Cheesecake Filled Easter Eggs

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“Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won’t stay there.”  Clarence W. Hall 

I’ve been teaching for over ten years. Ironically, it is not my calling. It is, however, a means to put money in my bank account so I can buy cheese. And chocolate. And bacon. Let’s not forget the bacon.

Now, when teaching languages, I’ve repeatedly encountered the insurmountable obstacle that English makes no sense whatsoever, and German makes too much. If my words are not enough for thee, check out the poem “The Chaos”, by G. Nolst Trenité (1922). Then read “The Awful German Language”, by Mark Twain. Go ahead. Then come back, and read on.

Welcome to my everyday life. The excess of logic in German grammar and the absolute lack of it in English spelling regularly reduce my students to tears.

It’s so much fun to watch.

The greatest challenge for a language teacher is attempting to convey the many layers and fascinating nuances of the word. Some languages are easy. Some languages are not. Some are intuitive, like English, following no recognizable logic whatsoever. Others are but slight variations on a theme, close cousins, if you may, like all Romance languages. Differences notwithstanding, each language opens a door into an unknown world; centuries, no, millennia of history, psychology and anthropology unfolding before your eyes as you delve deeper into their secrets. A people’s deepest fears and yearnings are laid bare, just as bones cleared painstakingly of dirt in ancient burial sites. A civilisation’s language bears the unmistakable imprint of humanity, and when you begin to study them, you tap into an endless ocean of nuances, influenced by a myriad of seasons, woven together in an intrinsic filigree, an impossible dance, a virtuoso composition of colors you have yet to see. Through language, history comes alive.

It’s riveting.

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And then there is German.

You see, European languages are, for the most part, fairly similar, due to geographically and demographically imposed proximity.

German is no exception, of course, but try telling that to my exasperated students. There are rules, and rules for the rules, rules for the exceptions to the rules, and a seemingly endless supply of vocabulary. It is a language for mathematicians, logical and predictable and complex as hell.

But for all their linguistic shortcomings, Germans are the indisputable kings of seasonal celebrations. Christmas and Easter are feasts to behold, riotous and joyous, belying the complexity of their world.

Let us celebrate that complexity with sweets. German Easter sweets, of course, slightly tweaked so they could have their place on this blog. Sweets, like languages, give fascinating insight into different worlds. Eat up, and be comforted – it is merely a study in anthropology.

One year ago on May the Cheese Be With You: Shepherd’s Pie

Other cream cheese sweets: Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bites, Carrot Cake, Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins, Cheesecake Chocolate Mousse, Apple Cheese Danish, Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake, Old Style Cheesecake, Cream Cheese Pancakes, Cookies and Cream Cheesecake Bites, Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Buttercream, Green Velvet Cheesecake Cake with Marshmallow Cream Cheese Frosting

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Cheesecake Filled Chocolate Easter Eggs

Inspired by the one-of-a-kind Raspberri Cupcakes

Servings: 6-8 eggs (depends on their size)

Prep time: 1 hour

You will need:

  • 6-8 hollow chocolate eggs
  • 150gr cream cheese
  • 30gr, or 1/4 cup, powdered sugar
  • a good squeeze of lemon juice
  • vanilla extract, or vanilla sugar, to taste
  • 125ml, or 1/2 cup, cream
  • apricot or peach jam, or any yellow filling you like

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Use a sharp knife to remove the top of the chocolate eggs. I went for the rustic, cracked look so I used a serrated knife. If you want smooth edges, hold your knife under warm water before cutting – it’ll make things easier and neater. Keep the chocolate eggs in the fridge while you prepare the cheesecake filling.

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For the filling, beat the cream cheese with the sugar, lemon juice and vanilla until smooth, creamy and uniform – no unsightly lumps here, folks.

Now pour the cream into the container of an electric mixer and beat until stiff peaks form – we’re going for light whipped cream consistency here. If you feel like getting in a good workout before overloading on dessert, go on and hand whip it. But be prepared to sweat.

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Carefully fold the whipped cream into the cheesecake until just combined.

Now spoon the filling into the chocolate eggs – you’ll need a spoon small enough to fit into the openings you cut earlier. Once filled to taste, chill the eggs in the fridge for 30 minutes.

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When the cheesecake has firmed up nicely, use the same spoon you were using to fill the eggs, and spoon out the centre of the eggs, in order to create a little hollow in the middle of the filling. Fill the hole with the apricot or peach jam (I used a homemade combination of both). Chill for another half hour before serving.

