When I offered to make a birthday cake for my dear friend’s 30th this weekend, I knew it had to be more special than a simple Victoria sponge or chocolate tart. So I pottered around online and found inspiration with the BBC Food’s top 10 dessert list. I set my sights on a no-bake cheesecake and added a little twist…lemon cheesecake with glazed raspberries and a Speculoos base.
For those of you who haven’t tried Speculoos, it’s like a ginger snap biscuit packed with a truck load of spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom and even white pepper. I happen to know that the birthday girl is quite partial to a Speculoos with her afternoon cuppa, so I decided this would be a welcome supplement.
So my ingredients are…
- 300g cream cheese
- 20cl pot of crème fraiche
- 50g caster sugar (add more if you have a sweet tooth)
- 150g Speculoos biscuits
- 5 tablespoons of butter, melted
- 1 drizzle of vanilla essence
- zest & juice of 1 little lemon
- 1 punnet of fresh raspberries (or strawberries, blueberries, cherries…)
Firstly, wizz up the biscuits in a blender or bash them in a freezer bag. Melt the butter on a low heat and then add the biscuit so it forms a sort of damp crumble. Spread this on the base of your dish and pat down to make an even layer. (I would have liked to use a loose-bottomed cake tin, but a tart dish will do the trick). Put the base in the fridge for about an hour so that it firms up.
For the raspberry coulis put a generous tablespoon of caster sugar, a squeeze of lemon, a tablespoon of water and a handful of raspberries in a shallow pan. Keep it on a low heat, give it a stir and watch as it becomes a thick syrup. Take off the heat and leave to cool.
Now for the creamy filling… put your cream cheese (leave it out of the fridge for a little while so it’s nice and soft), caster sugar and lemon zest into a bowl and mix well. Then petit à petit add the crème fraiche and the rest of the lemon juice. Now swirl in the coulis and spread mixture over your biscuit base. Put this back in the fridge and leave to firm for a couple of hours (or overnight).
When you’re ready to serve, decorate with the remaining raspberries and sift a light dusting of icing sugar over the top. I kept about a tablespoon of the cream filling aside to make chocolate icing. I added 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, mixed together to form a thick paste and then piped a little birthday message across. Et voilà!
Depending on what you already have in the pantry, you can get most of the ingredients for about €10.
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How it feels to be free by Nina Simone