So, this was an interesting weekend. Alot of cooking, baking and running around. Nowhere near as recuperative as last Sunday but interesting nonetheless. I popped by Carrefour on Thursday and summer produce all but bitch-slapped me in the face. Berries of evey hue and shape lined the shelves, fresh greens and all kinds of ripe fruit tumbling off baskets. How could I not succumb to all that? I came home $30 poorer and 3 tubs of berries richer. A little steep for fruit I know but honestly, I can’t remember the last time I cooked with fresh blackberries, blueberries and rasberries, always having to contend with the frozed variety. I say the experience is worth the money paid. Thanks to cold-chain management and international trade routes, I can now happily bake off fresh berry cakes, even if only for a select season of the year and at very steep prices.
A tumbling of summer fruit. The rasberries were my favourite…
I scoured the net for a recipe to use my newly acquired berries in the best possible way. I didn’t want something that completely overpowered their taste, but neither did I want something too simple to make. I was feeling a little adventurous, what can I say *grin* I settled on a cream cheese berry cheesecake, because somewhere at the back of my mind, I’d pictured the sweet berries paired with the tangy taste of cream cheese. I followed the recipe to the most part, except for some minor alterations, being the meddlesome little troll that I am:
- Though the recipe only called for blackberries I wanted to use all that I bought so I used 1/3cup of blackberries, blueberries and rasberries each. I found the berries just a little tart so I sprinkled a tablespoon of vanilla sugar over them and let them steep in the sugary goodness for about 20minutes before using them.
- I used an 8″ tin instead of 9″ cos I wanted my cake to have a little height.
- I added 1/2 cup of sugar to the cream cheese instead of 1/4 cup cos that just seemed too little. Also, I used orange peel instead of lemon, simply cos I forgot to buy lemons! It still turned out great though.
The recipe seemed a little daunting at first, involving weird manipulations of the cake batter so that it forms a cusp to hold in the cream cheese and berries. But really, its not that difficult, as I found out:
First, you have to spread the batter slightly up the sides of the tin, almost like a pie crust. A litte tricky but manageable with a few deft swirls with a plastic spatula.
Next, pour in the citrus-scented cream cheese filling. You see, the cake batter acts lika a well, holding in the cheese. Again, it miraculously just worked out, even though I was afraid my batter “well” would overflow. The baking gods were clearly in a good mood.
Tumble in the sugar-syrup coated berries. My favourite part. I wanted to tuck in, right there and then!
Sprinkle the cinnamon-scented streusel topping over everything. This was shaping up to be a gorgeous cake. Rich cake batter, a creamy cheese filling, sweet berries and a buttery cinnamon streusel. Too many good things to be true?
Thankfully no! The cake was lovely, lusciously smooth and creamy and with the lovely taste of berries. The recipe calls for it to be served warm but personally, I thought it best when chilled. It was almost like eating a gourmet scoop of berry-cheesecake ice-cream rippled with chunks of cake.
Maybe I’ll spend another $30 on fruit just to make this again next week. It was worth every cent.