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
I consider myself something of a greedy chocoholic (who edges the cake knife round a few millimetres when no ones looking to get a bigger piece). But faced with this triple chocolate cheesecake, a small slice was sufficient… even for greedy old me!
It is is the richest, most decadent chocolate fantasy I’ve ever made or eaten. A quick tally of all the ingredients brings it in over 2 kilos!
There’s a base made from crushed Oreo cookies…
…a thick, intense dark chocolate middle layer…
…and a sweet, white chocolate ganache topping (with dark chocolate flakes to decorate of course!).
It was a real winner with everyone who tried it… and there’s now a note in my recipe file for ‘must make again!’.
- 2 x 154g packets Oreo cookies
- 60g/2oz unsalted butter
- 3 x 280g tubs cream cheese (at room temperature)
- 165g/6oz icing sugar
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder
- 4 eggs
- 300g/10oz dark chocolate
- 180ml/6 fl oz double cream
- 175g/6oz white chocolate
- Extra dark chocolate for garnishing
- Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4
- Put the Oreo cookies into a food processor and pulse until they have turned to fine crumbs
- Put the butter into a microwave for 10-15 seconds to soften
- Combine the butter with the Oreo cookie crumbs and spoon the mixture into the base of a 28cm/11inch spring-form cake tin pressing it firmly & evenly with the back of the spoon
- Bake for 10 minutes then set aside to cool
- Break the dark chocolate into pieces, putting them into a glass or pottery bowl
- Put the bowl into a saucepan of water (just enough so that the bottom of the bowl doesn't come into contact with the water) and heat on a low flame until the chocolate has melted
- While waiting for the chocolate to melt, put the cream cheese, icing sugar and cocoa powder into a mixing bowl and combine well
- Break the eggs into a measuring jug, whisk lightly until just combined before adding little by little into the cheese/sugar/cocoa mixture, stirring after each addition
- Add the melted dark chocolate to the mixture and combine well
- Pour the mixture on to the biscuit base and bake in the oven for 60 minutes
- Switch off the oven, leave the oven door slightly ajar and allow the cake to cool for half an hour
- Put the cake on a wire rack until it has cooled completely
- Break the white chocolate into pieces, putting them into a glass or pottery bowl with the double cream
- Put the bowl into a saucepan of water (just enough so that the bottom of the bowl doesn't come into contact with the water) and heat on a low flame
- When the chocolate has begun to melt, stir the mixture well and allow to cool until it has thickened but still pourable
- Pour evenly over the top of the cake allowing some to drip down the edge
- Serve at room temperature or refrigerated
- Keep refrigerated and consume within 3 days
Last week we shared a Taiwanese bread recipe; this week we’re staying in that general geographical area with this Japanese cheesecake.
This cake is also known as a soufflé cheesecake – it gets this airy texture from the separated eggs.
A stiff meringue is made from the whipped egg whites and sugar, and is then folded into the mixture at the end.
To finish the cheesecake, the recipe calls for an apricot glaze. We have all manner of home made jams & jellies in the cupboard, so I decided to make a plain version of the cake – then experiment with the different flavours of jam for each slice.
Apricot might indeed be perfect, but you never know…
…it could be blackcurrant, wild raspberry, strawberry, gooseberry or quince!
- 400g/14oz cream cheese
- 60g/2oz caster sugar
- 60g/2oz butter, cubed
- 6 egg yolks
- 200ml double cream
- 10 ml/2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp dark rum
- 80g/3oz plain flour
- 3 tbsp apricot jam + 1tsp water (to glaze)
- 6 egg whites, refrigerated
- 100g/3½ granulated sugar
- Before you start, bring all your ingredients to room temperature
- Separate the eggs, putting the whites into the fridge
- Grease & line the bottom and side of a 25cm/10inch diameter spring form cake tin with parchment paper
- Cover the base & up the side of the tin with tin foil, making it water-tight
- Place the tin in an oven proof dish large enough that it can sit flat & level
- Preheat the oven to 160ºC/320ºF/gas mark 3
- Put the cream cheese and caster sugar into the bowl of an electric food mixer
- Using the K-beater attachment, mix on a medium speed for about a minute until there are no lumps
- Add the softened butter and mix, again on a medium speed, until there are no lumps
- Add the egg yolks a little at a time before adding all the double cream. Combine
- Add the lemon juice and rum. Combine
- Sift the flour before adding to the mixture. Combine
- Put the mixture into a large bowl, before thoroughly washing and drying the food mixer bowl
- Put the cold egg whites into the mixer bowl and, using the whisk attachment on a high speed, whip them into stiff peaks
- Slow the speed to medium and (while still moving) add the granulated sugar a little at a time to the egg white
- Boil half a kettle-full of water
- Carefully fold the meringue, half at a time, into the batter using a large metal spoon
- Pour the mixture into the cake tin and level the top with the back of the spoon
- Carefully pour the boiling water into the large oven-proof dish containing the cake tin before putting it into the oven
- Bake for an hour at 160ºC/320ºF/gas mark 3 before lowering the temperature to 150ºC/300ºC/gas mark 2 and cooking for another 30 minutes
- Turn off the oven, leave the oven door ajar, leaving the cake in the oven for 20 minutes
- Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool completely in its tin on a wire rack
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! 🙂
Copyright © 2007-2017 · All rights reserved · H is for Home