Mini Lemon Cheesecakes

I wanted to make my boyfriend’s birthday perfect. I went all out with banners, balloons, confetti and a pile of beautifully wrapped presents but as a baker, I knew the showstopper had to be the cake. Dilemma… his favourite dessert is cheesecake but I wanted to make him an actual birthday cake… Solution… MAKE BOTH! The result… A rum and raisin cake surrounded by mini lemon cheesecakes.

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I’m so glad that I decided to make both, he was so excitable all day and we gorged ourselves on cake throughout the day. Better start planning now to top it for next year!

I found this recipe for individual cheesecakes but I wanted to give them a real punch of lemon flavour so I omitted the raspberries and substituted the lime zest for lemon. I also used this recipe to make a batch of lemon curd, which I topped the cheesecakes with and there was plenty left over for smothering toast – yum! (Such a hard life when there are leftover goodies that just have to be used up isn’t it?)

DSC_0841It may look like there’s a fairly thin layer of curd on top but because the lemon is so tangy in the curd and so subtle and creamy in the cheesecake, it’s the perfect amount to compliment each other. I also substituted half of the digestive biscuits for amaretti biscuits for an Italian twist and hint of almond.

Happy New Year! Lots of bakes to catch you up on!

Hello all and happy new year to you! I hope you all had a wonderful time over the holidays, I must apologise for my brief hiatus but I’ve been very busy with family things and of course, baking. Therefore, I have multiple bakes to catch you up on. Christmas Eve in my household means freshly baked mince pies with home made brandy butter. Fresh from the oven, the brandy butter melts into the mincemeat and the pies are more pastry than they are filling – perfection!

This was a great way to really kick start Christmas but even before this, I had multiple bakes to catch you up on; gluten-free Earl Grey muffins, almond and chocolate biscotti and almond and cherry florentines!

First – the Earl Grey muffins. I couldn’t resist this recipe from Twinings; a friend of mine and I both independently saw the recipe, wanted to try it and ended up baking it together. The recipe isn’t gluten free but as my friend is allergic to gluten, we replaced both types of flour with one gluten free flour and added a teaspoon of xanthum gum at the same time. The xanthum gum helps to bind all of the ingredients together and improves the crumb structure – it’s not needed with regular flour but helps when baking gluten free. The result turned out more like an English muffin texture rather than an American muffin and was something I’d not experienced before but it was delicious! The combination of the Earl Grey and the orange really complimented each other and as the muffin was slightly more like a sweet bread, it was perfect for breakfast with a cup of tea. I will definitely be trying these again but next time, I think I’ll replace the orange zest with lemon as Earl Grey tea is typically served with lemon. I might also try adding a violet flavoured icing to the top to add another level. The recipe can be found here.

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This Christmas, I also decided to bake something for my parents and give it to them in a decorative Christmas box. I chose to make almond and chocolate chip biscotti for my dad and cherry and almond florentines for my mum. The biscotti turned out really well, recipe found here, they were incredibly simple to make and my dad loved them so much that they were practically all gone by the next day! The florentines weren’t quite as successful, I used this recipe as I haven’t made them before but they seemed to take a long time to cook the middle of them and in doing so, the outsides became slightly burnt, not badly so but if I were to make them again, I’d ensure that they were smaller and flatter so that they cooked through quickly.

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If you’d like to know the recipes for the mince pies or brandy butter, then let me know but please have a go at any of these recipes, they were all fun to make and of course, to eat! Now that the holidays are over, I shall finally be getting back to my oven and that means plenty of recipes for you! I’ve been re-watching episodes of the Great British Bake Off as well so I have many things I’d like to try in this new year. I also have something very exciting happening but more to come on that soon (if I told you now, that’d spoil the fun wouldn’t it!)