Monday, June 18, 2007

Lemon Ginger Cheesecake

My first food processor cake! I bought my Ronic Rytmo a couple of years ago as a birthday present to myself but I haven't used it as much as I would like.

I'm so glad to find this recipe from Donna Hay's Flavours - it forms a really good basic cheesecake recipe! Change the biscuit base or tweak the cream cheese topping for a completely different cake.

Lemon Ginger Cheesecake
makes a 9-inch cake


200g ginger biscuits

1/4 stick butter

600g or 1 1/4 lb cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
7 eggs
1 1/2 tbs grated lemon rind (about 1 1/2 lemons)
1/2 crystallised ginger, finely chopped

Preheat the oven at 275F. Place the biscuits and butter into the food processor and process until crumbly. Press the mixture over the base of the springform pan and refrigerate until required. For the topping, place all the cream cheese, sour cream, eggs and lemon rind into the food processor and process until smooth. Mix in the ginger before pouring the topping over the base in the pan.
Bake in a water bath for 90 minutes and cool in the tin before serving. Sprinkle with grated lemon zest from the remaining half a lemon or serve with lemon curd.

Verdict: The biscuit base was rather thin so I might double the base recipe next time. However, the topping was so smooth and tasty, I want to try other flavour variations soon!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Carrot Cake & Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

My mother requested for carrot cake on my father's behalf so I made these cupcakes as an early Father's Day treat.

I adapted the recipe from Dorie Greenspan's book. I had tried the original recipe with crystallised ginger before but I wanted it simple this time. When I shredded the carrot, it seemed like a lot but after mixing it in, the chunky stuff seemed to disappear.

Carrot Cake
makes 30 cupcakes

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp salt
3 cups grated carrot
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup dessicated coconut
1/2 cup raisins
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
4 eggs

Preheat oven at 350F. Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix well. In a separate bowl, toss together the carrot, walnuts, coconut and raisins. In a mixer bowl, beat the sugar and oil to combine. Add the eggs in and continue beating until smooth. Mix in the flour mixture before adding in the chunky ingredients (use a pair of chopsticks at this stage, it helps to separate the clumps of shredded carrot). Scoop into cupcake liners.
Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool before frosting.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup or 1 stick butter
4 cups icing sugar
2 tbs fresh lemon juice

Beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Gradually add in the icing sugar and finally the lemon juice, combining to get a creamy mixture. Frost cupcakes and refrigerate for an hour to set it.

Verdict: I usually don't eat too much of the stuff I bake, just haven't got the appetite for it once it come out of the oven but I scoffed down 2 of these as soon as it was ready. Its really yummy carrot cake!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Lemon Ginger Pound Cake

While going through Tish Boyle's book, I was also taken by her recipe for a Lemon-Soaked Ginger Pound Cake. My parents just made a trip to Perth to visit old friends and I had requested for crystallised ginger for the many ginger recipes I had flagged. They came back with a kilo of it so lots of ginger recipes coming up!

I've adapted the recipe because I didn't have cake flour on hand. At first, I was concerned that the amount of ginger in the recipe would overwhelm the lemon but the lemon syrup brushed on after the cake was baked helped to balance it out.

Lemon Ginger Pound Cake
makes a 10-inch bundt cake

1 cup or 2 sticks butter
1 3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 tbs grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup crystallised ginger, finely chopped
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven at 350F. Cream the butter until pale before adding in the sugar and beating until fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time until well combined then add in the ginger, lemon zest and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, sift the dry ingredients together. Add the sifted mixture in three additions, alternating with the sour cream in two additions. Pour into bundt pan after combining well.
Bake for 50-55 minutes. Cool the baked cake for 10 minutes before inverting onto wire rack. While the cake is baking, prepare the lemon syrup.

Lemon Syrup

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
2/3 cup sugar

Combine lemon juice and sugar in a saucepan and stir over low heat until all the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat.
With a pastry brush, apply some syrup to the base of the cake before inverting it. Apply the rest of the syrup all over the surface of the warm cake, letting it soak in before reapplying.

Verdict: There was a great balance of flavours with the crystallised ginger adding a nice zingy crunch. The lemon flavour was stronger the next day but the ginger bits helped to retain the gingery taste.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Lemon Cornmeal Cake

The latest Weekend Cookbook Challenge got me going back to my cookbooks, which is why I haven't really been baking much. I got caught up going through some of the newer books which I haven't really had a chance to scrutinize and comparing them with recipes from my other books.

The first cornmeal recipe I tried was from Dorie Greenspan's book, Corniest Corn Muffins, which I added bacon to. However, I didn't get a chance to try it or take any pictures because I wanted to bring it to work but I was running late.

So back to the books again and this time I found Lemon Cornmeal Cake from The Cake Book. I figured I couldn't go wrong with lemon and it turned out great. The cake was so simple to make and I got to try out my other silicone mould. I love lemon so I increased the amount of lemon zest for my version.

Lemon Cornmeal Cake
makes a 9-inch cake

1 1/3 cups flour
1 cup stoneground yellow cornmeal
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup or 1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sour cream
3 eggs
1 lemon's zest
1 tbs lemon juice, about 1/2 a lemon
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven at 350F. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients until well blended. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing until combined. Pour into 9-inch springform pan or bundt pan.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, loosely cover with foil if the top of the cake gets too brown. Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Verdict: The cake was dense and moist with a light lemony flavour. The cornmeal added an interesting texture. The next time I serve this, I'll add some berries on the side.