Tag Archives: mascarpone cheese

Anytime Vanilla Cake


Vanilla cake

Vanilla cake

Vanilla cake

Simple is the best. We are in love with the Nordicware Heritage bundt spiral – hypnotising isn’t it? Where does it begin? Where does it end?

This is a simple vanilla cake, with no chocolate (what? Michelle didn’t put any chocolate in her desserts?!) Moist, fluffy and all Vanilla. So good. I especially love the crunchy edges. The secret to this cake is in the combination of butter, neutral oil and buttermilk. It won’t fail on you, and is the best vanilla cake we’ve ever had.

I have been perfecting this Vanilla cake recipe and finally have a good understanding of potential variations. First I started with a naked version which was beautiful on its own but then the next one takes it to a whole new level: a simple, easy raspberry icing made with crumbled Fresh As freeze dried whole raspberry pieces, icing sugar and water. The tasters said it was very delicious with the berry notes coming through.

I’ve also hid freeze dried blackberries inside the large cake and the little surprises of fat berries when slicing through the cake was a lot of fun. Almond flakes are nice sprinkled over too.

J also likes to add lots of colourful sprinkles to the batter to make it a cute subtly colourful cake.

This isn’t a recipe particular to a bundt pan. You can bake this with equal success in a sheet pan – cutting out with cake rings to make stacked cakes (which is in fact, its original design!); or in regular cake pans for an effortless anytime cake.

Cake recipe adapted from All About Cake, Christina Tosi.

Ingredients

  • 250g caster sugar
  • 60g soft brown sugar
  • 120g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs (size 8)
  • 110g buttermilk (or sour cream)
  • 80g neutral oil (rice bran or rapeseed oil)
  • 10g vanilla baking extract (I used Heilala vanilla baking extract)
  • 180g plain flour
  • 25g corn flour
  • 4g baking powder
  • 4g salt

Raspberry icing glaze

  • 10g Fresh As freeze dried raspberry pieces, crushed up
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 175C on fan bake. Grease a bundt pan well (or line your cake pan with baking paper, if you are not baking in a bundt pan).
  2. Cream the sugars and butter together in a stand mixer, on medium-high for 3 minutes or till light and fluffy.
  3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add eggs in one by one, making sure each has been incorporated before adding the next. Beat on high for 3-4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl at the end.
  4. In a jug, mix together buttermilk, oil and vanilla. With the mixer on low-medium, very slowly pour this fatty mixture in. This should take 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and beat on high speed for 3 minutes. The mixture should have doubled in volume, is quite white and homogenous, with no streaks of fat. This is an essential step. Take your time to do this right.
  5. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture (flours, baking powder and salt), taking just a minute. Scrape down the bowl and mix on low for a further minute.
  6. Check that the oil in the greased pan has not pooled in the grooves. (if so, brush again). Pour the batter into your prepared pan.
  7. Bake for 40 minutes (25 – 30 minutes for sheet pans and smaller cake pans, especially if you are diving the batter up and baking the cakes into smaller cakes). The cake is done when it has pulled away from the sides, and is bouncy to touch.
  8. Leave in the pan for 15 minutes before up ending it onto a wire rack for cooling.
  9. To make Raspberry glaze, mix all the ingredients to form a thick glaze. Drizzle over cake.

Vanilla Cheesecake, Chocolate Ganache, Raspberry Jelly


No bake Vanilla cheesecake with chocolate ganache and Raspberry Jelly disc

No bake Vanilla cheesecake with chocolate ganache and Raspberry Jelly disc

No bake Vanilla cheesecake with chocolate ganache and Raspberry Jelly disc

No bake Vanilla cheesecake with chocolate ganache and Raspberry Jelly disc

Everyone needs a trusty ‘bring-a-plate dessert’ that will wow people with its flavours, texture and look. This cheesecake in my humble opinion, does just that.

A buttery crumb base; soft chocolate ganache; creamy and tangy cream cheese, all contrasted with a tart raspberry jelly disc.

