Baked Cream Egg Cheesecake

Happy Easter!
Easy Baked Cream Egg Cheesecake - The Cardiff Cwtch - Welsh Bloggers

Remember that episode of Friends where Chandler and Rachel steal and scoff a doorstep cheesecake from one of their neighbours? It’s one of my favourite episodes, firstly because it’s the season where Jen got the chop and her hair all season is PERFECT (…when wasn’t it? Also, as soon as the lockdown gets lifted, the first thing I’m doing is hightailing it straight to the hairdresser’s…), but also because – ugh, didn’t that cheesecake look just as perfect? I’d never been a cheesecake fan, but I was determined to give it another go after watching that episode. Still, every one I tried just didn’t leave me bowled over and filling to scrape it off the floor with a fork if it fell off the plate. And then I worked it out; all that time I’d been trying chilled, no-bake cheesecakes, whereas the heavenly-looking one in that episode of Friends was one of the baked variety – The Classic New York Cheesecake – which has a completely different taste and texture.

It’s also – apparently – much more difficult to make. There are literally thousands of “no bake” cheesecake recipes out there – all blasting how easy they are compared to the baked version. To that I say, bollocks; they’re not that difficult at all – they just take a little bit more time before you can stick your fork in there. I think they’re worth the wait; especially if they’re crammed full of cream eggs… just sayin’.

My husband went to Costco to pick up a few “lockdown essentials” a couple of weeks ago (we usually buy a lot of our tins and freezer stuff there in bulk anyway), and as well as bagging the last pack of eggs (they’re almost impossible to find here at the moment), he came home with a massive box of cream eggs – which I love, although a box of thirty is perhaps pushing it just a little. I knew a good handful were going to have to be used for baking – especially since Easter is just around the corner (check out the Cream Egg Doughnuts I made last year πŸ˜‰ ). This Baked Cream Egg Cheesecake has a soft and crumbly Bourbon Biscuit base (no digestive biscuit bricks here – bleugh!), a light and creamy filling (that sets with a slight wobble), and is crammed full of cream eggs. It’s easy to make and easily adapted, so if cream eggs aren’t your jam swap them out with something else. πŸ™‚

Easy Baked Cream Egg Cheesecake - The Cardiff Cwtch - Easter Recipes - Welsh Food Bloggers

Baked Cream Egg Cheesecake

Ingredients
  • 200g Bourbon Biscuits
  • 360g Full Fat Cream Cheese
  • 70g Cream
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 Packet of Mini Cream Eggs
  • 2 Cream Eggs
Easy Baked Cream Egg Cheesecake - The Cardiff Cwtch - New York Cheesecake - Foolproof
Method
  1. First things first, whack your oven on and set it to 180Β°C. Break your biscuits up into smaller chunks, then blitz them in a food processor until you get a fine, sand-like crumb.
  2. Pour the blitzed biscuits into the bottom of a 20cm loose-bottomed baking tin. Lightly press down to create a smooth base – but don’t pack them too tightly otherwise your base will come out of the oven like a brick and will be too hard to cut. 😦
  3. Next, make the filling. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the cream cheese, yoghurt, caster sugar and eggs – mixing until you get a smooth and airy mixture. Roughly chop the mini cream eggs and stir them into the cheesecake mixture.
  4. Pour the cheesecake mixture into the cake tin over the top of the biscuit base.
  5. Slice the other cream eggs and scatter them over the top.
  6. Bake the cheesecake for 40 minutes. Leaving the cheesecake inside, turn off the oven and open the door slightly – allowing the cheesecake to slowly cool (this should stop it from cracking).
  7. Once the cheesecake has reached room temperature, pop it in the fridge to chill for a couple of hours. Bring it out about half an hour before you fancy scoffing a slice! πŸ™‚

Have a great week everyone (Happy Easter for the weekend ahead!). πŸ’›

Chocolate and Banana Traybake

Self-Isolation Snack Game: STRONG
Easy Chocolate and Banana Traybake - The Cardiff Cwtch

So, hands up if you’ve spent a good deal of your self isolation so far stress baking. Yup, I can’t seem to stay out of the kitchen. Aside from needing far more snacks than usual to bring to the office (upstairs – what a commute) to feed my coworkers (…my husband and Bungle…), at this point I’ll do pretty much anything to keep my mind off the news for ten minutes. Baking’s always been one of my favourite ways to fill a bit of free time (…and if you come out of it with something delicious to fill your stomach with then even better!) and to be honest, if doing more of that means that I emerge from self-isolation in a few months happy and healthy, then I’ll take that as a win… even if it means my jeans start feeling a bit snug.