Enjoy 🙂

Clara

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Green Velvet Cheesecake Cake with Marshmallow Cream Cheese Frosting

Green Velvet Cheesecake Cake 12 So St. Patrick’s Day exploded all over my closet-sized kitchen. I have green food coloring in the most impossible of places – including under my fingernails. I’m the Wicked Witch of the West. I’ve got Irish beer overflowing from my fridge and cabinets. A leprechaun is soaking comfortably in my sink, and I can’t get rid of him. He says he wants cake. I know better than to cross a leprechaun. So I made cake. Let me rephrase that. Remember those Red Velvet Cupcakes we made for St. Valentine’s? Well I made two layers of green velvet cake and put and entire cheesecake in between, because, what the hell, that’s why. I smothered it all in marshmallow cream cheese buttercream frosting for good measure, and also topped it with sprinkles, because, you know, sprinkles. Golden Fudge Truffles 6 And then, after my kitchen was all nicely covered in food coloring, sprinkles and marshmallow fluff, I decided to go in for the kill and made these ridiculously easy two ingredient chocolate fudge truffles, and I just went ahead and made them golden to keep my leprechaun happy. Note that the cake is the epitome of over-indulgement, and the truffles whomever still stands after eating the cake. So go ahead, eat cake, eat chocolate, and get drunk. ‘Tis the season, after all. Happy St Patrick’s Day to you all – a bit ahead of time 🙂 – and may all things green, Irish and lucky be with you.

One year ago on May the Cheese Be With You: Cream Cheese Pancakes

Other cream cheese recipes: Carrot Cake, Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins, Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bites, Cheesecake Chocolate Mousse, Apple Cheese Danish, Old Style Cheesecake, Cookies and Cream Cheesecake Bites, Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake

Green Velvet Cheesecake Cake 8 Green Velvet Cheesecake Cake with Marshmallow Cream Cheese Frosting

Servings: a gazillion

Prep time: 2 hours

You will need:

For the cheesecake:

  • 1 cup, or 250gr, cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoons sour cream, or cream with a dash of lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cream

For the cake:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cups vegetable oil of choice
  •  3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, or cream with a dash of lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon green food coloring

For the frosting:

  • 1 cup, or 250gr, cream cheese, softened
  • 5 1/2 tablespoon of butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups marshmallow fluff
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • green sprinkles, to garnish

Green Velvet Cheesecake Cake 16 Cheesecake: Beat the cream cheese with the sugar until nice and light. Beat in the egg, then add the sour cream and cream and mix until smooth. Green Velvet Cheesecake Cake 1 Pour into a small, round, greased pan, and bake on medium for about 40 minutes, or until set and only slightly jiggly. Let it cool completely, then remove from the pan and place in the freezer. Now please take a few moment to appreciate the beauty and perfection that is this cheesecake. Green Velvet Cheesecake Cake 3-side I mean, please. Green Velvet Cake: Mix together the flour and cocoa powder. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients, and pour in the  oil. Beat the sugar into the oil. Beat in the egg. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and baking soda. Prepare for some fizzling. Add this mixture to the liquids, along with the buttermilk and food coloring. Finally, incorporate the flour and cocoa powder, and beat gently until well incorporated. Pour the batter into a small cake pan, the same size and shape as the one you used for the cheesecake, and bake for 30 minutes on medium, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely. Green Velvet Cheesecake Cake 2 Green Velvet Cheesecake Cake 5 Frosting: Use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese with the butter. Green Velvet Cheesecake Cake 7 Add the marshmallow fluff, then, gradually, the powdered sugar, and keep beating until light and fluffy. Assemble: Remove the cooled cake from its pan. Trim off the top if it puffed up, so that you end up with a flat top. Using a long, sharp knife, cut it half lengthwise. Remove the cheesecake from the freezer and place it between the two layer of cake, thus: Green Velvet Cheesecake Cake 6 Now frost, frost, frost this baby like there’s no tomorrow. Go ahead, go wild. It’s St Patrick’s Day, and sipping Irish cream on the rocks is so passé. Finally, sprinkle away with any green sprinkles you have at hand. If you have no sprinkles – gasp – you can also sprinkle with cocoa powder. Green Velvet Cheesecake Cake 15 And that’s that. Keep in the fridge until time to serve. But watch yourself – a rogue leprechaun just might get into your fridge next Tuesday.

