Hazelnut and a bit of everything cheesecake

Whenever I need to make a dessert, cheesecake always seems to pop in my head, it’s just one of those obvious choices and oh boy can I indulge in a good couple of slices myself.

For Eid (which was a few weeks ago) I decided to be really nice, I mean REALLY nice and make a hazelnut cheesecake. Anyone who know’s me will know that I can’t stand, very closely bordering hate nuts! With my family being huge nutty fans and me depriving them of nuts in chocolate brownies, trifle and every dessert involving nuts, I thought I’d do a good lil deed and spoil them with the hazelnut cheesecake.

You might be asking what this “…and a bit of everything…” means in the title of this post. Basically, the recipe requires hazelnut liquor, which obviously is not halaal, so I had to opt for an alternative. I could not for the life of me find a hazelnut syrup/extract and therefore decided to just chop up some bar one and caramel squares, I think it had to do with the fact that I was craving the bar-one cheesecake and caramel is just awesome 🙂 This clearly indicates that you can have complete fun with cheesecake, adding in whatever your heart desires – honeycomb, any type of chocolate, even some more…dare I say it…nuts 🙂

What makes this recipe unique is the flavour the vanilla pods bring to this classic recipe. On that note, here comes the recipe….

Ingredients:

For the base:

– 70ml whole hazelnuts

– 200g chocolate digestive biscuits

– 100g soft butter

For the cheesecake:

– 125ml water

– 20 ml powdered gelatin

– 500g cream cheese

– 250ml castor  sugar

– 2 Tablespoons Hazelnut syrup or anything your heart desires really

– 1 vanilla pod

– 250ml cream

For the topping:

– 8 blocks of chocolate (dark or milk depending on your preference)

Method:

1. Place the hazelnuts in a dry frying pan and toss for a minute or two over a medium flame, or until lightly toasted. Wrap the nuts in a clean tea towel and rub them between your palms to remove some of the skins. Or like me just get the fabulous Woolies hazelnuts which are skinless and beautiful 🙂

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2. Break up the digestive biscuits and place them, with the hazelnuts, in a food processor fitted with a metal blade, or a liquidiser. Process to coarse crumbs, but don’t over-process, which will make the chocolate sticky. Place in a bowl, add the soft butter and stir well to combine. Press the mixture evenly onto the base of a non-stick 24-cm springform cake tin. Place in the fridge while you make the topping.

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3. Put the water in a little heat-proof bowl or ramekin and sprinkle the gelatine on top. Set aside for a few minutes, or until the gelatine has sponged. Put the bowl in a pot of simmering water (the water should come half-way up the sides) and stir occasionally as the gelatine melts. When the liquid is clear, remove the bowl from the hot water and set aside to cool for a few minutes.

4. Combine the cream cheese, castor sugar and hazelnut syrup or extract (or whatever you choose to include, this is where I added the chopped up bar-one and caramel squares)  in a large bowl, using a whisk or hand beater.

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5. Cut the vanilla pod in half, scrape out the black seeds with the blade of a knife, and add to the mixture. Add the warm gelatine mixture and stir well to combine. Whip the cream in a separate bowl until it forms soft peaks. Fold half the cream into the cream cheese mixture, and then fold in the other half. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and tap the tin gently on the countertop to release any bubbles. Place in the fridge for four hours to set.

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Fluffy goodness…yum!

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6. Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Place in a piping bag fitted with a fine nozzle. I used the Lekue Decorating Pen which you can purchase from Yuppiechef to scribble the chocolate all over the cake. Refrigerate for another 30 minutes, or until the chocolate is cold and set. Release the cake from its tin and voila!

This is the magical, easy to clean Lekue Decorating Pen

This is the magical, easy to clean Lekue Decorating Pen

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White Chocolate and Strawberry Tartlets

This post was meant to uploaded during Ramadaan, as I attempted it then – sorry! 🙂

When I stumbled upon this recipe, I was totally sold – white chocolate and strawberries, who can resist??? I made this for dessert the weekend before Eid when I invited my family over for iftaar. My sister in-law Aquilah (AKA Keely) got a teeny weeny obsessed with the custard filling, scooping left overs and inserting it into cream filled eclairs  and anything else she could get her hands on, actually just eating the left overs with her hand 🙂 My nephew Zaydaan absolutely loves white chocolate and his favourite fruit is strawberries, the combination warranted a “I love you Aunty Saadiyah”. The heart shaped white chocolate inserted into the tartlets were just his  ever-end. Oh how I love that little boy 🙂

This was actually meant to be White Chocolate and Raspberry Tartlets, but with raspberries being out of season, strawberries had to just do the trick.

This is perfect for any special occasion and you can have fun and go wild decorating them.

Onto the recipe….

