Tiramisu Charlotte Cake (Eggless)

Before 2011 ends I just wanted to do one last post. I made this cake for my Mum’s, Aunt’s and Better Half’s birthdays so a lot of love went into this creation. It’s actually much easier to make than it looks, no baking is required! Also, for people who can’t stand the thought of raw eggs in desserts this recipe awesome because it’s eggless :)

The tricky part is getting the texture right – you don’t want the sponge fingers too soggy or cream too runny. In order to avoid running into these problems the trick is to soak the sponge fingers in the espresso syrup for no more than one second, and with the cream ensure it is full fat cream as you want to be able to whip it to the soft peak stage (when the whisk is quickly lifted from the egg whites you should be able to see a droopy tip).

egg whites at soft peak stage

To make the little love heart in the middle I cut out some baking paper into the shape of a heart, stuck it on to the top of the cake and then sprinkled over some shaved dark chocolate. I used a pair of tweezers to quickly remove the baking paper and voilà a cute little love heart appeared before my eyes.

Eggless Tiramisu Charlotte Cake

Espresso Syrup
1 tablespoon instant espresso/strong coffee powder
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup (125ml) boiling water
1 tablespoon Marsala (I used rum)

Filling
250g mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons icing sugar
2 tablespoons Marsala (I used rum)
1 cup (250 ml) heavy/whipping cream

about 24 sponge fingers (savoiardo)
50g dark chocolate

cocoa powder, to dust
dark chocolate shavings (optional)
strawberries for decoration (optional)

Method

Espresso Syrup: Dissolve instant espresso coffee powder, sugar in boiling water. Leave to cool. Stir in 1 tablespoon rum. Set aside.

Filling: In a mixing bowl, with a manual whisk, whisk mascarpone cheese with icing sugar, vanilla extract, rum and 3 tablespoons of the espresso syrup until blended.

With an electric mixer whisk the whipping cream until soft peaks (do not over whip). With a spatula, fold in 1/4 of the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture and mix gently to combine. Fold in the remaining whipped cream to the mascarpone mixture.

Assembly: Cut off one end of the sponge fingers so that each one is about 3″ in length. Line the sides of a 7″ round baking pan* (with a removable base or use a springform pan) with the sponge fingers (do not dip these in the espresso syrup). You will need about 17 sponge fingers (depending on the type/brand). If the last sponge finger cannot fit in nicely, trim away part of it to fit it in. Save the leftover small pieces.

One at a time, gently dip (do not soak) one side of the sponge fingers in the espresso syrup and use them to line the base of the pan. Cut the sponge fingers into shorter lengths if necessary. Use the leftover pieces to fill the gaps.

Spoon over half of the mascarpone filling. Spread evenly. Grate the dark chocolate over the filling. Repeat with another layer of sponge fingers and spoon over the remaining filling. Spread and smooth the top. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, best left overnight.

Just before serving, unmold the cake and dust the top with cocoa powder. Decorate with dark chocolate shavings and strawberries (as desired).

Enjoy!

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Minced Pork & Century Egg Congee

Happy new year’s eve to anyone everyone who’s reading! :)

Today I managed to fit in some last minute Christmas shopping.. and yes I know I’m about a week late but I realised I hadn’t bought any gifts yet for my family and I’m seeing them on Monday oops. Anyway, along the way I managed to pick this up for myself from a little stationery store called Typo:

It’s a recipe stand that I scooped up for 5 bucks (reduced from $20 – yay). How cute is it! Anyone who’s seen my soy sauce/cake batter/tomato paste etc splattered recipe folder will know that I’m in terrible need of one of these.

Of course I just had to use it straight away so I trawled the net to find a recipe for something that I’ve wanted to try to cook for a while now – congee! Pronounced con-jee for those of you who aren’t familiar with Chinese cuisine, and it’s essentially a rice soup/gruel type dish that you can flavour with anything really. The creaminess of the rice, velvetyness of the century egg, and warm clouds of steam that emit into your mouth with each delicious spoonful make this the ultimate comfort food.

Minced Pork & Century Egg Congee 

Ingredients
100g minced pork marinated in soya sauce
1/2 cup rice (long-grained) – I know some people use those really small cups to scoop rice but these measurements are for a normal 250ml cup size
1 1/2 litres of water (to initially boil rice)
1 chicken stock cube (or more if you like it salty)
2 slices of ginger
1 century egg
sesame oil, white pepper, soya sauce, fried shallots, chopped spring onions, fried dough fritters (optional but recommended for topping)

Method:
Add rice, water and ginger to a pot and bring to a boil.

