Friday, 24 December 2010

Raspberry-Lychee Cheesecake, Merry Christmas!!

My two beautiful boys


Christmas is my most favourite time of the year...I love everything about Christmas, I love Christmas tree, Christmas lights, the holiday, the decorations, the food, the songs, the shopping, the gifts, all of the Christmasy stuffs... but most of all I love the gathering of families and friends.

One of my favourite dessert for Christmas is Raspberry and Lychee Cheesecake.
It's a very easy dessert to make and can be made in advance.
Christmas in New Zealand is summer, so for me this is a perfect chilled dessert that embodies the flavours of summer and Christmas :)



Raspberry and Lychee Cheesecake

To make this cake you need:

23cm sponge, recipe follows, or use bought sponge.

Basic sponge:
3 eggs
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 cup self-raising flour
1 Tbsp boiling water
1 Tbsp melted butter
1 Tsp vanilla essence

Filling:
1 1/2 Tbsp gelatin
1/4 cup water
500g raspberries (fresh or frozen)
500g fresh lychees or 550g can lychees, well drained
1/2 cup caster sugar
250g mascarpone
250g creme fraiche
1/2 cup cream, whipped
2-3 Tbsp Cointreau

Method:

Basic Sponge:
  • Whisk the egg and caster sugar together until thick and creamy.
  • Drizzle the hot water, melted butter and vanilla essence around the edge of the bowl and sift the flour on top.
  • Fold together gently.
  • Spoon mixture into 23cm greased and lined springform tin.
  • Cook at 180C for about 40 min or until risen and cooked through. The sponge will have shrunk from the sides and the centre will be firm to touch.
Filling:

  • Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and allow to swell. Then dissolve by standing over hot water until melted. 
  • Sieve 3/4 of raspberries to make a smooth puree. Sweeten with 2 Tbsp of the sugar. Peel half lychees and remove the stones. Chop half the fruit finely and place in a bowl with any juice from the lychees along with the mascarpone, creme fraiche, whipped cream and remaining caster sugar and orange liqueur. Stir together well.
  • Gently stir in the dissolved gelatin and carefully fold through the raspberry puree.
  • Cut the sponge cake in half horizontally and place one half into the base of a baking paper-lined 23cm cake tin. Pour raspberries cheesecake mixture into the tin and level off. Sit the remaining sponge half on top and press down firmly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or preferably overnight.
  • Remove the sides of the cake tin and peel away paper. Transfer to a serving plate and decorate with icing sugar, remaining raspberries, lychees and toffee shards.

Toffee shards:

Place 1/2 cup sugar in a heavy-based saucepan with 2-3 Tbsp water and stir gently over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil, stop stirring and boil rapidly until the sugar syrup begins to turn a golden colour. Pour out onto a baking paper-lined tray and leave to set. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container.


Happy baking and Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Apple and Walnut Cake


Few people have asked me the recipes for some of the cakes I baked and I'm happy to share the recipes here. I will be posting the recipes in the blog..so watch this space!

Here is one of my favourite recipe, my version of Apple and Walnut Cake.
The original recipe is from Woman's Day Kitchen, but I have altered it to my liking.

Recipe Ingredients
  •  1 1/2 cups sugar
  •  1 cup vegetable oil
  •  1⁄4 cup apple juice
  •  3 large eggs
  •  2 tsp vanilla extract
  •  1 tsp cinnamon 
  •  1 tsp nutmeg
  •  1 tsp baking soda
  •  1⁄2 tsp salt
  •  3 cups flour
  •  2 large Granny Smith (3 1⁄2 cups), peeled, cored and slice, I like to use Braeburn  or Pacific Rose.
  •  1 1⁄2 cups chopped walnuts

Method:

1. Heat oven to 180ÂșC. Coat a 10-in. tube pan with removable tube insert with nonstick spray.
2. Spread half of the apples and all the walnuts on the bottom of the pan.
3. Whisk sugar, oil, apple juice, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt in a large bowl until blended.
4. Stir in flour until blended. Stir in the rest of apples.
5. Scrape mixture into prepared pan.
6. Bake 1 hour and 10 to 20 minutes.
7. Let cool in pan on wire rack 1 hour. Remove sides of pan. Cool completely before lifting cake off bottom of pan.

Happy Baking!

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Lighting McQueen 3D Cake and Cookies

 




So last week I was busy and this week it was super busy!
This week both my boys were sick. my youngest boy was sick first and on the day he got better was my oldest boy turned. So yes the birthday boy got sick on Friday and his birthday party was on Saturday. I thought of postponing the party few times, but I thought I would wait till Saturday morning and see how he was. Because the party was all planned out, I thought it would be a shame to cancel it..especially that the weather would be sunny and warm on Saturday. So Friday evening, I made the decision to keep going, make the cake, prep everything...I prayed and hope for miracle that he would feel better by the next day!

7am the next day, he still had a fever! and I thought..oh no I have to cancel everything..the birthday boy is sick. Amazingly, just when I was about to cancel the party..at 9am, he was all better! Yay..! the party is still on!

I managed to finish the cake at the last minute..I'm not too happy with the patchy stony desert. It was supposed to have some grass and cactus, but I only had 5 min to complete the base...oh well..at least it is finished right?

Thank God the party went well..the kids were happy...and it is always great to be surrounded with good food and great companies!

Finally here it is, my son's 4th birthday second cake. He loves cars and I thought a 3D Lighting McQueen cake would be perfect for him and it was! He loved the cake!
 .


These are the cookies I made for the guests to take home.
Cars were never my thing, but when you have 2 boys.. you gotta to learn about cars!
Have a great week everyone!

Monday, 6 December 2010

Farm Animals Mini Cupcakes and Lighting McQueen Cake.



What a week! It was so busy that it went by so quick...Yesterday was my oldest son's birthday. He turned 4 yesterday...it is such a blessing to watch him grow and.. oh how fast time flies. We didn't plan to have a birthday party for him this year, I thought a small celebration in his pre-school would do. But being a 4 year old..he requested to have a party and he even had a guest list! Now I had to organise 2 parties and make 2 birthday cakes for him! One small celebration in pre-school and one on the weekend for our family and friends.
One down, and another one to go!

This was the cake for the pre-school party.

On the same day.. was also my friend's daughter birthday. She has the same birthday as my son. I was requested to make Farm animals theme mini cupcakes....and I was delighted!

Here is Farm Animals Chocolate Buttermilk Mini Cupcakes.