Black bottom ricotta cheesecake

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It was Patrick’s birthday last weekend. So, to soften the blow of ageing and the unwelcome reminder of mortality, ten of us packed ourselves into cars and ambled out of Sydney laden with food and booze. Four people just barely managed to squeeze into my station wagon around the case of beer, many rolling wine bottles, guitar and mound of groceries packed into it. We headed to a house in Wollombi, near the Hunter Valley, to play a million board games and roam the countryside tasting wines.

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We had amazing meals, which everyone contributed to; found some amazing wines; and tackled the Game of Thrones board game, among other things. Saturday night was the party night and my night to cook. I bought sausages, chicken wings, vegetables and haloumi and grilled it all up goooood on the BBQ with much help from East. After a quick clean up it was time for cake, which we lit up like a medieval alarm signal and gathered around to sing Single Ladies, instead of the traditional birthday jam.

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The cake was of my own devising. A ricotta cheesecake with a chocolate biscuit base and a layer of rum-spiked ganache. It was light and rich at once. Fragrant vanilla and lemon laced cheese atop a thin layer of punchy chocolate goo. Patrick loves ricotta cake, but I always find them a little too bland, so this was my compromise. If you can ever call adding chocolate and rum to something a compromise.

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After cake we played our own version of the New Girl drinking game True American РTrue Australian. It was truly ridiculous. This took about four hours, after which, we retired for hectic dancing.

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It was a wonderful weekend. Full of silliness, geekiness and shenanigans. Ordinary life just isn’t the same.

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Thank god there’s always cake.

Ingredients:

For the base
250g (1 packet) chocolate ripple biscuits
125g melted butter

For the ganache
250g chocolate
shot of rum
1/2 cup cream

For the ricotta filling
750g ricotta cheese
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
rind of one lemon

Directions:

Process together biscuits and butter. Press into base of springform tin. Combine chocolate and cream in bowl and either place above saucepan of boiling water to melt or melt in microwave. Add rum. Pour this on top of base and set aside. Put in fridge if you want a really even coverage of ganache. Combine ricotta filling ingredients in food processor or blender. Carefully add this on top of ganache. Bake for 20-30 mins until cooked through and firm in middle. Let cake cool and serve with fresh berries.

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Lime, passionfruit and coconut celebration cake

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Last Tuesday it was my friend East’s birthday. So Patrick decided to invite him over to our place for dinner. Which, obviously, I had to cook. But that’s OK, Patrick was in charge of wine and there was going to be plenty of it. Also, cheeese. With four Es. Courtesy of April.

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I’d recently acquired a large amount of passionfruit from my mum’s vine, which I’d turned into passionfruit curd. In addition to this there was still a surplus of limes going on in my fruit bowl. Putting two and two together (or as the case may be, putting birthday and curd and limes together), I set out to create a cake that would utilise all these ingredients.
IMG_7374Starting with this recipe here I baked the actual cake part, substituting coconut cream for the buttermilk and adding the rind of some limes. When it was cooled I cut the cake in half horizontally and spread a layer of curd in there.IMG_7583

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Then I iced the bastard. I even did a crumb layer, which is explained in the directions below if you don’t know what it is.

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When dinner had been demolished, we turned down the lights, turned off the music and lit the candles. We sang a somewhat feeble three-voiced happy birthday and East blew out the candles.

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Then he cut the cake into enormous slices that no-one could finish.

And, inevitably, there was this:

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And then this:

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Perhaps soon I will share the recipe for the dinner I made. For now, start thinking of a reason to make this cake!

Ingredients:
250g butter, softened
2 cups caster sugar
4 large (or in my case 5 small) eggs
1 1/2 cups self rising flour
1 1/4 cups plain flour
1 cup coconut cream
rind of two limes

About 1/2 cup passionfruit curd (recipe here will make about twice as much as you need)

For icing:
250g spreadable cream cheese, left at room temperature for at least an hour
3tbsp lime juice
1 1/4 cups icing sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs. Next, gradually stir in flours. Add coconut cream and lime rind. Bake for 1 1/2-2 hours or until firm when jiggled. Take cake out of oven to cool. When cake is cool, take a knife and mark a ring around the cake horizontally. Slice gradually through cake, turning as you cut, so that you have two layers of cake. Spread cool passionfruit curd between layers. To make icing simply combine lime juice and icing sugar. Then stir in softened cream cheese. Ice cake with a thin layer of frosting and put whole cake in fridge for half an hour or in freezer for ten minutes. Then ice with a more generous coat. Decorate as desired.