There is absolutely nothing fancy about this Chocolate and Banana Traybake. The ingredients are minimal (you probably won’t even need to go shopping to make it), there are no special moves involved, and you can whip it up in under thirty minutes (perfect if you fancy baking a little something during your lunch break). It’s also easily adaptable; so if you fancy throwing in a blob of peanut butter, or some walnuts, or adding a sticky caramel layer (see my Banana and Caramel Upside Down Cake) – then go for it!

Easy Chocolate and Banana Traybake - The Cardiff Cwtch - Cardiff Home and Lifestyle Bloggers

Chocolate and Banana Traybake

Ingredients
  • 150g butter
  • 150g milk dark chocolate (plus extra to decorate)
  • 150g plain flour
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 bananas

 

…That’s it! Feel free to mix things up and add some walnuts, chocolate chunks or peanut butter into the mix. πŸ™‚

Easy Chocolate and Banana Traybake - The Cardiff Cwtch - Cardiff Food Bloggers
Method
  1. First things first, set your oven to 180Β°C and line a deep, rectangular cake tin. (TIP: If you always struggle to get your baking paper to sit flat in the tin, rinse your baking paper under tap water for a couple of minutes until it becomes soft and pliable πŸ˜‰ )
  2. To make the batter, pop the butter and chocolate in a bowl and melt them together in the microwave for about a minute. Set the bowl aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar and eggs. Take one of the bananas and mash it, and then add it to the mix.
  4. Next, pour in the chocolate and butter mix, followed by the flour and baking powder. Stir to combine, but don’t over mix the batter.
  5. Pour the batter into the cake tin. Slice the two remaining bananas length-ways and arrange them on top.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes, then leave it to cool before decorating with chocolate and then slicing into squares to scoff. πŸ™‚
Easy Chocolate and Banana Traybake - The Cardiff Cwtch - Welsh Baking Bloggers

Have a lovely weekend everyone! Stay indoors! πŸ™‚

5 Sweet Bakes for Mother's Day

Happy Mother’s Day!
Cakes and Bakes for Mother's Day - The Cardiff Cwtch - Pineapple Tray Bake

As with most things right now, it feels like Mother’s Day is on hold – indefinitely. And since it’sΒ usually accompanied by lots of blossom on the trees and those first couple of warm, sunny days – it also kind of feels like Spring itself is on hold for the time being too. My Mum sent a little message on our family whatsapp group the other day telling me and my brother to forget about cards and presents this year – that she’d much rather see us anyway, but can’t. She and my Dad went into isolation on Monday – since they’re both in their sixties (sorry Mum, but the jig is up!) and I’m honestly not sure when we’re all going to be able to crowd around a table together again. It’s all so sad and uncertain – but necessary, of course. I’ll still get to see her from the street, I guess! Plus, I think we’re planning on having a family Facetime on Sunday evening so we can all watch Race Across the World together (have you been watching it? I want the Mum and son team to win!).

Anyway, the good thing is that for a lot of us the enforced isolation doesn’t mean separation from our family – but a hell of a lot more time spent together! So, even if you’re Mum’s already driving you mental from all the extra time spent together – here are five sweet bakes to surprise her with this Mother’s Day. πŸ’›

Cakes and Bakes for Mother's Day - The Cardiff Cwtch - Pineapple Flowers

Pineapple and Coconut Traybake

Quite possibly one of my favourite bakes ever, this Pineapple and Coconut Tray-bake is minimum effort, maximum impact – and tastes lovely too. The pineapple cake looks nothing special when it comes out of the oven, but gets a serious glow-up with a thick layer of creamy, coconut frosting, and yellow flowers made from dried coconut rounds.

I’ve even got a video of me making this cake (and Bungle scoffing half of the pineapple used to make it…) over on my IGTV.

Cakes and Bakes for Mother's Day - The Cardiff Cwtch - Chocolate Brownies Extra Gooey

Perfectly Gooey Chocolate Brownies

Who can resist a plated pyramid of Perfectly Gooey, Chocolate Brownies as big as Duplo Blocks? Not I. There are a tonne of chocolate brownie recipes out there – and I’ve tried a fair few myself – but this is my go-to. If you like your brownie with a slightly molten middle, then this is the one for you and yo momma.