Green Velvet Cheesecake Cake 13   Bonus recipe: Golden Fudge Truffles

Golden Fudge Truffles 5 Disclaimer: This recipe contains no cheese, but it’ll rock your world anyway.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Servings: anywhere from 10 to 25, depending on the size of your molds

You will need:

  • 1 cup chopped semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • edible gold paint

Golden Fudge Truffles 1 Place the chopped chocolate in a medium saucepan. Pour the condensed milk on top. Golden Fudge Truffles 3 Let’s get a close up of this, because man, this is heaven. Golden Fudge Truffles 2 Place the saucepan over low heat, and slowly melt the chocolate into the condensed milk, stirring often. Golden Fudge Truffles 4 Once smooth, allow the mixture to cool completely before rolling it into little balls and pressing into the desired molds. Allow to harden for a few hours before removing. Paint with edible gold paint and allow color to set for another 30 minutes. Set out for leprechauns to eat. Golden Fudge Truffles 8 Or enjoy them yourself 🙂

Clara

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Buttercream


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So tomorrow is St Valentine’s. A day of love and chocolate and, ironically enough, a world wide bone of contention. If you don’t celebrate it, you might be called a ruthless, heartless, meagre excuse for a human being. If you do, you’ll certainly be labelled a consumerism-worshipping heretic on a good day. Personally I think it’s wonderful to watch people tearing each other apart over it, while I sit by and eat all the chocolate.

No, seriously, when did this become such a big deal? I mean, go out and be jolly; eat drink and be merry; stay home and be taciturn and anti-social; or celebrate the Roman fertility festival of Lupercalia, for all I care. It’s on the same day. It’s fun. It involves an inordinate amount of R-rated activities. It’s fun.

It’s all the same to me. I’ll be eating chocolate if you need me.

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So, on a different note, and smack on time for St. V’s, I took part in a production of Dido and Aeneas, and let me tell you, those guys can’t even handle it right now. I mean, seriously, Dido is the drama queen from hell, and Aeneas, poor chump, is the most emasculated hero in the entire history of Greek tragedy, which is saying quite a lot. There is this scene where he’s all “Behold, I’ve killed this here monster, come look at me flex my muscles”, and she’s like, “Whatever, it’s raining, let’s get outta here, I just did my hair”. And then freaking Jupiter tells the man to get himself away from that chick and rebuild freaking Troy, and all the man can say is “but the chick”, and I’m like, man, you survived the Troyan Wars and now you’re scared of a chick in a toga? Get a grip, cupcake.

That’s love for you, folks.

Now I’ve got that off my chest, let’s get the show on the road.

These cupcakes,

This buttercream.

It’s like – sublime. I actually ate the buttercream straight.

Yes, I did. I’m not one to resist temptation.

Go ahead, try it, see if you can.

One year ago on May the Cheese Be With You: Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bites

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Buttercream 10-checker

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Buttercream

Servings: 12 cupcakes

Perp time: about 1 hour

You will need:

For the cupcakes:

  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons red food coloring
  • ½ cup buttermilk, or the same amount of milk + 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoons white vinegar

For the buttercream:

  • 4oz butter, softened
  • 4oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2½ cups powdered sugar

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Let’s start with the cupcakes. Cream the butter and sugar, then add the egg. In a small bowl, quickly whisk the cocoa powder with the red food coloring until it forms a paste.

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Add to the batter and mix thoroughly, making sure the color is distributed evenly. Then add half the buttermilk, half the flour, and mix. Repeat, then add the baking soda and vinegar.

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Divide the batter among the muffin cups and bake in a medium oven for about 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the centre of one comes out clean.

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Cool slightly, remove from the pan, and set aside to cool completely before topping with buttercream.

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For the buttercream, quickly whip the butter and the cream cheese until well combined, then slowly add in the powdered sugar. Keep whipping until nice and fluffy.

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Finally, top the cooled cupcakes with the buttercream (go on, lay it on thick, it’s worth it!).

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Serve right away, or store in the fridge to keep the buttercream fresh.

Eat up, and enjoy!

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins

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Winter is coming.

Oh please tell me winter is coming. I’ve been ranting about fall for the past month, and yet here I am, walking around in short sleeves, because the Barcelona weather has gone and spilt its marbles all over the floor. It rained the entire month of August, and now it’s the end of October and we’re still hitting 25ºC (around 75 to 80ºF).

I want to wear bear furs and chain mail and lean heavily on my broadswoard, declaring to the winds that winter is coming. Or at least fall. Or just, you know, a slight chill.

Please?

I mean, it’s almost Halloween, for crying out loud. The time when the veil between the worlds drops, and bridge to the spirit world gapes open. The time when restless souls of un-dead creatures return to walk among us. The time when ancient wisdom foretold the coming of bitter winter nights, and brave men closed their shutters before a sinking sun.

We can’t have none of that sipping a margarita in a sundress. Duh.

