I had some big baking catching-up to do today because it was my birthday last weekend and even though that usually means I make all my favourite goodies, this year I was sick and had to resort to yummy albeit store-bought cakes. From the best pâtisserie in town that is but I still felt a bit deprived - I didn't get to bake after all, so that's what I did today. As my family had planned to go out for dinner in the evening we needed something edible to tie us over in the mean time anyway, a perfect opportunity.
But let's get back to those scrumptious brownies I wanted to tell you all about now.
I found the recipe for the brownies in a fabulous pastry book my boyfriend's sister got me for X-mas. It's called "The Hummingbird Bakery Cook Book" and is a collection of the most popular baked goods from this lovely looking bakery in London that is specialized in American pastries and seems to be popular with certain celebrities, too. I know for sure that this is the kinda place I could spend not only a fortune but also hours marvelling at the beautiful displays at and I will definitely put it on my to-do list for the next time I'm in London.
I chose this particular recipe because it combines 3 of my favourite flavours: brownie, cheesecake and raspberries and that way I didn't have to decide between 2 cakes and therefore it was perfect as a belated make-up birthday cake. The only changes I made was that I used 500 gr of cream cheese, simply because you can never have enough cheesecake if you ask me, and that I added lime zest and a bit of lemon juice and lemon extract, just because I personally prefer a more lemon-y cheesecake. To be honest I think you could just as well substitute all that icing sugar in the brownie batter for some regular or even brown sugar, I actually found the thought of using icing sugar a bit odd in the beginning but the brownie still turned out nicely and a bit chewy.
After just reading the recipe again I realized that I actually used 300 gr of frozen raspberries and a bit more icing sugar by "mistake" but I don't think this hurt one bit, quite the opposite. I mixed them in with the beaten cream when they were still frozen so that it became speckled pink, lovely and fruity but didn't overpower the brownie or the cheesecake. The stated baking time was too short for me but only because my oven is weird and never gets stuff done in time. On the bright side the cheesecake part came out so perfectly that I didn't have to let it set overnight and my family was grateful for being allowed to devour it after an hour of cooling time... =)
( Yes, that's snow all around! )
For the brownie
- 200g dark chocolate, roughly chopped and melted over a double-boiler
- 200g unsalted butter
- 250g icing sugar
- 3 Eggs
- 110g plain flour
For the cheesecake
- 400g cream cheese
- 150g icing sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 Eggs
For the cream topping
- 300ml whipping cream
- 100g icing sugar
- 150g Raspberries, plus extra to decorate
33 x 23 x 5cms baking tray, lined with greaseproof paper
FOR THE BROWNIE
Beat sugar and butter together, add the eggs on at a time, mixing well between each one. Gradually beat in flour, then pour in molten chocolate and mix thoroughly. Pour into prepared baking tray and smooth with palette knife.
FOR THE CHEESECAKE
Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla together. Add one egg at a time, while still mixing. The mixture should be very smooth and creamy. Be careful not to overmix or the cheese will split. Spoon over top of brownie mixture and smooth over. Bake in preheated oven (170C/325F/Gas 3) for 30-40mins, or until the cheesecake is firm to the touch and light golden around the edges - it should still be pale in the centre. Leave to cool completely, then cover and refigerate for 2hrs, or preferably overnight.
FOR THE CREAM TOPPING
Mix cream, sugar and raspberries together - beat until firm but not stiff. Turn the brownie out onto a board and turn the right way up. Spread the topping evenly over the brownie and decorate with more raspberries.
You could really taste all 3 different layers but make sure you spread them out evenly. Usually I'm all for hardcore chocolatey fudgy brownie but in this case it was a good thing the brownie had a more subtle flavour - which is probably why my dad liked it so much!