Golden: Rose-scented Cheesecake on a Coconut Base with Berry Compote

So we embarked on a gluten free cheesecake baking adventure last Thursday and it was very well received. Too bad our gluten free guest couldn’t make it. I guess that means we have an excuse to make it again though, at least!

I was very happy to read in the beginning of the cheesecake section that all the cheesecakes in Golden could be easily adapted to gluten free. I love a baked cheesecake more than just about anything so I have high expectations and rarely do cheesecakes live up to them. This was certainly an exception.

Aaron and I divvied up the tasks for the cheesecake preparation: I made the base and the compote while he conquered the cheesecake filling. The compote is basically some frozen raspberries cooked in a saucepan with sugar and a lemon that’s been cut in half until it boils and thickens. Then you pull the lemons out and over a mesh sieve juice the lemons into the mixture. It is so much easier to get all the juice out of a hot lemon. What a cool trick! Then it has a bit of rosewater and some fresh raspberries and strawberries stirred through before being refrigerated until ready to serve.

The base is pretty much a coconut macaroon – and what a clever way to make a cheesecake base gluten free! It’s simply coconut, butter, sugar, salt and egg that has been mixed together, pressed into the lined baking tin and baked until lightly golden – this took me about 20 minutes, while the recipe said 10.

Aaron tackled the filling which had all the usual cheesecake suspects – cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, sugar, flour which he used cornflour for – and then the flavorings added were rosewater and lemon zest. We poured this over the cooked base and baked it in the oven for 35 minutes.

I was so skeptical of this cooking time. I’ve never cooked a cheesecake so quickly or at such a high temperature. But, it turned out perfect! No cracks in the top and it was set yet creamy. Hallelujah!

The only weird thing about the cheesecake is this little concave side we have happening. I have no idea why that would occur?! It made the presentation not as beautiful as it could’ve been, but it’s hard to complain when it tasted so dang good!

Thanks Honey and Co – I now have to try all of Golden‘s cheesecake recipes!

Throwback Thursday: Almond Pound Cake with Raspberry Swirl and Glaze from The Fearless Baker

It’s been awhile since I’ve had The Fearless Baker in my hands as it is quite the popular book at the library at the moment. I was so excited it was finally mine again because I could finally post about this most awesome cake that I’d tried but no longer had the recipe for.

When Bible study is on at our place, I often experiment with gluten free baking because one of our guests has an allergy. I usually look for a recipe that would be fairly easy to adapt and this fit the bill. The pound cake is a mixture of almond meal, gluten free flour, baking powder and salt combined with butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and almond extracts and milk. Then once you’ve poured that into your bundt pan you swirl in 1/3 cup of raspberry jam and bake it for 45-60 minutes depending on your oven.

I just love a good bundt cake – they look like they take so much more effort than they actually do. But I really wanted this one to have wow factor, so I decided I wanted a berry glaze to go on top. Erin has a berry glaze recipe in her book so that’s what I was going to use until I saw that her recipe takes 2 cups of fruit juice and reduces it to 1/3 cup, similar to the bourbon/peach juice reduction in this pie. I’d been unimpressed with the reduced sauce that time so thought I’d take a shortcut and pushed raspberry jam through a fine mesh sieve to make 1/3 cup before mixing in some icing sugar mixture and some thickened cream. It needed the tiniest amount of rose pink food coloring to make the color pop, and then I poured it over the cooled cake.

It is by far the best glaze I’ve ever made, even Erin commented when I posted it on Instagram. Gotta be happy with that!

Throwback Thursday: Sour Cherry Streusel Cake from Classic German Baking

Throwback to June 2017 when Food52 Baking Club was going through Luisa Weiss’s book Classic German Baking. Sooo many delicious looking desserts that just had to be baked ASAP.

Her Sour Cherry Streusel Cake or Kirschstreuselkuchen very quickly became one of my favourite recipes and I’ve probably made it half a dozen times over the last 9 months. The recipe can be found online, so there’s no excuse not to try it for yourself. And as long as you keep a jar of tart cherries in your cupboard and have basic baking ingredients on hand, this is a cake you can whip up in a jiffy if you suddenly find yourself in need of a cake.

There’s 3 basic components in this recipe: the streusel, the cherries and the batter. The streusel you mix by hand and is made of flour, sugar, butter, cinnamon and salt. The cherries are really interesting as you drain the juice and bring it to a boil with a bit set aside to create a slurry with some cornflour and then whisked in to make it get thick and syrupy. Then you reincorporate the cherries and set it aside to cool while you make the batter. And the batter is a dead simple basic butter cake – where you cream butter and sugar and some eggs and vanilla then add your dry ingredients and a little milk (I usually use buttermilk). Then you layer it up in a 9×13 inch pan and bake in a moderate oven for 45-50 minutes.

It turns out great every time, and while I’m actually a little disappointed with the lack of color in the streusel this time around, it still tasted fabulous. I used a new type of gluten free flour and it behaved a little differently. This is another thing of interest, how adaptable this recipe is to gluten free. We regularly bake for a gluten free guest and so this is an easy recipe for me to make for her by simply replacing the plain flour with gluten free and everything else remains the same. The cake is not overly sweet making it easy to eat more than one slice and the red color on the cherries is so elegant that it would sit very nicely on a high tea platter.

