has been ranked the richest African American of the 20th century, the most philanthropic African American of all time, and was once the world's only black billionaire. Oprah is also, according to some people, the most influential woman in America, possibly the world.
She's also an influential book critic, an Oscar-nominated actress, and a magazine publisher. She has co-authored several books.
Oprah Winfrey's struggles with weight gain are legendary.
Working with her personal cook Rosie Daley, Oprah's favorite recipes have magically been transformed to be lighter and lower in fat, while still tasting good, to help the talk show host keep her weight down.
Daley's 1995 cookbook In the Kitchen with Rosie, Oprah's Favorite Recipes, includes 50 of the talk show host's favorite soups, main dishes, and desserts, including this one for Chocolate Tofu Cake.
Daley explains her techniques for this low-fat cheese cake that Winfrey enjoys:
"My version of chocolate cheesecake provides all of the treat with none of the guilt. I've replaced the typical bulk ration of cream cheese with tofu, using just enough light cream cheese and ricotta cheese to flavor and add texture. Unsweetened cocoa powder replaces baking chocolate, while honey sweetens the mix instead of sugar. A thin white topping contrasts dramatically with the deep chocolate hue of the cake.
"For a striking finish, decorate the top with a chocolate sauce design."
Oprah Winfrey's Chocolate Tofu Cake
- Light vegetable oil cooking spray
- 8 ounces firm tofu
- 1/4 cup part skim milk ricotta cheese
- 4 ounces light cream cheese
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 3 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 T. ground cinnamon
- 3 T. light Irish cream liqueur
- 1 T. coffee liqueur
For the topping:
- 1/2 cup nonfat sour cream or plain nonfat yogurt
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1 T. honey
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Coat a 10-inch glass pie plate with 3 sprays of the vegetable oil.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the tofu, ricotta cheese, cream cheese, maple syrup, cocoa powder, egg whites, cinnamon, and the liqueurs. Purée until smooth and pour into the prepared pie plate.
Place the pie plate on the center rack of the oven. On the bottom rack, place a baking pan filled halfway with water. Bake for 1 hour.
While the cake is baking, combine all the topping ingredients in a small bowl and whisk thoroughly.
When the cake has cooked for an hour, remove it from the oven, spread the topping on evenly, decorate if you wish, and return it to the oven. Bake for about 10 minutes more, until the topping sets.
Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.
Makes 12 pieces.
About using yogurt in her reduced-fat cooking, Daley says in her cookbook, "Several of my recipes call for plain nonfat yogurt. It adds moisture to baked goods and is a good substitute for mayonnaise in salads and dressings."
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Daley, Rosie, In the Kitchen with Rosie, Oprah's Favorite Recipes, Alfred A. Knopf, NY, NY, 1995.
Internet Movie Database, Oprah Winfrey (imdb.com).
Wikipedia, Oprah Winfrey (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oprah_winfrey).