Mascarpone cheese tart

If there’s one word to describe cheesecakes for me, it’s nostalgia. A little strange because it’s not a cake I grew up eating…

For a short period when I was in primary school, I hung out with my good friend Ashura at Coffee Bean. We used to share cakes at the cafe together and the cheesecake was one of them. Those were fun times, and sinful times, because all the CoffeeBean trips made me balloon quite a bit – I was overweight by the time I reached secondary school. Oops.

Cheesecakes also make me think of my god brother, Colin, who passed on 6 years ago. Colin loved to cook like his parents, and whipped up delicious dishes when we visited during festive seasons. He made a cheesecake during Christmas one year, and I loved it so much I asked him for the recipe. And that recipe was the last thing he gave me before he passed on. It’s a simple cheesecake recipe I hold close to my heart, which I will share in time :)

Mascarpone cheese tart

I love cheesecakes, though I always have problems finishing a whole slice of cheesecake by myself (maybe it’s just me, but it gets a little too much after a while). Unless it’s the Japanese cotton cheesecake… now that’s a different story altogether.

I ate a cheesecake that was lighter than the usual New York cheesecake during my holiday last year in Quebec City, and that was one of the rare occasions I actually finished a whole slice myself. From then I was curious, what made it lighter? I had a feeling that the cake had more than cream cheese… So when I stumbled across this recipe which included mascarpone cheese, I had to have a go at it!

Mascarpone Cheese Tart

(Adapted from Taste of Home Mascarpone Cheesecake Recipe)
Makes a 9 inch tart

Ingredients for biscuit crust
200g digestive biscuits, finely ground
1 tbsp white sugar
1 tbsp brown sugar
60g butter, melted

Ingredients for cheese tart filling
250g cream cheese
250g mascarpone cheese
100g castor sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp vanilla
100g eggs (about 2 eggs)

Directions for the biscuit crust
1. Pre-heat the oven at 175°C.  Lightly butter the bottom and sides of your tart pan.

2. For the biscuit crust, mix the finely ground digestives together with the sugars. Add in the melted butter and press the mixture into prepared pan.

3. Bake the crust in the oven for about 10 minutes and leave to cool.

Masarpone cheese tart

Directions for the cheese tart filling
1. Keep your oven at the same temperature :)

2. Beat together cream cheese, mascarpone, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla until smooth.

3. Add in the eggs and and beat on low until just combined. Once done, pour your batter into the cooled biscuit crust.

4. Before you place your tart in for baking, put a tray of water at the bottom of the oven. I use this method instead of the usual water bath for cheesecakes – so I have no issues with leakages or soggy bottoms!

5. Bake the tart for about 35 – 40 minutes. It is done once the outside of the cheese tart is almost set, and the centre is still a little wobbly.

6. Remove from oven and leave to cool.

Mascarpone cheese tart

I love this recipe because the mascarpone somehow makes the ‘cheesecake’ portion of the tart lighter. Most people who tried it loved this, though a friend who is a fan of cheesecakes said it was not ‘cheesy’ enough. I guess it isn’t, because it’s not made fully of cream cheese ;)

Oh, if you want to make this into a cheesecake, just double the cheese portion and bake it in a 9 inch springform pan for 50 – 60 mins (check out the Taste of Home recipe).


Breaking out of perfection

I have a confession. I have a very bad habit – I procrastinate too much. Many times because I feel I’m not ready, things are not ‘good to go’, or I do not have enough information to start. I like things to be near perfection before sharing anything. I feel like a hypocrite sometimes when I give people advice taking that step.

It’s always a struggle.

I’ve always wanted to take the blog to the next level… I’m a little embarrassed at how many times I said this. But it’s always this excuse (not having the right name, not having enough time, being unsure if I’m doing the right things), and maybe a bit of laziness that hinders the progress. Ooops.

I have to keep reminding myself to take a step at a time, and stop being afraid of things being imperfect. Like the cakes below. Hah.

Traditional cakesMy attempt to recreate the old fashioned cakes since the class. Uuuhh. Has it been one year?! The above cakes are actually using the second swiss roll recipe here. After making everything I realized I only had cherry red icing left. I also merrily misjudged the buttercream piping so the space for the red icing is a bit… wide.

Will probably need a few more tries to get this right. Now if only I’m as willing to keeping working on my blog plans like I do with my baking ;)


Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake

As promised, here’s the recipe for the lemon blueberry bundt cake I made on Monday to chase away the blues :)

blueberry buttermilk bundt slice

Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake
Makes a a 10 inch bundt cake

2 cups (242g) all purpose flour, sifted
1/2 cup (57g) cake flour, sifted
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (225g) unsalted butter, room temp
1 3/4 cup (350g) castor sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla vanilla extract
2 tbsp grated lemon zest
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups of blueberries (tossed in flour and a bit of sugar)

1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease your 10 inch bundt pan and dust with flour.