Ingredients:

– 25g cornflour

– 3 medium egg yolks

– 400ml milk

– 1 vanilla pos, slit lengthways

– 100g white chocolate, melted, plus 60g extra white hot chocolate, melted, for lining the pastry cases

– 100ml double cleam

– punnet of strawberries or 300g raspberries

For the pastry:

– 175g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

– 90g salted butter, cubed

– 20g caster sugar

 

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. To make the pastry – in a bowl, rub the flour and butter together with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, add 2-3 tablespoons of cold water and bring together to form a soft dough. Wrap in cling film and chill for one hour.

2. Meanwhile, make the crème patissière. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornflour and egg yolks. The mixture will be stiff at first but it will become easier to mix. Place the milk and the vanilla pod in a pan over a medium heat. When it reaches a simmering point, strain over the egg mixture, whisking all the time (discard the vanilla pod). Stir in 100g of the melted chocolate and whisk well. Return the custard to the pan and heat gently until thickened, whisking all the time. Set aside to cool, covering the surface with cling film to prevent a skin forming.

3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to a 5mm thickness and use to line 6 × 10cm round ×2cm deep fluted tart tins, trimming any excess pastry. Line each with baking paper and beans and blind bake for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 5 minutes until cooked and golden. Carefully remove the patsry cases from the tins and cool on a wire rack.

4. Once cool, brush the remaining melted chocolate into the tart cases in 2 coats, chilling between each coat.

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5. Whisk the cream to just stiff peaks and fold into the white chocolate custard.

6. Fill each tart case with the custard and top with strawberries/raspberries or anything else you’re in the mood for really 🙂

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This is a bad picture but I love the heart shadow :)

This is a bad picture but I love the heart shadow 🙂

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Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake

With Eid just a few days away I knew I had to share a few recipes to serve as ideas or inspiration for the infamous Eid desserts.

Before we get to the recipe of the oh-so-different Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake, I’d just like to take a moment to scream WOOP WOOOOP! It’s Sadie’s Bubble of Yum first birthday today! Yippidee doo daa! Can’t believe it’s been a year! My resolution for the next year is to post more frequently (I know I’ve been really bad…sorry!) hehehe Shukran and thank you to everyone who has read my posts, attempted the recipes, left a comment or simply gave me encouragement to keep blogging. High 5 to you!

With that said, I think it’s quite fitting that I share this recipe. If you’re looking for something different, divine and damn delicious then I’d recommend the Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake. With the chocolatey moist texture of the cake and the surprise of the caramel and the second surprise hint of salty deliciousness, this is a sure winner!

Just a heads up, I’ll be posting a white chocolate and strawberry tart recipe tomorrow in keeping with the Eid-spiration (taking a bow for that one) and my first year resolution 🙂

Happy baking!

xxx

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 200g chocolate (dark or milk – depending on your preference), roughly chopped
  • 100g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 150ml milk
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 125g golden castor sugar
  • 100g flour

For the caramel:

  • 225g digestive biscuits
  • 300g castor sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 100ml cream
  • 100g salted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 2 pinches of sea salt

For the chocolate glaze:

  • 200g chocolate (again, depending on your preference), chopped
  • 200ml cream

Method:

1. Start with the caramel biscuit. Grease 2 x 22cm diameter cake tins and line the bases with baking paper.

2. Whizz the biscuits in a food processor until fine crumbs. Put the sugar and water into a heavy-based saucepan and dissolve over a low heat. Increase the heat and cook until it forms a caramel.

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3. Remove from the heat and carefully stir in the cream, followed by the butter and salt. Stir the biscuit crumbs into the caramel.

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4. Divide equally between the tins and press down with the back of a spoon. Place in the freezer to set.

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4. To make the chocolate cake, preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a deep 22cm diameter loose-bottomed cake tin and line with baking paper.Melt the chocolate, butter and milk together in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure the surface of the water does not touch the bowl.

My improvised version of a double boiler :)

My improvised version of a double boiler 🙂

5. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together using an electric hand whisk until pale and fluffy. Stir in the chocolate mixture, then fold in the flour. In a clean, dry bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks, then gently fold into the chocolate mixture.

6. Remove the caramel biscuit discs from the freezer and remove them from the tins, discarding the lining paper. Place one of the discs on the bottom of the prepared loose-bottomed cake tin and spread with half of the cake mixture.

helloooo chocolate and caramel goodness!

helloooo chocolate and caramel goodness!

7. Lay the other biscuit disc on top and cover with the remaining cake mixture. Bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes until the cake is just cooked – it should be almost undercooked for extra gooeyness. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out on to a cooling rack to cool completely.

8. To make the glaze, put the chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Put the cream into a saucepan and heat to simmering point, then pour one-quarter over the chocolate. Leave for 1 minute until the chocolate starts to melt, then gently stir in the rest of the cream until smooth and glossy.