I’m really surprised this is the first time I’ve posted about this book because it is one of my absolute favorites. I look forward to sharing more from this book soon!

The Fearless Baker: Flourless Cocoa Cookies

This month, Food52 Baking Club is working through Erin McDowell’s book The Fearless Baker. I had the library order this book a few months ago, knowing that this was going to be coming up and was able to get my hands on it for about a week in December, and boy, oh boy am I excited to have it back!

I’ve made these flourless cocoa cookies a few times now, and I have to say they are by far the nicest naturally gluten free cookie I’ve had. They are like a cookie on the outside and while others have described the inside as a brownie, I’d say it’s more like a chocolate truffle – delectably rich and delicious.

People have had trouble with the sticky and thick batter, but I’ve found if you just use a handheld mixer to do the work, the trouble is virtually non-existent. And scooping the dough with a spring loaded cookie scoop keeps them uniform in size and while the shape isn’t smooth, that’s actually part of the charm.

Did I mention they have only 7 ingredients?! You simply whisk some eggs, add icing sugar, salt, cinnamon and cocoa, then stir in some vanilla and chocolate chips. You can seriously have the batter ready to go within 5 minutes. Scoop them onto a baking paper lined cookie sheet, sprinkle some salt on top and in my oven they took 8 minutes to get firm without overcooking.

I have had rave reviews about these every time I’ve made them and they will definitely be staying in my cookie rotation for the foreseeable future. A good start to what should be a great month of baking!

Throwback Thursday: Rose Hibiscus Shortbread Fans from Dorie’s Cookies

I’ve previously done a Throwback Thursday post for Dorie’s Cookies, the book Food52 Baking Club covered in its very first month. This book is seriously an encyclopedia of every type of cookie you could possibly want to make. And every picture is so beautiful.

We made this recipe when we threw a little afternoon tea for Mother’s Day last year (it’s online here). Everything that we made had some form of pink in it – well the sweets, that is. And the fact that this recipe has tea in it, made it even more appropriate for our special afternoon tea table.

I’ve since come to adapt it as a gluten free cookie. In the side bar, Dorie gives the suggestion that rather than part rice flour part all purpose you can use fully all purpose flour, so I take that amount and replace it with gluten free flour, and it turns out great every time.

I had a hard time finding plain hibiscus tea, so started out with a passionfruit hibiscus blend which was nice, then today I noticed that Dorie suggests Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger tea – and I had Raspberry Zinger tea in my cupboard so I thought I’d give that a whirl. It took almost 2 tea bags, so I sprinkled the rest of the tea leaves over the shortbread along with the sugar sprinkles. A whole new level of deliciousness was achieved. I’m already planning a trip to the markets where I source Celestial Seasonings here to stock up on some more.

I definitely recommend this recipe to anyone who loves tea and shortbread. It really is the perfect cookie. And it’s really quick to put together. You put the tea leaves in with the sugar and smash them about a bit. Then you add the butter and salt and cream the mixture, then the extracts, then the flour. I no longer bake this in a springform cake pan, I free form the circle of dough on a cookie sheet and roll it nice and even. I score the disc into 12 wedges completely, and use the fork prong trick along the edge. I baked this for 20 minutes at 150C and it was done just perfectly. The icing is simply icing sugar and a tablespoon of milk whisked together. Nothing fancy, it doesn’t need it. I’ll be enjoying this over the next few days with my afternoon cuppa.

 

Throwback Thursday: Clementine and Almond Syrup Cake from Jerusalem

I’m now up to 4 – I own 4 out of the 5 Ottolenghi books that the Food52 Cookbook Club included in their June 2017 selections from his repertoire. I talked a bit about that month in this post.

The following is a major cake fail. I burnt this cake to a crisp. No joke. I salvaged it, but it was bad. So I was a bit fancy with the camera angles so you can’t see what a patchwork job it was. I sawed off the top and carefully cut away the sides before brushing the syrup on. Sigh. I’m still not sure where I went wrong with the oven temperature.

I needed a gluten free cake. I’ve dabbled a bit in gluten free baking and I thought that given that a large portion of this cake batter was almond meal, it would probably work with substituting the plain flour for gluten free flour 1:1. It worked a treat! I just had my oven too hot. But anyway…

The Clementine and Almond Syrup cake from Jerusalem is to die for.  The recipe is online, so I implore you to try it! To have had such a massive issue with the baking and to have still ended up with a superbly moist cake is a testament to how beautiful this recipe is. Clementines aren’t in season in Australia at the moment, but I have a fruit drawer full of oranges that need to be used so I just went with that. I used Grand Marnier in the chocolate icing instead of straight Cognac. No big change, but a change nonetheless.

We ended up cancelling our plans so this cake never made it past the test kitchen. We’ve rescheduled for next week though so I’m keen to make it again to see if it’s just as good if I don’t burn it. Aaron called it one of the nicest cakes I’ve made and that is really saying something. I can’t wait for our gluten free friend to try it!