Eggless Double Chocolate Baked Cheesecake with Strawberries

Last Saturday it was my husband's birthday, so as per tradition I made him a birthday cake (last year I made this Norwegian Cream Layer Cake). A few weeks ago I started planning the recipe, with one main restriction as it had to be egg less for my in-laws who are strictly vegetarian (they are currently visiting us from Mumbai).

Eggless Double Chocolate Baked Cheesecake with Strawberries
Eggless Double Chocolate Baked Cheesecake with Strawberries

I originally decided to make this Raw Fig Cheesecake by Oh, Ladycakes, but sadly last week I didn't get around to do all the prep and food shopping because of a crazy week of work projects and deadlines. So I ended up making a fairly easy baked Chocolate Cheesecake instead, which I adapted from this blueberry and white chocolate Korasoi recipe.

For reference and guidance, I also followed these two recipes: Smitten Kitchen raspberry swirl cheesecake and my favourite Nigella chocolate cheesecake.

Eggless Double Chocolate Baked Cheesecake with Strawberries

The result is a rich and dense cake that is best served for a special occasion…after a very light lunch! ;) Jokes aside, even though I cut the sugar down from the original recipe the cake is still very sweet, so if you are not into sweet things try using extra dark bitter chocolate to balance out the cream cheese/ricotta filling.

Ingredients

For the base

  • 2 cups (250g) finely ground chocolate cookie crumbs (I used an Indian brand called Parle Hide & Seek)
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

For the filling

  • 500g ricotta cheese
  • 500g cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 cup double cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g milk chocolate, melted
  • 100g dark chocolate, melted

To decorate

  • about 400g fresh strawberries
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar

Eggless Double Chocolate Baked Cheesecake with Strawberries

Preparation

Pre heat the oven to 180°C. Line the outside of a 23-cm (9-inch) springform cake tin with a layer of clingfilm and a layer of strong foil over that. Set aside.

Using your hands or a food processor, break the biscuits into crumbs. Pour the crumbs into a medium bowl and mix with the melted butter. Fill a cake tin with the crumbly mixture and, using a measuring cup or a spoon, press the mixture over the bottom of the tin.

Bake the crust for about 10 minutes. Let it cool in the tin then cover and refrigerate while you make the filling.

In another bowl mix together all of the filling ingredients until the mixture has thickened.

Sit the cake tin in a roasting pan and pour in the cheesecake filling over the crust. Fill the roasting pan with boiling water halfway up the cake tin. Bake for 60-75 minutes until the cake is set, but still slightly wobbly in centre.

Peel away the foil and clingfilm wrapping and sit the cheesecake in its tin on a rack to cool at room temperature. Decorate with strawberries and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight. Sprinkle icing sugar over the cake before serving.

Eggless Double Chocolate Baked Cheesecake with Strawberries

On the day of Sandy's birthday we celebrated with a picnic in our local park, Clapham Common. My mother-in-law prepared dry potato curry and thepla (a Gujarati flatbread made with whole wheat flour, fenugreek leaves and spices), which we ate with yogurt and chunda (a sweet and sour mango pickle).

Eggless Double Chocolate Baked Cheesecake with Strawberries
Eggless Double Chocolate Baked Cheesecake with Strawberries
Eggless Double Chocolate Baked Cheesecake with Strawberries
Eggless Double Chocolate Baked Cheesecake with Strawberries

We brought the cake to the park, but sadly our attempts to lighten the candles on the cake failed (too windy). See the photo of Sandy blowing out the candles? Well he was just pretending for the camera…ahahah! :P

Thanks British summer! Well, at least it didn't rain and we had a lovely day celebrating Sandy's birthday all together!

Eggless Double Chocolate Baked Cheesecake with Strawberries
Eggless Double Chocolate Baked Cheesecake with Strawberries
Eggless Double Chocolate Baked Cheesecake with Strawberries

PS: it also happens to be my mum's birthday today, she's in Rome and it makes me very sad that I cannot celebrate with her and bake her a cake! HAPPY BIRTHDAY MUM! xxx

Bløtkake – Norwegian Cream Layer Cake

One month ago I made a special cake for my husband's birthday. It's called Bløtkake and is a traditional Norwegian cake made with layers of sponge, jam and whipped cream, topped with fresh fruits and berries.

