Orange and Rhubarb Cheesecake

Here is an antidote to the grey days, the rainy days, the days when Spring is a misty, half-forgotten memory and you can’t remember the last time you went out without a coat. Yes, the cold snap is dragging on a bit, but that’s all the more reason to make yourself a sunshine-y treat, even if you’re doing it with winter ingredients. Rhubarb and oranges are both plentiful right now, and they’re an ideal match in this creamy cheesecake. The vibrant pinks and oranges will cheer up any gloomy day, and this crowd-pleasing dessert is sure to put a smile on your face.


There’s something completely addictive about this cheesecake. James and I ate half of it between the two of us on day one, and gave the rest away very reluctantly as a self-preservation measure. There’s a luxurious creaminess to it, but also the bright and refreshing lightness of fruit. A worryingly delicious combination.

It’s also very simple to make. My inherently laziness has always resulted in my plumping for set cheesecakes rather than baked cheesecakes as a general rule (except that one time I went mad). Even though both are delicious, the set variety are undeniably easier.



400g rhubarb
2 tbsp caster sugar
250g ginger biscuits (or biscuits of your choice – digestives and oat biscuits also work well)
100g butter, melted
600g full-fat cream cheese
zest of 3 oranges – use the segments for the decoration
125g icing sugar
150ml double cream


  1. Heat your oven to 220C/ 200C fan/ gas 5. Trim your rhubarb, and cut it into roughly 3cm chunks. Toss the rhubarb in the 2 tbsp caster sugar. Roast for 10-15 minutes, or until the rhubarb is soft but not collapsing. I then ran over it with a blowtorch for extra char, but that’s obviously totally not necessary – I realise most people don’t have a kitchen blowtorch! Leave it to cool.
  2. Line a 23cm springform tin. Gently melt your butter, if you haven’t already. Blitz your biscuits to rubble in a food processor, or pop them in a bag and bash them for some stress-busting fun. Mix the biscuits and the melted butter together, then press them into your tin as evenly as possible. Chill while you make the filling.
  3. In a large bowl or stand mixer, blend the cream cheese, orange zest, and icing sugar until smooth. Add the cream and beat until the mixture has thickened a little. Gently fold in half your roasted rhubarb, saving the rest for decoration. Spread the filling evenly over the base and chill until set, six hours or overnight.
  4. Finish the cheesecake with segments of the zested oranges and the remaining rhubarb.

The Bake Off Bake Along: Berry Cheesecake Choux Buns

The semi-final has come and gone, only the final remains and, if we’re honest, we’re all a bit surprised that it’s come to this, right? I sort of lost faith in the show after the Julia – Yan – Liam triple blow eviction debacle. But I continued watching because, really, I have nothing more entertaining to be doing at 8pm on a Tuesday night. Also, there’s the bake off bake along to consider. And I can’t really complain, because I never thought to make berry cheesecake choux buns before this. And I’m really quite glad they exist in my life now.

So I’d never even heard of craquelin before this week. And I did an entire culinary diploma. Also, it looks kind of like an odd skin-complaint, no? Anyway, I did this bake along at 6am on a Saturday morning because that was literally my only free time during the weekend. There was no way in hell I was going to make two different types of choux buns. One type was as much as I could be bothered with. Clearly I was not going to be making Les Miserables cake before sunrise, and I have made my feelings on insane technical challenges that take six hours and look impressive but taste only of sugar perfectly clear. So choux buns it was.


Actually, I’m so used to profiteroles that I’ve never really thought of doing anything different with choux buns. Other than filling them with cream and covering them in chocolate, I mean. Which is a perfectly delicious thing to do, so I shall continue to do it. But now a whole world of choux bun glory is open to me! Why I never thought of filling a choux bun with cheesecake before I do not know. Thank you, bake off bake along, for inspiring me. These were majorly tasty.



I went for a mixed berry cheesecake filling here and topped the buns with raspberries because, er, that’s what they had at the shop. But obviously you can use whatever berries you like or have.

Unfortunately, although these aren’t difficult to make, they don’t keep particularly well. As soon as you’ve filled your choux bun with cheesecake filling (or with anything, really), you’re working against the clock. Your beautiful crispy pastry will start to soften fairly fast. It’ll still taste excellent after a couple of hours even if it’s gone soft, but you won’t really have the textural contrast you’re after.

On the Bake Off they always make out like choux is really hard. I don’t know why, because it’s not. If anything, I actually find it easier than most other pastries, because you don’t have to faff about with resting it. Or keeping it cold. Or worrying about overworking it. Or rolling it out without cracks. Or any of that stuff, really. This recipe looks long but it’s not because it’s complicated. It’s because I am trying to carefully explain how to make choux in case you’ve never done it before.