2. Sift together the flours, baking powder, soda, and salt.

3. In a separate bowl, beat together your butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.

5. Beat in your flour mixture in 3-4 additions, alternating with your buttermilk in 2-3 additions, mixing until combined. Continue to beat the batter for about 15 – 20 seconds ensure everything is well combined and further aerate the batter.

6. Bake for about 60 minutes, or until a tooth pick / cake tester comes out clean (a few moist crumbs are fine, as long as it’s not wet!)

7. Cool the cake on the rack for about 15 minutes, then invert it out of the pan to cool completely.

blueberry buttermilk bundt

Almond crumble vanilla cake

After settling down, finally got down to buying baking powder, vanilla and some almonds from the local supermarket. It was a toss up between some nuts, fruits or chocolate chips. It’s been a while since I had a nice almond cake – so nuts it was!

I needed to get to know the Mr Oven here –  I love how ovens are like very much like people, unique, with quirks and all. So with some hand power and improvisation, I whipped up a simple almond crumble vanilla cake. And Mr Oven proved to be a fine man indeed. Definitely more baking dates coming up :p
Almond crumble cake

I took pictures of favourite recipes from my messy recipe book back home, and so wonderfully missed out my favourite muffin recipe by Carole Walter (the blueberry buttermilk muffin – I wonder how I missed posting it up here, so that will be coming up soon!). Thanks to the internet, I found another of her muffin recipe I been wanting to try, which was great because I don’t have buttermilk. And am too lazy to make some from milk and lemon :p

Do note I only made half the recipe, and baked it in a mini cocotte (about 4 inches wide!) because I do not have a small baking pan, or the muffin tray, yet!

Almond Crumble Vanilla Cake
(Adapted from Carole Walter’s Vanilla Muffin and Butternut Streusel recipe from
Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins & More)

Makes an 8 inch cake, or 12 2 1/2 inch muffins. Streusel covers a 10-inch cake.

Almond crumble cake baked in a mini cocotte

For the almond streusel
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature and cubed
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup silvered almonds
1/4 tsp almond extract (I omitted this)
1 1/3 cup flour

1. Place flour, sugar, almonds into a bowl.

2. Throw in the cubed butter, and rub it into the flour sugar mixture. It’s okay if there are huge clumps :) Set aside and make your cake!

For the muffins / cake!
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream (I used greek yogurt, and it worked perfectly ;))
1/3 – 1/2 cup toasted silvered almonds (optional – but recommended!)

1. Preheat oven to 175 degree C. Grease and flour your pan. Put cupcake liners if making muffins :)

2. If using almonds, toast them in a pan until slightly browned and deliciously fragrant. Set aside to cool.

3. Sift together the flour, baking powder and soda.

4. Beat butter, salt and sugar in another bowl until light and fluffy. Slowly add in your egg, beating until well combined.

5.. Add 1/3 of your flour and mix well. Then add 1/2 of the sour cream and mix well. Add the remaining batches – flour, sour cream and flour again. Beat for a while longer, just until it’s smooth.

6. Mix the toasted almonds into the batter here!

7. Put batter baking pan or tray.  Toss in some streusel and swirl it into the cake. Then liberally cover the top with streusel.

8. Bake for about 40 – 45 minutes in a 8 inch pan, and 20 – 25 minutes for muffins. Or just do a toothpick test :)

9. Remove from oven and leave it to rest in pan for a few minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool on cooling rack.

Slice of almond cake :D nomnom

My favourite chocolate cake recipe

….as of today! :p It’ll change as I try new recipes. But this is going to be my basic chocolate cake recipe for a while.

I used to love the Blackout Cake from the Cake book by Tish Boyle. But I fell in love with this one… The difference between the two? The blackout cake is more fudgey, moist and it melts in your mouth ;) This recipe here is also moist, but not as fudgey, with a tighter crumb. Both are great cakes, but as of now I like the texture of this cake.

chocolate cupcakes!

Went for a friend’s birthday party yesterday and made the Chocolate  Guinness cake, which I still love very much ;) I usually bring extra guinness to pour over the cake! Hee. So I was left with extra sour cream today and no more guinness… so thought it would be good to try out coffee instead! It worked out very well.
chocolate cupcake innards

For the recipe, head over to the Chocolate  Guinness cake page, and substitute the guinness for coffee. If you’re feeling adventurous…  you could try some other liquid or liquor (hmm I wonder if wine will work?). Have fun!