Week One Hundred & Twenty Seven – Mary Berry’s Continental Cheesecake & Frosted Walnut Layer Cake

Week 127 and the old Mary Berry Baking Bible is now looking well used and “lived in” and there are few recipes left to choose from but I delved in with a bit more vigor than last week and came out with the last cheesecake recipe from that section and a frosted walnut layer cake.

Mary Berry's continental cheesecake

I began with the cheesecake as this a cooked cheesecake which involves several stages. I made the base first and I know Mary is quite lean on the biscuit and butter for her cheesecakes so I doubled the biscuit and butter amounts and melted the butter while crushing the biscuit for the base. I thought this gave a nice base to the cheescake with no gaps or holes. I put it in the fridge to set. Once it was set, I then set off to make the filling. This involved enormous amounts of ricotta cheese, with butter , sugar, flour, lemon and egg yolks all whisked together. Then fold in whipped cream and whisked egg whites and pour onto the biscuit base and bake for about 1 1/2 hours. When cooked, turn the oven off but leave the cheesecake in the oven for a further hour. Finally remove the cheesecake from the tin and decorate with cream and summer fruits.

Kim's continental cheesecake

The recipe actually called for cooking some redcurrants, blackcurrants and blackberries in 2 tablespoons of water and sweeten to taste and then blend some arrowroot with some cold water and add the fruit and allow to thicken. I chose to keep mine simple with cream, strawberries and raspberries. We haven’t been overly keen on baked fruit cakes but this one was quite nice and would be nice possibly to do again.

Mary Berry's walnut layer cake

The second recipe was the frosted walnut layer cake. The initial sponge cake was one of Mary’s easy throw everything in a bowl and mix cakes – one of my favourites! Pour into the sandwich tins and bake. Once cooled prepare the frosting. This is where is got a little more complex!  Mary asks you to put all the frosting ingredients in a bowl and whisk over a pan of hot water – FOR 10-12 MINUTES!! My poor hand mixer was definately pushed to it’s limits of endurance, as was my wrist! Once the mix forms little peaks, sandwich the layers together with the frosting and then cover the top and sides with it, putting little peaks on the top and decorate with walnuts. Mary tells you to work quickly as the icing sets rapidly.

Kim's walnut layer cake

Leave the cake to set in a cool place and enjoy! This was a yummy cake and definately one I would make again.

The countdown has now reached another milestone now …… so near and yet……

20

Week One Hundred & Seventeen – Mary Berry’s Angel Sponge Cheesecake & Marmalade Cake

Week 117 and I now delve into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible and flip back and forth through the pages looking for bakes I haven’t yet done which is getting smaller by the week!

I chose Mary’s Angel Sponge Cheesecake , I must say I haven’t really liked the baked cheesecakes that I have made and at least this one was not baked but is sounded different. Mary asks you to make a sponge first.  She asks you to beat the eggs and sugar together until it leaves a trail, then sift in the flour and fold in lightly. Put this mix in the prepared tin and bake.

Mary Berry's Angel Sponge Cheesecake

Once baked to a golden brown, allow to cool and then cut in half.

Kin's Angel Sponge

Please one half in the bottom of a deep cake tin, cut side up. Mary then asks you to make the cheesecake filling by beating the sugar and butter together, add the egg yolks , orange rind, orange juice and cheese and mix well. Whip the cream and fold into the cheese mixture, whisk the egg whites and fold them in- quite complicated! Spoon the mix into the tin onto the sponge and level, lay the other half of the sponge on top, cut side down. Cover with clingfilm and put in the fridge. Now Mary asks you to leave in the fridge for about 4 hours then remove from the tin and serve. Now after four hours, mine was nowhere near set and if I had tried to remove it, I would have had a puddle. At this point, I did what I usually do and looked at Rising to The Berry to see what Anneliese did and having read her blog, decided to leave mine in overnight. Even though I did this, when I turned mine out, it still sagged and when we tasted it, it was more like a mousse between two sponges.

