Sunday, October 25, 2009

When good cakes go bad...

I am insanely busy at the moment, thesis, tutoring, life in general, all hectic. Despite all this, I couldn't miss an opportunity to celebrate with my good friend and her boyfriend, who got engaged last week. This saw me rush home from work with slight detours at the shops to make a cake, have it cooled and iced all in 3 hours. I also wanted to get some marking done, eat lunch, and write a job application. It doesn't need saying that I got very few of those things done, and with mixed results.

I decided on Nigella's chocolate Guinness cake, which I have made numerous times, as it is easy and involves no beating of butter, sugar etc as it starts its life in a saucepan. Something went wrong in the baking process as it rose gloriously, and then sunk, terribly, so much so that no amount of icing could have filled the void. I thought I would turn it over and ice the bottom - sweet. No, it didn't come out of the tin well (I rushed it, I know, and it was a new tin, silly me) - it was ugly, ragged and sunken and it was an hour before I had to leave - no time for a new cake or baked goods.

Then I remembered trifle - the saviour of cakes gone bad. From trifle I turned my thoughts to tirimasu, as the cake has a cream cheese icing - and from there the decision was easy, and the result I must say delicious (possibly better than the original).

Chocolate-Guinness Tirimasu
1 Chocolate Guinness Cake
1 packet of cream cheese
250 ml or so of thickened cream
(though you easily could use 1 1/2 or double the amount of cream/cream cheese)
100 g Pure icing sugar
Splash of Brandy (or whatever is left in the bottom of the bottle from Christmas cooking)
Sweet Sherry to douse the cake
Cocoa for dusting
1 packet of Frozen Raspberries thawed slightly in the fridge

Cut the dishevelled cake into thin slices.

Beat together the cream, cream cheese, icing sugar and brandy with an electric beater until smooth and fluffy.

Add a layer of cake to a trifle/any bowl. Douse with sherry, as the cake is quite dense I think you can be quite heavy handed with this.

Add a layer of the cream cheese mixture.

Repeat with the cake, sherry and cream cheese. (If you do double the cream cheese, you could do another layer of cake as you will have some left over) Dust over a generous layer of cocoa.

Leave in the fridge to do its thing until you are ready to eat.

Top with raspberries before serving.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009


I have spent my whole life thinking I didn't really like cheesecake, but secretly knowing that if I had a homemade one, that I would love it. The flavour combinations of cheesecakes always lure me in, I have spent hours looking at recipes, yet I have never made one...until now.

My little sister turned 16 last week, and as cheesecake is her favourite dessert I decided that it was the time to make it. She decided on Nigella's London Cheesecake, which I felt was a pretty good place to start.

My hand held mixer- which I borrowed several years ago from my grandma when our proper mixer died - was not happy with beating the cream cheese - making horrible screeching noises and casting off a nasty smell - but I persisted and eventually got to the lovely soft texture required. The rest went off without a hitch. After 50 minutes in the oven I added the layer of sour cream, vanilla and sugar as per the recipe. For whatever reason it didn't keep its lovely whiteness, but it was still lovely and added a nice touch.

The cheesecake was wonderful. Amazingly creamy, full of vanilla and just what I had been missing all these years! I shall be entering whole heartedly into the world of cheesecakes now, however, I may have to step it up at the gym to compensate!