Bottomless Cheesecake with Strawberries & Lemon Balm

Today I have no story to go with my recipe.  Guess some of you will be relieved…  So I’ll get straight to the point.  This is another one from my Living at Home magazine collection – I have hundreds of those, so you will be reading these exact same words again in the future –, and I’ve made this one just once before.  Not because I didn’t like it, but because there are so many other recipes to try.  However, this one is now filed in my “make again” folder, because really it’s so quick and easy to make, and the main reason for that is that it doesn’t require dough for the bottom, because it doesn’t have one.  Just the filling mixture.

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I went shopping at the big city market yesterday and bought some Italian strawberries that were of dark red colour and looked ripe, and surprisingly they had the flavour to go with it as well.

So I brought this cake to our family lunch today, and – another sentence you will read here again and again – I decided to make mini versions of the original cake.  I wanted to try out my new dessert rings, and I like cute little cakes.

Typically, a German cheesecake is made with quark (also called curd cheese, according to my research – please correct me if I’m wrong!).  I’ve never used cream cheese in a cheesecake, maybe you can substitute one for the other, but in my experience, the quark gives the cake more of a fresh taste, whereas cream cheese would make it sweeter.

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Bottomless Cheesecake with Strawberries & Lemon Balm

  • Servings: 1 x 18 cm baking tin or 6 dessert rings
  • Difficulty: easy
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2 egg whites (large)
100 g sugar
400 g low fat quark
4 egg yolks (large)
1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest [I used lime]
25 g flour
1 tbsp butter
500 g strawberries
icing sugar
1 – 2 stalks lemon balm

Beat the egg whites until stiff, add sugar and beat for another 2 minutes. Combine quark, egg yolks, lemon zest and flour, and stir until smooth. Carefully fold in the beaten egg whites.

Butter a 18 cm cake tin (or 6 dessert rings) and pour cake mixture into tin or rings. Bake in a preheated oven – lowest shelf – at 150ºC (140ºC in a fan oven) for 40 minutes. Take out of the oven and leave to cool. Take out of the tin when completely cooled.

Wash and clean the strawberries, pat dry, place on top of the cake, and serve decorated with icing sugar and a stalk or two of lemon balm.

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What’s different if you make mini versions:

  • The above ingredients make enough for 6 dessert rings, filled to ¾.
  • I checked on the cakes every 15 minutes because I wasn’t sure the smaller versions in the dessert rings would also need the whole 40 minutes baking time, but they did.
  • After taking the cakes out of the oven, I went along the insides of the dessert rings with a knife, just to make sure the cakes wouldn’t stick to the rings after cooling down.  This wouldn’t be such a problem with a normal large version, because even if some of it stuck to the tin, you’d still have enough left to serve.  With a mini version however, if some of it stuck to the dessert rings, you’d have a very tiny mini version left to serve…
  • Depending on the size of the strawberries, I quartered them, and even divided some into eights.
  • The original recipe shows a stalk of lemon balm just laid over the cake as decoration.  My lemon balm had really huge leaves, so I cut them into very thin strips and sprinkled them over the strawberries.

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One last comment on the shape and consistency of this cake – it will fold in on itself once it has cooled, so not to worry about anything having gone wrong.  The normal version I made just split open in the middle and then sagged, whereas the mini versions came up right over the top of the dessert rings while baking, then stuck to the rings, which basically left the middle hollow.  Once I freed the cakes from the rings, they sagged back down and settled into shape.  It’s a fact that this cake will only look pretty after decorating.

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