9. Cover the cooled cake with the chocolate glaze and chill it in the refrigerator until set before serving.

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Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Isn’t it just amazing weather in Cape Town?! It’s been forever since I’ve defrosted 🙂 This beautiful weather has inspired me to finally post the utterly divine triple chocolate chip cookie recipe.

I attempted these yummy babies two weekends ago when I had a little baking frenzy.  They are delicious and even warranted a comment “Aunty Saadiyah, you make such nice things” from my adorable nephew Zaydaan 🙂

If you have kids, this is the perfect recipe to make with them as it’s simple and a visual feast. They’ll just loooooove throwing in the various types of chocolate and watching it whizz away. As with most of my posts, this is the answer for any chocoholic (note to self, I really need to curb myself with the chocolate in take).

If you’re looking for a place to purchase these different types of chocolates, I bought them at Value Baking Supplies – It’s a bakers heaven and I find their prices are much better than most of the competing baking supply stores.

Aaaaaand here you go:

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup castor sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup white chips
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup mini or regular chocolate chips (I prefer chopping up dairy milk chocolate)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a large baking sheet with a silpat liner or baking paper – I used this incredible non stick sheet that I purchased at Lindt Chocolate Studio
  2. Place butter and sugars into an electric mixer and beat until light and creamy, approximately 2 minutes.

IMG_9968        3. Add egg and vanilla mixing until well combined. Add flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt, mixing to combine

4. Add all chocolate chips and mix to combine.

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5. With a medium ice cream scoop, scoop dough onto baking sheet, spaced apart and bake for 12-15 minutes, until baked through.

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6. Let cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Then it’s time to devour 😀

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Cinnamon Roll Pull Apart Bread

What a weekend it’s been, I’ve definitely baked to my heart’s content and have made up for my creative baking lull…well I’d say. On Saturday I whipped up I chocoholics ultimate cookie…triple choc chip! Keeping in tune with the chocolate theme, I mixed it up a bit and made a salted caramel chocolate cake. On Sunday I tried to steer away from chocolate, not that you could ever overdo it 🙂 and I attempted a banoffee roulade, which turned out great until I tried to roll it up – I killed it…literally! Poked holes into it which lead to caramel oozing out, it wasn’t pretty but it still tasted good! The final item on my weekend baking to-do list was a cinnamon roll pull apart bread….oh my goodness, what a perfect little treat for those wintery evening sweet cravings. My family seems to think it tastes like Cinnabon 🙂 I’d take that as a stamp of approval, right?  Continue reading

Chocolate Nutella Cookies

Has it been a month? Two months? No….it’s been forever since my last post! It’s not that I haven’t been baking…there just hasn’t been time for me to whip out my creative hat and try a new recipe. This year has also just been a rollercoaster, as I’m sure it’s been for most of you, leaving us exasperated, thinking “where has half this year gone”. I can’t believe it’s June already, well despite the freezingly cold winter we seem to be having in the lovely Cape, I absolutely love June! The kid in me, as anyone would know, is still very much a part and alive within me, which makes it pretty easy for you to understand that I still get excited about my birthday…which is on 13 June…just putting it out there 🙂 cough, cough…hint, hint…

Last weekend I attended a Lindt Macaroon Workshop with my mother at the Lindt Chocolate Studio in old Cape Quarter and oh…my…golly…miss molly was it amazing! Chef Dimo Simatos demonstrated both the hot and cold method of making the absolutely mouth-watering macaroons along with quite a few filling variations from delectable ganaches to lemon curd.

It was definitely the workshop that ignited my longing to get back into the kitchen and whip up something chocolatey and delicious 🙂 With that stroke of inspiration, I made my first batch of Chocolate Nutella Cookies – which is basically two chocolate biscuits sandwiched with a generous layer of Nutella.

Enjoy!

xxx

Ingredients:

– 250g butter

– 250g castor sugar

– 5ml vanilla essence

– 3 eggs

– 500g cake flour

– 50g cocoa powder

– Probably a jar, if you really want to be generous 🙂

Method:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees and either grease your baking trays or line them with baking paper.

2. Cream the butter, castor sugar and vanilla essence until light.

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3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each.

4. Sift the cake flour and cocoa powder into the butter mixture. Mix this until combined, be careful to not over mix.

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5. Wrap the dough in clingwrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

6. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface and cut into desired shapes.

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7. Place onto the baking trays and refrigerate again for 10 minutes before baking for 15 minutes in the pre-heated oven.

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8. Remove from the oven and cool down slightly before transferring to cooling racks. Allow the cookies to cool down completely before sandwiches the biscuits with Nutella.

