This month’s challenge was just made for me, what could be better than a strawberry cream cake? I did have one slight problem and I need to make sure I remember next time; if you want to keep the kids from eating the strawberries (that you know are their favorite) make sure you tell them they are reserved! Therefore, when it came time to finish the cake, it became a framboise/bluet-r (love my French – straight from the translator) because the fraise were history. No matter, it was still delicious.
Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes was our July Daring Bakers’ host and she challenges us to make Fresh Frasiers inspired by recipes written by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson in the beautiful cookbook Tartine.
I followed her recipes here using the chocolate version of the cake. I did vary (besides the fruit) in that I made my own almond paste using honey and brown sugar. It wasn’t the most photogenic, but tasted great and was very simple.
Ingredients for Almond Paste:
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup hone
1/3 cup water
3 cups blanched, whole almonds
1/4 cup butter
In a heatproof bowl microwave sugar, honey and water to a strong boil. While the mixture is heating, pulse the almonds until coarsely ground. Pour the honey mixture over the almonds and blend until smooth which may take 10 minutes or more. If the mixture is too thick add a small amount of water.
Just before use, knead in the butter to make a smooth consistency.
After making the chocolate cake and cream filling per the recipe, I assembled the cake pretty much as directed but using the raspberries and blueberries instead of the already devoured strawberries. I also didn’t seem to have enough cream left for the top layer so instead I made a quick chocolate ganache (1/2 cream and 1/2 chocolate). Next time I would leave more space between the berries as I would have liked the cream to show through more but all in all it was still pretty and very delicious!
Cheesecake is always popular around here and I recently got a large container of blueberries. When I asked what I should do with them, Son’s girlfriend suggested blueberry cheesecake and since she was about to graduate and planned on celebrating at an Italian restaurant it seemed like a great idea for an at home dessert after the meal. Of course Son (who loves cheesecake but not so much blueberries) forgot to take or mention it so it didn’t make it to the celebration. I have no doubt it will be eaten anyway! I recently used this same basic recipe for an Oreo version requested for a birthday and found it is an excellent one, a little lighter texture than my usual favorite (which uses 2 2/1 pounds of cream cheese and no sour cream).
Printable Version Blueberry Cheesecake
1 1/2 cups finely ground cookie crumbs (I used the white chocolate peanut butter ones)
2 tbs butter (because these cookies were very moist I didn’t add the extra butter to keep the crust from being soggy, but if you use a dry cookie you should)
9 or 10 inch springform pan
1 1/2 lbs cream cheese (room temperature)
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs (room temperature)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup flour
8 oz sour cream
1 lb (about 4 cups) fresh blueberries (frozen or canned works too – if you use canned in syrup, don’t add sugar)
1/2 cup sugar (I like them to stay a little tart so if you want sweet add 1 cup instead of 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon butter
grated zest from one lemon
juice from 1/2 lemon
2 cinnamon sticks
Place the cookies in a food processor and grind them finely.
If the crumbs will not stick together between your fingers, add small amounts of melted butter until you can just flatten them together. Place on the bottom of a springform pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Set aside.
Beat the cream cheese until it is light and fluffy, add sugar gradually and keep beating until it is mixed in completely.
Add the eggs one at a time blending well after each egg.
Add the vanilla, salt and flour and mix until smooth, scraping down the bowl to incorporate all ingredients.
Add the sour cream and mix well.
Pour into prepared pan and bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes. When the time is up slightly open the door and let the cake stay for an extra hour without disturbing – no peeking you want it to cool slowly to prevent cracks, although in this case the blueberry topping will cover any that might happen. After an hour, cover with plastic wrap – not touching the top but over the pan and refrigerate at least overnight.
Wash the berries and place in a medium saucepan. Add the remaining ingredients.
Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower to a simmer to thicken to the consistency you prefer. A little less time and you will still have some whole blueberries, a little more and a thicker sauce. Remove the cinnamon sticks and refrigerate, covered until ready to serve.
For serving you can either cover the top of the cheesecake, or serve the blueberries on the side, topping each slice separately.
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