Chocolate and Raspberry Tart

 This tart has been staring at me since I got the Gü Chocolate Cookbook, the picture is stunning and constantly whispers ‘try me, make me, eat me!’ whenever I happen to glance at it.

So this time I gave in and tried it.  My mum had gone to Iran for a month and I was playing the role of housewife when we had guests – I made a three-course meal and chose the Chocolate and Raspberry Tart as dessert.Read More »

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Panna Cotta and Raspberry Jelly

The more I bake the more complex and beautiful my baked goods are expected to become – apparently having a baking blog means I’m somehow automatically trained in the art of decorating cakes. And I get it to an extent; I get a lot more practice at baking than others, but not enough to call myself a professional and definitely not enough to compete with some of the insanely beautiful blogs out there.Read More »

Strawberries and Cream … and Cheese … and Biscuits!

It was my dad’s birthday recently and I wanted to bake something special.  Everyone has been getting a bit sick of the constant cupcakes, and I still haven’t managed to find the right pie dishes, so I decided on the Strawberries and Cream cheesecake.

I started off by making the base for the cheesecake; I love doing this mainly because I means there’s digestives in the house, but also because I can bash the living daylights out of them! The crushed biscuits got stirred in with the melted butter, squished into the cake tin and put into the oven for 30minutes.

Then came the hardest part of the recipe – chopping and cooking the strawberries without eating them all. I’d definitely suggest buying and extra box of strawberries for you to nibble on while you work, to save enough for the actual cheesecake.

The chopped strawberries were put into a saucepan with sugar and a little water, boiled and reduced by half.  I think I put in a bit too much water but left it as it was.

While this was cooking, I realised I didn’t put the right measurement of strawberries in… damn.  I let the first batch cook and took out the strawberries once it was done.  I then put in the rest of the strawberries into the simmering sugar water, added a tiny bit more sugar and cooked that.

I then prepared the cheesy bit of the cheesecake by beating the cream cheese and sugar and adding the eggs one at a time.  I stirred in the strawberries but left a little of the juice left, so that the consistency wouldn’t be too runny.  This went into the oven with a water-bath on the shelf underneath for about 30 minutes.

Now my biggest problem with cheesecakes to date have been cracks; cheesecakes are meant to have bit of a wobble in the middle once it’s ready but I always overcook it for fear of it being too wobbly and undercooking.  This time I stuck to the recommended time exactly, and it didn’t crack! Well, that’s a lie, there was a tiny crack but a huge improvement to the Lime and chocolate cheesecake!

This was left out to cool and then to chill in the fridge overnight. The next morning I started on the cream part of the cheesecake.  I whisked together the mascarpone and sugar in one bowl and the double cream in another.  I then folded the two together and spread it over the cheesecake.  This went back into the fridge to chill until after the birthday dinner.

After dinner, I chopped up a few fresh strawberries and added a candle to come out – this year my dad was officially one (we only had one candle!). I was a bit worried it would be too sweet and I’m  not the biggest fan of cream. But I had nothing to worry about, all the different ingredients complimented each other really well and everyone really enjoyed it, especially my dad.

 

Be aware that this is quite a sweet treat so some people might not be the biggest fans. But don’t be put off – this is definately a great dessert and will be something i’ll bake for Wimbledon season. If you want a really nice, indulgent cheesecake that’s not too heavy, then I’d definitely suggest you try this!

A Close Call With Some Tiramisu

This week a friend asked for Tiramisu cupcakes for her birthday and I thought, this is the best opportunity to play around with some cake decorating tools I’ve recently bought! So I whipped out all the lovely things I’ve bought and planned how I was going to decorate the cupcakes.

I decide on some nice red bows on top of icing piped in the shape of a rose.  Being the organised person I am I coloured my icing the day before and made some pretty amateur, but decent bows the next morning.

In terms of baking, these cupcakes were the most complicated recipe I’ve tried so far.  The cake itself was seemed simple enough and followed the basic sponge recipe.  The complicated bit came when the cupcakes came out of the oven.

First I simmered some strong coffee with some horrible smelling coffee liquor till it had reduced by half.  While that cooled; I made the icing, consisting of double cream, mascarpone cheese, and some more coffee liquor (yuk!).

Once this was ready, each cupcake had to have a hole cut out of it, soaked with some of the coffee liquor mix, then half filled with the topping.  The cut out bit was then also soaked and placed back on top.  I was very worried about how much to take out and was sure I’d get too excited and poke the knife through the bottom.


Everything went well and I finished the cakes with a newly purchased Wilton 2D nozzle and iced them in a rose shape. Finally the bows went on each cupcake and the cupcakes went in the box to store for the next day….

The next morning, I woke up to my mum preparing me for some ‘bad news’. The cakes were ruined?! I ran downstairs and to my dismay, the bows had completely melted and the red colour seeped into the icing.  Generally a total disaster!  It took a while to figure out what had happened; our conclusion is this: the topping was too moist and the fondant bows sucked up the moisture and, well, melted.

So my advice for anyone using fondant icing at any point:  DON’T MIX UP ICING WITH TOPPING! Any sort of topping that will not harden to some extent will be too soft for the fondant and cause a meltdown.

I ended up having to rush to the supermarket to re-stock and make a completely new batch! This time, there were no bows.  The new batch were boxed up, stored and to be picked up by the birthday girl. I’m personally not a fan of cream or tiramisu so I steered clear of the cakes, but the birthday girl loved them, as did the family who ate a couple spares.  I’d say it was a good recipe to try if you want a nice twist on a dessert and something completely different that will surprise your guests.  However my experience with the bows (not the cupcakes fault remember), it’ll be a very long time before I make this recipe again!