A few days ago we got an invitation for a friend’s “Flower-power” spring themed birthday party. She requested that we bring something that reminds us of spring. So not wanting to do the typical spring flowers, and my idea of a jar filled with natural fertilizer1 being banned by the other 50%, we settled on cake.
My first idea was to create a three layer lemon-poppy seed cake, with a fruity filling, cover it in yellow marzipan, and then decorate it with sugar paste flowers (daisies, mostly). But the store being closed and a certain lack of ingredients and time meant I had to find an alternative. Pinterest2 and a childhood memory of no bake cheese cakes to the rescue. After browsing for a while for spring-themed cakes, I settled on a blueberry no bake cheesecake. Mixing a vegan recipe, with a not even vegetarian one (the childhood cake uses gelatine3, and turning it vegetarian was a challenge. And it turned right the first time round!
I basically adapted & mashed so many recipes that it’s not even worth it mentioning them, since this cake doesn’t resemble any of them any more.
For the crust
- 200 grams “maria” cookies
- 100 grams butter
For the cheesecake
- 300 grams cream cheese, room temperature
- 250 grams Greek yogurt
- 375 ml cream
- 250 grams blueberries
- 125 grams sugar
- Zest and juice of one lemon
- 2 grams agar agar powder
For the topping
- 200 grams blueberries
- 4 grams agar agar powder
- 25 grams sugar
- 50 grams blueberries
- sugar flowers
- (fresh edible flowers if you can find them – I couldn’t)
For the crust
- Line the bottom of a spring form with baking paper. Place spring form on dish (the cheesecake will most likely leak a bit).
- Melt butter in microwave or pan over medium heat.
- Meanwhile, crush cookies to thin dust either in a food processor or by wacking them with a rolling pin. (Second option recommended if you have anger you need to get rid of).
- Mix butter & cookie crumbs until it resembles wet sand. Pour mixture into lined form and press with hands to create an even crust.
- Place in refrigerator while making filling.
For the cheesecake filling
- Pour 250 ml of cream into a small sauce pan, sprinkle 2 grams of agar agar powder on top and let soak for a few minutes. Bring to a simmer, and whisk to dissolve agar agar. Simmer for a 3-4 minutes, whisking regularly to make sure it doesn’t burn to the bottom of the pan.
- Meanwhile, in a blender, blend blueberries with remaining cream.
- In a mixing bowl, mix cream cheese, yogurt, sugar, lemon zest and juice until smooth. Add blueberry mix and mix until well combined.
- Add agar agar cream to the blueberry mix and mix thoroughly. It should start setting and it can be whipped to a creamy consistency. Pour into spring form with crust and even top out with a spatula.
- Chill in refrigerator while making topping.
For the topping
- In a blender, mix blueberries and sugar with about 100 ml of water until smooth.
- Sieve blueberry mix through a strainer to remove skins.
- Add enough water to the mix to make 500 ml. Pour into small saucepan and sprinkler agar agar on top. Let sit for 5 minutes for agar agar to hydrate.
- Bring to a boil, lower to simmer and whisk to dissolve agar agar. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, whisking to make sure it won’t burn to the bottom of the pan.
- If present, remove white foam from top of blueberry jam with a spoon before it cools down.
- Let blueberry jam cool to around 50°C, pour on top of cheesecake. Quickly tilt spring form around to distribute the topping evenly.
- Sprinkle blueberries on top.
- Place sugar (and / or fresh edible) flowers on top.
Keep refrigerated until ready to eat.
One benefit of using agar agar however, the cheesecake & topping will withstand higher temperatures since it won’t un-gel with warmth. So this is an ideal dessert for the summer months!