A cake made of cheese.
Not in my lifetime!
Ah, do you remember that Peter Kay classic sketch?
Or perhaps you remember this number:
“Ohhhh….Cheesecake. Munchin’ on a cheesecake, munchin’ on a cheesecake.
Cheesecake, munchin’ on a cheesecake, munchin’ on a cheesecake”
If you haven’t heard this jazz gem before, take a trip down Youtube lane and you’ll be tapping your feet for days.
Ok, it’s unlikely to win an Ivor Novello award for songwriting, but the Louis Armstrong classic certainly captures the spirit of its subject.
There’s something about a good cheesecake that brings happiness, even if it is made of cheese! It starts when the taste buds first encounter the light and zingy top layer and ends with the satisfying crunch of teeth into the basement biscuit.
There are a multitude of cheesecake flavours from the plain Jane but perfectly acceptable vanilla, through subtle hints of lemon and raspberry and onto the decadence of a baileys or banoffee.
I’ve often wondered how it got its name because cheesecake doesn’t taste like cheese and Stilton cheesecake certainly doesn’t appeal.
It turns out the centre of any good cheesecake is basically cottage cheese – curds formed when the ph level of milk is disturbed – which is then whisked into a cream.
The more you compact cottage cheese to remove moisture and the longer you leave it to age, determines how hard the cheese will be.
So, from young upstarts cottage cheese and feta, we move onto the soft cheeses of Brie and Port Salut, passing through gruyere, gouda and edam before arriving at the classic firm cheddar and finally the hard cheeses ideal for grating such as parmesan and grana padona that can be years in the making.
Cottage cheese was the first cheese, dating back an estimated ten thousand years and probably arising out of the use of animal skins to transport milk and the realisation that certain enzymes can stimulate the production of curds.
The breakthrough that paved the way to the modern cheesecake came when yeast was replaced with eggs. Removing the overpowering yeast taste allowed more subtle, sweeter flavours to be added, heralding the modern age of cheesecake as a dessert.
Not quite as modern as suggested by Peter Kay, which dates the birth of the cheesecake to a wedding reception in the North West in the early 21st century.
No, the modern day cheesecake has been with us for 150 years, so as we celebrate National Cheesecake Day grab a slice of your favourite flavour and turn up the Satchmo. Altogether now…
National Cheesecake Day Blog
Eton mess cheesecake, smoke salmon cheesecake.
Eton Mess Cheesecake
- 3 Large Eggs
- 175g Caster Sugar
Remove the yolk from each egg and add to a bowl or mixer. Start to whip the egg whites on medium speed, until soft peaks. Then, slowly start to add the sugar, one teaspoon at a time until the mixture is stiff and glossy. Place the mixture into a piping bag, then pipe whatever shape you like onto a tray with greaseproof paper. For this I made small swirls. Then, put in an oven at 130 degrees for two hours.
- 500g Cream Cheese
- 100g Icing Sugar
- 300ml Double Cream
- 1tsp Vanilla Extract
- 100g Chopped Strawberries
- 150g Butter
- 300g Digestive Biscuits
- 150g Mixed Berries
Firstly, start by bashing the biscuits to form a crumb, then melt the butter and mix with the crumb. Place in your moulds around ¼ and flatten with the back of a spoon. Next, add the cream and cream cheese into a bowl and whip together until combined. Then, add the icing sugar, strawberries and vanilla then continue to whip until the mixture creates stiff peaks. Add crushed meringues and fresh berries and mix. Fill your ramekins with the cheesecake mix, then set in the fridge for 2-3 hours. Serve with fresh fruit and meringues.
Smoked Salmon Cheesecake
- 300g Oatcakes
- 150g Melted Butter
- 500g Cream Cheese
- 3 tbsp Sugar
- 1 Zest of Lemon
- 3 tbsp Finely Chopped Chives
- 150g Smoked Salmon
- ½ Cucumber
- 3 Spring Onions
Start by making your biscuit base. Melt your butter and crush your oatcakes to make a crumb, then combine together. Add the mixture into your moulds or ramekins and flatten with a spoon. Then, put in the fridge for 30 minutes. Next, add the cream cheese, cream and sugar into a mixing bowl and whip until combined. Then, add lemon zest, chives, finally diced smoked salmon, diced cucumber, sliced spring onions and whip again. Season with salt and cracked black pepper. Once combined and seasoned, add the mixture on top of your biscuit base and leave to set for 2-3 hours. Garnish with smoked salmon, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and chives.