Last weeks high winds seem to have brought down most of the remaining apples from the tree in my garden, at least the ones that our resident squirrel hasn’t already nibbled. He’s very picky and won’t touch them once they’ve hit the ground! This is […]
If anyone can think of a catchier name for this then I would love to hear it. It is a bit of a mouthful, no pun intended. I’ve met quite a few Americans who find the fact that we Brits often refer to dessert as […]
When I was little a battle would be waged every summer in our garden between my mum and the resident blackbirds over who was going to get to the blackcurrants first once they reached peak ripeness.
On the occasions when my mum won the war she would turn the sharp little beads of blackness into sticky, purple, blackcurrant jam which usually ended up on my brothers breakfast. Being from Cornwall though, I’m now inclined to think that the jam should have been turned into this!
It’s such a gloriously rich and creamy cheesecake, every bit as luxurious as it sounds. The soft velvety texture of the clotted cream is the perfect partner to the sharp, fruity blackcurrant jam.
200g digestive biscuits
400g cream cheese
125g clotted cream
125g blackcurrant jam
Make the base by crushing up the biscuits and melting the butter. Combine the two to form your base mixture. Press this mixture into the base of a lightly greased spring-form cake tin. Pop it in the fridge to firm up whilst you make the filling. Pre-heat your oven to 160°c.
Beat the cream cheese until it is nice and soft and then mix in the sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating the mixture well after each addition. Briefly beat in the clotted cream, so that it is just blended in. Ripple 75% of the jam through the mixture. Take the chilled base from the fridge and pour the cheesecake mixture onto it. Add the remaining jam in blobs and swirl them in. Finally level off the top by giving the tin a couple of sharp taps on your kitchen counter.
Wrap the base of the tin securely in foil and then place it in a bain-marie. Bake the cheesecake for 40-45 minutes. The middle should still have a bit of wobble to it. Turn off the oven and open the door a little but leave the cheesecake in there to cool to room temperature before putting it in the fridge to chill completely. Once it’s thoroughly chilled remove it from the tin and place it on your serving plate.
This is my fruity summer twist on a traditional battenburg, which is a very British cake. Much as I love marzipan I do think that this makes a lovely change. I’ve used fruit purees to create the different colours and flavours for the sponges. I was quite surprised at how pronounced they were, it really is a very fruity tasting cake. It’s fabulously moist too and the white chocolate ganache is incredibly indulgent.
Obviously you can use shop-bought jam to cement the sponges together, I made my own because I had some very ripe strawberries which I knew would taste amazing but weren’t really looking their best. I also really like the idea of making the whole cake from scratch, I find that sort of thing very satisfying!
110g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
200g white chocolate
70ml single cream
extra berries to decorate
Kick things off by making a quick simple jam to cement the sponges together. Hull and chop the strawberries and then put them in a pan with 20g of sugar. Bring this to boiling point and then let it gently bubble away until it has become very thick and syrupy. I like to crush up the fruit a little bit with a fork so that there aren’t any big lumps in it but be careful when doing this with the hot jam. Put this to one side to cool.
In separate pans heat the blueberries and raspberries (or in bowls in the microwave) so that they begin to release their juices. Push the fruit through a sieve so that you are left with a raspberry puree and a blueberry puree. Put these to one side too.
Pre-heat your oven to 180°c and grease and line your cake tin. I have a fancy tin with moveable dividers in it which is perfect for making battenburg but the next best thing is to use a square tin and divide it with a piece of thickly folded foil down the middle. That way you can cook both sponges simultaneously but separately.
Cream together the butter and sugar until they are thick and fluffy. Lightly beat the eggs and beat these into the mixture, one at a time, following each addition with a spoonful of the flour to prevent it from curdling. Sift in the remaining flour and the baking powder and then very briefly beat it to combine everything. Divide the batter evenly between two mixing bowls and then stir the raspberry puree into one half and the blueberry puree into the other, mixing until you have uniform colours.
Pour the batters into the prepared tin, keeping them separate and ensuring that they are even. Bake the sponges for 25 minutes, until they are a little brown on top and a cake tester comes out clean when you poke them. Leave them to cool completely in the tin.
To make the ganache chop up the chocolate and put it in a dish so that it creates a shallow layer. Heat the cream so it is quite hot but don’t let it boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit and melt for a minute or two. Stir it until it is completely smooth and combined and then pop it in the fridge to thicken and cool. Beat the ganache just before using it to cover the cake to make it a bit fluffier.
Now time to pretend to be a bricklayer and assemble the cake. Turn the sponges out of the tin and carefully slice each one in half lengthways. Alternating the flavours of sponge to create a checker-board, spread the jam on one side each of the bottom two sponges and push them together. Spread jam on the top of this and then on one side each of the remaining sponges, placing them on top. Use the ganache to cover the top and sides (but not the ends) of the assembled battenburg, spreading it as smooth as you can. Decorate the top with a few berries before serving.