Sunday, 15 September 2013

Birthday cheesecake and cake pops


It’s my nephew, the Boy Wonder’s, 16th birthday this weekend (16????  Where does the time go?) and, knowing he’s a cheese cake fiend, I wracked my brains to come up with an original twist on his favourite dessert. (Sorry about the photos being dark – it was one of those gloomy days where nothing seemed to work!)

I’d bought these Wilton cake pop pans in John Lewis and thought their shape made them great candidates for coring and filling:

If you don’t have them I suspect a mini cupcake pan would work just as well.  For this cheesecake I made chocolate sponges...

...cored them...

... and filled them with chocolate cheesecake mix:

Cook’s perks...always the tastiest bit of cooking!

Half of my pops were submerged in the cheesecake (along with the leftover chocolate cheesecake mix), the other half put on sticks as a decoration...well, they sure beat sparklers for something I’d like to see ‘prettying up’ a cake!

The cake balls looked mighty fine once I’d dipped them in ganache.  I was proud of them.  Until the CCD (Caked Crusader’s Da) referred to them as ‘chew balls’ which made them sound like something you should give to a dog!

I scaled up my normal cheesecake quantities to go up a tin size for this one – I wanted plenty of slices so everyone could indulge on the day and also take slices home to enjoy at a later date.  There’s only one thing better than birthday cheesecake, and that’s post-birthday cheesecake...the gift that keeps on giving!

This might be another example of a ‘just me then?’ moment, but when I am tipping the entire contents of the Philly cream cheese out the tub I see it as a mark of failure to use a spoon or knife.  Instead, I invert the pot and gently squeeze it tempting the cheese to slide out whole.  I view myself as some sort of cheese whisperer and take it personally when the cheese doesn’t act on my encouragement.

For the cheesecake:
375g chocolate digestive biscuits
150g unsalted butter
1 vanilla pod
900g cream cheese – I used Philadelphia
150g icing sugar
450ml double cream

For the chocolate sponge(this made 24 pops):
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g caster sugar
2 eggs
100g self raising flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons milk
Optional: 50g chocolate chips

Chocolate cheesecake filling:
300g chocolate cream cheese – I used Philadelphia
50g icing sugar
150ml double cream

For the ganache glaze:
140ml whipping cream
2 tablespoon caster sugar
130g dark chocolate

To decorate: sprinkles

Place the ring from a 23cm round springform tin on the plate you’ll server the cheesecake from. Wrap the ring in either clingfilm or greaseproof paper to ensure that you can free the cheesecake easily.
Break the biscuits into crumbs – either in a food processor or with the bag and rolling pin method (i.e. place biscuits in a bag. Secure end. Bash with rolling pin)
If using the food processor method add the butter to the crumbs and pulse it until the butter is distributed. If using the bag method, melt the butter and stir in.
Use the crumbs to line the base of the cheesecake. Press them down onto the plate but not so hard that you create biscuity concrete!
Now make the sponges: Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan oven 170°C/375°F/Gas mark 5.
Spray your pan with cake release or grease using your preferred ingredient i.e. butter.
Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs, flour, cocoa and milk.
When the mixture is smooth and well combined, stir in the chocolate chips, if using.
Spoon the batter into the prepared tin.
Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cupcakes comes out clean.
Remove from the tin as soon as possible and leave to cool on a wire rack – removing from the tin is important, as the heat of the tin will mean that the tiny sponges continue to (over)cook.
When cool use a cupcake corer (or apple corer) to remove some of the sponge.
Using the same method for the cheesecake topping below (basically beat all the ingredients together until thick!), make the chocolate cheesecake and pipe into the hollowed out sponges. 
Pipe any leftover chocolate cheesecake mix onto the biscuit base.

Refrigerate for an hour.
Stand half of the chocolate sponges on the cheesecake base, leave the other half to make into cake pops.
Now make the main body of the cheesecake: Slice the vanilla pod in half and remove the seeds.
Place seeds in a bowl along with the cream cheese and icing sugar and beat until smooth and well combined.
Pour in the cream and beat until the mixture is completely combined.
Spoon over the biscuit base and level.  Make sure you press the cheesecake into the crevices between the chocolate sponges.
Leave to set overnight in the refrigerator.
Now make the ganache: Place the cream and sugar in a saucepan and bring to almost boiling point.

Remove from the heat and add the chocolate.

Leave it to stand for a minute before stirring and bringing the chocolate and cream together.  At first it will look runny but keep stirring and it will become thick and glossy.

Leave to cool for ten minutes or more, or the glaze might be too runny to hold on the cakes.

Dip the top of the cakes into the glaze, add sprinkle of choice, and then put them back on the cooling tray to set.  The glaze will cover the top of the cake but the sides should remain clean so you can see the sponge....of course, the odd drip or spill is not going to offend anyone!

Remove the cheese cake from the fridge and pour the remaining ganache over the top.

Return to the refrigerator.

Remove the cheesecake from the fridge about 30 minutes (depending on your weather conditions!) before you wish to serve and remove the ring from the edge.

Place your mini cakes on sticks and insert into the cheesecake.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.



Laura Denman said...

I do that with Philly all the time! Glad I'm not alone =) fab cheesecake by the way too.

Gloria Baker said...

look delicious aND BEAUTY, Love this mold!!

Izzy said...

Looks wonderful and I like the idea of putting the cake pops in the cheesecake too... and using 2 types of cheesecake mix too! It looks great!!

Kate D said...

Mmmmmm.... I love the idea of putting cheese cake mix in the sponges. What a delicious surprise!

Choclette said...

Now that is a real labour of love CC, but I must admit the result is spectacular. A cheesecake+++

Nom! The Indulgent Baking Blog said...

oh my lord, get in my always go one better...want! x

Cakelaw said...

This looks fabulous!!!

Kit @ i-lostinausten said...

WOW! This is so decadent & the cake pop is such a fabulous idea! LOVE it!

Sally Sellwood said...

Well, I'd eat them even if they were called chew balls, but then I did secretly go through a phase of eating dog biscuits (as a child)...

Sally Sellwood said...

(I can't believe I just admitted to that)

Lucy said...

Wow this sounds incredible! Love the double dose of cheesecake in one bake.

Baking Addict said...

wow you've really outdone yourself - that is one amazing cheesecake. Love the cake pops inside and outside! I do the same with my cream cheese -no spoon required.

Maggie said...

Oh this is a lovely cheesecake - great idea using cake pops too. Very creative cheesecakery CC, you have excelled with this one.

Jean said...

Wow, I bet that tasted wonderful, it looks amazing.
Your nephew was a lucky young man to have it for his birthday cake !!

Stuart Vettese said...

That is total food porn CC - loves amazing!

snowy said...

Lucky nephew - that looks really impressive.

Jo said...

Cheesecake whisperer! Haha, love that term. It is incredibly satisfying to get it to plop out in a oner.

Very impressive birthday cheesecake. I love that you filled the cake balls with even more cheesecake filling. Brilliant!

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

I love the cake balls inside the cheesecake. What a fab idea. I struggled to keep traditional cake pops on the stick, but I suspect these may be lighter.

Cupcake Crazy Gem said...

ah how cool! what a fun thing to do to bake the cake balls inside the cake! I bet it was adored!