When rice has softened (around 15 minutes), lower to a simmer and stir to ensure the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.

After simmering for around 30 minutes top up with another cup of water.

Add chicken stock cube/s to desired taste (be careful not to add too much as the century egg will add some saltiness into the mix later).

Add in minced pork and stir to break up the meat.

Simmer for 30 minutes more and add water to the desired consistency.

Remove ginger slice, mix in century egg sliced into small wedges or cubes.

Top with soya sauce, sesame oil, pepper, spring onions and/or fried shallots.

Note: keep an eye on the water level as the congee is simmering – you don’t want the water to evaporate too much as the rice will burn. Also, stir frequently to prevent pot stickage.

Enjoy!

Baked White Chocolate & Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake

Hello World! Welcome to my humble food blog where I’ll be posting recipes and photos of all things yummy. I’ve been through a few websites/blogs during my highschool and uni years but nothing too major or serious. They weren’t really about anything specific, just general rants and ramblings about every day life. So yep! This will be my very first food blog and I’m so excited about it! I’m going to try my best to keep this blog updated as much as possible – hopefully at least one post a week? I tend to do a lot of baking & cooking on the weekends so it shouldn’t be too hard.

I bought myself a new DSLR yesterday (my first so I’m so freaking excited!) to give my food the opportunity to look their prettiest. I ordered it online so I don’t think it will be shipped to me until early next year so for the meantime I’ll have to make do with pics taken on my humble iphone.

Anyway, on to the recipe – I made this white chocolate & raspberry swirl cheesecake for a dinner party last week. It’s the perfect cake to make as it’s not overly hard to whip up plus it looks pretty :) The white chocolate is subtle and not at all overpowering, and the raspberry syrup adds the perfect touch of tangyness to cut through the richness of the cream cheese. YUM!

Baked White Chocolate & Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Recipe

Raspberry Syrup
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/3 cup cold water
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries

Base
250g Digestive Biscuits
5 tablespoons butter

Filling
375g cream cheese, softened
82g (1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon) caster sugar
3 large eggs (minimum weight of 59g)
185g white chocolate, melted
225g (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) sour cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (1/2 teaspoon natural vanilla essence)
Strawberries to decorate (optional)

Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius (145 degrees for fan-forced).

Line the base and sides of a 20cm (8 inch) springform cake pan with baking paper.

Raspberry Sauce: In a small saucepan, whisk together 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and cornstarch until well blended. Stir in cold water and add raspberries. Cook over medium heat whisking often until raspberries break down and sauce thickens (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and force sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl to remove seeds, set aside.

Base: Finely crush biscuits in a blender or food processor. Combine crushed biscuits with butter and firmly press mixture over the base of the prepared pan. Refrigerate while preparing filling.

Filling: Using a food processor or electric mixer, beat cream cheese with sugar. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times to prevent lumpiness. When mixture is smooth, beat in eggs one at a time.

Quickly stir sour cream into melted white chocolate, stirring until smooth. Add to cream cheese mixture along with the vanilla. Beat until ingredients are combined.

Assembly: Pour half the cheesecake mixture over the biscuit base and spread evenly over biscuit base. Drizzle or spoon over 2 tablespoons raspberry sauce. Slowly ladle remaining cheesecake mixture over the drizzled raspberry sauce, covering the raspberry sauce completely (you don’t want it to show through). Swirl cheesecake with a toothpick or knife (you’re just swirling that inside layer of sauce for now, be careful not to let the sauce show through). Carefully jiggle the pan to even out the top.

Fill a clean medicine syringe with raspberry sauce and begin to pipe small circles randomly over cheesecake. Take a toothpick or sharp pointy knife and run the tip through the centre of each circle creating a swirl pattern and transforming the circles into hearts –  tag all the circles before lifting out the toothpick.

Bake for about one hour – the cheesecake is ready when the centre (around 4cm radius) is a bit wobbly. Leave cheesecake at room temperature for one hour then cover and refrigerate for several hours, or until cold and set.

Decorate with strawberries if desired. Store any leftover cheesecake in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!