Another month and another post for the cake slice bakers, baking from Maida Heatter's Cakes
. Some months I could quite happily make any of the four choices, but other times like this month there is no contest. Three of the cakes were multi layered extravagant sounding affairs suitable for celebrations, with too much frosting... and too much effort for my liking! There was a four layer chocolate cake with a chocolate sour cream icing, a three layer pecan sweet potato cake witha marshmallow filling (the cake sounded interesting but the frosting sounded sickly sweet), and a three layer carrot cake with a cream cheese frosting. I'm hoping the other bakers will have made these so I can decide if they are worth the effort! But there was also a Blackberry Scotch Cheesecake which was just asking to be made... especially as it used frozen blackberries which I just happened to have!
I'm not always that keen on the usual digestive biscuit base used on most cheesecakes as I find they can be a bit soggy, so I was intrigued by the idea of a shortbread crust and had high hopes of it staying firm and crunchy.
The cheese mixture is a wonderful combination of cream cheese, cinnamon, blackberries and Drambuie... which I confess I bought specially! It tasted amazing (yes... I did lick the spoon)
The blackberries are used frozen and are dotted over the surface of the cheese mixture before baking. I had a tub of blackberries that came from Mum's garden before she moved.
Maida claims the blackberries turn a gorgeous shade of shocking pink once baked and she is not wrong!
Once baked it gets a sour cream topping which gets another five minutes in the oven.
Although it wouldn't have effected the taste, my cheesecake cracked as it cooled and as I was planning on taking this as a dessert to my book club meeting (the book club that is really a girl's supper club masquerading as a book club) I decided to pretty it up with a blackberry sauce as I had some blackberries left over.
I tried some arty drizzling and then decided it looked better spead all over! I was going for a Jackson Pollock effect which I didn't quite pull off!
And the result... even if I do say so myself this was a pretty amazing cheesecake. Everyone loved it, second helpings were had, requests were made for me to make it again and it was generally agreed that the blackberry topping was definitely worth doing, the sharpness offsetting the sweet cheesecake. If there was one critisism, it was that the base did not stay crunchy but it still tasted fantastic and I have already made it again for one of our book club members... and her response was "I want to pass on rapturous thanks from all seven very happy cheesecake eaters - absolutely delicious". I can see this being one I will make again and again.
And should you wish to try this yourself (I promise you won't regret it) here is my version of the recipe:
You will need a 9" (23 cm) springform pan. Preheat the oven to 190 deg C (170 fan), 375 deg F
- 140g sifted plain flour
- 50g caster sugar
- 112g butter
Either in a food processor or by hand rub the butter into the flour and sugar until it is the texture of breadcrumbs. Spread this mixture into the unbuttered pan and press down with your fingers or the back of a spoon to make a firm crust. Bake for 20 -25 minutes until golden brown. Meanwhile prepare the filling
- 550g Philadelphia cream cheese (don't be tempted to buy the light version)
- grated rind of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 tablespoons Drambuie
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 150g caster sugar plus 1 tablespoon
- 3 medium eggs
- 200g frozen blackberries
- 415g sour cream
- Put the lemon juice and rind into a small bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl and using a hand mixer, beat the cheese until soft and smooth.
- Beat in 1 teaspoon of vanilla, the Drambruie and cinnamon followed by the 150g sugar
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Carefully butter the sides of the pan by brushing a little melted butter down the sides to the top of the crust.
- Pour the mixture over the baked crust and then evenly place the blackberries, one by one, over the cheese mixture, gently pushing them down so they are partly submerged.
- Bake for 35 - 40 minutes until the sides of the cake have risen and browned but there is still a wobble in the centre.
- Remove from the oven and allow to stand for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile mix the sour cream with 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence. When cake has stood for 20 minutes pour the sour cream mixture over the top and bake for another 5 minutes.
- Cool in the tin before turning out and then refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
If you want to add a fruit topping, in a small saucepan heat up 150g blackberries with a tablespoon of lemon juice and a couple of tablepoons of sugar, to taste. Simmer until the fruit is soft and then push through a sieve to make a thin puree. Allow to cool and add a dash of Drambuie before artistically splattering over your cake!