Kim's Angel Sponge Cheesecake

The second recipe was Mary’s Marmalade Cake. I nicknamed it “Paddington Cake” as Paddington loved marmalade. I very carefully chopped washed and dried all the cherries this time and added them to all the other ingredients and mixed well, thankfully it was one of Mary’s all in one recipes.

Mary Berry's Marmalade Cake

I lined a loaf tin with one of my 99p Shop liners, poured the mix in and put it in the oven to bake. I did observe Mary’s warning that it you were heavy handed with the marmalade, the fruit would all sink to the bottom as it would slacken the mixture. Once baked, allow to cool and then remove from the tin and warm some marmalade and brush it over the top. I must say that despite the amount of marmalade in it and on top, it still tasted like a fruit cake, the orange didn’t come through too much.

Kim's Marmalade Cake

I had mentioned my blog might be a little late as indeed it is . This was because I was helping my chief tasters finish their garden by leveling the last bit ready for turfing. They brought a digger in and I had a go, it was great fun but harder than it looked. I was “chief skip leveller” – as in, when they dumped the earth into the skip, I made sure it was evenly distributed and the maximum space was used- with my trusty old Woolworths rake!

Kim's digger fun

I have now reached the heady countdown of…….forty

 

 

Mary’s Baking Bible has 19 sections to it and I have now completed all the recipes in the following sections:

“Cupcakes and Other Small Bakes”

” Traybakes and Flapjacks”

“Shortbreads and Bars”

“Baking for Children”

“Tarts and Pastries”

“Fruit Breads”

thumbs up

 

 

Week One Hundred & Thirteen – Mary Berry’s Buttermilk & Honey Cheesecake

Week 113 and I decided to choose just one recipe this week as I was very conscious that I had an uneven number of bakes left so I decided to even it up by doing just one bake this week, at least that was the theory! I delved into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible and chose one of the few cheesecakes left. I hadn’t been overly keen on the last baked cheesecake I made but hoped that this one would be more to our taste.

Mary Berry's Buttermilk & Honey Cheesecake

Mary asks you to buy a flan base from the supermarket for the base and use this to line the base of a springform tin. This certainly cut down on the preparation and I am all for making life easier when baking! I then followed Mary’s instructions for the topping and poured it onto the flan case bottom and put it into bake. I had never used buttermilk before but as Mary advises in her book, you should be able to find this with the creams in the supermarket, and she was right. I set the timer and did the usual weekend stuff…housework, dog walking, baking, the usual multi tasking and juggling!

multitasking

housework

When the timer pinged, I brought out the cheesecake and allowed it to cool thoroughly before removing it from the springform tin. It looked more like a cheesecake than the last one I had attempted and it definitely tasted better but we still found it quite dense and filling so another recipe to add to the not to be repeated list!

Kim's Buttermilk & Honey Cheesecake

People have been asking me what I will do when I have completed this challenge. I have given this a lot of thought and I have to say that it will be nice to bake something because I want to or it’s what I fancy rather than having to complete the challenge I set for myself. I probably won’t bake every week , I will use the time to improve my photography , or set some more time aside for my artwork which I very much enjoy but never seem to have the time to do anything of worth.

So, having completed just one recipe this week, the number of recipes left to go is …

48

Week One Hundred & Ten – Mary Berry’s Austrian Curd Cheesecake

Week 110 and I delved into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible to look for just one recipe this week as there were still left overs from last week’s bake and I hate any kind of waste where food is concerned. This challenge is to stretch and enhance my baking skills , not to bake so much that food is wasted. I found this unusual Austrian Curd Cheesecake and chose this. Mary asks you to grease and line a springform tin and then mix all the ingredients together and pour into the tin. This cheesecake has no kind of biscuit base and has a lot of soft cheese in it and dried fruit and eggs. I did wonder how it would turn out as it didn’t sound like any kind of cheesecake that I had eaten before. I mixed the recipe and poured it into the tin and put it in the oven to cook.

