Cakes & Bakes: Peanut butter baked cheesecake

Home-made peanut butter baked cheesecake | H is for Home

It’s Justin’s 50th birthday today so, of course, I had to make him a birthday cake.

Crushed plain chocolate digestive biscuits for peanut butter baked cheesecake base | H is for Home

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.

Cheesecake cake tin wrapped with wet tea towel

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.

Peanut butter baked cheesecake batter ingredients | H is for Home

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.

Pouring peanut cheesecake batter on to biscuit base

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.

Chocolate topping ingredients for peanut butter baked cheesecake

I used mascarpone, but you can use Philadelphia or any other plain full-fat cream cheese.

Smooting chocolate topping on peanut butter baked chesecake | H is for Home

Results were delicious – a rich, indulgent treat.

Home-make peanut butter baked cheesecake with toasted mixed nut sprinkles | H is for Home

There’s only one slice left – that must mean that the birthday boy approves!

Peanut butter baked cheesecake
Serves 6
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For the base
  1. 150g/5oz plain chocolate digestive biscuits
  2. 30g/1oz butter, melted
For the filling
  1. 250g/9oz mascarpone cheese
  2. 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
  3. 100g/3½oz caster sugar
  4. 150g/3oz crunchy peanut butter
  5. 60ml/2fl oz soured cream
  6. ½tbsp cornflour
For the topping
  1. 125g/4½oz soured cream
  2. 50g/2oz dark chocolate
  3. 15g/½oz caster sugar
  4. 3tbsp mixed chopped toasted nuts (optional)
  5.  
  6. Home-made peanut butter baked cheesecake ingredients
  7.  
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/325°F/as mark 3
  2. Grease & line and 22cm diameter spring form tin
For the base
  1. Using a food processor, grind the plain chocolate digestives into fine crumbs
  2. Add in the melted butter and combine well
  3. Tip the mixture into the prepared tin pressing down firmly & evenly using a cold metal spoon to form a level base
  4. Put the base into the oven for 10 minutes, when cool put it into the fridge to set
For the filling
  1. 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
  2. Pour the mixture into the over the base and bake for 30-40 minutes until just set
  3. Allow to cool for half an hour on a wire rack before putting the tin into the fridge to chill
For the topping
  1. In a small saucepan, gently warm the soured cream, chocolate and sugar stirring to form a smooth sauce
  2. Pour the mixture on top of the cold cheesecake and allow it to set in the fridge
  3. When cooled & set, run a sharp knife around the edge of the tin before easing the cake carefully
  4. Finish with a sprinkling of mixed chopped toasted nuts (optional)
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Sweet potato cake

Slice of home-made sweet potato cake | H is for Home

I think we’ve mentioned before that we often receive ‘food parcels’ from Justin’s mum when we visit on a Sunday. They usually contain some chocolate, cheese, crackers, vegetables and a treat for the dog. Generally, things she thought looked interesting on her shopping trips during the week.

Grated sweet potato | H is for Home

It often includes vegetables that she bought too many of, which was sweet potatoes this time around.

Vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract

I decided to incorporate them into a cake in just the same way you’d add carrot to carrot cake.

Folding flour into sweet potato cake mixture

Adding root vegetables to cakes isn’t immediately logical, but it really does work for any sceptics out there.

Pouring sweet potato cake batter into cake tins

We’ve made cakes with sweet potatoes, cassava and carrots in the past, you can even use beetroot and parsnips.

Cooked sweet potato cakes

The raw, grated sweet potato adds a moist sweetness and depth of flavour.

Frosted sweet potato cake

This sweet potato cake recipe also includes chopped walnuts and mixed ground spices, finished with a delicious cream cheese frosting.

Sweet potato cake with a slice removed

It’s a substantial yet light cake – the perfect afternoon pick-me-up.

