The Devil’s In The Dessert

1912: The term ‘cheesecake’ was invented when an actress arriving in N.Y. posed for photographers and revealed more leg that was customary – um. Embarrassing!!

{cheesecake anyone? tea-towel from zazzle}

{cheesecake anyone? tea-towel from zazzle}

I guess this bit of icky etymology is proof that you are what you eat… so I want to start out by offering my profuse and heartfelt apologies. I’ve procrastinated this poor post for months now because it’s very, very dangerous… it’s my adapted recipe for (oh the shame) single-serve microwave baked cheesecakes *immediately grabs knotted ropes for self-flagellation*. I’m not particularly religious (several years in a strict nun-driven school does that to you) but I’m willing to believe that this heavenly stuff is actually the Devil’s work, sent here to Earth to render us all guilty of the deadly sin of Gluttony. It’s so sinfully rich but delicate at the same time, so perfectly proportioned, and so quick that it is pretty useless to try to resist it. I worked through a tub of cream cheese in record time while trying out recipes.

Under normal circumstances I lead a pretty healthy lifestyle involving lots of leafy rabbit food and I enjoy (making an attempt at) staying in shape, but honestly when it comes to this dessert I’m a total hound – no cheesecake-snobbery here. Most people seem to have a love-hate relationship – they love either the baked kind or the refrigerated kind and despise the other. I don’t get that – all’s fair in love and cheesecake. I don’t care if it’s covered in chocolate or piles of berries or completely starkers, if it’s got a biscuit crust or a pastry crust, or no crust at all, I don’t care if it’s firm and crumbly or ooey-gooey. I am willing to do all sorts of unpleasant penance in the form of squats, lunges and the dreaded push-ups, all in the name of eating more cheesecake.

me too

Anyhoo, microwave cheesecake. Usually when it comes to recipes adapted for the microwave, there’s a little disclaimer along the lines of “it’s not that bad considering that it’s come out the microwave, but it can’t be compared to the original”. In the case of this recipe, I say *raspberry noise* to that, it’s no different to one of those enormous bain-marie’d oven-baked time-consuming jobs, and if you live alone it’s a lot healthier because it’s portion-controlled. Cheesecake is never going to make it on the list of healthy foodstuffs but at least this version will take away the temptation to eat an entire full-size one by yourself.

devil in the detail

I tried several online recipes and put in many hours of hard labour, including extensive sensory evaluation to the point of fatigue ;-P, to come up with not one but two recipes *flagellates and tries to remember the words to Hail Mary*. I’m sorry… I meant to stop after the plain vanilla recipe but a cheffy friend whispered the words “Bar-One” in my ear, and in a moment of weakness I concocted a recipe for that too.  Please don’t sue me if this results in your turning into a cheesecakely figure…

chop chop

eggceptionally yummy

For A Single-Serve Plain Cheesecake:

60g cream cheese

2 Tablespoons plain unsweetened yoghurt

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence

2 Tablespoons sugar

1 rounded teaspoon cornflour

Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly in a microwave-safe bowl (I used a ramekin, and a large mug would do the job too). Press play on the microwave and cook on high heat for 90 seconds (I know, right!), stirring every 30 seconds – you will notice that it starts to cook round the edges first, make sure to mix this all back into the middle squidgy bit so everything cooks evenly. Remove from the microwave and DO NOT try to taste it, you will scorch a layer off the surface of your tongue – let it cool down a bit, before popping it in the fridge until it’s at least room temperature. Try to wait til it’s cold – but I know this is not necessarily possible. It will look a bit pockmarked but don’t worry about this, it will taste absolutely divine. Serve topped with fruity goodness – it’ll ease the weight of the guilt on your conscience.

For A Single-Serve Bar-One Cheesecake:

60g cream cheese

1 egg

1/2 large Bar-One chocolate (55g) (dispose of the other half as you see fit…)

1 rounded teaspoon cornflour

Chop the chocolate into rough chunks, and proceed exactly as for the plain version above.

cue angel song

Important Stuff to Note:

  • There is obviously a lack of crunchy crustiness with these recipes – if that’s your thing, consider sprinkling crushed biscuits over the top before serving.
  • It is absolutely imperative that full-fat cheesecake is used. I tried to make myself feel better about posting this by testing low- and medium-fat cream cheeses, but it just doesn’t work – the result is grainy and miserable. If you’re going to be bad – be good at it :-).
  • In case you live in a sadly deprived country with no Bar-Ones to be had, a Mars Bar or similar chocolate/toffee/nougat type should work. But best you just come to SA and get the real thing. On this topic, if you happen to find yourself on Kloof Street in Cape Town, pop into Arnold’s. Order the Bar-One Cheesecake and the Chilli Mojito. Then send me a note of thanks for the heads-up.

Enjoy this little bitty indulgence…



PS: I can’t for the life of me find the plain cheesecake photo’s (they were super-cute – topped with whipped cream and yellow jelly beans). I guess that, in the name of delivering a user-friendly blog post, I need to make another cheesecake and take photo’s? See what I did there…. 😉 This really is like having a little dessert-wielding devil on my shoulder.


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