Mary Berry's Austrian Curd Cheesecake

Mary suggests baking the cheesecake for half an hour , then cover the top of it with foil and bake for another half an hour then turn the oven off and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven. Once cool, remove from the oven , take the springform side off and sprinkle with icing sugar. Mary says it is a moist cheesecake that will need no cream with it.

Austrian Curd Cheesecake

I must admit, I love cheesecakes and so does hubby and the chief taster but this was the most unusual cheesecake I have ever made. Hubby and I didn’t like the texture of it and found it quite bland. Unlike most of the recipes in the baking bible, this is not one that I will be repeating.

This week saw the first of the Comic Relief Bake Off celebrity episodes and it was so so funny. The celebrities all did a sterling job but the one that made me laugh the most was Dame Edna’s approach to baking- if you haven’t seen it, you can find the episode here. A must watch if you want a laugh.

Comic Relief Bake Off 2015

Also seeing Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry with their red noses on is enjoyable on it’s own.

mary berry red nose Paul Berry red nose

On a more serious note, Comic Relief raise money for very deserving causes and I will be donating as usual. Please consider donating or even doing yours own bake to raise money.

Finally as I am late with this blog again, it has fallen on Valentine’s Day and I would like to wish my hubby a happy valentine’s day, we will be cooking our own Valentine’s meal at home with fresh bruschetta, Italian prawn pasta – Jamie Oliver style and a lovely bottle of rioja to share….I asked my hubby if he could choose a “romantic” movie to watch, what would he choose- to my surpise, he said there were two- Sleepless in Seattle and The Truth About Cats & Dogs. The Truth About Cats And Dogs is my most favourite romantic move so I was really pleased he likes it too!

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Week Ninety Nine – Mary Berry’s Orange Drop Scones & American Chocolate Ripple Cheesecake

Week 99 – wow it’s almost 100 blogs for this Mary Berry challenge and I am still a way to go yet- I take my hat off to Anneliese who completed her “Rising to the Berry” challenge that inspired me in just 18 months! When I begin to flag or get a bit despondent, I read the original article about her and I remember what inspired me to start this path.

Any how, on this week’s dip into Mary Berry’s Baking Bible, I found the orange drop scones and the American chocolate ripple cheesecake. I started at the weekend with the orange drop scones which were a breeze to make. Mary’s recipe for these is easy to follow and mix and I halved the recipe as this was just going to be brunch for hubby and I.

Mary Berry's Orange Drop Scones

 

I heated my ceramic frying pan and poured spoons of the mixture in, about three at a time. I gave each one a few minutes and flipped them over. You could smell the orange in them as they were cooking. Soon enough, Hubby and I had 5 or 6 each in the middle of a plate and we enjoyed them with some butter and maple syrup- yum!

Kim's orange drop scones

The second recipe I chose was the American chocolate ripple cheesecake which is a baked cheesecake. The recipe is a staged recipe in that you begin by putting some dark chocolate digestives in a bag and crush them, melt some butter, add the crushed digestives, mix well and press into the base of a loose bottomed tin. I always think Mary skimps on this part so as usual I topped up the base with some more crushed biscuit and butter mix. I then put this in the fridge to set.

Mary Berry's American Chocolate Ripple Cheesecake

Mary then asks you to beat the cheese mix until soft and melt the chocolate. Put half of the cheesecake mix in blobs on the cheesecake base and add the chocolate to the other half and mix well. Add this to the base in between the white mix and then use a spoon to swirl it around so it has a rippled effect. Bake as per the recipe and don’t worry that the cheese cake cracks when it cools , Mary warns you about this. Keep the cheesecake in the fridge . It is very rich and you will only want a small slice but it is best eaten as fresh as possible.

Kim's American Chocolate Ripple Cheesecake

 

Week Ninety Two – Mary Berry’s Banana & Honey Teabread & Chocolate, Brandy & Ginger Cheesecake

Week Ninety Two and this bake was being done away from home. Hubby was being watched over for me and I took the opportunity to bake the last banana recipe and another while I was visiting my mum and taking photos of my great niece. Mary Berry’s Baking Bible had one final banana recipe and I started with this.  The recipe was quite an easy mix, but mashing the bananas needed a bit of elbow grease! I lined the tin with baking parchment and put the loaf in the oven for 1 1/4 hours.