Cakes and Bakes for Mother's Day - The Cardiff Cwtch - Lemon and Rose Drizzle Cake

Lemon and Rose Drizzle Cake

Everyone loves a good lemon drizzle cake; they’re a guaranteed crowd-pleaser and they’re pretty difficult to cock up. This Lemon and Rose Drizzle Cake gets a slight floral pick-me-up from some dried rose petals. The rose takes the slight bite out of the lemon – so if you’re a fan of a drizzle cake on the sweet side rather than the sour side, then this one’s for you.

Cakes and Bakes for Mother's Day - The Cardiff Cwtch - Coffe, Maple and Walnut Cake

Coffee, Maple and Walnut Cake

Yep, that’s a Father’s Day card in the shot – but this Coffee, Maple and Walnut Cake is perfect for Mums too. A hefty glug of maple syrup and some brown sugar gives it a slightly sweeter, vanilla latte kind of taste.

Cakes and Bakes for Mother's Day - The Cardiff Cwtch - Strawberry Picnic Cake

Strawberry Picnic Cake

Another one of my favourite easy bakes – this Strawberry Picnic Traybake divides up perfectly into sweet, snack-sized pink cakes. Perfect to share out between the family with a blob of whipped cream and tea and coffee after a bang-up Mother’s Day Roast. πŸ™‚

Happy Mother’s Day to all the amazing Mums, soon-to-be Mums and should-be Mums out there, but most of all to my lovely mama. Stay safe everyone x

Vegetarian Ramen with Grilled Sweetcorn

…for all the hopeless (flu-infected) ramen-tics out there…

Tell you what, I might as well paint a massive red “X” on my front door to ward off all potential visitors, because the winter lurgy finally came a-knocking last week. Sunny became a walking fountain of mucus first, and then – even though for a while it looked like I was going to dodge it – I got that tell-tale scratching feeling at the back of my throat and knew I was doomed. I’m currently writing this bundled up in my dressing gown, ponging of Olbas Oil and chained to a box of tissues. Breathing through your nose is such an underrated luxury. I miss it.

There’s nothing quite like a massive bowl of ramen when you’re sick, is there? I mean, any and all soups are pretty good when you’re a walking plague victim, but ramen – for me anyway – is the ultimate winner, and I’ll tell you why. All soups are warm and comforting, but ramen goes one step further. It’s full of healthy fresh greens (which you can pick and choose), it’s packed full of flavour (enough to get through to those flu-muffled taste buds), the noodles are filling (so you feel like you’ve actually eaten more than just a bowl of hot water), I defy anyone not to smile at the sight of a perfectly gooey soft boiled egg floating in front of them… and the added chilli garnish will do wonders for a blocked nose.

Now, normally I’d either cart myself down to Wagamama for a bowl of their Shirodashi Ramen (YAS), or pick up a one of the Blue Dragon Ramen Kits, but last week before my cold spiralled out of control and I was still more or less functioning – I felt like making some from scratch. Anyway, I came across a picture of a ramen bowl with grilled corn in it and I was intrigued. I’d never thought of putting sweet corn in a bowl of ramen before, but tell you what – it was a game changer. The sweetness, the crunch, the buttery charred bits… oof. It was exactly what my noodle bowl had been missing all this time. Added to the mushrooms, spring onions, cabbage and obligatory soft boiled egg, it was a winner. πŸ™‚

Vegetarian Ramen with Grilled Sweetcorn

Serves 2
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp garlic paste
  • 2 tsp ginger paste
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp rice wine
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp yellow miso paste
  • 600ml water
  • 500ml good quality vegetable stock
  • handful of spring onions, sliced
  • 1 large corn cob
  • handful of shittake mushrooms
  • handful of sliced red cabbage (throw it in as late as possible otherwise it’ll turn your broth blue!)
  • two dried noodle nests (or enough for two)
  • 2 soft boiled eggs
  • handful of Ito Togarashi or chilli flakes to serve
Method
  1. Warm up your wok or a deep pot on a medium heat, then add the sesame oil. Next create the base for your broth by throwing in and stirring together the mirin, rice wine, soy sauce and miso paste, as well as the garlic and ginger pastes.
  2. Next add the vegetable stock (the better the quality, the better the broth!) and water. Throw in your shittake mushrooms and half of your spring onions. Bring the broth up to the boil, then turn the heat down to low, cover and then leave to simmer for at least half an hour.
  3. In the meantime, slice up your garnishes (that’s the rest of the spring onions and the cabbage) and prepare your corn cob. Slather the corn cob in butter, then wrap it in foil and cook it in the oven at 200Β°C for 20 minutes. Once cooked, slice into strips.
  4. Check the packet instructions for the noodles – usually you’ll add them to the broth about 10 minutes before you’re ready to eat.
  5. To serve up, first use some tongs to take out the noodles at pop them in the bottom of the bowl. Then ladle the broth over the top. Lastly, garnish with your fresh spring onions, cabbage, corn, soft boiled egg and chilli.
  6. Slurp away!

