Cheese Cake from Denmark
(Update! You can also find a Triple Berry version of this glorious recipe here, and check out a little video with the story behind it here.) I love baking for many reasons. It's therapeutic, creative, cerebral. Chemistry meets artistry. And then there's the sharing and eating of the results, and well, that just makes you feel good all over. A great recipe is more than just a formula, it's like a character in a great story. Sometimes you stumble across a new recipe that helps you create your own stories and memories with people you love, and sometimes you're lucky enough to be given a recipe that you just know has made memories for people you'll probably never meet. I love that most of all. I guess you could call them heirloom recipes.
I was recently given such a recipe by a friend of mine named Malene. Malene is from Denmark and when she and her boyfriend Mark learned of this blog and what a baking fool I am, she e-mailed me this recipe from her home country and I couldn't wait to try it. She sent it to me with the title of "Cheese Cake with Raspberries from Denmark", and I soon discovered that the separation of the words cheese and cake wasn't a typo.
This cake is definitely not like any cheesecake I've had before. After parbaking a buttery cake layer, fruit is layered on and then a sweetened cream cheese mixture is poured on top. When completely baked, the tender, moist butter cake mingles with the blond, custard-like cream cheese layer, the fruit playing halfsies in between. It was delicious for dessert the first night and a perfect breakfast with coffee in the morning (did I say that?).
I am a sucker for other people's favorite recipes, and it becomes a mission of sorts for me to do it right. In this case, I did something a little unorthodox and exchanged the raspberries in Malene's recipe for a few of the sweet, crisp Fuji apples that have just begun ruling the fall markets. I couldn't resist. With this great recipe as my guide, the result was wonderful--cakey, creamy, lightly swirled with cinnamon, al dente slices of the season's first apples buried within. Nyde!
Cheese Cake from Denmark Adapted from Malene Nielsen
150 grams granulated sugar 75 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature 1 egg 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar or vanilla extract 150 grams all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 pinch of salt 100 ml milk, at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and set the oven rack to the middle position. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment before locking it into place and lightly grease the pan.
Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitter with a paddle attachment, cream the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and fully incorporate it, then add the vanilla sugar (or extract). At low speed or by hand, mix in the flour mixture, followed by the milk, until fully incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and parbake the cake for just 10 minutes. While the cake is baking, prepare the next layer.
2 eggs 100 grams granulated sugar 200 grams (I used a full 8 ounce package) cream cheese, at room temperature 250 grams fresh or frozen raspberries (I used 2 medium Fuji apples, sliced thin) 1 teaspoon of lemon zest (if using berries) 1 teaspoon cornstarch 1 teaspoon sugar (brown sugar if using apples, and also add 1/2 tsp. cinnamon)
Whip the cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy, and then beat in the egg. Stir in the lemon zest if using berries. Set aside.
Toss the fruit with the teaspoons of cornstarch and sugar. Layer the fruit onto the parbaked cake and then pour the cream cheese mixture evenly over the top.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 more minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If the cake begins to get too dark during baking, cover the cake with foil.
Cool completely on a wire rack before serving, perhaps with a light dusting of powdered sugar.