This recipe will make around 25 choux buns, although obviously it depends wildly on how big you pipe them.


for the choux

220ml water
85g butter, cubed
105g plain flour
Pinch of salt
3 eggs, at room temperature

for the cheesecake filling

300g full fat cream cheese
50g icing sugar
150ml double cream
150g mixed berries, mashed with a fork

to finish

150g icing sugar
juice of a lemon
drop of purple food colouring, if you like
raspberries, or berries of choice, to top choux
around 3 biscuits, crushed to fine crumbs, to top choux
edible glitter, to finish (I did this because I have a cupboard absolutely crammed with baking decorations, but it adds absolutely nothing in terms of taste – I just like shiny things – so do skip it if you want)


  1. First, make your choux. Preheat your oven to 220C/200C fan/ gas 6 – and you really do need a hot oven to make these puff up properly so if you know yours runs cold then maybe give it an extra 10 degrees. Put your water and your cubed butter into a medium saucepan on a medium heat and cook until the butter has melted, but don’t let it boil. Meanwhile, sieve your flour and salt together.
  2. When all your butter has melted into your water, turn the heat right up and bring it to a rolling boil – you’ll see the butter solids start to collect in the middle of the pan. Take it off the heat and, as quickly as you can, whack all your flour in at once and beat like mad with a wooden spoon until it’s all incorporated and shiny and pulling away from the sides. It should naturally form a kind of ball of paste. This is called your panade. You need to let the panade cool down a bit now, until it’s about skin temperature, otherwise it won’t absorb the egg properly. I normally move mine into a cold mixing bowl to speed this up.
  3. While your panade is cooling, crack your eggs into a jug and beat them lightly. When your panade is cool enough, start beating in the egg, a little at a time, until you’ve used 2/3 of it. This is really hard work with a wooden spoon but works completely fine with an electric whisk so that’s what I always do. When you have 2/3 of the egg in, check the consistency. You want a ‘reluctant six second dropping consistency’ (I know it sounds weird, that’s just what we were always taught at culinary school). All it means is that when you take a decent scoop of the mix onto a wooden spoon and hold it up the mixture should fall off, but quite reluctantly. After about six seconds, in fact. If you use large eggs, like I do, you probably won’t end up using them all.
  4. Pop your choux pastry into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle and pipe it out onto baking trays in rounds. If you have good non-stick trays you don’t have to bother lining them – I never do – but if you’re worried them use baking paper. With a damp finger, press down the peaked tops of the buns (to stop them burning) then put the trays into your hot oven for 20 minutes.
  5. After 20 minutes, your choux buns should be gloriously brown and puffed up (if they’re not, give them 5 minutes longer). Take out the tray, turn them all over, and use a skewer or a sharp knife to poke a little hole in the bottom of each bun, then put them back in the oven. This is to let the insides dry out a bit. You want to take them to what probably seems a bit darker and firmer than you would naturally. You need them to be crisp and strong because they are going to have a wet filling.
  6. While your choux is baking, make your cheesecake filling. Beat your cream cheese and icing sugar together briefly until smooth. Add your cream, and beat for a minute until your mixture thickens up a little. You want it firm enough to pipe into the buns. Fold through your berries. You have to mash them to make sure they’re not going to clog your piping bag later. Pop this mixture into the fridge until you need it.
  7. Prepare your icing. Mix your icing sugar with your lemon juice. You want a fairly thick icing so it doesn’t just fall off the choux buns, but if it looks too thick add a drop of water. Colour it, if you like.
  8. When your choux are baked, let them cool completely. This should only take ten minutes. When they are cool, put your cheesecake filling into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle. Using the nozzle to enlarge the steam holes you made in the base of the buns, pipe them full of cheesecake mix.
  9. Spoon a little icing onto the top of each bun. Finish with a berry, a sprinkling of biscuit crumbs, and glitter if you’re going all out.

Trio of Chocolate Cheesecakes – Bake Off Bake Along Week 4

Confession: before this week, I had never made a baked cheesecake. It was one of my page-turners. Everyone must have page-turners, right? You know when you’re flicking through a recipe book (or, in this day and age, more likely a blog or online magazine), and you see a certain ingredient or instruction and automatically think ‘No, thank you!’, turn to the next page, and move swiftly along? Well, every time I see instructions to wrap a springform tin in cling film, then in foil, then fill it with cheesecake mix, then sit it in a water bath, then bake the cheesecake, then leave it to cool with the oven door oven, then let it sit overnight… well, I tend to think ‘Sod that’, and go and make a fridge-set cheesecake instead. It’s a combination of fear and laziness, really.


