Tuesday, July 2, 2013

My Birthday Cheesecake

We always make a big deal out of birthdays, simply because it's FUN to make a big deal out of stuff! So for my 25th birthday, we packed our bags and headed for Jerusalem for a few days.

It was a vacation long called for!

We spent 3 whole days on our feet and took numerous pictures, some interesting, some not so much... Here are a few:

Inside Hezekiah's tunnel (The City of David) and right outside its exit opening 

Wherever he goes, he always finds a feline friend
An outside view of the Temple Mount

The old city of Jerusalem is absolutely beautiful! I really felt as if I had gone back a few centuries in time walking through those winding stone alleys.

In the outskirts of Jerusalem, there lies a most beautiful neighborhood, Ein Karem. Those turquoise shutters are just perfect.

Mahane Yeuda market is a very colorful place. The tellers are very assertive though - we passed by a halva shop (I think a proper name for it would be "Halva Overload") whose teller was one step away from shoving halva samples down our throats.

Halva Overload

In conclusion, this is not the last time we visit Jerusalem. But enough about travel, let's talk about food.

I could have let someone else bake my birthday cake, but why should they have all the fun?! I felt like having a cheesecake with something fruity on top. Baked cheesecake with blackberries it is!

Baked Cheesecake with Blackberries on Top

makes one 26cm diameter cake


100 g butter, softened
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp milk
1.5 cups flour
5 g baking powder

750 g of 9% fat white cheese*
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp cornstarch
4 eggs, separated
1 cup granulated sugar

3 cups of fresh or frozen blackberries
1 tsp cornstarch, dissolved in 100 ml of water
1/2 tbsp muscovado sugar

* "white cheese" is an exact translation from hebrew. Apparently there's no such thing in the US but knowledgeable sources tell me that Greek yogurt is not a bad substitute.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

For the dough, mix the softened butter, egg yolks and sugar together till combined and soft. Stir in the milk, at first it'll look hopeless but it will come around. Add in the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Spread the dough evenly on the bottom of a round 26cm diameter spring cake pan and set aside.

To make the cheesecake, beat the egg yolks with 3/4 of a cup of sugar, till it becomes lighter in texture and paler in color. In a separate bowl, mix together the cheese, vanilla extract and cornstarch thoroughly. Fold the cheese mixture into the egg mixture. Whip the egg whites with 1/4 of a cup of sugar into firm peaks of foam. Fold the egg whites into the cheese mixture. Transfer to the cake pan and bake for about 45-50 minutes, till the cake as browned slightly on top.

For the topping, heat up the blackberries using a big frying pan. When they start to release water, add the cornstarch water and sugar. Let it cook, stirring once in a while, for a few minutes till it thickens and there's no hint of cornstarch flavor. Set aside to cool.

When the cake is cool, spread the blackberries over the top. Keep in the fridge.

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