When you will finally reach my age, you suddenly realise that there's worse than celebrating getting a year older every year. Thing is, if you're wicked enough, you'll probably be (like me) celebrating your 27th for the, errm, 11th time running, anyway.
No, it's far worse to be celebrating your CHILDREN's birthdays year in, year out. The reasons are manyfold. There is, of course, the fact that you're being reminded about just how old you REALLY are (this year, for example, people surrounding me started to doubt my age, you could literally see them count in their heads... "but if her daughter is turning 17 and she is 27, then... no, that's impossible!"), then there's the thing about celebrating (in my case) four times a year, so that feels like you're growing 4 years older every year. Not good! Sooo not good!
Plus there comes a point when you just won't put up with the fact that THEY are the ones getting all the presents when it's YOU, and ONLY you, who did all the hard work on the day being celebrated. No, seriously, how hard can it be to BE BORN, as opposed to BEING IN active LABOUR for 36 hours, not having slept in 52 and not having had a shower in bloody too long for anyone's liking???
So I say, bring on the indulgence. With everything you do to make their birthday special, make it YOUR special day, too. Make YOUR favourite breakfast. Choose YOUR favourite cake. Luckily for me, her tastes in cake coincide with mine most of the time (well, it's simple, really, there are no mushrooms in cake, no fish, no soggy bacon, no peppers, no beef, no... I could go on 'til the cows come home), so nobody found out about my outrageous and egoistical plan of spoiling myself rotten on HER birthday...
You will love this cheesecake, it's seriously the creamiest and therefore most indulging I've ever eaten, yet the ingredients are fairly healthy - ricotta, philly and only a little bit of single cream... ok, it's not a spelt cracker with barley grass, but it's a cake after all. The seasonal berries (full to the brim with antioxidants) were the literal icing on the cake and so much better at it... and the candles, you ask? Well, they're kind of hard to fit on a sea of berries, so we had a birthday banana instead ;-)
New York-style cheesecake with mixed berries*
200 g bourbon biscuits
75 g lightly salted butter
150 g white chocolate
600 g cream cheese
200 g ricotta or quark
100 ml single cream
70 g golden granulated sugar
20 g vanilla sugar
50 g potato flour
3 eggs (beaten)
mixed berries for topping
Pre-heat oven to 175 C.
Finely chop the biscuits and butter in a food processor until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Butter a springform tin thoroughly and press the biscuit mixture evenly onto the bottom of the tin, to form the base of the cheesecake.
Heat some water in a pot on the stove, place a glass bowl in its centre and double-boil the chopped white chocolate in it to melt. When about half of the chocolate has melted, take the bowl off the stove and out of the pot, continue stirring until the chocolate has fully melted and cooled down slightly. Reserve.
Beat the cream cheese, ricotta, single cream and sugars untnil smooth. Work in the potato flour and eggs and whisk until very smooth. Fold in the white chocolate. Pour on the cheese mixture on top of the base and put the springform tin in the oven. Bake for 40 minutes, then turn off the heat and continue cooking in the closed oven for a further 30 minutes.
Take out of the oven and leave to cool completely before running a knife aroung the sides of the cheesecake, taking off the ring and transferring onto a serving plate or cake stand.
Top with the berries just before serving and sprinkle with icing sugar, if you wish.
* Many cheesecake recipes call for baking in a waterbath - I find this not only a hassle, I also don't want the base to get impregnated with water as it invariably does... it is also completely unnecessary in my opinion!