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!
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!
Recipe: Christmas Wreath Cheesecake!
Makes an 8’ cheesecake
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup nuts
1/2 cup nuts
1 tbs coconut oil
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)
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!
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.