Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Cooking holds the Keye(s) to our heart

There's nothing we love more than curling up with a cup of tea and a lovely new cookbook to pore over.

Therefore we did a little dance when we heard chick lit author Marian Keyes new baking book is out tomorrow (16 February). Saved by Cake: Over 80 Ways to Bake yourself Happy (published by Michael Joseph £16.99) has it all, with chapters on cupcakes, cheesecakes, meringues and macaroons, chocolate cakes, fruit cakes and favourite classics. It also gives an extremely honest account of Marian Keyes' recent battle with depression, and how baking has helped her. A complete novice in the kitchen, Marian decided to bake a cake for a friend and that was it - she realized that baking was what she needed to do in order to get her through each day. And so she baked, and she wrote her recipes down, and little by little the depression has started to lift, along with her sponges...

The book is ideal for bakers of all levels; offering hints and tips to help along the way. It's witty and honest and is sure to bring a big grin to your face. Read on for a sneaky bite of what's in store and the chance to win yourself a copy ...

Blokey Snickers Cheesecake Loaf



Snickers is an essentially blokey thing, no? I’ve always thought it’s the sort of sweetmeat that men take a big chomp out of just before they abseil down the side of a mountain and, for a while, I thought it was the law that Snickers could only be eaten by men speeding past me on mountain bikes. Inspired by such rugged outdoorsiness, this is a hefty, hearty cheesecake, specially for the boys. The loaf format is an extra little touch on my part; I think it makes it even more manly.

Preheat the oven to 170ºC/325ºF/gas 3.

Line a 1kg loaf tin with baking paper – see the technique on page 20.

In a food processor, whizz the biscuits and peanuts so they form a rough-cut, rustic-looking mix; you should still be able to see parts of the peanuts. The first time I did it, I left the machine running so long that I accidentally made peanut butter and the whole thing went into a brown paste. Although I soldiered on, the base never really set, and I ended up having to do it all again. But that’s okay, I make the mistakes so you don’t have to.

Melt the butter and stir it through the crumbs. Even when you think it’s fully mixed, give it a few more stirs. Pour the biscuit/peanut/ butter mix into the bottom of the loaf tin and pack down hard, using the base of a glass. Bake for 15 minutes, remove from the oven and cool, then refrigerate, preferably overnight.

To make the filling, preheat the oven again to 170ºC/325ºF/gas 3. Mix the two cheeses together, then add the sugar and eggs. Pour in the sour cream, then stir in the Snickers pieces. Pour in on top of the biscuit base.

Bake for an hour and a half, then turn off the oven and leave it sitting there for as long as you can bear. When you eventually take it out, you’ll be delighted to see the top has developed a gorgeous fudgey look. Refrigerate overnight.

To get the cake out of the tin, you’ll need your palette knife. Slide it gently between the baking paper and the side of the tin, loosening all the way along. Then – do your best here, but don’t wreck your head – try to bend the palette knife slightly to get it actually under the base of the cake. When you feel you can’t get any further without breaking the cake or starting to cry, call a halt, then use the overhanging edges of the baking paper as ‘handles’ to lift the entire cake out of the tin. You might have to to-and fro a little, as in, lift it a bit, then use the palette knife to do a bit more loosening, then lift it a bit more, until it’s fully ready to emerge. Peel the paper off, then drizzle the toffee sauce and scatter the peanuts over the top. Cut into thick slices and serve to blokes.

For the base
150g milk chocolate digestive biscuits
50g salted peanuts
75g butter

For the filling
250g mascarpone cheese
250g ricotta cheese
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
200ml sour cream
4 Snickers bars, chopped into chunks

To decorate
squeezy toffee sauce out of a squeezy bottle
a generous handful of salted peanuts


a Rafflecopter giveaway We were given a copy of this book free of charge to give away.