Sunday, June 14, 2009

Strawberry Cheese Cake

Strawberry is the fruit of the season and everywhere I go, I see the pretty red fruit. It is very easy to discern from my blog that I love red and strawberry is the fruit that I wish I can pick all year long as its color is simply stunning to my senses and its abundance during this summer time makes me want to whip up any possible cakes, cookies or desserts just to incorporate the loveliness of this fruit.

After a week of rain, we finally went strawberry picking yesterday. And like a kid lost in a candy store, we always go overboard in picking and end up with more than we can consume. I prefer to pick smaller sized ones as they tend to be sweeter and the juice is more concentrated. And of course when I have a dessert in mind, I want all the berries to be all uniform for a better presentation.

Frankly speaking, I didn't have a clue on what to make with them and the idea of having to munch on almost 8lbs of strawberries for the entire week daunts on me after the picking! I am not going to make another tart and it must be either cake or cookies this time and I simply came across the Strawberry Shortcake character at the bookstore before we went on our weekly daily grocery shopping. Yes, inspirations come from everywhere and certainly that cute little girl character with the big strawberry patterned hat got me thinking! Strawberry cheesecake came to mind and off I went to get a pack of cream cheese.

Cheesecake was once my favorite cake and of course, during those times in Malaysia, it was a luxury to have a cheesecake. The richness of the cream cheese with additional added eggs and egg yolks and sugar, slowly baked in a water bath just makes the whole cake so decadent. Like they said, when you are young, you go for everything and now in my more conscious mind and not so ideal mass body index, those rich cheesecakes will remain a luxury treat to me but at least the yearning for it has subsided and I can take a lighter substitute without any regrets of letting go a damn good cheesecake!

Terri, a fellow blogger from my hometown in Malaysia who never fails to awe me with her kitchen repertoires and whatever she writes in that feisty blog of hers, had a very good recipe for Mango Cheesecake and I followed her recipe through, substituting strawberries in place of the luscious mangoes. For this cake, I used a lot of strawberries! Firstly, I pureed around 300gm/8oz/half lb of the strawberries and passed them through a sieve before adding it to the beaten cream cheese with sugar. And then, I baked a plain genoise cake for the base and this time, the cake really turned out a perfect sponge cake, all spongy and yet firm enough to contain a total of 38 strawberries that I placed on top of it prior to making the mousse part of the cake.
I like the idea that the combination of the cream cheese with yogurt and whipped cream yield a very light in the mouth mousse. Calories counting wise, I can't be bothered as the cholesterol level had been reduced with the non existence of eggs. Mousse cakes are usually very time consuming to make but this one was very quick, from the baking to the assembly, it took me only 2 hours. The strawberries themselves already created lovely patterns inside and outside the cake and I only shaved some white chocolate to mimic the straws that lies on the ground of the strawberry fields. My only regret is that I didn't leave any mousse for extra coating on the cake after I removed it from the springform cake pan, leaving noticeable patches here and there on an otherwise very good cake. The taste of cheese is very subtle, the cake was easy to cut into despite the presence of many strawberries inside as they too firmed up a little together with the mousse while in the fridge. After all that strawberries, I still have perhaps 4lbs of them sitting in the fridge. Time to think of the next baking!


terri said...

very nice n i can taste n smell the berries! i like ur idea of using a genoise base--so much healthier than a cookie base.
my son complained tt "there r no fruits in australia--strawberries aren't fruits!" i think girls like strawsbeeries but guys find it too 'feminine'

Lily Anette said...

Terri: Yes, my choice of base for dessert cakes is always genoise.I find it more subtle and not as eggy as the usual sponge cake and a cookie base always taste stale after overnight.

Ling said...

Too pretty to eat - almost! I can never say no to cheesecakes. =)