It’s Justin’s 50th birthday today so, of course, I had to make him a birthday cake.
I made a peanut butter baked cheesecake – seeing as cheesecake is his favourite kind of cake, and he’s quite partial to peanut butter too.
I also wanted to try out a tip that I found on the internet this week. Apparently, instead of using a Wilton Bake Even Strip (which helps keep your cake level and prevent a cracked top), you can wrap the sides of the tin with a wet cloth or tea towel.
It worked pretty well, there was a slight bulge to one side of the top which I put down to the overlap of the cloth. Next time I’ll use a cloth cut down to fit the circumference exactly. So long as the cloth is very wet, it won’t burn in the oven. Elasticated cloth, or nylon/polyester fabric probably wouldn’t work very well in the heat of an oven; stick with cotton or linen.
The plain chocolate digestive biscuits gave just that bit of extra depth of flavour over plain digestives, and baking the base for 10 minutes gave it a ‘biscuity’ taste and texture.
I used mascarpone, but you can use Philadelphia or any other plain, full-fat cream cheese.
The results were delicious – a rich, indulgent treat.
There’s only one slice left – that must mean that the birthday boy approves!
- 150g/5oz plain chocolate digestive biscuits
- 30g/1oz butter, melted
- 250g/9oz mascarpone cheese
- 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
- 100g/3½oz caster sugar
- 150g/3oz crunchy peanut butter
- 60ml/2fl oz soured cream
- ½tbsp cornflour
- 125g/4½oz soured cream
- 50g/2oz dark chocolate
- 15g/½oz caster sugar
- 3tbsp mixed chopped toasted nuts (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/325°F/as mark 3
- Grease & line and 22cm diameter spring form tin
- Using a food processor, grind the plain chocolate digestives into fine crumbs
- Add in the melted butter and combine well
- Tip the mixture into the prepared tin pressing down firmly & evenly using a cold metal spoon to form a level base
- Put the base into the oven for 10 minutes, when cool put it into the fridge to set
- After washing out the processor bowl, use it to combine the mascarpone, eggs, yolk, sugar, peanut butter, soured cream and cornflour to a smooth consistency
- Pour the mixture into the over the base and bake for 30-40 minutes until just set
- Allow to cool for half an hour on a wire rack before putting the tin into the fridge to chill
- In a small saucepan, gently warm the soured cream, chocolate and sugar stirring to form a smooth sauce
- Pour the mixture on top of the cold cheesecake and allow it to set in the fridge
- When cooled & set, run a sharp knife around the edge of the tin before easing the cake carefully
- Finish with a sprinkling of mixed chopped toasted nuts (optional)
Right, it’s official, cheesecake is H is for Home’s favourite cake!
It’s by far, the most baked Cakes & Bakes entry.
This week, lemon & blueberry cheesecake joins the ranks.
I’ve used Hobnobs instead of the usual digestive biscuits for the base. Frozen blueberries are available in the supermarket all year round and at a fraction of the price of fresh.
Home-made cheesecake isn’t difficult. The secret is cooking it long & low. Wrapping the tin with foil and placing it in a water bath (bain-marie) makes sure it cooks properly all the way through without burning. You want the slightest browning of the top.
It feels like a very indulgent cake… but I know the blueberries count as one of your 5-a-day. It leaves just one question, do the lemons make it two?
If you’d like to save this recipe, you can pin it from here.
- 200g/7oz Hobnobs
- 75g/3oz butter, melted
- 500g/17½oz cream cheese
- 350g/12oz blueberries (fresh or frozen)
- 3 lemons, zest & juice
- 200g/7oz caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 150ml/5fl oz sour cream
- Preheat the oven to 150ºC/300ºF/Gas mark 2
- Grease the sides of a 20cm/8-inch spring-form cake tin
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter
- In a food processor, add the Hobnobs and grind to a fine crumb
- Add the ground biscuits to the butter and combine
- Empty the mixture into the base of the tin and smooth the surface evenly using the back of a tablespoon
- Bake the base for about 15 minutes then set aside to cool while you make the cake mixture
- Zest & juice the lemons. Set aside
- In the food processor you used to crumb the biscuit, add half the blueberries and lemon juice and purée
- In a stand mixer (or large mixing bowl if doing it by hand) add the cream cheese, sour cream and sugar and mix thoroughly
- Gently whisk the eggs in a measuring jug before adding them to the cheese mixture in 3 stages, mixing well after each addition
- Add the puréed blueberry & lemon juice mixture followed by the lemon zest, making sure it's well incorporated
- Boil a kettleful of water
- Before pouring the cheesecake mixture into the tin, wrap the tin in foil to make it water tight
- Put the tin into an oven tray (at least 5cm/1-inch deep)
- Pour the cheesecake mixture into the tin and put the oven tray & cake into the preheated oven
- Fill the oven tray to about ½cm/¼-inch below the rim with the boiled water
- Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes
- When cooked, turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven, with the door ajar
- When completely cool, top with the other half of the blueberries and put in the fridge
Lidl had a ‘Taste of Italy‘ special this week so I stocked up on a few Mediterranean bits & bobs when I popped in. I bought a couple of tubs of ricotta, not quite knowing what I was going to do with them. Of course… Italian Cheesecake!
I fancied making it with a crunchy base using amaretti biscuits but I couldn’t find any in the shops. No need to panic, I improvised and made my own almond crumb base.
It’s best served cold, straight from the fridge, perhaps with an after-dinner espresso.
