Orange, Vanilla & Lavender Cheesecake

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This recipe is for a 19cm round cake mold with a detachable bottom.

Ingredients:

For the lavender cookie crust:

180grs of Bastogne cookies, you can also use graham crackers

3 tablespoons of butter

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 tablespoon of dried lavender

For the cheesecake:

400grs of cream cheese, at room temperature

100gr of sour cream

2 eggs

¾ cups of sugar

Pinch of salt

1 vanilla bean or 1 tablespoon of vanilla essence

2 tablespoons of orange zest

1 tablespoon of cacao powder, sifted

 

Preheat your oven to 160C/325F. Line the bottom and sides of your cake mold with parchment paper.

Start by making the crust. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat with the dried lavender.

Place the cookies and vanilla essence in the food processor, and pulse until you get crumbs. Then slowly add the lavender butter. Once everything is mixed through, put the crumbs into the bottom of your cake mold. Press with your fingers or the back of a spoon so that there is a nice even layer on the bottom of the mold.  Set it aside.

Using an electric mixer, whisk the sugar with the orange zest to release the oils. Then add the cream cheese, vanilla and sour cream. Whisk until everything is well combined.

Then add the eggs and salt. Whisk until everything is mixed through. Reserve about 1/3 of a cup of the cheesecake batter to make the swirls later.

Pour the rest of the cheesecake batter into your prepared cake mold.

Whisk one tablespoon of cacao powder into the reserved cheesecake mixture. Using a spoon, drizzle the chocolate batter over the cheesecake. Using a toothpick or the tip of a knife, start making swirls.

Bake the cheesecake for 30 minutes. The center should still wiggle a bit.

Allow it to come to room temperature. Then place it in the fridge for at least 4 hours, better if it is overnight.

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Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Elderflower Frosting & Sugared Cranberries

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This carrot cake is always a winner when I have friends over or when I take it to house parties. It’s moist and so easy to make. This time I added some elderflower cordial to the frosting to add a floral tone. I love elderflower cordial and we always have a bottle in the house, even though we mostly use it for gin & tonics. If you like elderflower, you may also like this Strawberry Elderflower Lattice Pie.

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This recipe is for a small 19cm round cake mold. But you can easily double the recipe to make a larger cake.

Ingredients:

For the sugared cranberries:

2 cups of sugar

2 cups water

2 cups of fresh cranberries, washed and picked through

¾ cups of sugar

For the carrot cake:

1 cup of all-purpose flour

1 cup of sugar

1/2 cup of vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups of shredded carrot

3/4 cup of pecans or walnuts, chopped

Zest of 1 mandarin

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of salt

For the cream cheese and elderflower frosting:

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon of cream cheese at room temperature

3 tablespoons of butter, softened

3 tablespoons of elderflower cordial

2 cups of icing sugar

Extra:

Fresh mint leaves for decoration (optional)

 

 

Start by making the sugared cranberries the night before. Place 2 cups of water plus 2 cups of sugar in a medium saucepan and let it simmer over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Stir from time to time. Once the simple syrup is done, transfer it to a bowl and let it cool for 20 minutes. You want to let it cool before you add the cranberries otherwise they may pop.

Once the syrup has cooled down, add the cranberries and stir to coat them. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge overnight.

The next morning, drain the cranberries. You can save the simple syrup for another recipe or for a cocktail. Place the ¾ cup of sugar on a shallow plate and start rolling the cranberries in it until they are evenly coated. Then place them on a baking sheet and let them dry for at least 1 hour.

To make the carrot cake, preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line the bottom of a 19cm round cake mold with parchment paper. Grease and flour the edges of the mold.

Beat the sugar with the eggs. Then add the vegetable oil, shredded carrot, the flour, the baking powder and the salt. Finally add the mandarin zest and the nuts. Pour the batter into the prepared cake mold.

Bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake. Allow the cake to cool down completely before you start making the frosting.

To make the frosting, whisk the softened butter with the cream cheese until well combined. Then add the elderflower cordial and whisk. Then gradually add the icing sugar. Whisk until you have a smooth frosting.

Carefully remove the cake from the mold and plate it. Then frost it with the help of a spatula. I only added it to the top and swirled it around a bit with a spoon. Place some of the sugared cranberries in the middle of the cake. If you want you can add a few mint leaves for extra color. Keep the cake in the fridge. Enjoy!

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

Passion Fruit and Cream Cheese Swirl Skillet Brownie

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The other day I made brunch for a good friend of mine, who I met while I lived in Dallas. It has been 6 years since we lived in the States. Time does fly! And the funny thing is, we now both live in Amsterdam. For old time’s sake, I wanted to make an American style brunch! This skillet brownie is what I made for dessert.

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I love the combination of passion fruit and dark chocolate. I like adding passion fruit to desserts because it adds a nice tanginess which cuts out the sweetness a bit. For Valentine’s Day I also made this combination to surprise my hubby. I made a chocolate soufflé with a passion fruit – white chocolate ganache center. You can find this recipe by clicking here.

Once the brownie is baked, you could wait for it to cool down and slice it into pieces. But the fun part of making it in a skillet is just grabbing some spoons and digging in while it is still hot! Just make sure to be careful so you don’t burn your tongue. The day I wanted to make it, I couldn’t find fresh passion fruit. So I went to a Brazilian store called Finalmente Brazil, and bought frozen passion fruit pulp there. I love that store because they sell frozen exotic fruit pulp which can be hard to find here.

This recipe is enough for a 23cm skillet, but you can also make it on 22cm square baking pan.

Ingredients:

For the brownie:

57gr butter

115gr of dark chocolate, chopped

½ cup of sugar

2 eggs

½ teaspoon of vanilla extract

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon of cocoa powder

Pinch of salt

For the passion fruit swirl:

200gr of cream cheese

3 tablespoons of the passion fruit pulp reduction (if you buy the frozen pulp it is 200gr, if you use fresh passion fruit, use 10 units)

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar

 

First reduce the passion fruit pulp in a pan over medium heat until it becomes very thick. If you don’t want to or can’t get the frozen passion fruit pulp, you can get about 10 fresh passion fruit. Blend the pulp with the seeds, then pass them through a sieve and then reduce the liquid in a pan until you get about 3 tablespoons of a concentrated thick pulp. It should have a syrup-like consistency.

Transfer 3 tablespoons of the reduced pulp into a medium bowl. Add the cream cheese and mix until combined, then slowly add the powdered sugar. You can use an electric mixer to do this or just whisk it by hand. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. If you are using a skillet, grease it with some vegetable oil or butter and then dust the skillet with some cacao powder or flour. If you are using a baking pan, just line it with parchment paper (this makes cleaning up later a bit faster).

To make the brownie, put the chocolate and butter in a small bowl and melt it in the microwave. I do it with 30 seconds intervals, stirring in between, until it has all melted. Allow it to cool for a few minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar and vanilla. Then add the chocolate and mix. Finally add the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Mix until it is all combined. Pour the batter into the prepared skillet or tray. Using a spoon, add the cream cheese mixture on top of the brownie batter. Then grab a knife and swirl it around the batter to make swirls.

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Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. It is the nicest while it is still warm and the cream cheese part is still a bit gooey. So just dig in as soon as it comes out of the oven!