A few weeks ago my friend Rupert held a fundraising ‘coffee’ morning, taking part in an event which is billed as ‘The world’s biggest Coffee Morning for Macmillan Cancer Support”. My understanding is that it’s a bit like a bring and buy bake sale, so that you can take cakes home as well as indulging in a slice or two while you are there, with a cuppa. Well, Rupes was having none of “that buying thing” – he thought that a donation would be more in keeping with what he had in mind. And he was certainly not thinking of a lot of cakes and biscuits either. He organised the event for between 11 – 2 on a Saturday to give people plenty of time to either lie in, go to the gym or get Saturday chores or shopping done. Well beforehand, he made the phone calls to invite people and he collected money from people who were not able to attend. In true Rupert style, his flat gleamed and was filled with flowers and burning Diptique candles. We sipped Bucks Fizz from crystal flutes, gorged on delicious savoury nibbles, including crispy prawns, stuffed vine leaves, chicken tikka bites and prosciutto wrapped figs with goats cheese. He served jasmine tea in beautiful Coalport porcelain tea cups and individual tea pots from a tea service which had been part of his mother’s wedding trousseau. His sister donated a box of Jordanian pastries which were stuffed with dates and walnuts and a friend brought some Matcha macaroons which she had made. I brought this Carrot & Apple Cake Cheesecake which I had made the evening before, because I always have to take something! It was a really lovely event, more like a cocktail version of a brunch party rather than a cake sale and everyone got a chance to mingle and catch up or finally meet. The donations were extremely generous and I am quite certain that the same amount would not have been raised had people been buying cakes and biscuits in the more traditional manner.
Rupes doesn’t do sweet -he really does not have a sweet tooth so I wanted to make something that he would enjoy. I thought about doing a spicy, fruity, carrot cake topped with creamy cheesecake – an idea that I had seen in a magazine at some point and had written down in my notebook. I tweaked an old recipe for carrot cake that I’ve had for years, substituting butter for the oil as I thought that the batter should be fairly stiff to support the cheesecake topping. I have really enjoyed using ‘Dairy’ from Lurpak’s Cook’s Range – it really is a joy to use in baking as you can use it straight from the fridge. I reviewed it in my last IMK post. I also realised too late that I didn’ have enough carrots so topped them up with apples. I used an old recipe for a baked cheesecake that I had found on the back of a Carnation Condensed Milk tin in Canada. I can tell you that I was quite nervous putting it in the oven and said a few words as it went in!
I got there a little early, taking it over whole and asked Rupes to cut up some of it into one inch pieces. He began to trim off the edges, and popped a shard of trimming into his mouth. He stopped and said “OMG this is gorgeous!” and then passed the trimmings round to a couple of others who had arrived in the meantime. I was so pleased and very relived that it worked out. Rupes gave me a portion of the left over slab to take home – he was keeping the rest for himself, which made me very happy! Happy that he liked it enough to keep and happy that Jake would have some as well. Jake likes a cheesecake and really enjoyed the combination of spicy cake and cheesecake so it got the thumbs up from him too.
I had some caramel sauce which I had intended to take with me to drizzle enticingly over the top but I am afraid that it got left behind. The slices would have looked much prettier with a few swirls of caramel sauce. Also an apology for the photos – food photos can be difficult to take at the best of times and these were difficult to photograph in an unfamiliar setting with people about, little time to faff and without my props. But you get the idea – they baked up really well!
At the end of the event, the last few of us remaining, (photo at the tip of the post) counted the money in the donation box and were delighted to find that there was a really good sum in there to send to Macmillan. A big thanks to everyone for such generous donations. Rupes has since had a lovely thank you letter from Macmillan too!
Carrot & Apple Cake Cheesecake
For the carrot & apple cake base:
- 75 g soft brown sugar
- 75 g caster sugar
- 200 g plain/AP flour
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp table/fine salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon powder
- ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
- ¼ tsp allspice powder
- 75 g golden raisins (or just use normal ones)
- 45 g desiccated coconut
- 75 g grated carrot (about 3 medium carrots – weigh them out before grating them)
- 75 g grated apple (about 3 medium apples – weight them out factoring in an additional 5 g per apple for the core)
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 115 g Baking (Lurpak’s Cook Range) (or unsalted butter at room temperature)
For the cheesecake:
- 560 g (2 large tubs) full fat cream cheese at room temperature
- 397 g (1 tin) of condensed milk
- ¼ c sour cream
- ⅛ tsp salt
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
For the carrot & apple cake base:
- Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F. Line a 8″ x 12″ tin with grease proof paper leaving enough up the sides so that it can easily be used as handles to pull the cake out. (See my Tips and Tricks page for an easy way to do this.)
- Measure all the dry ingredients (from sugar through to coconut) into a mixing bowl and whisk well to combine.
- Peel and grate the apples and carrots, cover closely with cling film and set aside.
- Beat the egg and Dairy/butter until light and fluffy.
- Stir in the dry ingredients until combined then stir in the grated carrots and apples and whisk until the batter is well combined.
- Scrape batter into the tin and level it as well as you can. One of those offset spatulas would come in very handy here!
For the cheesecake:
- Beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy
- Beat in the condensed milk until the mixture is smooth.
- Beat in the eggs, sour cream, salt and vanilla until well combined.
- Pour this over the carrot & apple cake base and level.
- Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, testing with a wooden toothpick or a piece of dry spaghetti to ensure that the cake base is cooked. The cheesecake top should be set but with a little wobble which will firm up when it cools.
- Cool in the tin then cover and refrigerate until serving. Can be sliced into 24 x 2 inch squares or larger pieces if preferred.
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