Last year, Cambridge enjoyed its first Shavuot garden party, held in the gorgeous surroundings of Kings College Fellows Garden. The sun shone, Pimms was drunk, and a lovely time was had by all.
The week before the event, I had been busy busy busy, making brownies, mini victoria sponge cakes, meringues, various flavours of ice-cream, and of course CHEESECAKE, for about 60 people. Lots and lots of cheesecake… It was worth the effort though – everything was delicious (if I say so myself) and by 7pm when the last stragglers made their way home, every last morsel had been eaten.
To make life easier and avoid the mess of cutting up big cheesecakes into individual portions, I baked them in cupcake cases, and it worked so well that I think I’ll stick to making mini cheesecakes from now on! A huge time and effort saver was the realisation that a smallish biscuit (say, a ginger nut or small shortbread) would fit perfectly into the bottom of the paper case, and all that faffing about crushing biscuits, mixing with butter, and pressing into each case could be avoided 🙂
Last year’s cheesecakes were plain, but since this time around I was only making eight (not 60), I decided to push the boat out and make them a bit fancier. Each one has a layer of fruity berry cheesecake topped by a plain cheesecake layer, decorated with berry syrup swirls. Even with the extra stages, these were still easy enough to make. Total prep time was just under 45 minutes, and I really wasn’t rushing. You could almost certainly do it in less.
These were eaten in our sunny back garden by Kipper and her friend, and her friends Mum. Kipper wolfed hers down in a matter of moments, which I took as a signal of approval. Her friends Mum was a little more dainty about it, but her cheesecake still didn’t last long. Yum.
In case you’re wondering, the Jewish residents of Cambridge will be enjoying the second annual Shavuot garden party in a short while. This year though, I’m not catering single handed, and someone else has the ‘honour’ of making the cheesecake! Phew!
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- 25g each of raspberries, blackberries and blueberries - 75g (1/2 cup) in total
- 1.5 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 8 small biscuits e.g. shortbread, ginger nuts etc.
- 1 egg
- 225g (1 cup) cream cheese
- 25g (2 tbsp) melted butter
- 25g (2 tbsp) caster sugar
- 1 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
- 75ml (1/4 cup) soured cream
- 0.25 tsp vanilla essence
- 1.5 tsp lemon juice
- First make the syrup and compote. Place the berries, 1.5 tsp of lemon juice and 1 tbsp sugar in a small saucepan and simmer over a moderate heat for 2-3 minutes until soft. Strain into a jug and squash the fruit thoroughly. Reserve the syrup and the squashed fruit compote separately.
- Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).
- Use paper cupcake cases to line 8 muffin tins or mini pudding basins. Place a biscuit into the bottom of each cupcake case and set aside.
- Separate the egg. Whisk the whites to soft peaks and set aside.
- Put the egg yolk into a mixing bowl with the cream cheese, butter, caster sugar, cornflour, soured cream, vanilla and lemon juice. Beat well to combine into a thick, smooth batter.
- Add the whisked egg whites and gently fold in.
- Transfer half of the mixture to a separate bowl. Add the squashed berry compote to one of the bowls, and gently fold in. Now divide this mixture between the 8 prepared cupcake cases. Gently tap to level the mixture.
- Carefully divide the plain cheesecake mixture between the cases, taking care to cover the berry layer. Again, tap gently to level.
- Drip dots of the berry syrup onto the surface of the mixture and use a toothpick to swirl or make patterns.
- Bake the cheesecakes at 180C (350F) for 12-13 minutes, until just set.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling tray until cold.
- Eat immediately or store in the fridge and consume within 2 days.
Since they’re based on the cheesecake recipe I grew up, they’re perfect for Inheritance Recipes, organised by Pebble Soup and Coffee & Vanilla.
Simple and In Season, hosted by Feeding Boys, since these are full of lovely seasonal berries.
The Food Year Link-up at Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen, as these are made for Shavuot.
Tea Time Treats, organised by Lavender & Lovage and The Hedgecombers (who hosts this month) which is looking for colourful dishes.
Finally, I’m joining in with CookBlogShare, and Bake of the Week, hosted by Maison Cupcake and co-organised by Casa Costello. Phew!