Mini Cheesecakes

A few days ago, my husband organised a series of events in aid of the Stroke Association. One of the events was a bake sale.

As it was summer, and the middle of a heatwave, I didn’t really want to spend hours in the kitchen with a hot oven. I also wanted something which had a fresh, summery feel to it. The added challenge of the Forever Nigella theme for July being ‘Party Party’ gave me more inspiration. This month it is hosted by A Kick at the Pantry Door.ForeverNigella_Banner_26

I had spotted Nigella’s recipe for Cherry Cheesecake while watching the TV programme, and had like it, as it is not a baked cheesecake. I do love baked cheesecake, but this one was quicker and simpler. Also, no cooking involved!

As it was for a bake sale, I decided to miniturise the cheesecake into cupcake sizes, and give it a summery twist by using summer fruits and lemon. I had to fiddle around with the quantities of the cheesecake mixture quite a bit – unlike cupcakes, a cheesecake recipe doesn’t divide neatly into 12!

Ingredients

  • 150g digestive biscuits
  • 75g butter
  • 400g cream cheese
  • 60g icing sugar
  • 1 lemon
  • 300ml double cream
  • Fruit to decorate
  • Apricot glaze

Method

  1. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with 12 muffin cases.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Whizz the biscuits in a food processor until they are crumbs. Add the melted butter and whizz again.
  3. Press the biscuit mixture into the cases and refrigerate.

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  1. In a clean bowl, beat the cream cheese. Sieve in the icing sugar and the zest and juice from the lemon. Mix thoroughly.
  2.  In another bowl, whip the double cream until it is thick and fairly stiff. Fold this into the cream cheese mixture.
  3. Put the cream cheese mixture into a piping bag and pipe the filling on top of the base (you don’t have to pipe it; I just found it easier).

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  1. Chill again. When the filling is firm, top with your choice of fruit.
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons of apricot glaze in a saucepan. When boiling, paint the glaze on top of the cheesecakes.
  3. Chill until serving.

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Although I didn’t do these for a party, I think they would work brilliantly.

If anyone knows how I can insert photos without the numbering re-starting, I would be grateful if you could let me know in the comments! Thank you!

Mini Chocolate Sponges

Mini chocolate cakes

These are an adaptation of Jo Wheatley’s Mini Victoria Sponges. I’ve made them a few times and guests have always been impressed – I think they do look fairly impressive on the stand, but they’re actually quite simple. I guess you could make cake pops from the leftover cake, but I never have.

Ingredients

  • 225g caster sugar
  • 225g margarine
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 25g cocoa
  • 4 eggs
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 65g margarine
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method 

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C. Line one swiss roll tin with baking parchment.
  2. Cream together the caster sugar with the margarine.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time, alternating with spoonfuls of flour. Add the rest of the flour and cocoa powder (sifted).
  4. Spread the mixture into the swiss roll tin and flatten with a palette knife as best as you can.
  5. Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes until cooked through.
  6. Remove from oven and turn onto a wire rack. Leave to cool.
  7. Put the icing sugar and margarine into a food processor. Blitz and add the milk and vanilla extract. Blitz again until smooth. Put into a piping bag.
  8. When the cake is cool, transfer it to a board. Cut out 24 x 5cm circles from the cake.
  9. Pipe the icing (I used a star nozzle) onto 12 cake circles. Top with the other 12.
  10. Dust with icing sugar on top.

Swiss Roll

Making a good Swiss Roll, I have discovered, is all in the technique. Usually, I’m more of a “bung it all in – mix it up – stick it in the oven and hope for the best” – kind of baker. However, a Swiss Roll needs a bit more care.

To start, you need your eggs (4) and your caster sugar (100g). Then you have to whisk them together for ages. When you take the whisk out of the mixture, it should leave ribbons. If you have a freestanding mixer, this is no problem. If you have an electric whisk, it’ll take a while but you’ll be ok. If you are whisking by hand, order yourself a new arm before you start.

Once your mixture is thick and ribbony, you can fold in the self-raising flour (100g). I used gluten free flour, because I was making this for when a gluten-free friend came over, but you can use the normal kind if you like.

Carefully tip the mixture into your tin, which should be lined with baking parchment. I used a baking sheet, because I don’t have a Swiss Roll tin, although it is on my wish-list now. Bake at 200 C for 10 minutes. Watch it carefully, because it will scorch quickly.

While the cake is in the oven, get a length of baking parchment, spread it out on a work counter and sprinkle caster sugar over it. Be fairly generous.

When the cake is cooked, take it out of the oven, and, while it’s still hot, tip it out onto the sugared paper. Get a knife and score the cake all along the short edge, about 1 inch from the edge.

While the cake is still hot, roll the cake and the paper together from the scored short edge, right up so that it is one long roll. Then you can allow your cake to cool. It may look something like this:

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When the cake is cool, you can unroll it – it won’t go back flat, don’t worry. Spread strawberry jam generously all along the inside of the cake, and then re-roll it. You will find your cake will roll and not crack.

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Don’t keep this cake to yourself – this is a good one to impress people with! Also, it needs to be eaten within a day or two as it will go dry quickly, so get eating!