I’m planning a calorie overload the likes of which have never been consumed in the history of civilization (Roman bacchanals, medieval feasts and Versaille’s fêtes exubérantes included). It needs to be freakin’ freezing outside in order for me to pull that off.

Dear weather man, you have until Monday. If I don’t feel the need to unpack my winter boots, or, say, a light cardigan, by then, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will pelt you with bat-shaped oreo cookies, mini-pumpkin pies and candied apples.

For a week. Because that’s how much food I’m making.

Rant over.

Let’s eat.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins

Servings: 12 to 16 muffins, depending on size

Prep time: 45 minutes

You will need:

For the chocolate muffins:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 60 gr (roughly 4 tablespoons) dark chocolate, melted (I place mine in the microwave on high in 30 second intervals, stirring after every interval, until smooth)
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup boiling water

For the peanut butter filling:

  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • milk to thin out if necessary

Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins

Preheat your oven to medium high.

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Cream the butter and sugar until well combined.

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Add the cocoa powder, then the eggs, one at a time, mixing after every addition.

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Stir in the melted chocolate.

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Combine flour and baking soda. Add half the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture, then mix in 1/2 cup sour cream. Repeat the procedure with the remaining flour and sour cream. Beat well.

Stir in the boiling water. The batter will be very runny.

Divide into greased and floured, or lined, muffin cups, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

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Allow to cool completely.

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Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the filling in a medium bowl until nice and smooth.

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Once the muffins have cooled, insert a slightly tilted knife into the top of the muffin, but off to one side. Cut in a circle, so that you end up with a wee muffin cone that you can pull out like a lid. Cut off the lower cone, so you end up with a flat disk. If necessary, carefully scratch out some more crumbs from inside your muffin, the make room for more filling.

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Spoon some filling into the hollow, just enough to be able to cover it with your muffin-disk-lid without being able to see the filling. Repeat with the other muffins.

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You will have some left over muffin crumbs that you can snack on all day. Or use them to throw at the weather man.

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You can also play around with other filling option, but I just love the peanut butter-chocolate-combo. Kinda like a peanut butter cup, but in a muffin version.

Now eat up! 🙂

Clara

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Cheesecake Chocolate Mousse

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It’s hot outside. And about time, too. This summer has put quite a few autumns to shame. I was counting on a tan, darn you. Instead, I’m still glowing in the dark. That, and I’m writing this post to the melodious, incessant, ever so slightly strident meowing of five baby kittens whom I plucked from the rain a week ago.

You can now proceed to call me momma cat. Like, of the year.

Allow me to illustrate:

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Don’t look at me that way. It was raining, it was cold, they were three weeks old and were giving me some serious puppy eyes. Or kitty eyes, as it were. And the real momma cat was not doing a very good job of it.

And it was raining.

But now it’s hot.

And they know it.

And they complain.

Profusely.

Ceaselessly.

That is how this recipe happened. I have one free hand only, as the other one is occupied keeping tiny, mischievous little fur balls out of trouble. Also, sweltering heat, and thus no appetite for anything cake-y or muffin-y or suchlike.

So mousse it is.

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One-handed Cheesecake Chocolate Mousse

Servings: 4

Prep time: 10 minutes, plus 4 hours chilling time

You will need:

For the chocolate mousse layer:

  • 5oz, or 140 gr semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 2/1 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee
  • 1/2 cup, or 125ml, whipping cream

For the cheesecake layer:

  • 200 gr cream cheese, softened
  • about 1/4 cup, or 70 ml, sweetened condensed milk

Let’s start with the chocolate mousse layer. Roughly chop up the chocolate and place it in a microwave-safe bowl.

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Simply dollop the butter and sprinkle the coffee on top. Microwave on high in 30 second intervals, stirring in between. Repeat as often as needed until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.

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Once the chocolate has cooled to room temperature, beat the cream until stiff peaks form.

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Gently fold it into the chocolate.

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Spoon into your cups or glasses of choice.

If you want to achieve the fancy-schmanzy tilted effect I attempted but failed at, due to kitty interferences, incline your glasses at the desired angle before spooning in the mousse, then find a place in the fridge where they will stay that way.

Chill for about 2 hours.

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Meanwhile, prepare the cheesecake layer. Place the cream cheese in a bowl and beat until fluffy. Continue beating while you add the sweetened condensed milk; or, if holding a winding kitty in the other hand, just pour it all in at once and whip until well incorporated.

Pour on top of the chocolate mousse and chill for another 2 hours.