These can be prepared quickly and you can even purchase premade crust trays which will save you one step of this dessert. If you can’t find Graham Crackers, look for digestive biscuits and it will achieve the same flavours. (watch this space for a Graham Cracker recipe!)

For the cream cheese filling, I tested with a mixture of cream cheese, Mascarpone and cream. This is because the traditional recipe calls for either condensed milk or lots of cream cheese. I find those tend to be really dense and rich and I prefer something lighter. Mascarpone cheese gives me this effect. The liquid double cream is whipped in after the cream cheese, mascarpone and icing sugar has been whipped smooth and soft; the cream loosens it up slightly, allowing it to set perfectly.

You can probably add the chocolate ganache to the cream cheese mixture – we did toy with the thought of swirling it in (a recipe for another day! ). Today we will leave it clean, with a layered look – it turned out really well.

Lastly it was time to bring out my trusty Silikomart silicone tourbillon
mould, to create the spiral jelly discs. I used Fresh As freeze dried raspberry powder and gelatine leaves to make the jelly, you can always use a different flavour to change things up.

What flavour should I make next? I will think about that while tucking into a piece of this cheesecake 😉

No bake Vanilla cheesecake with chocolate ganache and Raspberry Jelly disc

No bake Vanilla cheesecake with chocolate ganache and Raspberry Jelly disc

Ingredients

8 servings

Graham Crackers crust

  • 250g Graham Crackers or digestive biscuits
  • 100g unsalted butter, melted
  • Or a premade crust

Cheesecake

  • 250g cream cheese, room temperature
  • 250g mascarpone
  • 92g (3/4 cup) icing sugar
  • 100g double cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Fresh As Jellies

  • 35g Fresh As Raspberry Powder
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 300ml water
  • 4 leaves gelatine (silver grade), soaked in ice cold water

Chocolate soft ganache

  • 175g dark chocolate (70% or above cocoa solids), chopped into small pieces
  • 200g double cream (35% fat)

Method

Graham cracker crust

  1. If using a ready made crust shell, you can skip this and move to making the ganache.
  2. Otherwise, crush crackers or biscuits to fine crumbs. You can do this in a food processor, or in a sealed zip lock bag, and crushing them with a heavy rolling pin.
  3. Add melted butter and mix till mixture binds together.
  4. Pour crumbs into a 9″ lined springfoam baking pan or tart pan with a removable base, pressing the mix down with a tall straight glass. Make sure the layer is even, and press crumbs up against the sides as well with your hands.
  5. Chill in the fridge to firm up.

Chocolate soft ganache

  1. Place chocolate into a heatproof bowl.
  2. Bring cream to a boil and pour over chocolate. Let it sit for a minute before stiring; stir till homogenize and thick.
  3. Pour a 1cm-thick layer into the chilled cake base. You can test by vertically inserting a clean flat tipped spatula into the base – lift up and you can see how deep the chocolate went with the mark on the spatula.
  4. Return to the fridge to chill.

Cheesecake layer

  1. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and mascarpone cream together, until smooth and fluffy.
  2. Beat in icing sugar, double cream and vanilla till smooth and no lumps.
  3. Scoop into crust base.
  4. Smooth with an offset spatula.
  5. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.

Fresh As Jellies

  1. Place water into a pot and add the sugar and Fresh As freeze dried Raspberry powder in, whisking to dissolve completely.
  2. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously.
  3. Remove from the heat and add drained gelatine leaves.
  4. Pour into moulds and refrigerate for 3 hours till set.

Assembly

  1. Add raspberry jelly disc on top of cheesecake as garnish.
  2. Cut with a warm but dry knife.

No bake Vanilla cheesecake with chocolate ganache and Raspberry Jelly disc

No Bake Silky Chocolate Cheesecake


No bake chocolate cheesecake with cream cheese and mascarpone

No bake chocolate cheesecake with cream cheese and mascarpone

No bake chocolate cheesecake with cream cheese and mascarpone

What happens when you mix chocolate ganache into cream cheese?

That’s the question I asked J and she said “let’s pour and find out!” That’s how we roll, forever in search of the (next) perfect dessert.

