Posts tagged christmas cake
Christmas Wreath Cheesecake! (with so many options!)

I recently took a trip to Spain to soak up some winter sunshine and do some work without the distractions of my kitchen. I have lots of travel plans for next year and this was something of a trial for a location independent work life.

That meant as soon as I landed back in the UK… I was straight back in the kitchen to unleash all that repressed kitchen creativity, ha ha

This was something of spontaneous unplanned creation, although the idea was triggered by a toffee wreath sponge cake in the Ocado Magazine. I veganized it, healthanized it, changed up the flavour and tuned it into a cheesecake. Nothing like the original really!

gingerbread wreath cheesecake 1 includingcake.jpg

What I love about this recipe is the pure versatility…

  • you can make your own plain cheesecake base or if you are pushed for time buy a plain one and focus on making the bliss balls decorations.

  • you can use any cheesecake recipe you prefer (if you have a tried and tested version you love- just go for that!)

  • you can make it any flavour you fancy - I went for gingerbread but any festive theme (or non-festive) would be awesome.

  • You can make the topping ahead of time and then decorate your cheesecake last minute for a super speedy show-stopping dessert.

So have I got your attention yet? :-)

Below, I have provided the cheesecake recipe I used if you want to try it, but as I mention above the main focus of this post is on the decorations, so you could literally use any plain smooth topped cheesecake base you like.

I kept my bliss balls plain for a ‘simple’ understated cake but after I made it I remembered my ‘bliss baubles’ from previous years- they would look absolutely epic on this cake! (Why didn’t I think of that at the time!!)

I developed the ‘baubles’ for a brand so I don’t think I showcase them on my blog at the time - but the concept is simple. Toss desiccated coconut in a little turmeric, greens powder and beetroot powder and roll the balls in it to get a pretty multi-coloured batch!

baubles bliss balls includingcake.jpg

Recipe: Christmas Wreath Cheesecake!

Makes an 8’ cheesecake

Cheesecake Ingredients:

Base*

  • 1/2 cup oats

  • 1/2 cup nuts

  • 1/2 cup nuts

  • 1 tbs coconut oil

Cheesecake

  • 1 cup water (separated into 2 x 1/2 cups)

  • 1 tbs agar flakes

  • 1 cup cashews (soaked overnight in cold water or for a couple of hours in hot water, then drained)

  • 1/4 cup syrup of choice (I used coconut)

  • 2 tbs coconut oil

  • 1 tbs lemon juice

  • 1 heaped tsp ground ginger

  • 1/4 tsp mixed spice

*NOTE: I found my base to be quite ‘bendy’ so it wasn’t as easy to remove from the pan as I would like. (But maybe that’s just me being clumsy as most of the recipe I have looked at use a similar base type)

Method:

Add the base ingredients to a food processor and blitz together until quite fine and clumpy. Press firmly into the bottom of a spring form pan (lining it may also help- optional). Set aside.

Add 1/2 cup water with the agar flakes to a small sauce pan. bring to a boil and then simmer for 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, blitz the remaining ingredients together in a food processor until thick and smooth (you may need to scrape down a couple of times). By this time the agar should be ready. Add this to the food processor and blitz for a further 20-30 seconds until the mixture is as smooth as it can be.

Working quite quickly (because the agar will begin to set) spoon/pour the mix on top of the cheesecake base. Tap the tin gently to smooth the top and get rid of any air bubbles. Once cooler enough place the cheesecake in the fridge to fully set (an hour or so).

Meanwhile, make the bliss ball topping as directed below.


Bliss Ball Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup dates (use medjool dates if you haven’t got a powerful food processor)

  • 1 cup dessicated coconut (or nuts of choice- cashew/almond/pecan or a mix all work well)

  • 2 tsp ground ginger

  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice

  • handful of goji berries and pumpkin seeds for additional decoration.

*Remember you could use any flavour here or a mix of flavours - e.g orange, cherry bakewell, chocolate, vanilla would all work well depending on what base favour you opt for!

Method:

Blitz all ingredients together in a food processor. The mix should be soft and clumpy and easy to roll into balls. Using your hands, roll into balls of various (fairly small) sizes.

If choosing to decorate as multi-coloured ‘baubles’ - dust a little extra desiccated coconut with turmeric, greens power and beetroot power (plus blue spirulina if you can get your hands on it!- any other colours?!) and roll the balls in it.

Allow them to chill and firm up whilst the cheesecake base firms up.

Once ready to decorate, place the balls gently in a mix of sizes around the perimeter of the cake top. Sprinkle goji berries and pumpkin seeds as desired in the gaps as ‘foliage’.

NOTE: you could make these ahead of time as they will store in the fridge for a couple of weeks. They transport well too if you needed to take them elsewhere to a festive party and decorate a cake there!

The entire assembled cheesecake will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge.

gingerbread wreath cheesecake 2 includingcake.jpg
gingerbread wreath cheesecake 3 includingcake.jpg


Did you try it?

I’d love to see… tag @johodson on Instagram with your creation!! :-)


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‘Twelve Days’ day 9: Mincemeat fruit loaf

I’m on a bit of a mincemeat kick!

Yes, I know I could freeze part of the batch I made a few days ago but I wanted to make it into as many things as possible right now!...plus I can always make more if I need to as it’s so simple.