So, I thought this week would be a good opportunity to finally get over my baked cheesecake prejudice and make one. Well, make three. I don’t have enough ramekins for crème brûlée, and I’m certainly not going out to buy them. And although I do like meringue, I don’t think anyone could really like meringue enough to get through a whole Spanische Windtorte. Also, it would leave me with a dozen egg yolks that I wouldn’t know what to do with. Somehow, making three cheesecakes started to seem like the most sensible option.

Spoiler alert: it was definitely not the most sensible option. It was actually a huge hassle, and all of our friends will be eating cheesecake for days.


Nonetheless, I made three baked cheesecakes and managed to stack them into a tower that didn’t collapse, so I am definitely calling this a win, despite the fact I had to literally buy a kilogram of cream cheese to make this and nobody should ever really be doing that.

I’ll be really interested to see what everyone else tries to make this week, because I imagine lots of you will have the same problems and reservations that I did regarding crème brûlée and Spanische Windtorte, but making three tiers of cheesecake doesn’t exactly feel like the easy way out. Oh, how I miss cake week. Next week is free-from baking – you know, sugar free and gluten free and such – and I can’t imagine that will be any easier.


Can we also just take a moment to mourn the departure of Sandy from the tent? She was never one of my picks for the final, but she was definitely one of my favourite bakers. Some of the things she said literally made me laugh out loud.

Also, Ian winning star baker is now getting boring. Three weeks in a row?!


So, on to the cheesecakes. I will admit that these are not going to be winning any beauty contests. By the time it got to the decorating stage, I was short on time and very stressed, so it was all a bit of a rush job and I am terrible at tempering and piping chocolate, so I basically threw things on top of them and hoped for the best. I also had to move the delicate cheesecakes around so much – first to stack them and then to separate them – that they started to crack a bit. Nonetheless, they were really delicious. Once I have gotten over the trauma of this, I might actually make a baked cheesecake again.

On the show, Paul and Mary kept complaining about fruit bleeding into cheesecake, but what’s wrong with that!? I actually like that, and purposefully mashed up my fruit a bit in the cheesecake batter to encourage the pretty colours rippling into the smooth, pale cheesecake.


Source: I started with a plain baked cheesecake recipe from Leiths How To Cook and then adapted it. A lot.

Notes: I very much doubt that anyone wants to be as insane as me and make this whole recipe start to finish, so I am not going to give any instructions for stacking or decorating, which is all common sense in any case. The method is exactly the same for all three cakes, only with different quantities and some variations on ingredients, so I am going to provide the ingredients for each cake and only write out the method once.

One of the reasons I went for this particular base recipe was that it didn’t ask you to mess around with a water bath or wrapping the tin, and I am inherently lazy. It seemed to work out fine just bunged in the oven like a regular cake.

This would have looked far better if I’d had a smaller top tin, but I didn’t, and didn’t want to buy a new one just for this, so such is life.


for the little white chocolate, blackberry, almond, and ginger cheesecake (16cm)

for the base
50g butter
65g ginger biscuits
20g ground almonds

for the cheesecake mixture
3 tbsp caster
10g cornflour
240g cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
2 medium eggs
90ml cream
100g white chocolate
100g blackberries

for the medium milk chocolate, hazelnut, and raspberry cheesecake (20cm)

for the base
85 butter
125g oat biscuits
25g chopped skinned hazelnuts

for the cheesecake mixture
5 tbsp caster
15g cornflour
415g cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
3 large eggs
100ml cream
200g milk chocolate
150g raspberries

for the massive dark chocolate, apricot, and pistachio cheesecake (23cm)

for the base
100g butter
150g digestives
30g roughly chopped pistachios

for the cheesecake mixture
6 tbsp caster
20g cornflour
500g cream cheese
2 tsp vanilla
4 large eggs
200ml cream
150g dark chocolate
4 apricots, stoned and chopped


  1. Preheat your oven to 200C/ 180C fan/ gas 6, and grease and line your tin. Melt the butter for the base. Crush the biscuits, either by beating them in a plastic bag with a rolling pin or whizzing them in the food processor. Put them in a bowl and mix in your nuts. Add the butter, mix, and then press the mixture evenly into the base of your tin. Bake the base in the oven for ten minutes, then remove and leave it to cool. Lower the oven temperature to 150C/ 130C fan/ gas 2.
  2. For the topping, set aside 2 tbsp of the sugar. Put the rest in a large bowl with the cornflour and beat with the cream cheese and vanilla to combine. Separate the eggs, and then beat the yolks into the cream cheese along with the cream.
  3. In a large clean bowl, whisk the egg whites to medium peaks, and then whisk in the saved 2 tbsp of caster sugar. Gently fold the egg whites into the cream cheese mixture.
  4. Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Gently fold it into the cheesecake mixture, along with the fruit.
  5. Pour the mixture over the biscuit base and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until just set with a slight wobble. Leave it to cool in the tin. Chill in the fridge.