Sunday 24 April 2011

Peanut Butter Birthday Cheesecake with Raspberry Balsamic Swirl

Happy Easter everyone. Today is not only Easter Sunday, but also my birthday! One of the main birthday treats, often involves birthday cake, but I’ve been baking and eating a lot of cake recently, so this year I decided I wanted something a little different and decided on a birthday cheesecake – it still has ‘cake’ in the title.

I adore cheesecake but for some reason never bake them that often. A few months back I saw Nigella Lawson make a peanut butter and chocolate cheesecake on tv, and its been on my mind ever since, pestering me to bake it. The only slight problem was that the rest of my family are not really peanut butter fans, but I thought ‘it’s my birthday and if they don’t like it, well all the more for me.’

Using Nigella’s recipe as a starting point, I adapted it to suit my own tastes. I’m not a fan of biscuit bases, I find their crumbly gritty texture detracts from the smooth creaminess of the cheesecake, so instead I baked a thin layer of chocolate roulade sponge directly into the tin, before adding the peanut butter cheesecake mix on top. I had a slight culinary set back when my hand mixer broke just as I was about to make the sponge base. I had to whisk and egg and sugar together for 10 minutes until ribbons formed using an old fashioned rotary whisk – it certainly gave the arm muscles a work out!

To further enhance the peanut butter element I also added a couple of crumbled peanut butter cups which added some delicious chunks dotted throughout the cheesecake.

I also love the combination of red fruits and jam with both peanut butter and chocolate and so decided to incorporate all three into my cheesecake. I had a little bottle of raspberry balsamic vinegar glaze sitting on the side which I used to add a decorative swirl to the top the cheesecake. The swirl alone looked pretty, but a few strokes with a pointy knife transformed the swirl into a feathery flower effect. (If you can’t find a balsamic glaze, just heat a few spoonfuls of raspberry preserve and stir in 1 tbsp good quality aged balsamic vinegar.)

I love how this baked and set into the top of the cheesecake, I think it looks striking against the creamy cheesecake background. My cheesecake cracked a little on cooling, but if you notice it only cracked along the outer edge of the feather effect, which actually made it look quite attractive and my family thought I had done intentionally – hurrah!

The finished cheesecake was everything I’d hoped it would be. Smooth and creamy with an indulgent rich peanut taste. The chunks of peanut butter cups added bursts of sweet melty chocolate with the slightly salty peanut filling giving the perfect contrast. This too worked wonderfully with the fruity intensely flavoured raspberry balsamic.

The thin chocolate sponge base added a whisper of chocolate flavour, while its light soft texture didn’t detract from the ultra smooth cheesecake top. Mmmmm divine!

It was so good that I must confess I was a bit greedy and had a slice at lunchtime and another after dinner. I also polished off the leftover bits from my brothers plate who tried a slice to be kind, but admitted it wasn’t for him. Oh well, I don’t feel too guilty, it was my birthday afterall, plus this means all the more for me – what a shame. It’s certainly a ‘must’ for peanut butter fan.

Today is my actual birthday, although I celebrated it with my family yesterday due to everyone having other Easter day engagements planned. Hence the reason I had my birthday ‘cake’ a day early too!

Peanut Butter Birthday Cheesecake with Raspberry Balsamic Swirl
Chocolate Sponge Base
10g buckwheat flour
10g cocoa powder
1 egg
40g caster sugar
1 tsp water

Peanut Butter Cheesecake
350g cream cheese
80ml sour cream
180g smooth peanut butter
3 eggs
120g caster sugar
3 peanut butter cups

Raspberry Balsamic glaze
2 tbsp raspberry preserve
1 tbsp good quality aged balsamic vinegar