Sweet potato cake
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For the cake
  1. 350g plain flour
  2. ¼tsp ground cloves
  3. 2tsp ground cinnamon
  4. 1¼tsp ground ginger
  5. ½tsp ground nutmeg
  6. 1tsp baking powder
  7. 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  8. ½tsp salt
  9. 350g sweet potatoes, peeled & grated (about 3 small potatoes)
  10. 235ml vegetable oil
  11. 300g soft brown sugar
  12. 4 eggs
  13. 1tsp vanilla extract
  14. 100g chopped walnuts
For the frosting
  1. 225g cream cheese
  2. 115g butter, softened
  3. 175g icing sugar
  4. ½tsp vanilla extract
  5.  
  6. Home-made hot cross loaf ingredients
  7.  
For the cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4 and grease a pair of 23cm/9-inch circular loose-bottomed cake tins
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift together the flour with the ground spices, baking powder, bicarbonate soda and salt
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add the grated sweet potato, vegetable oil and sugar and combine
  4. In a measuring jug lightly whisk the eggs before adding the vanilla extract. Stir to mix in
  5. Stir in the egg mixture to the sweet potato in 3 batches, stirring well after each addition
  6. Carefully fold the flour mixture into the sweet potato mixture
  7. Add the chopped walnuts and stir in so they're well dispersed through the batter
  8. Pour the batter equally between the two cake tins before baking for 20 minutes in the centre of the oven
  9. After the 20 minutes, turn the oven down to 150ºC/300ºF/Gas mark 2 and cook for a further 10 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of a cake come out clean
  10. Allow to cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before taking the cakes out of their tins
  11. Allow to cool completely (at least another hour). Make the frosting.
For the frosting
  1. Mix the cream cheese and softened butter until there are no lumps
  2. Add the vanilla essence and icing sugar (sieve the sugar first if there are any lumps) and mix thoroughly. Cover with clingfilm and store in the fridge until the cakes have cooled and are ready to frost
  3. Once cooled, turn one of the cakes over so that the top is face down on a serving plate. Cover the top generously with frosting.
  4. Place the second cake on the first, with the top facing up. Cover the top generously with frosting. Serve. The cake will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge.
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Brownie butter cake

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Slice of home made brownie butter cake | H is for Home

We have a very attractive offering for this week’s Cakes & Bakes post – isn’t this layered brownie butter cake pretty? The deep chocolate brown and the warm yellow are very pleasing to the eye. It’s a really good ‘tea & cake’ kind of cake which scores even more points.

Home-made brownie butter cake

It’s the perfect thing for the two of us here at H is for Home headquarters as Adelle loves chocolate brownie and Justin loves butter cake. And both of us think the combination works really well. Correction, make that the three of us here… Fudge loves the crumbs!

Brownie butter cake
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For the brownie layer
  1. 140g/5oz dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  2. 50g/1¾oz butter
  3. 50g/1¾oz soft brown sugar
  4. 1 egg
  5. 35g/1¼oz plain flour
For the butter cake layer
  1. 120g/4oz butter
  2. 100g//3½oz caster sugar
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 120g/4oz plain flour
  5. ¼tsp baking powder
  6. 50ml/3½tbsp milk
  7.  
  8. Home-made brownie butter cake ingredients
  9.  
Instructions
  1. Grease 10cm x 20cm/4" × 8" loaf tin
  2. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
To make the brownie
  1. Put the chocolate and butter into a heat-proof bowl and melt using a saucepan of water low heat. Make sure the water does not come into contact with the bottom of the heat-proof bowl
  2. Remove the bowl and leave to cool slightly
  3. Stir in brown sugar until well combined
  4. Add the egg and mix well
  5. Fold in the flour, again mixing until well combined
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes
  7. Remove and lower the oven to 160ºC/320ºF/Gas mark 3
For the butter cake
  1. Beat the butter with the sugar until creamy
  2. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition
  3. Fold in the sifted flour and baking powder, alternately adding in the milk
  4. Spread the butter cake dough evenly over the brownie, bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes away clean
  5. Allow to cool in the tin before turning out on to a serving plate
Adapted from Rasa Malaysia
Adapted from Rasa Malaysia
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes : Bakes: Crème caramel

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Home-made heart shaped crème caramel | H is for Home

I got, not one but two, pressure cookers in a mixed lot at auction last week. I’d been after one for a while – it’s a piece of kit that was always being used in my parents’ (and my friends’ parents’) kitchen.

Small Le Creuset heart-shaped ramekins in the pressure cooker

I haven’t used one in decades. They’re superb for cooking bean, pulse and rice dishes in particular…

Caramel poured into moulds

…but this is a ‘Cakes & Bakes‘ post, so a more suitable dish was required. I spent last night looking at all manner of pressure cooker recipes and decided on crème caramel.

Making custard for crème caramel

Probably not something you’d immediately think of making in a pressure cooker – but it appeared quite straightforward, so ideal for me to reacquaint myself with the hissing and steaming beast.

tin foil covered heart-shaped ramekins in a pressure cooker

The results were actually delicious!

