Bank holiday weekend means baking. Fortunately, I've been sent some recipes to test by Baking Mad. With a selection including cupcakes, biscuits and even a cupcake wedding cake to choose from, I had a hard time selecting this cheesecake (particularly as I was sent recipes for two others, including a Tia Maria version). However, it's one of the most successful and delicious cheesecakes I've ever baked, so I'm glad I tried it out, and I now get to share it with all of you. You can scroll down for the rest of the recipes, but be sure to ogle the photos of this gorgeous dessert on the way.
This cake owes its deliciousness, I think, to its chocolate biscuit base. The recipe suggests using a mixture of digestive biscuits, blitzed in a blender, and Silver Spoon dark chocolate drops. I improvised by blending a packet of chocolate digestives into crumbs, stirring in oodles of melted butter, and spreading it onto the base of a tin. As I did so I told my boyfriend about my rather disgusting adolescent habit of mixing up a cheesecake base mixture - digestive crumbs and melted butter - and then refraining from actually making the cheesecake, instead choosing to sit in front of the TV and eat the lot. Needless to say, I was a lot fatter then than I am now, though as I stirred the melted butter into those crumbs I had to fight an urge to just spoon the whole bowl into my mouth.
I deviated from the recipe slightly in that I baked the base before adding the filling. I always think that, unless you do this, you end up with a soggy biscuit base. Crisping it in the oven while it's heating up to bake the cheesecake is the perfect solution, resulting in a nice crunch that is a pleasant contrast to the creamy filling. You don't really need to do this with gelatin-based set cheesecakes, but I do think it's an important step when making the baked variety. Plus, the smell of buttery biscuit emanating from your oven is worth it.
The cheesecake filling is a simple mixture of eggs, cream cheese and creme fraiche, but instead of using sugar to sweeten it, the recipe suggests melting a bar of Silver Spoon white chocolate cake covering and stirring it in. I reckon you could also just use normal white chocolate. Because there's no extra sugar added to the cake, it isn't quite as sweet as you might expect. I think this is a positive thing - it has the slight tang of the classic New York baked cheesecake, and the sweetness of the chocolate base is more than enough for the filling. However, if you have quite a sweet tooth, I'd suggest adding a bit more sugar - maybe about 50g.
Also, the cheese mixture is studded with fresh raspberries before baking, and swirled through with raspberry coulis (the recipe tells you how to make your own from fresh raspberries, but I cheated and bought some ready-made stuff because I didn't have enough berries). The juicy berries contrast perfectly with the crumbly filling, and I love the look of the white cake rippled with pale pink coulis - it reminds me of those funny ice cream and raspberry desserts we used to have for school dinners, that came in a little pot and consisted of (no doubt cheap, processed) vanilla ice cream with a perfectly formed pink swirl through it. Does anyone know what I mean? Do these things actually have a name? I remember them very vividly from my childhood. Not that I ate them; I was a very fussy eater (would you believe it now?)
After baking for about an hour, the cheesecake needs to chill in the fridge for a bit, though I think it's best served just below room temperature - too cold and you can't appreciate all the different flavours and textures. The recipe suggests decorating with fresh raspberries, but I used them all in the cake so I went for strawberries. Either would be excellent, though I think strawberries are actually slightly better, because they have a juicy sweetness that complements the rather un-sweet, dense filling, whereas raspberries can be quite tart and I'm not sure there's enough sugar in the whole cake to balance it out.
This is a superb recipe, my minor tweaks aside. It's also very simple to make but looks like you've spent hours on it. Because there's no cream in the filling, it's a fairly light dessert option, particularly if you use low fat cream cheese and half fat creme fraiche, which I did, and it still tasted wonderful. It would be excellent with some extra raspberry coulis.
White Chocolate and Raspberry Cheesecake (serves 8-10):
For the base:
- 225g digestive biscuits
- 100g unsalted butter
- 50g Silver Spoon Cakecraft dark chocolate drops
For the filling:
- 450g soft cream cheese
- 4 large free-range eggs
- 1 tsp Silver Spoon Cakecraft Natural Vanilla essence
- 225g crème fraîche
- 225g Silver Spoon Cakecraft White Chocolate Flavour Cake
- butter, for greasing
- Raspberry coulis:
- 300g fresh raspberries
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 100g Billington’s Unrefined Golden Caster sugar
- ½ tsp raspberry liqueur (optional)
For the coulis: Place half the raspberries in a microwaveable bowl and cook for 1 minute. Crush them with a fork and then pass the liquid through a fine sieve to remove the seeds.
Place the raspberry juice, sugar and lemon juice into a small saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes until syrupy.
Remove from the heat and stir in the raspberry liquor if using. Allow to cool and thicken before using.
Place the digestives in a food processor and process into crumbs. Melt the butter over a low heat and mix in the biscuit crumbs and chocolate drops. Lightly grease a 25cm loose-bottomed cake tin and press the crumbs into the base.
Beat the cream cheese in a bowl until soft and smooth. Add the eggs one by one with the vanilla essence. Fold in the crème fraîche.
Melt the white chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. Remove from the water and beat until a little cooler. Add to the cream cheese mix and fold in gently. If the chocolate becomes a little lumpy do not worry.
Sprinkle the remaining raspberries over the chilled base of the cheesecake. Pour the chocolate and cream cheese mixture into the tin and bang down on a firm surface to remove any air bubbles. Drizzle the raspberry coulis onto the cheesecake mix and swirl using the tip of a knife to give a marble effect.
Bake in a low oven, 150°C/fan oven 130°C, 300°F/Gas 2, for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the centre is just firm.
Allow to rest for several hours to firm up. When ready to serve use a warm palate knife to release the cheesecake form the tin, before turning out the cake and serving topped with fresh raspberries.
Should you fancy making the Tia Maria or the lemon and ginger version, the recipes are
at Baking Mad. Here's a little preview of how theirs look. Their raspberry and white chocolate one is a little neater around the edges than mine - I think all the butter I used to grease the pan turned it that interesting 'caramelised' colour! It still tasted brilliant though.
You might also like to try the recipes for these gorgeous little
, if you're still feeling full of patriotic fervour after the Royal Wedding.