Tag Archives: cheesecake

Walking on a cake dream

Let’s face it, a nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for a lot of people; it does for me.
~ Audrey Hepburn

The cake aliens have arrived with one mission: to turn me into Planet Cake. Will I retaliate, escape my fate, and live to tell the tale? We shall see…

Right now, I have three kinds of cake in my kitchen – (1) fountain mini no-bake cheesecakes in the fridge, (2) Smitten Kitchen’s strawberry summer cake, and (3) Ottolenghi’s chocolate fudge cake (currently at stage two in the oven).

This is the fountain cheesecake, so named due to its consistency. I made it without a recipe, just for fun, from due-to-expire cream cheese, sour cream and cream in the fridge. I added honey and an egg to the cheese mix, poured it on an impromptu base of biscuits and melted butter, and topped it all with Hakanoa ginger syrup and a slice of green kiwifruit. Not bad taste-wise, according to my sweet flatmate, but the texture needs some work!

We’re having a bake off at work tomorrow, and from serving as Guest Judge at previous bake offs, I know I’ll be up against formidable competition. So I turned to a blog that has often inspired me – Smitten Kitchen.

I haven’t tried this cake, but I can tell you that it is a minimum-fuss, sweet-smelling cake involving pretty fruit… also, when it is a Smitten Kitchen recipe – you don’t have much to worry about :-)

I did use less sugar than what the recipe stated though. One cup looked like a bit much!

And now, chocolate fudge cake. This is a birthday gift for E, a person whom I am so grateful exists. E is truly herself, bold, bearer of truth and love… I respect her as much as I love her.

Among my favourite memories is the one where we dressed up as cows and went to a party when we were in uni… you know, even if you find a person who is willing to do this with you (and I promise you I haven’t met many such courageous folk) – not everyone makes the experience gigglingly fun.

Now she is wife to a great man and mother to a baby who actually, miraculously, awakens my mostly dormant maternal instincts… I use the word “miraculously” because most babies do not manage to do this.

This cake is a twice baked, dark chocolate cake (I used both 50% and 72% cocoa content Whittaker’s chocolate) which is decadent in every way – rich, deep, extravagant and sweet, the way E has been to me.

And of course the recipe is from Ottolenghi – The Cookbook (page 196). I made two modifications to the recipe: (1) having no light muscovado sugar, I mixed dark muscovado and caster sugar, and (2) I had to set up an impromptu bain-marie to melt the butter/choc which I should have cut into “small pieces” as listed in the recipe.

I don’t have a picture of the final cake as it’s still baking in the oven… but it will be dusted with cocoa tomorrow, and I will try to take a picture then. Just for you.

P.S. Beware of the cake aliens. They don’t like being told to go away.

In other (non-cake) news:

    NZ bloggers who are attending the inaugural NZ Food Bloggers’ Conference this weekend – I hope you have a SUPER time and wish I could join you! I’ll look forward to reading all about it.
    Auckland readers – eat well and do good this Saturday – see Garden to Table. A portion of the $ will go towards supporting programmes in NZ primary schools to teach children to grow, harvest, prepare and share food through gardening and cooking.
    “It’s more expensive but your budget is tight, you believe in supporting sustainable products but what does that ‘Go Green’ sticker actually mean?” – from ‘Greenwashing’: consumers beware. Interesting read, and one that begs more thought… does sustainability matter to you? I’d love to hear your thoughts/point of view.

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Ottolenghi – The Cookbook: page 199

Qu’ils mangent de la brioche
~ Supposedly spoken by “a great princess”

Midnight baking and conversation. Burnt caramel. Singing oven. Cheeeeesseee. Golden goodness. Icing sugar (fairy dust). Ottolenghi’s caramel and macadamia cheesecake. There were a few laughs, a few disasters – but all was fine in the end and we all had cake complete with caramelised macadamias and even a caramel sauce. I attribute this strongly to my friend Rahul who is visiting from Wellington… when you are baking at midnight and SCORCH the bottom of both of your only saucepans with rock-solid brown caramel sauce, I recommend that you place yourself in the company of someone who can make you laugh and who thinks fast to solve problems. With Rahul’s help, the cake and saucepans both survived. Much to my delight, of course.

So at the moment John, Brad and I are sitting in my lounge, we are drinking wine, and I am rudely blogging… just wanted to submit my entry on time for Sweet New Zealand (see note below!)

I have so much from recent days to blog about – but I really have to go (multi-tasking is not my strength at all)… so here’re some photos for you, and I will post again soon. Ciao!


This post is my entry for this month’s Sweet New Zealand – the lovely Sue from Couscous & Consciousness is hosting it this time. Click here to join in the fun!

Berry nice indeed

To invite someone is to take charge of his happiness during the time he spends under your roof.
~ Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Lizzie arrived yesterday afternoon to visit! She is golden-haired with twinkling eyes and a pure heart to rival Snow White’s. She has a wonderful way of drawing you out of your shell into who you are, and talking to her reminds me of what it feels like to bask in sunshine. She also makes me laugh – alot! – (in a good way, Lizzie, if you are reading this!)

We took a trip to Moore Wilsons in the rain to look at what to buy for dinner. As we studied baby beetroots, lemon verbena, the many types of olives, huge moon-sized (seemingly) blocks of cheese – I was drawn into a world just beneath the world we live in. A delicious world of memories, recipes, family habits/traditions, allergies (yes really!), etc… all this came forth as we conversed, remembered, thought about what would go well with what.

Groceries duly purchased, we shared an umbrella in the now pouring rain, and made a beeline for gelato. The best thing you can have when it’s raining.

Along the way, skipping over puddles and sitting aboard a cramped busy bus, we caught up on our lives.

I had prepared the cheesecake earlier in the morning, from Tessa Kiros’ “Falling Cloudberries”:
#53 Berry Cheesecake – Page 272

(I LOVE peeking into the oven in the final minutes of baking… it is like opening presents on Christmas morning!)

Sunny came over in the evening to join us in dinner preparations. On the menu:

Gingered Carrot Soup with Avocado – recipe from Orangette (a fresh cold soup with a nice touch of creamy avocado, slips down your throat like a dream)

Salad with pan-fried basil chicken, nashi pears, feta, mixed greens topped with lemon and a warm dressing of olive oil, olives, capers, sundried tomatoes, garlic (simple, elegant and tasty)

Grilled bread

We bustled around whilst John and Matt sat on the couch, trying to watch TV amidst the growing noise and slightly delayed arrival of dinner – poor boys! (Of note were Sunny’s patience with our temperamental blender and Lizzie’s super plating skills!)