Crème caramel
Serves 4
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For the caramel
  1. 100g sugar
For the custard
  1. 250ml/½pt whole milk
  2. 3 eggs, 2 whole plus one yolk
  3. ½tbsp vanilla extract
  4. 125g sugar
  5.  
  6. Home-made crème caramel ingredients
  7.  
Instructions
  1. In your widest sauté pan, add the sugar and turn the flame to high and wait. DO NOT STIR - at most, pick up the pan and swish it around to make sure the sugar is evenly melted in the caramel
  2. As soon as almost all of the sugar has turned to caramel turn off the heat
  3. Hold the mould with your oven-mitt-covered hand, or some other protection that will not limit your dexterity yet protect your hand form the hot scalding sugar. With the other hand, pour a little caramel in the bottom and then swirl it around covering the mould internally and on the sides as much as you can
To make the custard
  1. Infuse the milk with the vanilla extract to almost boiling and then remove from the heat and allow to cool. You can do this stage using a large glass measuring jug in the microwave or medium-sized saucepan on the stove-top
  2. In another large measuring jug, whisk the eggs & extra yolk with the sugar
  3. Pour the cooled milk into the egg mixture. Combine well - the resulting consistency will be very liquid
  4. Pour the milk & egg mixture into the caramelized moulds leaving 1 cm/½" space from the top
  5. Cover the moulds tightly with tin foil
  6. Prepare the pressure cooker by adding a couple of cups of water and the cooking rack
  7. Fill the pressure cooker with as many of the filled moulds as possible that will stay level (my cooker only fit 2 of the Le Creuset heart-shaped ramekins at a time). Close and lock the pressure cooker top, turn the heat to high and when it reaches pressure, turn the flame down to minimum
  8. Count 5-8 minutes cooking time (time may vary depending on the size and thickness of the container(s) used)
  9. When time is up, turn off the heat and don't do anything wait for the pressure to come down naturally. If after 10 minutes all of the pressure hasn't released, relieve the rest of the pressure with the pressure valve. For electric pressure cookers, disengage the 'Keep Warm' setting when cooking time is up and turn off or unplug the pressure cooker
  10. When time is up, open the top and check for doneness by sticking a toothpick in the middle of one of the crèmes. If it comes out dirty, simply place the pressure cooker cover back on and wait another 5 minutes - the residual heat from the pressure cooker will keep cooking them. If the crème caramels are still liquid, cook under pressure and additional 5 minutes
  11. Let the crème caramels cool outside the pan for about an hour before refrigerating. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. If you need to do another batch, remember to add more water in your pressure cooker!
  12. To serve, simply turn each mould upside-down onto separate dessert dishes. If a crème caramel doesn't release on it's own, insert a flat knife and run it carefully along the sides. Then, on one side pull the knife a little towards the centre to break the suction
  13. Replace the dessert plate on top of the mould and flip it over quickly
Adapted from Hip Pressure Cooking
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Petit fours

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Plate of various petit fours with espresso | H is for Home

We have a few friends coming over for dinner this weekend.

Vegan date & nut petit fours | H is for Home

We must like them because they’re getting 3 courses!

Vegan date & nut petit fours in a vintage tin | H is for Home

We tend to split the cooking – which works out well as Justin prefers to do the savoury dishes and I prefer making the sweets. It looks like it’s going to be poached smoked salmon & asparagus to begin. And he’s just set about making some home-made pies for the main course. They look delicious – and hearty too. Celeriac mash and roasted root vegetables on the side. No one will go hungry, that’s for sure!

Chocolate petit fours with bowls of various toppings | H is for Home

So, after all that, something light to finish seems in order. I often make panna cotta or crème caramel when a big pudding isn’t required. But I thought I’d go even more delicate this time with a selection of three different petit fours. I’m sharing their preparation as this week’s Cakes & Bakes recipe.

Marzipan petit fours | H is for Home

Our guests can have one or ten each, depending on how much room they’ve got left.

Dipping marzipan petit fours into chocolate glaze | H is for Home

Serving them in pretty petit four paper cases really enhances their presentation. They’ll be delicious with an after dinner coffee, port or brandy… a lovely way to end the meal.