Method – Chocolate Sponge Base
Grease an 8inch/20cm deep springform tin and line the base with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 190C.
Whisk the egg and sugar together until thick and ribbons form on the surface when you lift the beaters out of the mix, around 5 minutes.
Sift over the cocoa powder and flour and fold in gently using a spatula or metal spoon until no streaks remain. Fold in the water. Do not over mix.
Pour the cake batter into the prepared tin (it will be only a thin layer) and bake for 7 minutes until set and slightly puffy.
Leave in the tin to cool and reduce the oven temperature to 170C.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake
Beat the sugar and cream cheese together until soft and well combined. This is easiest to do if the cream cheese is at room temperature. Heat it for 30seconds in the microwave, on low, if you’ve taken it straight from the fridge.
Beat in the peanut butter, beating until no lumps remain.
Add the sour cream and eggs and whisk once more. The batter will be fairly runny, but should be a smooth even colour.
Chop the peanut butter cups into chunks and stir through the batter.
Pour the cheesecake mix on top of the cooled chocolate sponge base.
Drizzle over a swirl of the raspberry balsamic glaze. Use the tip of a sharp knife to drag the swirl out towards the edges, starting from the centre, at each quarter (think N, S, E & W on a compass). In-between these four lines (NE, SE, SW & NW), drag the knife in towards the centre to create the ripple/feather effect.
Bake in the 170C oven for 45 minutes until just set and a little wobble remains.
Turn off the heat, but leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door propped half open for 30 minutes to allow it to relax and cool down gradually.
Then remove for the oven and leave to cool for an hour before placing in the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

Raspberry Balsamic Glaze
Use a premade fruity balsamic glaze or melt the raspberry preserve in a small pan until liquid. Add the balsamic vinegar and stir until combined. Drizzle over the top of the cheesecake batter and swirl as above of leave in blobs.


Suelle said...

Happy birthday! It's a bit of a pain having to make your own birthday cake, but at least you get what you want. The cheesecake looks beautiful and sounds delicious!

Unknown said...

Happy Birthday! This looks like a wonderful cheesecake. I've only ever had cheesecake once and that was at the Cheesecake Factory, but I will deffinately have to try this.

Hayley said...

That looks amazing, definatley need to try this one!

This peanut butter cake is one of my faves,

I'm gluten free too and use doves farm flour with this one and no one can tell the difference,

Great blog
Happy birthday

The Addicted Baker said...

Happy birthday and happy Easter. The swirls on top are just lovely.

Caroline said...

Happy Birthday! Wow, what a stunning cake to choose. And I totally agree that you should have your choice of cake on your birthday - if you can't please yourself then, when can you!

I really love the ripple effect you've created - I must find something to try that on!

bayaderka said...

Happy birthday to you,

It s the very first time i have read your posts and wondering now whether you can still remember the red silicone bars moulds that you sed in 2007. I would love to get some of these but dont know where from.

If you do know, would you reply to me on ?

Many thanks,


Katie said...

Hi Agnes,
I've emailed you with some examples of the mini loaf moulds.

The Caked Crusader said...

Happy birthday to you!
Love the swirl on the top - it's stunning

Rhyleysgranny said...

Happy Birthday. That looks amazing. I just know I would mess up the beautiful pattern though.

Johanna GGG said...

happy birthday and happy easter - glad you got a bit of chocolate in for easter as well as lots of peanut butter - I would love a slice (or two) - I also love cheesecake but don't make it often - I think it is a great celebration cake because it is so rich - and yours is pretty too (I also was marvelling at the cracks along the flower)

natalia said...

Ciao !Happy Birthday to you ! You made a super wonderful cake Complimenti !

Beth (jamandcream) said...

Happy Birthday....your photo's are amazing Katie! It almost looks too good to eat

Butter Hearts Sugar said...

Happy Birthday!! Your cheesecake looks wonderful.

Abitofafoodie said...

Happy Birthday Katie. What a stunning cheesecake! I love peanut butter but have never been sure about baking with it in sweet desserts... This looks so good though that I'm certain I would enjoy it!

Not Quite Nigella said...

Happy Birthday Katie! And what a lovely cake to celebrate it. I like the idea of the balsamic swirl too :D I've been quite lazy this year and decided to buy my own cake, naughty I know! :P

Cupcake Crazy Gem said...

This looks so delicious! I especially love the artistic swirl on top! Happy belated birthday! Hope you had a lovely time in the Lakes!

Anonymous said...

This cake is awesome and great way to surprise someone for his birthday ;) thanks for sharing it.

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