|More mess than marble|
As I tied on my apron, dusted off my scales and fired up the Kenwood, I felt a strong sense of Alpha Baker guilt. I have, for some time now, recognised that I am a strong starter but a rubbish finisher. So when Marie invited me to participate in the home stretch of the Baking Bible marathon... well, it left me feeling very conflicted. Was I cheating? Or was I just starting again, albeit from a different place? Or was it Marie, fuelled by evil refined sugar, luring me back into a diabetic dalliance?
Last September I decided that satisfying my craving sugar (cake, naturally) every afternoon was not conducive to a long and healthy future. And, surprisingly, once I realised that my sugar dressed as cake daily dosage was probably slowly killing me, it was relatively easy to give it up. By "it", I mean refined sugar. And then I felt, when I was baking, I was a bit on par with being a sugar dealer, so I eventually also dropped baking. I can't say everyone was happy with this arrangement.
And coinciding with the week 7 of the 2016 season of The Great British Bake Off, here I am again. I think I can just about trick my starter into finishing something that only goes for a few more weeks.
So this White and Dark Chocolate Marble Cheesecake is where I make my sly re entry into the Alpha Baker fold. I was kicking myself I didn't rejoin last week when it was a Quick and Easy recipe. Instead of the usual crushed biscuits with butter, the crust on this cheesecake was a chocolate sponge (well, Rose calls it a biscuit, but it is most definitely a sponge).
It was as I was making this sponge that I realised how much I had missed baking along with the Alpha Bakers. Left to my own devices, I would never have made this cheesecake. I mean seriously, chocolate sponge and two different fillings? With sugar? Never. On reflection, maybe I am not such a strong starter either... So, to the sponge. I can't remember if I have ever made a sponge like this before, certainly not in this size, because I had to use the solid shelf from the oven as my cake tray.
|The shelf from my oven aka sponge roll tin|
The sponge was really quite simple to make. The old cocoa mixed with boiling water trick.
|Cadburys vs Green & Black Cocoa (in that order)|
Then lots of egg yolks are beaten with a few egg whites until they triple in volume (another amazing trick), fold in the oft sifted flour and then fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites. Predictably, I misread the recipe and it wasn't until I was ready to fold in the egg whites that I realised my cake mix was looking decidedly vanilla instead of chocolate...
|This is what marbling should look like...|
Some hasty, yet delicate folding sorted it all out and I don't think I lost too much volume from the sponge. Once it was cooled and cut and wodged into the cake tin, no one would be able to detect any mishap. Can I just say, as a child of the metric system, 1 3/4 inches is a weird concept. I now realise, looking at my ruler that 3/4 inch is not that weird, but 2 inches is way easier and is it turns out, a better height to contain all that filling. So my sponge was cut into two inch strips, not 1/3/4.
|Strips cut 2 inches thick|
|Perfect! Luckily this is all covered by cream cheese.|
|Pretty sure those choc chips are not meant to be there (only a small amount of swearing)|
The filling is then poured into the cake tin, encased in a silicon cake tin. Trust me, as a veteran of the water bath cheesecake, the aluminium foil around the cake tin never works. Invest a few pounds/dollars in a silcone cake pan (can't be called a tin really, can it?) and you will save a lot of soggy bottom cheesecake, not to mention reduce your foil footprint on the planet.
The actual hardest thing about the cheesecake was the faffing marbling. So, apparently you scoop and lift? What an awful mess.
After an hour or so baking out it comes, looking less that perfect. I don't think the recipe said to top it with any disguise... but then again they probably did proper marbling instead of my unattractive brown splodge. Mary Berry would be definitely telling me it looked unfinished. I am definitely not getting called up to GBBO anytime soon.
The overall verdict? It was a very good cheesecake, however not sure I could differentiate the white chocolate at all, perhaps it is a bit like the dreamy creamy frosting and the white chocolate just provides the right sweetness and mellowness? I did reduce the sugar in the filling from 200grams to 150 grams and if I made it again I would probably reduce it further to 100 grams. All who tried it, liked it, no one went back for seconds though. I am not sure if that is because I have ranted too long and hard about the evils of sugar, or if one slice is enough, or they really didn't like it so much and were just being polite... Either way, the boys will finish it off tomorrow and I can guarantee they will be looking for more.
I am definitely baking in for the next four items... insulin and stretchy trousers on pre order.