My husband specifically asked for this cake, which neither of us had tasted before, because it "looked" fresh and light. He begged me not to make another chocolate cake! In reality, this cake is far from light, as it's packed with sugar and cream.

Thankfully, he loved it, so the experiment was a successful one!

Bløtkake - Norwegian Cream Layer Cake
Bløtkake - Norwegian Cream Layer Cake

I chose a recipe by Five and Spice, because it was in English (most Bløtkake online recipes are only in Norwegian), well written and published recently.

It didn't take me too long to bake the sponge the evening before the birthday. I let the sponge set overnight, then the next morning I woke up early to assemble and decorate the cake.

It's not a complicated cake to prepare, but it requires a little bit of patience when cutting the sponge in layers. The decoration is the fun part, as you can be creative with the colours and shapes! I made rings of contrasting colours, leaving space in the centre to place the candles.

Bløtkake - Norwegian Cream Layer Cake
Bløtkake - Norwegian Cream Layer Cake
Bløtkake - Norwegian Cream Layer Cake

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 3 large eggs separated and at room temperature
  • 190g (1½ cup) caster sugar
  • 290g (2¼ cups) plain flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 50ml (⅓ cup + 1 tbsp) vegetable oil
  • 130ml (1 cup) whole milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the filling and assembly:

  • 600ml (1 pint) whipping cream
  • 30g (2 tbsp) caster sugar
  • 100g (3/4 cup) strawberry or raspberry jam
  • about 300gr (2-3 cups) fresh fruit

Preparation

Pre heat your oven to 180 ºC. Grease a 23cm (9-inch) round springform pan.

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until they are foamy, then continue to beat on high speed while adding 60 grams of sugar (one tablespoons at a time). Beat until the whites are stiff and glossy. Set aside.

In another bowl, stir together the flour, remaining sugar, baking powder and salt, then on medium speed beat in the oil and vanilla and half cup of milk for one minute.

Add the remaining milk plus the egg yolks and continue to beat for another minute, until well combined. Then, fold in the egg whites and spread the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the cake in the oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50-60 minutes. Remove from the oven, allow to cool for 15-20 minutes, then remove it from the springform pan and allow to cool completely.

When the cake is fully cooled and ready for decorating, slice it into three horizontal layers using a very long serrated knife.

Bløtkake - Norwegian Cream Layer Cake

Spread the bottom layer with a thick layer of jam, then cover this with a layer of whipped cream. Add the second layer and repeat, spreading it with jam, then whipped cream. Top with the final layer of cake.

Bløtkake - Norwegian Cream Layer Cake
Bløtkake - Norwegian Cream Layer Cake
Bløtkake - Norwegian Cream Layer Cake

Spread the entire outside of the cake with the rest of the whipped cream, then decorate the tops and sides with the berries.

Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

A Birthday Chocolate Cake

Today I celebrate one year since I launched Mondomulia and published my first blog post. I wanted to create a personal space to share my photos of food and restaurants, share my recipes and my reviews. I didn't know how to do it, but as the months passed, I found my own voice and photographic style.

A Birthday Chocolate Cake

Mondomulia has given me many opportunities. I have attended food and bloggers' events, discovered a new community of people with whom I share the same passions. Thanks to Mondomulia, I have met great people from all nationalities that I have become friends with. I have worked as a food photographer for different clients, something I would have never dreamed of one year ago.

Most of all, the blog has changed the way I see myself. I no longer feel defined by my full-tim profession (account manager); instead I present myself as "Giulia, the food blogger and photographer".

I feel accomplished, driven and happy; every day I put all my energies and time into making Mondomulia better everyday and I feel proud to see that the hard work pays off.

A Birthday Chocolate Cake

I have an announcement to make: Mondomulia has moved to a new blogging platform, from WordPress to Overblog. The layout hasn't changed, but you will notice small differences in the comments' section or typeface. The URL also remains the same: http://www.mondomulia.com

A special thank you to Paolo Mulè and the Overblog team for re-creating Mondomulia.