Mary Berry's Banana & Honey Teabread

The loaf needed to be covered with some foil about an hour into the bake and Mary does warn you of this in her recipe. The resulting loaf needed to cool for a short while before being brushed with warmed honey and sprinkled with sugar.

Kim's Banana & Honey Tealoaf

The second recipe proved to be a bit more of a challenge. The first part of Mary’s chocolate, brandy and ginger cheesecake wasn’t too bad, it involved crushing ginger biscuits and combining this with melted butter and sugar. Put this in the base of the tin and press down and leave to set.

Mary Berry's Chocolate, brandy & Ginger Cheesecake

After the banana loaf had baked, I set about making the cheesecake middle layer. This proved to be the challenging part. Mary asks you to melt the chocolate in a bowl over hot water- no problem there. Sprinkle the gelatine over the water and leave for 10 minutes to sponge- not so good. Beat together the egg yolks, sugar and cheese in a bowl. Add the soured cream and chocolate. Stir in the gelatine. Whisk the egg whites until frothy and fold in to the mixture and add the brandy and chopped ginger. At this point the mixture was very runny and I wasn’t confident that it was going to set. I poured it into the tin on top of the biscuit base and left it in my mum’s fridge. Many hours later it was still runny, with no sign of setting so I put it in her freezer for several hours. Slightly better but not properly set.

I had to leave it for my mum to whip the cream ad sprinkle chocolate over and send me a photo so I never got to taste this one but mum said when she took it out of the tin, while putting the cream on top , the chocolate cheesecake mix was beginning to sag and move so it had to be eaten quickly. All I can think of was that I didn’t do the gelatine properly but who knows? I will chalk this one up to experience.

Kim's Chocolate, Brandy & Ginger Cheesecake

I am still enjoying The Great British Bake Off and my three early favourites are still there. I learnt two things from tonight’s show. Trim your tart pastry once cooked , not before, which I had always done , it looks so much better and if making any kind of custard tart, it’s better to pour the custard into the pastry case while it’s on the oven shelf rather than struggling not to spill it while getting it back into the oven!

Week Seventy Two – Mary Berry’s Apricot & Orange Cheesecake & Lemon Drizzle Tray Bake

I am still on a roll and managing to bake 2 of Mary Berry’s recipes from her Baking Bible. This week my mum came to stay and to celebrate, I decided to try one of the more difficult and lengthy cheesecake recipes. Mary Berry’s Apricot & Orange cheesecake started with melting butter and crushing digestive biscuits. Mix these together and press into a deep circular tin and chill.

Mary Berry's Apricote & Orange Cheesecake

The next part of the cheese cake involved boiling orange juice and the apricots for about five minutes, then blitz in a food processor and add the gelatine, sour cream, cream cheese, honey, and egg yolks and blitz again until smooth. Whip the egg whites with the sugar until stiff and fold into the cheesecake mix. Pour this onto the biscuit base and chill again  overnight. Finally , melt some apricot jam and pour over the top of the cheesecake. Chill again. Mark the cheesecake into 10 slices and decorate each slice with a whipped cream swirl and a ratafia biscuit. This has been the most complicated cheesecake I have ever made but it looked good and tasted even better!

Kim's Apricot & Orange Cheesecake

The second recipe was Mary’s lemon drizzle tray bake. This was one of Mary’s through all the ingredients in a bowl and mix. Line a tray bake tin ( Lakeland…) and bake for about 40 minutes.

Mary Berry's Lemon Drizzle Tray Bake

Once baked and cooled, mix granulated sugar with some lemon juice and drizzle over the top. Cut into squares.

Kim's Lemon Drizzle Tray Bake

I loved watching Mary’s show this week, with the dinner party recipes. I particularly liked the salmon mousse terrine with asparagus. I am looking forward to next week’s roast dinner recipes.