(First things first: Happy Independence Day to the US! And happy birthday to my friend Vanessa.)
Remember last Friday’s post? Just before it went live my not-so-vegan, can’t-cook-to-save-his-life Cookie Monster emailed me with an idea. ‘Why don’t we make a cake for our anniversary to put it up on your blog?’ This made a few things very clear to me:
1) He really never plans things in advance, does he?
2) And yet, I never give up hope that someday he will.
3) He clearly hasn’t noticed that during my Masters degree I only blog on Fridays.
But bless him for trying. I actually thought it was a splendid idea. I keep trying to get him into the kitchen, show him a few simple recipes, but every time I end up doing everything myself. Oh well. To each his own talent(s).
In the end, we settled on making a vegan cheesecake. Baileys cheesecake. When the cake came out rather thin (I could have made it taller but the price of cashews in the UK gives me heart palpitations) he suggested we add a chocolate layer (‘A chocolate ganache layer,’ said I; ‘What the f*** is ganache?!’ quoth he). Then he got this crazy idea to use an apple corer (I’m surprised he knew what that even is) and slice holes in the cheesecake and fill them with chocolate. I might have called him a nutter.
But the Irish are nothing if not determined, so he bought me an apple corer and under duress made me cut holes out of the cheesecake, fill them with ganache, and cover the whole lot in chocolate.
Well I’ll be damned if it wasn’t the best thing I ever ate.
In honour of all the things I might have never tried, known or experienced, I made this cake for my Cookie Monster, who never ceases to push me out of my comfort zone. (And who did not lift a finger to help but instead watched the World Cup. Some things never change – but maybe I don’t want them to.)
Irish Cream Chocolate Cheesecake
For the base:
250g (8.8 oz) digestive biscuits (graham crackers)
125ml (1/2 cup) coconut oil, melted
60ml (1/4 cup) rapeseed/canola oil (or more coconut oil; I just ran out)
For the cheesecake filling:
310ml (1 + 1/4 cup) Angela Liddon’s recipe for vegan Irish Cream
400g (14 oz) cashews, soaked for 2 hours
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
75g (2.8 oz) vegan white chocolate chips
For the chocolate ganache:
250ml (1 cup) coconut cream
200g (7 oz) dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Line and grease a round 20cm (8 inch) springform tin.
2. Pulse the digestive biscuits to a coarse sandy texture in a food processor. Tip into a large bowl and with your hands, mix in the oil to form a sticky dough; this is your base. Press it into the bottom of the lined tin, ensuring it is nice and even.
3. Bake for 15 minutes, then cool on a wire rack while you get on with the rest of the cake.
4. Discard the soaking water of the cashews. Blend the cashews, coconut oil and vegan Iris cream until smooth; this will require a high-speed blender, a tamper and some patience. At most it will take ten minutes. Add in the white chocolate chips, either by stirring them in with a spoon or by letting your blender do it at the lowest speed for just a few seconds.
5.Pour the cheesecake filling onto the cooled cake base (the springform tin should obviously still be around the base at this point). Place in the fridge overnight for best results.
6. In the morning when the cake is set solid, use an apple corer to cut out little cylinders from the cheesecake. (Go on and eat them what else will you do with those little creamy towers?) You will pour the chocolate ganache into and over them.
7. To prepare the ganache: melt the coconut cream in a saucepan over medium heat. When the cream is liquid and just about bubbling, remove the pan from the heat and drop the broken chocolate into the cream; let it ooze and melt, then stir with a wooden spoon till evenly blended. Let cool for a few minutes, then pour into the holes in the cheesecake and over the whole cake.
8. Set in the fridge for another couple of hours before carefully releasing the cake from its springform tin and serving with a few shavings of white chocolate on top. (And obviously drink up the remainder of the Irish cream while devouring a slice of cheesecake.)
How do you push your boundaries and get out of your comfort zone?
Love and cookies,