2 March 2015

Oreo Cheesecake [No Bake]

I feel like this is a time of change. People in management are changing roles at work; spring is on its way; long-standing Radio 1 DJs are moving on (which is clearly deeply connected to changes in my day-to-day life). Another change you might note is a slight re-jig around Cake Of The Week.

First of all, I've given the site a new layout, on which I welcome your comments - good and bad. Next, I've made a resolution to spend more time promoting great posts on other blogs, especially those which influence my own baking and that I think my readers might also enjoy. I love how supportive food bloggers are of each other, and I want to do my part. Finally, as eluded in yesterday's round up, Baking With Spirit is getting a little shake up. More on that on Wednesday...

I'm pretty excited about all these things, and I hope you can get on board with what I do here. I generally try to welcome change as, in my experience, it tends to bring new opportunities with it, even if they are sometimes disguised as something bad. I'm hoping these new things on Cake Of The Week, in my life, and even on Radio 1 will not fail to keep my faith; change is good.

This Oreo Cheesecake is a creamy no-bake cheesecake with pieces of Oreo floating through it. I wanted a chocolatey base so I used Bourbon Biscuits, but if you're a purist you could use Oreos here too. This cheesecake turned out fantastically, but is quite rich so a small slice should suffice - this is made all the easier by making it in a loaf tin, as I did. Depth of flavour was created by adding an impulsive splash of Irish cream liqueur, but this is totally voluntary and is obviously not advisable if you'll be serving this to children.

  • 200g Bourbon Biscuits
  • 50g Butter
  • 200g Caster Sugar
  • 350g Philadelphia Cheese
  • 250mL Double Cream
  • 25 mL Irish Cream Liqueur
  • 1 Sachet Gelatine
  • 200g Oreos
  • Line a loaf tin (or a springform tin) with cling film.
  • Blend the bourbon biscuits in a food processor, or put in a plastic bag, seal and crush with a rolling pin.
  • Melt the butter by putting in the microwave for 30 seconds and blend/stir it into the crushed biscuits.
  • Press the biscuit mixture into the base of the tin and place to one side.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk the Philadelphia, double cream, caster sugar and Irish cream liqueur until thick.
  • Prepare the gelatine as per the manufacturer's instructions, then whisk into the cheesecake mixture.
  • Crush 3/4 of the Oreos and fold into the cheesecake mixture.
  • Pour the mixture over the biscuit mixture in the tin, then smooth the top.
  • Decorate with the remaining Oreo biscuits, then refrigerate until set (3-4 hours).
  • Carefully pull out of tin using cling film, peel off cling film and serve.

1 March 2015

Baking With Spirit: The Fun Round Up

What a short and sweet month February has turned out to be. I've been visiting friends in Newcastle, walked through actual forest in Sandringham and went to a Mexican fiesta in Luton. All this, and there have been two entries to add to my own for this month's fun theme.

Kat from The Baking Explorer entered this adorable Raspberry & Limoncello Tart. I love baking with Limoncello for its added citrus tang, and I bet it went very well with the raspberry.

I entered these flamingo-topped Pina Colada Cupcakes. I made them back in 2012 and decided they could do with another airing since I didn't have time to make anything from scratch.

Finally, check out this Black Forest Gateau from Siobhan at Tastyrecipesandotherstuff. A towering glory if kirsch, cherries, chocolate sponge and cream, this cake is a must-try.

Come back on Wednesday for some important news on the future of Baking With Spirit. I'm having a shake up around here...

17 February 2015

Nutella Brownies

You may notice that I've given Cake Of The Week a bit of a face lift. I've had the same design since early 2013, and was getting a bit tired of the format and colour scheme. I am no html wizard so was heavily reliant on the little image editing knowledge I have, combined with Blogger's template customisation. I am still inclined to tweak the layout a bit over the next few weeks, so please give me any feedback in the comments and I will take it into account. Do you like the new layout? Is there anything that could be improved? I would love to know your take, since without interested readers this site would be no more than a glorified recipe book.

These Nutella Brownies, if I do say so myself, were delicious. These were loosely based on my Healthy Brownies, but the key difference here is that I used Nutella instead of chocolate. The result is a moist, rich and dense brownie that oozes (not literally) Nutella flavouring.

The brownies went down a storm at work, and would be perfect for pretty much any occasion. Let's all take a moment to thank Michele Ferrero, who sadly died this week, for gifting the world with Nutella. My world, and certainly these Nutella Brownies, would have been lacking without his creation.

