Gastronomically Terrific

February 18, 2015

Strawberries and cream cheesecake

Filed under: Cake, pudding, Valentines Day — Tags: , , , , , — lawsonanna @ 10:03 pm

Strawberries and cream cheesecake slice CUI haven’t done a lot of baking recently, but Valentines Day is generally an excuse for tasty cake in our house – and baked cheesecake is hubby’s favourite, so that’s what I made. Buying the ingredients and preparing the cake was, by necessity, all last minute – with a new baby due to arrive any day I didn’t want a bunch of ingredients sitting around in the fridge not being used because I was otherwise occupied. Luckily for hubby, baby did not make an appearance on Friday 13th.

This is a fairly easy cheesecake to make, although there are a few stages to it. For starters, you do the standard ‘melt butter/ bash up biscuits/ mix together and put in the fridge to set’.

Stage 2 is making the actual cheesecake mixture. Again, fairly simple – just mix together 600g cream cheese, an egg and 100g caster sugar. What you do need to do is add a boiled strawberry mixture to this. The strawberry mixture contains (funnily enough) 200g strawberries, 80g caster sugar and 30ml water. (Having said that, this nearly ended up being a cherry mixture because the first shop I went to had no strawberries. It probably would have worked, but I’m glad I found strawberries in the next shop because I don’t like messing up gift bakes)!  You boil all this together and then wait for the strawberries to go soft and the liquid to reduce by half. Once the strawberry mix is cool, add it to the cream cheese mixture. Then pour the whole shebang on top of the biscuit base and bake in the oven for about 30 mins on 160C.

Third stage: once the cheesecake is cool and has been in the fridge for a couple of hours, whip together 100g of mascarpone cheese and 20g of icing sugar. Then add in 100ml of whipped double cream, and cover the whole cheesecake with this topping. Pop it back in the fridge to set overnight.

Finally, decorate the cheesecake with strawberries (and, if you’re me and bought them in anticipation of having no strawberries, cherries as well). I was planning on writing out ‘LOVE’ in the middle of the cake because it was Valentines Day, but that didn’t really fit – so I went with a ring of chopped strawberries around the edge and the outline of a heart done with cherries in the middle. Although you could just chop and throw I guess! The end result wasn’t bad – it looks OK and between the two of us we’ve managed to eat almost the entire thing (it fitted in a 9 inch based tin) in about 4 days…

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days, Tarek Malouf, pg. 120-121


January 14, 2012

Vegan Chocolate Traybake with chocolate topping

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , , — thinkingdan @ 11:11 pm

Another “cake club” recipe, this vegan cake was a lot more challenging than the sultana and orange traybake.  My intention was to make a chocolate traybake, but it came out just a little too crumbly and, well, “cocoa-ey” for my tastes, so I added a cherry jam layer and a sweeter chocolate topping.  I broadly followed this recipe, and this for the topping, but I was afraid of the warnings that the main cake would be too sweet (so reduced the sugar) and too oily (so reduced the oil).  The consistency I ended up with was perfect for a pudding, but not that practical for a working cake session!  Still, I think it tasted pretty good.  Perhaps a little more oil would be wise.


For the cake:

  • 175g plain flour
  • 200g Demerara sugar
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 2/3 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 150ml water
  • 100ml vegetable oil
  • 2/3 tsp vanilla extract

For the filling and topping:

  • Cherry jam (for the filling)
  • 100g sugar
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 75ml water


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius, grease a 9×9 inch (23x23cm)  traybake tin and line with greaseproof paper
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Pour in water, vegetable oil and vanilla; mix until well blended.
  3. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer/knife comes out clean.  Wait for the cake to cool.
  4. Slice in half, generously smother one half with jam, and place the second half on top of the jam.
  5. To make the frosting, Mix sugar, cornstarch, salt, and cocoa in a medium sauce pan, add the water slowly. Heat over medium until it gets thick and starts to boil. Boil for 1-2 minutes.  (“Make sure you don’t boil too long, or it will set like taffy”.) Remove from heat and stir in oil and vanilla.


The frosting was a pain.  I added just a little too much water and had to boil it a little longer; still, it did not set like frosting but was slightly gooey (in a good way!).  Obviously this is a very delicate thing to do, and if you have vegan margarine/vegan buttermilk substitutes there are easier frosting recipes out there!

Who made it: Dan

Recipe: Modified from this recipe, and this for the topping.

January 2, 2011

Cherry Cakes, part 2

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , , — thinkingdan @ 1:57 am

For our New Years celebrations, we repeated two favourite cherry based cakes for a few friends.  Both tasted just as good as we remembered but getting appearances right can sometimes be tricky…

Let start with the Cherry Gateaux:

January 2010, looking happy and gay:

What doesn't taste better with Cherry Brandy?

Cherry Cake, January 2010.

January 2011: Looking sad and grey:

Cherry cake, New Years 2011

and I cheated so much to get the least sad looking slice of cake I could.  Even the cherries look like they’ve seen better days… all these problems came from me overwhipping the cream, which then wouldn’t spread over the cake properly and went grey when the cherrys were put on it.

They taste the same though!

Contrast this to the: Chocolate Log, or “Buche de Noel as its known to some people who put chestnut puree in instead of cherry goodness:

Chocolate Log with Cherry, October 2010

Chocolate Log with Cherry, New Years 2010-2011.

Both of these look right, the new one perhaps more so because Anna wouldn’t let me near the cream… This was a HUGE success: everybody ate way too much of the magic cherry creamy cakey chocolately goodness and sat there feeling full and happy for the rest of the evening.

In Conclusion:

Eat more chocolate cherry cake!  And let Anna sort out the cream…

January 22, 2010

Chocolate Cherry Gateau

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , , — thinkingdan @ 10:10 pm

This is Black Forest Gateau with a twist – a hint of Cherry Brandy.  A question: what doesn’t taste better with Cherry Brandy?

Chocolate Cherry Gateau

What doesn't taste better with Cherry Brandy?

This is a simple recipe from “Hallelujah! Chocolate!” and consists of a chocolate cake, which you have to cut into 3 very thin horizontal slices, sandwiched together with a layer of sweet cherry syrup and two of cream, and liberally coated in cherry brandy cream.  It tastes pretty awesome and our visitors (Hi Gemma and Andrew!) helped us gobble this bad boy up in one joyous weekend.

This is a cake for the cake enthusiast – its short shelf life is unlikely to be a problem.  Whilst not being hugely different to a high quality shop-bought gateau, it has a melting quality and a brandy twang that are subtle yet distinctive.  Highly recommended.

Who made it: Anna baked it, and Dan helped with the cutting and decor.

Recipe: “Hallelujah! Chocolate!” page 34.

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