Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cooking Cake in Congo

Kent likes cheesecake. He likes a rich dark gingerbread cake too, but we did that last year. So this year I wanted to make him a raspberry swirl cheesecake for his birthday. I know it's shooting a bit high, and I should probably have a talk with myself (again) about having more realistic expectations. I enjoy a bit of a challenge in dessert-creation. And besides, in a land of no cake mixes any cake of any sort will be work. Might as well be something different we will all enjoy. Not to mention the fact that we've just finished 3 other more traditional cakes off after 2 straight weeks of birthdays. We're caked out. Time for cheesecake! I really should have made it a full day in advance, but that was Sunday so tough.

In case you were wondering, there is no cream cheese here.



BUT… we had our yogurt spoil last week, and spoiled yogurt strained through cheesecloth (good to get rid of the alcoholic vinegary whey) for a few days ends up looking a bit like cottage cheese and tasting a lot like cream cheese. SO… I was prepared with my 3 ½ cups of cream cheese!

Now there are no raspberries here either.



BUT… the UN cast-offs shop has raspberry jam! And if you boil and whip jam you can get a sauce thin enough to swirl. Thank God for an old Kitchen Aid to do all this mixing and whipping!

I’m sure you’re seeing the pattern here… There are no graham crackers here for the crust, and usually British ‘digestive biscuits’ make a decent substitute, but I was out of them and so were stores.

Hakuna biscuits.


BUT… Kent had a cup of cookie crumbs in the fridge from a failed dark chocolate gingersnaps experiment and with a few more cookie crumbs I found plus melted margarine and quick-cooking oats it morphed into a ‘real’ crust. SO… we had a chocolate-ginger-something crust!

You can see why there is never a short answer to “What do you eat in Africa?”

Other than changing most of the ingredients I did exactly what the online lady 'erin' said to do, even putting one egg in at a time and pouring the sugar continuously. I did end up beating the batter? a bit longer than I have before, but I think it made for a smoother texture in the end. Here it is in the oven!!! I’m always a bit apprehensive trying a new recipe with 4 substituted ingredients, but it’s equally as thrilling when it works!

We topped the edges with more raspberry jam sauce and stuck dark chocolate chunks around the edges (instead of those luscious fresh raspberries in the pictures), and drizzled Kent’s signature dark chocolate sauce over the served pieces. Now Kent would’ve been thrilled to have chocolate sauce all over any of it, but there is where we differ. True confessions. Now the ugly truth comes out... Kent would actually prefer a chocolate cheesecake, but...

I have a fruit-chocolate taboo,

which extends to yogurt.

There’s just something I detest about ‘sour’ with ‘chocolate’.

No chocolate frozen yogurt thanks.

No chocolate cheesecake thanks.

No chocolate oranges thanks.


I enjoy chocolate in just about everything else. So I had some pretty selfish motives in shooting for a raspberry swirl cheesecake: This was made for me to be able to enjoy Kent’s cake without the chocolate and raspberry and yogurt touching. =)

And it was GOO-OOD!


Michelle said...

Impressive! Nice work. And Happy Birthday to Kent!

Sarah said...

Wow! Check you out! Good job!

shannon said...

beautifully done!