Monday, August 30, 2010

Lavender Loveliness Cheesecake

I love lavender and anything to do with it and I also love cheesecake so combining the two can only be good. Lavender season is just coming to an end but you can still find it blooming in gardens. I find it irresistible and grab handfuls of it while out walking. If your lavender bush is one I have massacred, I’m sorry about that I just can’t help myself.

This is one of those recipes that you need to start the day before if you want the full effect of the sugared lavender adorning the cheesecake. So if you have people coming over tonight and you need something quick, better keep looking cuz this isn’t going to work for you unless you want to just go with non-sugared lavender. This dessert also needs to set in the fridge for a few hours.

You will need:

  • ladyfingers (one packet should be enough unless you are like me and keep crumbling them when you meant to break them instead…)
  • 250ml whipping cream
  • 1 and 1/2 boxes of cream cheese (and none of this ‘lite’ cream cheese please. yuck!)
  • 3/4 cup good honey like fireweed or blackberry. If you are really keen, you can infuse your honey with rose petals for 24hrs but they have to be from fragrant roses or nothing will happen and you will wonder what I was on about. It’s not necessary to do this but I LOVE the subtle scent of roses in my honey.
  • a handful of lavender buds that you have just picked from the garden. Unpicking the lavender sachet that has been in your underwear drawer for the past 10 years and trying to use that lavender will not work nearly as well and, frankly, is just plain wrong. And kind of gross. Anyway.
  • Some longer lavender sprigs that look pretty
  • about 1 and 1/2 cups of white sugar
  • A springform pan. Google it. Yes you need it.

OK here we go.

The night before, you are going to sugar the lavender. Kinda like the sugared rose petals but not really.

1. Make a simple sugar syrup. Put 2 cups of water in a saucepan, turn heat to medium, when it is warmish, dissolve 1 cup of sugar in the water. Keep heating it until it boils and then remove from heat. Let it cool.

2. Sort out the best of the lavender springs (you might need 7 or 8 for the final finishing touch on the cake)

3. One at a time, dip the sprigs in the sugar water and hold them there for a minute or so then remove and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Put them on a sheet of tinfoil to dry overnight.



They should look sort of like this. And really, who cares if they look completely different. It’s your cheesecake!

Alright now go and finish the laundry and clean up the bathroom and put all the shoes away and the kids to bed and I’ll meet you back here tomorrow.


Good morning :)

Ok first things first. Check your sugared lavender. Should look exactly the same as it did last night when you finally made it to bed except that now it will have hardened-up. Good job!

Now, get your springform pan and tighten it up. I’ve made the mistake before of not tightening it before making a dessert and that pretty much defeated the purpose of the whole thing so don’t get offended, just make sure it’s locked up.

Put the kettle on. Trust me.

Crack open the ladyfingers and lay a layer of them on the bottom of the pan. Yes, you will need to break them into smaller pieces so that they fit. Go crazy! I don’t recommend sampling them. They are kind of gross on their own and are much better when they have soaked up whatever it is they are meant to soak up.

Keep enough ladyfingers so that you can line the sides of the pan with them later. You will need to use a sharp knife to cut them in half (crossways).

Now you need to make the lavender infusion. You will need about 3 or 4 tablespoons of lavender buds. Using a mortar and pestle, crush them so that they just start to turn brown.


Put the crushed buds in a small bowl and add about 6 tablespoons of hot water (that you have previously boiled and allowed to cool slightly– see I told you to put the kettle on).

The water should just cover the lavender. Allow the buds to soak for about 15 minutes. The buds will be a nasty brown colour and the water will be tea-coloured.


While the lavender infusion is infusing, find a big mixing bowl and whip up your whipped cream. Set it aside.

Find another bowl. I don’t know how else to tell you to mix the honey and cream cheese together other than to say “mix the cream cheese and honey together now or you will mess up the timing”. Timing is everything people. Stay with me here!


cream cheese and honey is a match made in heaven.

Ok so by now your infusion will be ready. Less is more when it comes to lavender so go easy and spoon in about a tablespoon of the lavender water (the liquid only) into the cream cheese/honey mixture. Try it for taste and add a LITTLE bit more if you like. We are going for subtle here, people, not overwhelming. Lavender can be overpowering if you use too much.

Ok now whip that all together and admire for a moment.

Now get the bowl of whipped cream DSC06308

add about 1 and 1/2 cups of whipped cream to the cream cheese/honey/lavender mixture. You can use beaters if you like to whip everything together, but don’t overwhip or too much air will get into everything and we don’t want that.


It should look like this.

Now take your bowl of whipped loveliness over to the springform pan and spoon it onto the ladyfingers so that it completely covers the ladyfingers on the bottom of the pan.

Then slide in the ladyfinger halves (that you cut earlier) all around the inside of the pan

DSC06311 DSC06310


Now put the whole thing in the fridge and come back in a few hours (minimum 2)  when it has set.

Now the fun part! Take your sugared lavender sprigs and arrange on top of your masterpiece. Remove the springform just before serving. Tip: loosen the springform slowly and gently ease it up over the ladyfingers, using your fingers to hold them in place while doing so. I find this keeps everything together nicely.

And if I had been organized, I would have taken a picture of my own finished masterpiece before it was consumed at a birthday party but alas I did not so you will have to enjoy your own instead :)


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