I’ve never been a fan of traditional fruit cake as it’s so dense and rich and I’m not a lover of candied peel.  However I do like the idea of a fruit cake as a semi-sweet filling mid afternoon snack served warm with some vegan butter or yoghurt.  So as with all things… I set about creating my own version. This loaf is a lot lighter than a traditional loaf cake and I used a food processor to blend the mincemeat into the mixture so that the pieces were much smaller with a delicate crumb to the cake, (great for people who proclaim not to like fruit cake because of the bits!) but instead of blending you could simply fold the mincemeat through by hand if you would prefer to retain more of a texture to the fruit.

The basis of this recipe was inspired by this cake as it had a lovely light delicate sponge, although I have ended up modifying it quite a lot.

I can barely believe we’ve reached ‘Day 9’ already…..this time next week Christmas day will be upon us! 

Ok- now I’m starting to get really excited…the final countdown has begun and there are still 3 more recipes to squeeze in this week…. 

So, put you Christmas tunes on, get your tinsel out and dance around the room like a crazy person. It’s Christmas so anything goes…plus after all that dancing you’ll need a rest and refuel with a little piece of cake!

Recipe: Mincemeat fruit loaf

Ingredients

  • 150g wholemeal spelt flour
  • 50g almond meal
  • 50g potato starch
  • 1tsp flax seed mixed with 1tbs hot water
  • 3tsp baking powder 
  • 1tbs bicarbonate of soda
  • 2tsp cinnamon
  • 70g rapadura
  • ¼ tsp stevia
  • 100ml melted coconut butter
  • 50ml soy yoghurt
  • 100ml orange juice (more if needed)
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g mincemeat (ideally homemade)
  • Whole blanched almonds for decoration
  • Fills one 8 inch loaf tin

Method

Blend all liquids in food processor and melt coconut oil separately then mix in. Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl then pour into the wet ingredients and beat well to get a very smooth mixture. Add the mincemeat last and either blend in or fold in by hand. Add a little more orange juice if necessary to ensure a smooth batter.

Pour into greased and lined8” loaf tin. Place/scatter a handful of blanched almonds over the top of the loaf. Bake for approx. 40 mins at 180C. If the top of the loaf begins to brown before the centre is fully cooked, lightly cover with foil for the last few minutes of baking time.


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‘Twelve Days’ day 1: Spiced cranberry orange cake

At my mum’s house, traditionally we wouldn’t put the Christmas decorations up until a couple of weekends before Christmas. However this weekend my sister had popped back home from uni and so with all the Christmas baking plans that I was busy drafting up we decided that we’d break that tradition and get full on into the swing. 

Yesterday afternoon was spent with boxes of decorations all around us on the floor- trying to decide which ones to use and which ones were just a bit too old/battered/silly to put up this year. Nostalgia usually gets the better of us and we end up with a Christmas tree ornament collection that looks so random it is almost an embarrassment to visitors who might not appreciate the odd shaped and badly stitched felt stocking that my brother made in primary school about 20 years ago!

So this year, we tried to keep to more of a theme with just a few of the most important nostalgic decorations allowed permission on the tree. It looks so much better!

We don’t go overboard on decorating the whole house from top to toe, but fairly lights are essential! I love fairy lights- I’d keep them up all year round if I could. They give such a warm happy glow to a space and make me want to twirl around the room! Ok, well maybe that is just me…?

Once the tree was up it was time to sit back with a glass of mulled wine. This year I thought I’d try making my own- it was based on a Jamie Oliver recipe that involves first making a syrup base to mix into the red wine. It was lovely, and I’ve bottled up the remaining syrup to have over Christmas itself. 

Along with mulled wine came dessert... a spiced orange and cranberry cake! This dessert becomes the first of the ‘Twelve Days’ of recipes and is super versatile in that it can be served warm as a dessert with custard, served cold as a slice of cake or even baked in muffin tins.

We ate ours warm with custard (Alpro soya custard in fact as I just didn’t have time to make my own).  Mmmm, it was good- dense, moist, lightly spiced and sweet but not overly so with a crisp tang from the cranberries and a warmth from the citrus and spices. Those who like a very sweet dessert may want to increase the sweetener slightly to compensate for the sharpness of the cranberries.  I imagine this cake would freeze well, but I can’t imagine this one being around long enough to test that out!

Recipe: Spiced cranberry orange cake

Makes one 7” cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 1/3 cup rapadura plus ¼ tsp stevia (add a little extra if a very sweet cake is preferred)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • 4 tbs apple puree
  • 2 tbs coconut butter (melted) or coconut oil
  • 2 tsp orange zest or 1 tsp orange extract
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 banana- mashed
  • Small tin of mandarins or two clementines peeled in to segments and roughly chopped
  • 1 ½ cups fresh cranberries partially chopped

Method

Sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and set aside.  Blend together the wet ingredients (other than oranges and cranberries) in a food processor until well mixed and then add to the dry ingredients. Lastly add the oranges and cranberries to the mixture and mix through gently to break up the oranges but do not over mix. Pour the mixture into a greased  7” round cake pan. Bake at 180C for approx. 25 minutes loosely covering the cake for the final 10 minutes if the top begins to brown before the middle is cooked through.

For a similar cake idea but with a lighter sponge see this post with apples and blueberries.


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