Makes 24
  • 375g Butter
  • 200g Nutella
  • 200g Caster Sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 225g Plain Flour
  • 50g Cocoa Powder
  • Preheat the oven to 200C/180C and line a brownie/roasting tin with baking parchment.
  • In a saucepan, melt the butter and Nutella together over a medium heat until smooth.
  • Remove from the heat, then beat in the sugar and the eggs until well combined.
  • Fold in the flour and cocoa powder. If they are lumpy, use a sieve to add them to the batter.
  • Pour the batter into the brownie/roasting tin and bake for 20 minutes. Check with a skewer, and remove from the oven when it comes out with brownie on it. If the skewer has batter on it, return the brownie batter to the oven for another 4 minutes. Do not wait until the skewer is clean, because the brownies will be dry and more cake-like.
  • Allow to cool before slicing up. 

                                                                                          We Should Cocoa badge

We Should Cocoa is hosted by Katie at Recipe For Perfection this month, and she has chosen brownies as her theme. These Nutella Brownies certainly fit the bill, though I don't think I'm the only one entering to have come up with such a combination! The challenge is overseen by Choclette at Chocolate Log Blog.

14 February 2015

Blueberry Muffins

I've owned Nigella Lawson's How To Be A Domestic Goddess for years, and still I make new recipe discoveries all the time. I am of course no stranger to Blueberry Muffins, but I was using buttermilk for the first time (after finally identifying its location in my local supermarket) and wanted an old and familiar narrative to guide me through.

I was a little heavy handed with the baking powder, so despite the definite raising agent flavouring, these muffins were fantastic for my morning break at work. They only contain 75g of sugar, so are quite different from the sweeter, store bought version that I am usually partial to. Apart from overdoing it with the baking powder, the only change I made was adding about 100g oats to the batter.

I've had a box of rolled oats since I moved out of my last student house (almost exactly 18 months to the day), and as I have gone off porridge breakfasts, so has my oat supply stagnated. I recently rediscovered my oat box, and decided that perhaps it was time to take the plunge and use them up. The oats added a nice texture to the muffins, and I would recommend adding them to your own.

I won't include a recipe here because I followed the recipe almost word for word, though I do encourage you to borrow or buy this book. I'm not being paid by anyone to write this, but it has to be said that of my few recipe books (What?! A food blogger without a glut of recipe books?! I know, right! They're just not my thing, ok?), Nigella's really stand out as invaluable resources.

31 January 2015

Baking With Spirit: The February Challenge [& January Round Up]

Oh February, where did you come from?

January passed me by in a whirl of birthday celebrations (I'm 24 now, everybody), training on a new analytical instrument at work, and one fun evening involving twister and jenga in which I proved that I am very strong and flexible. (Trying to rise above any jokes from the gutter here...)

January's Baking With Spirit challenge was sadly not very popular and only got one entry other than my own. To see these fabulous creations and learn how to make your boozy creations whilst keeping them healthy, scroll down to below the rules.

This month is of course famous for a day that some adore, some react to in such a way that they feel the need to stage some sort of protest, alcohol-and-chocolate-driven or otherwise, and some just try to ignore while they get on with their lives. I usually lie in the third camp, and this year is no exception.

Far be it from me to stop some of you having your fun, though; this month's theme is fun, so your entry can be as romantic or depressing as you like, as long as you think it fits the theme (maybe not depressing, then...) The only other stipulation is that your entry contains alcohol, otherwise you're really missing the point of this challenge.

Here are the rules:

  • Bake something containing alcohol that fits the theme of fun.
  • Write it up in a post and include a link to this page and mention Cake Of The Week.
  • Email it to me at cakeoftheweek@hotmail.co.uk, including a photo you want me to use and a link to the post.
  • If you don't email a photo I will assume you are giving me permission to use one from your post.
  • The deadline is the 28th February.
  • I will pin the entries to the Baking With Spirit pinterest board.
Alexandra from The Lass In The Apron sent in this delicious looking entry for Oat-Pecan Marmalade Muffins. She used whisky marmalade (which sounds amazing, by the way), and there is no added sugar because Alexandra reasoned that the marmalade contained enough sugar. The muffins are healthy all round because they contain oats, pecans, wholemeal spelt flour and yoghurt - perfect for this challenge. Thank you, Alexandra!

My entry for the healthy challenge was this Low Fat Tiramisu. This tasted amazing and you would never guess that it used low fat cream cheese and cream. If you are a tiramisu lover like me, I advise you to try it without delay!