The result: A buttery crumb base; super silky chocolate cream cheese filling, further topped with more chocolate ganache.

This is made in the same way as my Vanilla cheesecake and can be prepared quickly with some shortcuts – you can use premade crust trays which will save you one step of this dessert.

For the cream cheese filling, I added a third of the prepared chocolate ganache to the cream cheese mixture. This helps set the cream cheese without the need of gelatine.

The result is a silky smooth cheesecake with a deep cocoa flavour. The tanginess is still there but with the addition of chocolate and use of mascarpone, this is more mousse like.

I really like this experimental version – lighter and quite suitable for the summer season we are heading into. Just imagine further adorning the cheesecake with Tatua Chocolate Mousse straight from the can.

Ps J reminded me to pair the cheesecakes with a chocolate glaze aka mirror glaze! I’ve made them in my Chocolate Mousse Dome Entremet recipe but can totally be used on cheesecakes too!

Ingredients

10 servings

Graham Crackers crust

  • 250g Graham Crackers or digestive biscuits
  • 100g unsalted butter, melted
  • Or a premade crust

Cheesecake

  • 250g cream cheese, room temperature
  • 250g mascarpone
  • 120g (1 cup) icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate soft ganache

  • 175g dark chocolate (70% or above cocoa solids), chopped into small pieces
  • 200g cream (35% fat)

Method

Graham cracker crust

  1. If using a ready made crust shell, you can skip this crust step and move to making the ganache.
  2. Otherwise, crush crackers or biscuits to fine crumbs. You can do this in a food processor, or in a sealed zip lock bag, and crushing them with a heavy rolling pin.
  3. Add melted butter and mix till mixture binds together.
  4. Pour crumbs into a lined springfoam baking pan, pressing the mix down with a tall straight glass. Make sure the layer is even, and press crumbs up against the sides as well.
  5. Chill in the fridge to firm up.

Chocolate soft ganache

  1. Place chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
  2. Bring cream to a boil in a pan and pour over chocolate. Let it sit for a minute before stiring; stir till homogenize and slightly thick.
  3. Place in the fridge to chill.

Cheesecake layer

  1. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and mascarpone cream together, until smooth and fluffy.
  2. Beat in icing sugar and vanilla till smooth and no lumps.
  3. Using two teaspoons, Place small dollops of cream cheese in crust base. This creates some patches of white in amongst the dark brown cheesecake.
  4. Pour a third of the chocolate ganache into the bowl with the remaining cream cheese mixture. Mix to incorporate.
  5. Pour into crumb base and smooth with an offset spatula. It’s really easy to smooth if you pop the base on a spinning cake stand/wheel. Just hold the spatula with one hand, steadily on top of the cream cheese mixture and spin with your other hand.
  6. Pour remaining chocolate ganache over the chocolate cream cheese mix. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
  7. Cut with a warm but dry knife.

No bake chocolate cheesecake with cream cheese and mascarpone

No bake chocolate cheesecake with cream cheese and mascarpone

Manjari Mousse, Raspberry Jelly, Mascarpone Cream


Manjari Valrhona mousse, Raspberry Jelly, marcarpone cream

Inspired by a recent Valrhona workshop with Valrhona Pacific and Sabato, I set off to create a mousse dessert with all my favourites. Here I used Valrhona Manjari, a single origin dark chocolate made from rare cocoa beans from Madagascar. This has a fresh, acidic, sharp bouquet with red fruit notes and pairs perfectly with a Raspberry Jelly made with Fresh As freeze dried raspberry powder.

These were offset with a whipped mascarpone cream, tempered chocolate discs and Valrhona Chocolate pearls.

As this mousse doesn’t have any raw eggs, it’s quite suitable for children and anyone who doesn’t like uncooked eggs.

Smooth chocolate mousse with a deep rich flavour, cut through with a tart raspberry jelly, this is a delicious and sophisticated summer dessert.