To celebrate Mondomulia's first birthday, I have baked a special Chocolate Cake. The recipe is from one of my best friend's mum and we call it Torta di Sara Peri. She used to make this cake every year for my friend's birthday, so eating it brings me back to my high school years in Rome.

It's a cake that reminds me of home and family traditions, of passions that remain strong throughtout the years and simple ingredients that are mixed together to create something amazing and special.

A Birthday Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

Open the eggs and weight them on a kitchen scale. All other ingredients, except the baking powder, should weight the same as the eggs. To make the small chocolate cake loak of the pictures, I used three medium eggs weighting 125g, so these are the doses that I have share with you.

* 3 medium free range eggs

* 125g caster sugar

* 125g plain flour

* 125g butter, melted

* 125g milk or dark chocolate

* 16g baking powder (I used Lievito Pane degli Angeli)

Preparation

Pre-heat the over to 180°C. Melt the chocolate bar in bain-marie then let it cool down.

Mix the eggs with the sugar using an electric whisk. After you have made the cream, add the melted butter, flour and baking powder.

Finally, add the chocolate and stir. Pour the cake mix into a loaf tin or a small cake tin.

Cook in the oven for about 30-35 minutes; use a tooth-stick to check if the cake is well cooked. Let the chocolate cake cool down in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer it onto a wire rack.

The Wimbledon Cake

When I first told my mum that I was taking part in the Lavazza Coffee Set Match competition, she said to me: “you are going to make the birthday cake, aren’t you?”.

Let me explain, for those of you who are not familiar with the birthday traditions of “Casa Mulè”. On our birthday, my mum makes a special cake which doesn’t have a name and, as far as I’m aware, you won’t find anywhere else. I’m so fond of this cake and of our tradition, that the first time I spent my birthday away from my family, I made this cake to feel closer to them!

It is a special recipe, that I kept for the Coffee Set Match semi-final. Ladies and gentlemen, I present you the Wimblebon Cake!

You only need a few key ingredients: coffee, custard cream, whipped cream and a particular type of Italian biscuits, called Pavesini. The preparation is similar to that of Tiramisù: dip biscuits in coffee and create layers with cream.

Of course, nothing is that simple! As I didn’t have Pavesini biscuits, I decided to bake them myself (much to my mum’s skepticism!), which took more than an hour. Then I made the custard cream: 30 minutes of stirring continuously and in the same direction because otherwise “the cream goes crazy” (as we literally say in Italian)! Then you lay everything up and put the cake in the fridge…for a minimum of 5-6 hours!

By the time I started the decoration phase it was 11pm on Sunday night! And that’s when the disaster happened: I over-whipped the cream, as I was trying to get a darker shade of green by adding more colouring. Eventually I stirred the cream too much and it started to turn into butter!

It was too late to buy more cream, so with the tension of a long cooking day making my body ache, I went to bed trying to relax. Next day at 7am I was already in Tesco and, before leaving for work, made green and yellow batches of whipped cream and decorated the cake with white icing and coffee beans.

I wasn’t satisfied with the result, as I had this image in my mind of an emerald-green cake like the Wimbledon tennis court and a bright yellow tennis ball on top…nothing like the cake I had in front of me! So today I made a few tweaks to the decoration, in particular I re-designed the tennis court using whipped cream over the white icing I used originally. I also made a little net using two toothpicks and a white ribbon. Finally, I cut out the Wimbledon logo from a paper bag and placed it on the side of the cake.

As for the setting of the photos, I decided to keep it simple with a white tablecloth and plate and a lime napkin, as the cake has already got so much going on! The beautiful Lavazza A Modo Mio *Wimbledon Limited Edition* machine features in the background. :)

Ingredients

For the biscuits

* 150g plain flour
* 130g white sugar
* 30g cornflour
* 3 eggs
* 1 tsp vanilla flavour

For the cake

* 4 egg yolks
* 150g white sugar
* 50g plain flour
* 1/2l milk
* zest of 1 lemon
* 1 cup coffee (half normal, half decaf)
* 1 cup double cream
* 1/4 cup icing sugar
* food colouring (optional)

Preparation

Beat the eggs with the sugar until you have a foamy mixture, add the flour, cornflour and vanilla extract. Mix with slow movements, from the bottom to the top, as stirring too hard will ruin the foam. Prepare an oven tray with baking paper, then pour the biscuit mix using a piping bag, creating a long and thin shape. Keep the tray in the fridge for 10′ before placing it in the oven at 160°C. Cook for about 10-15′ until they are golden, then remove from oven and cool down.

