Semi-final week in the bake off tent…CHOCOLATE WEEK!
Nuff said. Delicious. But, and there is always a but, as Mary Berry said, it is a tricky substance to bake with. My solution to this is ingenious! A no-bake cheesecake. Genius. Plus a rather large splash of Irish Cream makes me a super genius! Better thank all those on Facebook who helped me choose this week too – Thank you!
My university friend Laura makes a wicked Baileys cheesecake, it was talk of the campus and people came from far and wide to eat a slice, even that time it turned into floor cake it was still delicious. And that time there was so much Irish cream in, and it didn’t set, that was still some sloppy deliciousness! I asked her for the recipe this morning and she pushed me over to here.
Moving swiftly onto decorations! Chocolate leaves! They are so awesome, and patience testing. In concept they are super easy. Firstly pick (and wash!) your choice of leaves, making sure that they are quite veiny, I used a mix of mint leaves (the diddy ones), tomato leaves (medium white ones), the odd basil leaf and the large long ones were lily leaves. Melt your chocolate, temper it if you know how. I melted half and then allowed the rest to melt using the heat already in the bowl. Let cool slightly and paint the underside of the leaf and leave to cool. Leave a little of the stem unpainted. Use a chopstick type contraption to give the leaves some shape if desired.
Once hardened things get more tricky. Holding onto the plain stem slowly and gently ease it away from the chocolate. When possible get your nail/finger in between the plant and edible layer and slowly edge it through making sure to not put any pressure on the chocolate or it will snap. It takes a while to get the hang of but the resulting detail is amazing.
When my chocolate become a little too hard to paint I transferred it into a piping bag…haha no not really, I squished it into the corner of a sandwich bag! When all in cut the tip and begin drawing with the chocolate on a sheet of grease proof paper. Once cooled completely they should lift off the paper really easily to be put on the side/top of the cake. Because it’s cheesecake its already sticky around the outside otherwise you would have to frost a normal cake first.
Evaluation? Oh okay then.
I love making fridge cake because they are generally fool proof. Generally.
We did have one minor chocolate upset. The website I used does have some hunky men baking, which you know, is great BUT if you read their written recipe, they make a mistake!! A mistake which I willing followed. Ooops I’m not quite GBBO semi final material! Make sure you add the vanilla essence to the cream cheese and not the chocolate! On a brighter note I managed to use the failed chocolate substance to roll into balls for the centre decoration of the cake.
If doing again I would use a smaller cake tin as the 8inch made the cake quite flat. It also meant that I needed to add a whole pack of bourbons to cover the base properly. I used the same amount of butter and the base set fine. If you like add more Baileys however this will compromise the structural integrity to the cake.
Onto decorations which is what this week’s bake along is really about. The leaves are simple until the very end step where you have to have a light touch! A lot broke. I loved the look of the white chocolate and blue leaves but these were definitely harder to do then the dark chocolate as the chocolate is a lot less stable. Best to paint thicker and not use freshly melted chocolate. Make lots more than you need because peeling the leaf from the hardened chocolate is difficult and a lot will break! I’d say I got half and half. The thicker the chocolate layer the better and finding a technique saves a lot of frustration. The piped chocolate shapes were surprisingly easy. I’m tempted to say that I just got lucky that the chocolate was the right consistency and the hole the right size that everything worked out.
This week’s star taster goes the MacKenzie family, especially Iain, who doesn’t like cheesecake but likes my cheesecake! Thank the Lord for providing me with my creative flare, a situation where I have the materials to express it and an encouraging family who will paint leaves with me while watching the rugby.