Manjari Valrhona mousse, Raspberry Jelly, marcarpone cream

Ingredients

Manjari chocolate mousse

  • 250g dark chocolate, Valrhona Manjari
  • 150g mini marshmallows
  • 60g butter
  • 60ml hot water
  • 330ml fresh cream

Fresh As Jellies

  • 35g Fresh As Raspberry Powder
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 300ml water
  • 4 leaves gelatine (silver grade), soaked in ice cold water

Mascarpone Whipped Cream

  • 250g mascarpone
  • 250g cream
  • 30g sugar
  • 5g (1/2 tsp) vanilla bean paste

Method

Manjari chocolate mousse

  1. Put the chocolate, mini marshmallows, butter and water in a heavy-based saucepan.
  2. Put the saucepan over gentle heat to melt the contents, stirring to make sure nothing sticks to the pan (the chocolate can stick very quickly). Remove from the heat to cool. You can put the pan in a larger vessel containing cold water to speed up the cooling process.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk the cream until thick, and then fold into the cooling chocolate mixture until you have a smooth, cohesive mixture.
  4. Pour into 12 small glasses or ramekins, and chill until set (takes only about 20 minutes for it to set).

Fresh As Jellies

  1. Place water into a pot and add the sugar and Fresh As freeze dried Raspberry powder in, whisking to dissolve completely.
  2. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously.
  3. Remove from the heat and add drained gelatine leaves.
  4. Pour into moulds and refrigerate for 3 hours till set.

Mascarpone Whipped Cream
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the mascarpone, cream, sugar, and vanilla bean paste to medium-stiff peaks, 3 minutes at the most. Fit a large French star tip to a piping bag, and transfer mascarpone whipped cream to it.

Assembly

Pipe a dollop of whipped mascarpone cream on top of set chocolate mousse. Add a tempered chocolate disc, a jelly disc and scatter over several Valrhona chocolate pearls.

Manjari Valrhona mousse, Raspberry Jelly, marcarpone cream

Glorious Tiramisu with Bailey’s


This is how I make Tiramisu – for as long as I can remember.
Trouble with making Tiramisu is what do you do with the left overs. I’ve learnt that if I used a narrow based bowl that opens up to a wider top, while aesthetically pleasing, I would have half-used packets of lady fingers and left over mascarpone cheese filling yet wouldn’t quite be enough to make another! I’ve found that if I use a straight edged rectangular bowl (20cm by 15 cm straight edged Pyrex bowl) it would be close to perfect, with just enough left to also make some cute little deconstructed pots of Tiramisu.
This also won me the top prize at my previous job’s departmental cooking competition so it has truly been tasted and approved by many. My current colleagues love it. My point of difference is the use of Bailey’s – lots of recipes call for rum or brandy but I love Bailey’s and have always preferred Tiramisu made with Baileys. Airy and pillowy; velvety and light; a glorious pick-me-up dessert.

Ingredients

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 400g mascarpone cheese (I use Tatua Mascarpone cheese)
  • 350ml cream, whipped
  • 22 Italian Lady fingers
  • 250ml cold coffee (Nespresso or use instant Moccona)
  • ½ cup Baileys
  • 1 tbsp of your best cocoa for dusting

Instructions

  1. Combine egg yolks and sugar in the top of a double boiler, over boiling water. Reduce heat to low, and cook for about 10 minutes, whisking constantly. This is your sabayon, remove from the heat and whip yolks until thick and lemon colored.
  2. Add Mascarpone to whipped yolks, beat until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, whip cream to stiff peaks.
  4. Gently fold the whipped cream in the mascarpone sabayon mixture and set aside.
  5. Mix the cold espresso with the Baileys and dip the lady fingers into the mixture just long enough to get them wet, do not soak them! Do only several at a time.
  6. Arrange the lady fingers in the bottom of your bowl.
  7. Spoon half the mascarpone cream filling over the lady fingers.
  8. Repeat process with another layer of lady fingers and mascarpone cream.
  9. Dust with cocoa.
  10. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. It tastes better the next day.

If there are any leftovers, I often make up small individual servings, as shown here.

(Styled by J)