Start preparing the cream: beat the egg yolks with the sugar, then slowly add flour and milk. Stir continuously to avoid creating lumps in the cream. Add lemon zest and move the bowl to the stove. Cook with low flame until the cream becomes thick – don’t stop stirring, always moving in the same direction. When the cream starts to boil, remove from the stove.

Make the coffee using your favourite machine. I brewed Lavazza Tierra! ground coffee with a Bialetti moka pot and also used Cremosamente Dek capsules in the A Modo Mio machine. It is important to mix normal coffee with de-caf, otherwise the cake will be too strong.

Use a deep dish for the cake. Dip the biscuits in the coffee and carefully place them in the dish, covering the bottom as well as the sides. Pour custard cream over the bottom, then add a layer of biscuits, add cream on top, another layer of biscuits, then cream, then biscuits to close the top. The biscuits covering the sides should be sticking out by approximately 1cm; bend them inwards over the top layer.

Cover with cling film and store in the fridge overnight or for at least 5-6 hours.

Whip the cream using an electric whisk and, when it thickens, add the icing sugar. As it gets foamier, check if there are soft peaks and be careful not to over-whip (as I did!) as the cream will lose volume, then clump and separate.

Take the cake out of the fridge and flip it over a dish. Cover it with the whipped cream and decorate as you like.

If you live in London, look out for the Lavazza Wimbledon cups at Upper Crust, Ponti’s and the Lavazza concept store at Harrod’s.

To be in with a chance to win one of the fantastic Lavazza Wimbledon prizes look out for promotional cups on take away Lavazza coffees, or enter online at Lavazza Coffee Set Match. Prizes include six pairs of tickets to Wimbledon, 90 Lavazza A Modo Mio Favola Plus Wimbledon Limited Edition coffee machines and 500 sets of four exclusive espresso cups created especially for the tournament.

Red Velvet Cake

Back in the summer I made a Red Velvet cake for my boyfriend’s 30th birthday. It was delicious and a great success with our friends!

I used a recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery, a famous cupcake shop in Notting Hill, London, which I urge you all to visit soon! The recipe is for cupcakes, but I adapted it to make a cake instead, adjusting the doses a little (I had to double the amount of creamcheese frosting)!

Mind you, this recipe is not a quick one to make, but no matter how many hours it will take, it’ll be worth it!

The result was a dark red cake, the chocolate dominating over the red colouring!

Ingredients

* 60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 150g caster sugar
* 1 egg
* 10g cocoa powder
* 20ml red food colouring
* ½ tsp vanilla extract
* 120ml buttermilk
* 150g plain flour
* ½ tsp salt
* ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
* 1½ tsp white wine vinegar

For the frosting:
* 500g icing sugar, sifted
* 100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 250g cream cheese

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Mix the butter and the sugar with an electric whisk until fluffy and well mixed. Slowly add the egg and beat until everything is well incorporated.

In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, red food colouring and vanilla extract to make a thick, dark paste. Add to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly until evenly combined and coloured. Slowly pour in half the buttermilk and mix, then add half the flour and beat until everything is well incorporated. Repeat this process until all the buttermilk and flour have been added. Add the salt, bicarbonate of soda and vinegar.

Spoon the mixture into a cake tin and bake in the oven for 20–25 mins. Leave the cake to cool down.

For the frosting: beat the icing sugar and butter together with a wooden spoon, then add the cream cheese and mix until it is completely incorporated. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, for at least 5 minutes. Keep in the fridge for 15 minutes.

When the cake is cold, spoon over the cream cheese frosting on the top and sides. Sprinkle coconut flakes to add a personal touch to the decoration.