So come on tell me, how many Valentines cards are you expecting this year? One? Two? Two dozen?
Strolling through a busy high street with a numbing wind pinching my fingertips, I ramble past a quaint little chocolate shop. I am absorbed. I shuffle into the shop wide-eyed in merriment at the prospect of sampling the array of delightful delicacies. Shelves are chock-full of heart shaped chocolates packaged in heart shaped boxes that are tinted with deep shades of crimson and baby pink. Each box is tightly wrapped with the finest silk and organza ribbons, as if they are concealing the precious pearls of an oyster found in a cavernous, dark sea. I long to reach out and pick up one of everything, go home and eat until I cannot move. Good job the costly price tags force me to march straight out of that wicked chocolate shop which had fallen from grace.
I left those heart shaped chocolates in heart shaped boxes in the shop that reminds me so much of the chocolate shop featured in Chocolat; a novel and film I hold close to my very own heart. At home I wonder how to re-create the joy I felt when walking into that sinful chocolate shop…
In the end I realised there was only one way to do it. I was thinking eggless cake.
Devilish or Angelic?
‘100% Naughty’ Eggless Cardamom and Chocolate Cheesecake
Ingredients for the base:
1/4 cup butter at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 ½ tsps vanilla extract
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Ingredients for the filling:
500g ricotta cheese
500g cream cheese, at room temperature (I used Philadelphia- and also nearly picked up the one with Garlic & Herbs. I’m sure you guys won’t make that mistake)
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 ½ cups sugar
1 tbsp cornflour
1 1/3 cups double cream
1 ½ tsps vanilla extract
1/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted
½ tsp cardamom, ground into powder
Method for the base:
1. Sift together the flour and baking powder. Cream together the sugar and butter and add the vanilla extract.
2. Combine the flour mixture with the butter mixture quickly with cold hands or a fork.
3. Press the mixture into a greased 10 inch springform tin.
Method for the filling:
1. Beat together all of the ingredients excluding the cocoa powder and ground cardamom until it has thickened. Kurma suggests not to overmix this.
2. Place half of the mixture into a separate bowl and add the cocoa powder and cardamom powder. Combine thoroughly.
3. Place the white layer of filling over the uncooked base and finally the chocolate filling over the white layer.
4. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 1 ¼ hours until set (I left mine for 1 hour because my fan oven cooks things a little quicker).
5. Allow to cool and refrigerate for day. You will just have to resist the temptation of diving right in!
‘100% Nice’ Eggless Lemon and White Chocolate Cake
Ingredients for the sponge:
200g plain flour
100g skimmed milk powder
160g icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
1 tbsp vanilla extract (or the seeds from 1 fresh vanilla pod)
100g butter, softened
2 tsp’s baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ cup plain natural yogurt
½ cup water
½ cup milk
Zest from 4 unwaxed lemons
4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Method for the sponge:
1. Sift together the plain flour, skimmed milk powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Set aside.
2. In a separate bowl cream together the icing sugar, vanilla and butter.
3. Gently mix in half of the sifted flour mixture.
4. Add the milk and water and mix until there are not any lumps (but don’t overwork it).
5. Add the yogurt and the remaining sifted flour mixture and lemon juice and zest then fold these in using a metal spoon. Take care not to beat it too much.
6. Grease and line three 6X1inch cake tins and divide the mixture equally between them.
7. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 20-25 minutes.
8. When cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
For the White Chocolate Ganache/Buttercream:
340g good quality white chocolate broken into small pieces
1 ½ cups double cream
125g butter, softened
Method for the Ganache/Buttercream:
Place the chocolate and cream in a bowl over a pan of boiled water (does this remind you a little bit of Food Tech lessons at school?) Stir until the chocolate has melted into the cream. Remove from the heat and allow to cool in the fridge until very cold. This could take an hour to several hours as the white chocolate has no cocoa solids, unlike milk and dark chocolate. Beat in the butter until the mixture has thickened.
Sandwich the three layers together using the ganache/buttercream and cover the cake with what’s left (if you haven’t eaten it by itself already like I almost did!)
But wait, of course there has to be a third option. For all of us who like to sit on the fence, enjoy the best of both worlds and choose to remain 50/50…
Just do what I did…
… And make BOTH* (yes, this entails the scoffing of both cheesecake and cake).
However many Valentines you have this year, please take the time to feed them something sweet (‘sweeten them up’ so to speak!)
*KO Rasoi does not accept any responsibility for indigestion, erratic weight gain, ‘death by chocolate’ or ‘couch potato’ syndrome caused by rapid scoffing of delicious cakes.