Have a great week! 🍜🍜🍜

London Fog Cake

…a moist Earl Grey enriched sponge with creamy vanilla sponge –
London Fog Cake - The Cardiff Cwtch

Tell you what, my 2020 so far has been bloody spectacular (…are you picking up on the sarcastic subtext of that statement?). Firstly, a new year dog walk around the block with my mother-in-law resulted in a five hour wait in A&E after Bungle bolted and dragged her up a hill by the wrist. Not a day after the house emptied and a bit of normality resumed, Sunny went down with the flu. And a day after that, the other hairy bloke in my life caught bog-eye from shoving his face in too many butts (…I’m talking about Bungle, in case that wasn’t obvious). Then yesterday, the council oh so kindly informed me that pulling into a bus lay-by to drop your husband off for his Christmas Party is not cool and will result in a Β£75 fine. Awesome.

It’s been a howler so far, and so I shouldn’t really have been surprised that my first bake of the year turned out to be howler too. I’ve made plenty of cakes in my time – enough to be honestly surprised when one goes tits up – but the science behind it all still kind of eludes me – it is all just chemistry after all. All the basic ingredients need to be there and need to be balanced in a very specific way before you even get around to adding flavours and fillings. For example if you put too much structure-building flour into a cake, then it’s going to be dry. And sugar is responsible for more than just its sweet taste; sugar plays a huge part in the soft, spongy texture of cakes due to the way sugar crystals trap little pockets of air. Too little sugar and your cake’s not going to have a soft texture. Aaaand, if you put too much liquid into a cake – which I found out when I tried to make this London Fog Cake – then your cake’s going to be heavy and dense and is probs gonna end up going straight in the bin. I knew I’d put too much liquid in it as soon as it came out of the oven – but hindsight’s 2020, innit? (Badump tshhhh.)

London Fog Cake - The Cardiff Cwtch - January Baking - January Cakes

Anyway, I managed to turn this baking fail into a baking win by making it my mission to read up a bit into the science behind good cakes, and now – hopefully – none of my future cake experiments will end up in the bin. I went back to the drawing board, and I have to say, my second attempt was much, much better. Pretty damn good, in fact.

If you’ve never heard of London Fog before (Just a heads-up, I’m not talking about the weather in London…), it’s basically just an Earl Grey Latte. Lovely bergamot-infused black tea made with frothy, hot milk. The perfect drink for glum (and sometimes foggy) January days. This cake is essentially the drink in cake form – a black tea-enriched sponge, with a creamy, vanilla-flavoured frosting.

London Fog Cake - The Cardiff Cwtch - Tea-Enriched Sponge - Easy Tea Cakes

London Fog Cake

Ingredients
  • 3 Earl Grey teabags
  • 75ml boiling hot water
  • 3 large eggs, whisked
  • 175g butter
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g dark muscovado sugar
  • 175g self-raising flour, sifted

For the buttercream icing:

  • 400g icing sugar
  • 200g butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
London Fog Cake - The Cardiff Cwtch - Earl Grey Latte Cake

Method
  1. First things first, make some tea! Empty the contents of the teabags into a cup, then pour on the 75ml of boiling hot water. Leave to steep, then cool.
  2. Set your oven to 170Β°C and grease a small, loose-bottomed cake tin.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugars. Pour in the eggs, then stir to combine.
  4. Pour in the flour and tea mixture, alternating between the two. Stir to make a soft batter.
  5. Bake in the middle of the oven for 50 minutes, then leave to cool. Meanwhile make the buttercream by whipping together the icing sugar, butter and vanilla bean paste.
  6. Decorate the surface of the cake, then scoff (…with tea πŸ™‚).
London Fog Cake - The Cardiff Cwtch - Earl Grey Enriched Cake

Have a lovely week! How’s 2020 treating you so far? πŸ’“