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Putting good things together: Raspberry nut-meal cake with lemon cheesecake centre
Did it work for you?
This was a cake I created out of the simple desire to make something new for my husband's birthday, which combined some of his other favourite types of desserts. The recipe removes the super fatty biscuit crust normally associated with baked cheesecake and instead sandwiches the cheesecake between two fruity layers of raspberry sponge with the added substance of ground nuts. The nut-meal can be made with whatever nuts are your favourite or that work for the people you are serving to avoid allergies, etc. In the original cake I used pistachios and walnuts, which made a very tasty textured nut-meal. The raspberry section of the cake is a large proportion fruit and nuts and eggs, with a relatively small amount of white flour, making the cake overall somewhat healthier. The larger quantity of protein in relation to carbohydrate reduces the overall GI of the cake, in other words makes it slower for your body to absorb and therefore prevents rapid sugar highs occurring, and means you will feel full for longer rather than being hungry again very quickly as may occur with some sweet foods. Although cheesecake is high in fat, it is also a large proportion protein and therefore does better in terms of GI than a cake made with mainly white flour and sugar. So if you're trying to reduce calories, this cake certainly won't help you, but if you are mainly trying to eat foods your body can use over time during the day, a piece of this cake will last you longer than most.
My inspiration for this cake came when I saw someone make a carrot cake with a cheesecake centre layer. I loved the idea of using cheesecake as a filling rather than as a whole cake. To achieve this the least messy and least difficult way, get at least two matching cake pans (you could always borrow a friend's for the purpose), or make your layers one at a time in the same cake pan, freezing the ones that are complete until the cake is ready to assemble. This saves you trying to cut the raspberry cake which is likely to fall apart or cut on weird angles. Freezing the cake layers increases their moisture and results in the cake holding together more solidly once assembled. For the pictured cake I was only able to give the sections about 20 minutes in the freezer, but a really good moist and solid texture is achieved by freezing overnight.
- 1 cup nut-meal, Made yourself from your preferred nuts by putting whole nuts in the food processor.
- 3/4 300g bag frozen raspberries, defrosted and partially drained
- 1 cup self raising flour
- 4 eggs, separated (for raspberry cake)
- 1 cup caster sugar, (for raspberry cake)
- 3/4 cup caster sugar, (for cheesecake)
- 2 eggs, (for cheesecake)
- 1 tblsp honey
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 block Philadelphia cream cheese, (for cheesecake and icing)
- 1 tblsp olive oil spread, (for icing)
- 2 lemons
- 2 tsp maple syrup, to taste
- 1/2 cup icing sugar, (for icing)
- Mix 4 egg yolks, 1 cup caster sugar, honey, and maple syrup to taste
- Add nutmeal, canola oil, flour, and pulped raspberries and zest and juice of one lemon and mix until fully combined
- In another bowl, beat egg whites until stiff and then fold into the raspberry batter until just combined
- Bake in two halves in the same cake pan or two the same size at 180 degrees Celsius until a knife can be inserted into the centre of the cake and come out without wet batter attached
- Once cool enough, remove raspberry cake halves from the cake tins, wrap in gladwrap and place in the freezer.
- Chop 3/4 of the block of Philedelphia cream cheese into small pieces and place in a bowl with 2 eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, and zest and juice of second lemon, and blend with a stick blender until smooth
- Pour cheesecake mixture into the same cake pan used for the raspberry cake and bake at 180 degrees Celsius until set
- Carefully remove cheesecake from pan, wrap in baking paper and gladwrap and place in freezer for at least 20 min.
- While your cake layers are cooling and setting, mix up the icing: place the remaining 1/4 block Philedelphia cream cheese in a bowl with 1/2 cup icing sugar, 3 tsp lemon juice and 1 tablespoon olive oil spread or margarine and blend together with a hand mixer.
- Once your cake layers are cold, remove from freezer and assemble the cake with the cheesecake layer in the centre, trimming off any messy edges.
- Spread icing on the top layer of cake (leaving sides naked to show the layers), and top with a few extra raspberries for decoration.
Summary and variations
This is overall one of my favourite recipes and one of my more successful baking experiments. The contrasting textures of the cake containing the nutmeal and the smooth, creamy baked cheesecake add interest to the mouth-feel of this dessert. Some variations I think would work:
- Other berries as the base: Blackberries would be wonderful, or any strong-tasting fruit. Subtle flavours may be hidden under the other tastes in the cake so I would not suggest mild-flavoured fruits such as blueberries.
- Coffee: I think the nut-meal part of the cake could easily be coffee-flavoured. You would lose some moisture by removing the fruit so I would probably still include some fruit that goes well with coffee such as apple puree.
- Different flavours in the cheesecake: In the original I had the cheesecake raspberry-flavoured as well by adding some extra raspberries to the mixture. This made it all blend in a bit too much for my liking but I do think it would work to add different flavours to the cheesecake as long as they go well with the flavours you choose in your main cake sections.
I hope this recipe inspires some of you and I would love to hear about any variations you discover that work well!
Braun, P. (2013). Inside Track: The Glycemic Index: How Carbohydrates Affect You, retrieved 25 September 2014 from https://www.insidetracker.com/blog/post/42424857618/the-glycemic-index-how-carbohydrates-affect-you