Vegan chocolate petit fours
Yields 25
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Ingredients
  1. 300g/10½oz dark chocolate
  2. pinch sea salt
  3. 2tbs coconut oil
  4. 215ml/7½fl oz tinned coconut milk
  5. toasted desiccated coconut, chopped mixed nuts, icing sugar and/or cocoa powder to finish
Instructions
  1. Break the chocolate up into small pieces and put it into a large heatproof bowl
  2. Add the coconut oil and the salt
  3. In a small saucepan, bring the coconut milk to the boil before pouring it over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth
  4. Allow to cool, cover the bowl with cling film and leave to set overnight in the fridge (or at least 4 hours).
  5. Put the toasted desiccated coconut chopped mixed nuts, icing sugar and/or cocoa powder into separate wide-bottomed bowls
  6. Using a measuring teaspoon, scoop out a portion of ganache before rolling between your palms to form a ball before putting it on a plate or baking sheet
  7. Repeat until all the ganache has been used
  8. Cover the balls in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes
  9. Toss in the balls equally between the chopped mixed nuts, icing sugar and or cocoa powder, rolling around the bowls making sure each ball is completely coated
  10. Carefully place the balls on to a plate lined with parchment paper, recover carefully with cling film and put them back into the fridge to firm up again
Notes
  1. These can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/
Chocolate covered marzipan petit fours
Yields 45
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For the marzipan
  1. 150g/5oz ground almonds
  2. 200g/7oz icing sugar
  3. 2tsp almond extract
  4. 1 egg white
For the chocolate coating
  1. 50ml/1¾fl oz whipping cream
  2. 7g/¼oz sugar
  3. 12ml/½fl oz water
  4. 45g/1½oz dark chocolate, chopped
For the marzipan
  1. Put the ground almonds, icing sugar, almond extract and egg white into a food processor and combine until it comes together into a thick ball (about a minute)
  2. Turn the marzipan out onto a work surface and knead it a couple of times
  3. Form it into a pack of butter shape, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for about an hour
  4. Bring cream, sugar, and 60ml/2fl oz water to boil in heavy medium saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves
  5. Add the chocolate and whisk until melted and the glaze is smooth
  6. Slice the slab of marzipan into equal sized cubes before rolling each between your palms to form balls
  7. Using a tooth pick, dip each ball into the chocolate sauce before placing it on a tray lined with parchment paper
  8. Cover the petit fours carefully with cling film and chill for half an hour
Notes
  1. Any unused marzipan will keep for up to a month in the fridge or 6 months in the freezer
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/
Date & nut petit fours
Yields 30
A delicious vegan after-dinner treat
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Ingredients
  1. 125g cashews
  2. 40g desiccated coconut
  3. 125g pitted dates
  4. 2tbs coconut oil
  5. ½tsp sea salt
  6. ½tsp vanilla essence
  7. 1tbs water
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, process blitz the cashews and desiccated coconut to fine crumbs
  2. Add the dates, coconut oil, vanilla and sea salt and process again until the mixture forms large, sticky lumps
  3. Scoop the dough using a measuring teaspoon before rolling between your palms to form balls. If the mixture is too crumbly add another tablespoon of water and blitz again for a few seconds
  4. Arrange on a baking sheet or plate lined with parchment paper
  5. Chill in the fridge for an hour before rolling in toasted desiccated coconut and/or cocoa powder to finish
Notes
  1. These can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for 6 months or more
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Boozy bread and butter pudding

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Home made boozy bread and butter pudding | H is for Home

The secret to this boozy bread and butter pudding is all about getting soaked. No, not in the getting drunk sort of way!

Buttering slices of bread

Slicing buttered slices of bread into triangles

You need to soak the currants for a few hours or even overnight in the alcohol. Melt the butter in the microwave for a few seconds before spreading it on the bread with a pastry brush so that it soaks in. Allow the bread to soak up the custard liquid for half an hour before putting the dish in the oven – ‘soaked’ in a bain-marie.

soaked currants sprinkled on to bread slices

glass measuring jugs of beaten eggs and milk, sugar and lemon zest

I like using slices from a stale Warbies Toastie loaf. If you want to be fancy you can substitute the bread for panettone, brioche, challah, hot cross buns if it’s Easter time or stollen if it’s Christmas.

bread sprinkled with custard mix, currants and lemon zest

bowl of boozy bread and butter pudding with cream

The results were a delicious, warming, comforting pudding – perfect for the chilly autumn and winter months.

Boozy bread and butter pudding
Serves 4
My twist on Delia's classic bread & butter pudding!
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Cook Time
40 min
Cook Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 100ml/3½fl oz Baileys (or rum, whiskey or Tia Maria... whichever you have to hand)
  2. 8 slices bread
  3. 60g/2oz butter
  4. 60g/2oz currants
  5. 275ml/10fl oz milk
  6. 60ml/2½fl oz double cream
  7. 50g/2oz caster sugar (I used home-made vanilla sugar)
  8. grated zest of ½ small lemon
  9. 3 eggs
  10. freshly grated nutmeg
  11.  
  12. boozy bread and butter pudding ingredients
  13.  
Instructions
  1. Soak the currants in the alcohol for a couple of hours (or overnight if you're forward planning!)
  2. Grease a 1 litre/2 pint rectangular Pyrex glass or enamel baking dish
  3. Butter the bread and cut each slice of buttered bread into quarters leaving the crusts on
  4. Arrange one layer of buttered bread over the base of the baking dish, sprinkle half the currants and liquor over, then cover with another layer of the bread slices and the remainder of the currants and liquor
  5. In a measuring jug, measure out the milk and add the double cream
  6. Stir in the caster sugar and lemon zest, then whisk the eggs, first on their own in a small measuring jug and then into the milk mixture. Stir to combine
  7. Pour the liquid over the bread before sprinkling over some freshly grated nutmeg
  8. Leave for about an hour, allowing the bread to soak up the liquid
  9. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4
  10. Put the dish on a bain-marie
  11. Bake for 30-40 minutes
  12. Serve warm with pouring cream, ice cream or custard
Adapted from Delia Smith's Cookery Course: Part One
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/