This dessert started with a quick spice cake I made for an after school snack for my children and their friends. The pastry chef in me thought that the cake needed something more so this is where the dessert began to take shape.
I did something similar to this at the restaurant but I refined it a bit to make it easier to do at home. I love layering desserts because I love the clean look and the visual interest the layers provide so I used the spice cake as a base for one of my favourites- cheesecake! I'm not a big fan of cheesecakes with crumb bases because I always find they are too tough or too soggy but the spice cake is a good substitute. (Remind me to tell you the story of the time I mistakenly used breadcrumbs instead of graham crumbs for my cheesecake base!)
The cheesecake is actually a vanilla custard with cream cheese added and set with gelatin. I then sautéed some granny smith apples in butter and brown sugar and added a dash of brandy for flavour. I topped it all off with some homemade oatmeal crumble. I used apples because that is what I had on hand but I think when blueberries are available I would use those. Come to think of it, any fruit would go well with this - cherries, strawberries, peaches or plums. I love that this dessert looks very elegant but it has a down home flavour that makes it very comforting.
I layered these using 3 inch tubes but it will turn out if you do it in a springform pan as well. If you try this recipe let me know how it turns out for you - send me a picture!
Ginger spice cake
113g butter, melted
98g brown sugar
149g corn syrup
7g fresh ginger, finely minced or substitute dried ginger
generous pinch of nutmeg
4.5g baking soda
227g AP flour
Combine melted butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and molasses. Stir in eggs and fresh ginger. Sift cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and flour together. Alternate adding flour and milk to sugar mixture. Mix gently until combined. Pour into greased and floured cake pan and bake at 350F until the cake is springy when pressed - about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 10 minutes before turning out and cooling completely on rack.
½ cup white sugar
3 ½ Tbsp cornstarch
8 large egg yolks
2 cups milk
zest of one lemon, finely grated
½ vanilla bean
2 sheets gelatin – softened in cold water (or 6 g powdered gelating)
12 oz cream cheese, room temperature
¼ tsp vanilla
Combine sugar, cornstarch and egg yolks. Simmer lemon, vanilla and milk and then add to the egg mixture. Return it all to the pot and boil to thicken. Add softened gelatin and then mix in cream cheese and vanilla. Strain and cool.
Peel and slice apples. Heat some butter, brown sugar and cinnamon in a pan and bring to a bubble. Add apples and cook until softened. Add brandy to taste. Let cool.
1 ¼ cup AP flour
½ cup white sugar
¼ tsp salt
¾ tsp cinnamon
½ cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
Crumble all ingredients together. Sprinkle on prepared pan and bake at 350F until golden.
Cut out circles of ginger cake, place in steel round mold. Layer with cream cheese mixture, apples and top with crumble. Chill well before serving.