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When in a pinch, you can also set the mousse in the freezer, although the texture will be a bit different. The mousse will have set to a firm consistency after 15 minutes, while the cheesecake layer will resist setting in a hurry and remain quite liquid, sauce-like, even. You can sell it as Chocolate Mousse with Cheesecake Sauce and call it a day. My folks bought it 😉

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Enjoy!

Clara

Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bites, and happy St. Valentine’s!

It’s St. Valentine’s Day! And we from May the Cheese Be With You are celebrating! With chocolate. And cheese.

Duh.

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Let me tell you about my love-hate relationship with chocolate. Chocolate and I, we go way back, and our relationship is worthy of study. Freud would be dancing a little jig (please take a second to picture this in your mind). He’d be fascinated. Probably even confused. Possibly flummoxed. To me, chocolate is like that friend whom you get along with just swell, and who will then stab you – nay, hit you with a pickaxe – in the back for no apparent reason whatsoever. You’ll be having a jolly ol’ time, and then suddenly they’ll turn into a man-eating, raging koala. (Don’t ask me why I said koala just now – my mind works in mysterious ways.)

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So, chocolate. I love chocolate. I adore chocolate. Chocolate has all the knowledge. I will form a cult around chocolate, shave my head and keep a small chocolate altar with fresh flowers. But chocolate is a vengeful deity.  Short of human sacrifice, which is frowned upon in most modern societies, there really is nothing I can do to appease it. The wrath of chocolate expresses itself through knee-buckling migraines that will knock me out for hours at a time. But here is the snag: This only happens every so often. So my eating chocolate is basically like poking a sleeping dragon in the eye. A chocolate dragon, of course. Rash, stupid, and exhilarating – for who would not wish to see a dragon dancing its anger on the wind of morning?

Damn you, chocolate, you sexy beast! Damn you to hell.

To showcase the confounding, contradictory beauty that is chocolate, I give you: The Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bites. And I’m throwing in my raspberry curd recipe for free.

You know you love me.

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Chocolate Cheesecake Bites with Raspberry Curd

The cheesecake is originally from Love and Olive Oil, who makes the most awesome of recipes.

Servings: 24 cheesecake bites

Prep time: about 1 1/2 – 2 hours, plus 6 hours refrigerating

You will need:

For the cheesecake

  • 1 1/2 cups (aprox. 350gr) vanilla wafers, crumbled
  • 6 tablespoons (90gr) + 1/4 cup (aprox. 60gr) butter, melted
  • 6 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons + 1/2 cup (125gr) unsweetened cocoa powder (separated)
  • 8oz, or 250gr cream cheese
  • 14 oz, or 400gr sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 500gr semi sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup (250ml) whipping cream

For the curd

  • 1 1/2 cups (300gr) fresh raspberries
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 egg yolks

To begin with, preheat your oven to medium-high, and paper-line a muffin tin.

Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bites

Combine the vanilla wafer crumbs with the powdered sugar and the first 6 tablespoons of cocoa powder. Now add the 6 tablespoons melted butter, and mash it up. Press about 1 1/2 teaspoons of this into each cup, making sure it covers the bottom well.

Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bites 3 Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bites 4

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Now turn to the left over 1/2 cup cocoa powder and 1/4 melted butter, and mix those. Beat in the cream cheese until fully combined, then add the sweetened condensed milk. Add in the eggs, one at a time.

If sugar-overdose had a face, this is what it would look like. Sheer beauty.

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Spoon the (very liquid!) batter into the muffin cups and bake for about 20 minutes, or until nice and set. The tops will be all puffy, but they will collapse as it cools.

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Meanwhile, place your chocolate in a bowl and pour the cream over it. Heat in the microwave on high for 30 seconds, remove, stir well, heat another 30 seconds, remove, stir. You get the picture. Repeat until you get the smooth consistency which can only be described as chocolatey. I could spoon this stuff straight out of the bowl.

OK, I did spoon this straight out of the bowl.

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Spread over cooled cheesecake and allow to harden while you turn your attention elsewhere.

Namely, here:

Raspberry Curd

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Press your lovely, precious raspberries through a fine mesh strainer until they look like this:

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They should yield about 1 cup of juice. Beat together the butter and sugar until creamy, then pour in the egg yolks. Add the juice last. Cook on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, or until thickened. It will thicken more as it cools. Stir permanently, or the heat will not spread evenly and you will end up with cooked blobs of egg floating around in your curd. Which, in case you were wondering, is not what we are going for.

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Allow to cool completely.

Spoon 1 or 2 teaspoons of this glorious stuff on your cheesecakes, and place them in the fridge for at least 6 hours, or ideally over night.

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Now devour.