Not all cake needs to be sweet! Exhibit A: this Beetroot Cheesecake. Following the Tiramisu Crunch Cake that I posted for the Lancewood Cake-Off 2018 Competition where I mentioned you could enter a sweet or SAVOURY cake, I had quite a few of you asking me ‘What the heck is a savoury cake?!’ Challenge accepted!
I haven’t lost my mind, well, I have but not when it comes to cake! You don’t mess around when it comes to cake. This savoury beetroot cheesecake fits smack bang into the Lancewood competition brief and is perfect if you’re more of a cheese-for-dessert kind of person. I specifically wanted this beetroot cheesecake to be seriously smooth, deliver on flavour and LOOK like decadent, sweet cheesecake (sometimes dessert is a fun way to mess with people’s expectations – thanks for the idea, Heston Blumenthal!).
Cheeseboards can get expensive and this is a WAY more affordable option that still gives that wow factor. I’ve used a combination of Lancewood’s Medium Fat Cream Cheese, Crème Fraîche and the Garlic & Herb Cottage Cheese for flavour. The result is a rich, creamy baked cheesecake that’s velvety smooth with a base of dark pumpernickel bread. I’ve piled plenty of crackers on top (because I think savoury cheesecakes need crunchy goodies to scoop it up), beetroot chips and some pretty sugar-crusted thyme sprigs for a splash of green. See? A savoury cheesecake can be just as impressive as a sweet cake.
I’m also going through a bit of a beetroot stage which is odd considering how I hated it as a child. My grandfather grew a lot of veggies on the farm and I remember a year when the beetroot had flourished and in an effort to spare us all from eating beetroot every day for a week, my grandmother decided to try her hand at pickling. She spent the good part of the day slashing the cheery purple vegetables into chunks while I watched from the dining room table. They were then popped into an incredibly old and decrepit pressure cooker which abruptly exploded, flinging vinegary purple liquid on the ceiling, the walls, the floor and all over my poor grandmother. I now live in eternal fear of pressure cookers. Luckily I seem to have worked through my exploding beetroot phobia and now love to use it in unexpected ways in my baking – like this and this.
I hope this beetroot cheesecake has given you some inspiration, and if you haven’t entered the Lancewood Cake-Off 2018 Competition yet, maybe the fact that you can win an ALL EXPENSES PAID TRIP TO NEW YORK WORTH R150 0000 will convince you to get baking? What are you still hanging around here for, then? Make that cake!
300g pumpernickel bread (or dark rye bread)
80g salted butter, melted
6 sprigs of thyme, stalks removed
1 x 240g Lancewood Full-Fat Cream Cheese
1 x 240g Lancewood Smooth Cottage Cheese Garlic & Herb
1 x 240g Lancewood Crème Fraiche
4 large eggs
juice and zest of 1 lemon
240g beetroot, peeled
2 sprigs of thyme
2 cloves of garlic, skin on
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season
100ml red wine vinegar
1 x4g gelatine leaf
Beetroot chips, crystallized thyme sprigs and seed crackers, to decorate
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 160 degrees if you’re using a fan-forced oven. Grease and line a 17cm round springform cake tin and tightly wrap the outside in foil.
To make the crust, place the bread, salted butter and thyme leaves in a food processor and process until fine. Press into the lined baking tin. Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes then remove and allow to cool completely.
Next, prepare the beetroot cheesecake. On a large sheet of foil, place the beetroot, thyme, garlic cloves, olive oil, balsamic, sugar and seasoning and toss to coat. Wrap the beetroot up and place in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until soft. Open the foil up and roast for a further 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
Place the Lancewood Cream Cheese, Smooth Cottage Cheese and Creme Fraiche into a food processor then blend until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, blending in between each addition. Blend in the lemon zest and juice. Pour the cheesecake mixture into the prepared cake tin and place it into a roasting tray and fill with hot water up to 2/3 of the sides of the baking tin and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cheesecake wobbles slightly (like set jelly). Turn the oven off, remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow it to cool at room temperature in the bain marie until completely cool. Remove from the bain-marie, wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until cooled.
To make the beetroot jelly; soak the gelatine leaf in cold water then puree the roasted beetroot with the red wine vinegar and sugar until smooth and liquid. Strain the mixture using a cheese cloth or sieve. (If using a sieve, be careful not to get any beetroot bits into the juice, this ensures a clear jelly). Microwave the beetroot juice until hand hot and stir in the gelatin. Allow to cool slightly and pour over the top of the cheesecake to form a layer. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours (or preferably overnight). Remove the cheesecake from the fridge an hour before you want to serve it. Decorate with the beetroot chips, crystallised thyme and seed crackers.