Thursday, 28 May 2009

The Joy of Baking

For the past seven weeks I have been busier than a bee, baking thousand upon thousands of cookies, brownies and chocolate slices and churning home-made ice-cream by the litres full in the professional kitchen for my new employer. There is no doubt in my mind that this is by far the best job that I have ever had, no matter the long days, the hard work or the tired and sore bones and muscles! This is the start of something amazing :)

There is one problem with this job though; When I'm not working and sitting at home and the inspiration to bake something delicious and wonderful takes me, I find myself slightly unenthusiastic to the idea of baking on my days off. Worrying that after a couple months I would have forgotten how to bake anything other than a chocolate cookie, I decided to get out of my lethargic state and get cracking, some eggs that is :) Grabbing my folder of favourite recipes from the shelf, I already knew what I wanted to make. After checking the fridge to make sure I had all of the ingredients, I switched on the oven and got out my much loved spring form cake tin. Today there would be no chocolate in sight of my baking, only fresh, clean flavours and something smooth and luxurious to savour on a long summer's evening. Today I'm baking my husband's all-time favourite cheese cake.

I found this recipe a few years ago in a foodie magazine, crammed into the bottom corner of the page, almost hidden from sight. I have mentioned this cake before and have made it countless times, but it's always a winner and have converted even the most adamant of cheese cake haters I have served it to. It has the customary crushed digestive biscuit and butter base, which is lightly baked in a mild oven to crisp up. Then comes the creamy, dreamy filling: Low-fat cream cheese is slowly whisked with thick double cream which has been slightly soured by the juice of a fresh lemon. Added to this are a couple whole organic eggs and one extra yellow yolk for an added richness. Next a generous sprinkling of caster sugar, a big splash of real vanilla extract and a blast of finely grated lemon zest. When pouring this mixture into the tin, I was hit by the fresh lemony smell and it immediately got my mouth watering. Unfortunately I had to wait for the cake to slowly bake for almost an hour first, and then of course give it several hours to rest in the fridge to firm up.

The wait was definitely worth it, and as you can see from the picture we've already managed to devour half of the cake. But for me the best part of it all was that even though I spend hours each week baking already, I can still find joy and pleasure in baking something special at home!

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