Fancy giving it a try? Pin the recipe for later!
- 40g/1½oz butter
- 150g/5oz ground almonds
- 30g/1oz caster sugar
- pinch of salt
- 500g/1lb 2oz ricotta cheese
- 150g/5oz caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- juice from ½ lemon
- 25g/1oz plain flour
- 15g/½oz flaked almonds, toasted (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 150ºC/300ºF
- Grease an 18cm/7-inch loose-bottomed cake tin
- In a medium saucepan, add the butter and put over a low heat until melted
- Remove from the heat add the almonds and sugar and combine well
- Tip the mix out into the cake tin and press uniformly into the base using the back of a spoon
- Bake the base for 10 minutes, set aside and allow to cool
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the ricotta and caster sugar until smooth
- Gently beat the eggs in a measuring jug before adding gradually to the cheese & sugar mix. Stir well after each addition
- Mix in the vanilla extract and then the lemon juice
- Sift the flour into the mix and combine well
- Pour the mixture on to the almond crumb base and bake for a hour
- After the hour, turn the oven off and leave the door ajar allowing the cake to cool in the oven
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle the toasted flaked almonds over the top
- Allow to cool in the tin completely before removing
Our favourite dessert to make for a dinner party is a freshly-baked, light & airy vanilla cheesecake. The recipe we posted, one of Gordon Ramsay‘s, is by far the most popular of our Cakes & Bakes series.
This week, I suggested to Justin that I’d make a baked banana cheesecake for a change. Being a traditionalist, he wasn’t as enthusiastic about the idea as I was. I went ahead and made it anyway – I thought that if it was put in front of him, he’d eat it anyway. And so he did!
The secret to a light & airy banana cheesecake is to whisk the mixture to within an inch of its life. Using an electric food mixer makes the job a lot less laborious. However, doing it by hand with a balloon whisk will burn off a lot more calories and tone up the bingo wings! 🙂
We’ve blogged about cheesecake before – in fact, it’s one of our most visited posts – there are a lot of cheesecake fans out there!
So we’re looking forward to sharing a load more varieties in this post.
Each double page spread presents you with a delicious cheesecake recipe on one side with beautifully styled and photographed image on the other.
The range of recipes in the book (there are 60 in all) spans mini-cakes, cake pops, baked cheesecake, no-bake cheesecakes, even cheesecakes with jelly on top!
They’re divided up into chapters such as fruity cheesecakes, candy bar cheesecakes, party cheesecakes and around the world cheesecakes.
There’s also a useful introduction that includes types of cheese you can use, troubleshooting (I’ve been asked in the past about how to stop cracks appearing – it’s covered here) and information about storing & freezing.
No great amount of equipment is needed for most of the recipes – usually just a 23cm/9-inch spring form cake tin. A few of them call for perhaps a silicone mat, piping bag & nozzle, push pops, chef’s rings, sugar thermometer or blow torch.
Anyway, back to Justin’s birthday – cheesecake is his favourite kind of cake so I told him to choose a recipe from the book and I’d make it for his birthday. He decided on the chocolate ginger option.
I felt a bit of pressure as I knew we’d be photographing the finished product as part of this post. I dreaded it ending up as one of these “Nailed it!” Pinterest pins! Fortunately it turned out well – we’ve just had a slice each with coffee.
[Many thanks to Ryland Peters & Small for this review copy]
I’ve been making this version of baked vanilla cheesecake since way back in 2004! It’s a Gordon Ramsay recipe that I tore out of a weekend newspaper magazine supplement. Luckily the page has been protected inside a plastic punched pocket (that’s the proper word for one of those things apparently!) otherwise it would have disintegrated by now from all the use it’s seen.
It’s a dessert that I go back to again & again. It’s really easy to make and is simply delicious – especially after it’s had a few hours to cool down. The consistency is light and melt-in-the-mouth; so much better than those recipes that use gelatine – which I don’t eat as I’m vegetarian.
It’s great served with a ginger or summer fruit compote. We had some with a lovely blueberry compote made from frozen blueberries (much cheaper than the fresh ones and you can get them year-round). Of all the Cakes & Bakes I’ve made over the years, this has long been Justin’s favourite!
- 100g unsalted butter, plus a little to greases the tin
- 200g digestive biscuits (I sometimes use ginger nuts with about half the above quantity of butter)
- 50g caster sugar (Again, I use half this amount if using ginger nuts)
- 500g cream cheese (I've used both Philadelphia and mascarpone successfully) at room temperature
- 200g caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- 300ml soured cream
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- Lightly grease a 20cm spring-form cake tin
- Melt the butter gently in a small pan on a low heat. Roughly break up the biscuits and and place them in a food processor. Process the biscuits for 2-3 minutes until they resemble fine crumbs. Add the sugar, then pour in the melted butter and process for 30 seconds to combine
- Put the biscuit mixture into the base of the tin, using the back of a tablespoon to smooth the surface evenly. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes
- Rinse out the processor bowl. Place the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl and process for 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the cornflour, sour cream and vanilla essence and process for 30 seconds to combine
- Pour the filling into the tin and bake in a low oven at 150°C for 1 hour. When cooked, the cheesecake should be well-risen, with a golden brown top. It should feel slightly firm to the touch - if the mixture still appears wet, continue to bake a little longer. When cooked, turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven, with the door ajar. When completely cool, place in the fridge. Serve with summer berries and pouring cream
- Cooking the cheesecake in a bain marie or using a Wilton Bake-Even Strip stops the top from cracking
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