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Chocolate Chip Muffins

With Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour out the way and everything mellowing down, life is finally beginning to settle down. To say that I’ve been busy at work is an understatement, it has been absolutely manic, but thoroughly enjoyable (aside from being constantly exhausted 😉 ). Watching the thousands of cyclists lining up at the start line and basking in the infectious atmosphere from start to finish has definitely stung me with the cycling bug. Completing a Cycle Tour is definitely on my bucket list – stop laughing…I can do it! 😀 109km’s piece of cake…ok maybe I should just stick to the cake…  Continue reading

Cream Cheese Frosting

As mentioned in my Red Velvet Cupcakes post, cream cheese frosting just simply perfects the taste and provides the perfect balance to the richness (if that’s a word) of the cupcake with its sweet and tangy (the good type of tang) and oh-so delectable flavour.

I’m not going to ramble too much…here you go 🙂

Ingredients:

– 100-120g softened butter

– 1 tub cream cheese

– 2 cups icing sugar

– 1 tsp lemon juice

– 1 tsp vanilla essence

 

Method:

– Simple….just whip it all together until well combined and voila!

Enjoy!

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Red Velvet Cupcakes

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Oh how I love these little rosy-red cupcakes of love. When I first heard about Red Velvet Cupcakes and Cakes, I was completely sold by the concept. Firstly, red is my favourite colour and who could resist any cake which has a velvet texture?? The first RVC I ever had, was one from my very own homemade batch. It was at that very moment that I decided to hunt down a shop-made version to compare and really get to grips with what it should taste and look like. After testing quite a few recipes and sampling about a dozen of different versions, I finally found a recipe which I personally love, although I think the best part of any Red Velvet Cupcake is the delectable cream cheese frosting. Honestly, that must be the epitome of a “match made in heaven”. The cream cheese frosting brings the perfect tangy balance to the rich cupcake.

To all those fabulous ladies who ever asked me for the recipe, here you go lovelies!

Ingredients:

– 485g flour

– 1 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

– 1 1/4 tsp salt

– 1 1/4 tsp cocoa

– 1 1/2 cups oil

– 1 2/3 cups sugar

– 1 1/4 cups buttermilk

– 3 eggs

– 40g red food colouring

– 1 1/4 tsp vinegar

– 1 1/4 tsp vanilla essence

– 1/8 cup water

Method:

– Preheat oven to 175 degrees

– Sift flour, bicarb, salt and cocoa – set aside

– Using a cake mixer, combine oil, sugar and buttermilk. Add eggs, food colouring, vinegar, vanilla essence and water.

– Add dry ingredients to mixture, a little at a time, mixing on low and scraping down the side of the bowl to ensure that the mixture is well combined.

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– Spoon the mixture into cupcake holders within a cupcake tray and bake for 20-30 minutes.

NB: Allow the cupcakes to cool before frosting them 🙂

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Just playing around with the camera setting...

Just playing around with the camera setting…

Cinnamon Sugar Roll Cookies

It’s been ages! With Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour and the Two Oceans Marathon just a few weeks away our office has turned into a manic station of late nights and sugar-highs. As the PR agency of record for both these major events, to say we’ve been busy is an understatement, luckily it’s the good kind of busy. I’m thoroughly enjoying every bit of it, the hype leading up to these events are phenomenal – the world of cycling and running is just another realm on its own.

Enough about me…on to the yumminess! I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for the past  month along with my Red Velvet Cupcake recipe, which I will post soon…I promise! I’m a huge fan of cinnabons and when I stumbled upon this recipe, I was sold by the concept. If you’re a fan of cinnamon-sugar pancakes and cinnabons, you’ll love these!

Without further ado…here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

2 Cups sugar

1 Cup butter, softened

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1 Cup sour cream

6 Cups flour

2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons softened butter, (slice 2 Tablespoons 6 times totaling 12 tablespoons)

1 1/2 Cups light brown sugar, divided into 1/4 Cups

1 1/2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon, divided

Frosting:

8 oz softened cream cheese

1/2 Cup icing sugar

2-4 Tablespoons milk, to thin icing

Method:

1. Cream the sugar and butter using an electic mixer. Add eggs, vanilla and sour cream and mix well. Slowly add in the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt until well combined.

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2. For best results separate the dough into 2 batches, place in plastic wrap in a disc shape and chill for at least 2 hours.

3. Once chilled, cut each disc into thirds and roll into a 1/8 inch thick oval, about 12 inches X 5 inches.  Spread each rolled pieces of dough with 2 Tablespoons softened butter, 1/4 Cup brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.  Start rolling from the long end closest to you, rolling into a log shape.  Using a sharp knife, cut 1/2 inch pieces of dough then placing onto a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake at 175 degrees for 9-11 minutes. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes before removing from baking sheet.

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4.  For the frosting, beat the cream cheese until softened and smooth, slowly add icing sugar and milk until desired consistency.  Frost cookies then place in fridge until ready to serve.

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