Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese And Marzipan Fruits

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I think that carrot cake is a good choice at any time of the year, a good old all-year-round cake in fact, but especially around Ester and Thanks Giving, if you ask me.
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I made a different recipe on Easter, and now this, although we don’t do Thanks Giving here in the UK.
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The colors of the cake, the toasted pecan nuts, the scented cinnamon and the marzipan fruit decorations used, lifted this ordinary carrot cake on a whole new level. Just wonderful!
The cute marzipan fruits are from Budapest, I bought them back in the summer. My kids loved them and of course had to fight over who gets the peach, the strawberry, the pears, etc…
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Ingredients:
-1 and 1/2 cup flour
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp baking soda
– pinch of salt
– 1 tsp mixed spices (with cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger…)
– 1/2 tsp cinnamon
– 1/2 nutmeg freshly grated
– 3/4 cup melted unsalted butter
– 1 cup brown sugar
– 2 Tbsp plain yogurt
– 1 large egg
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 1 and 1/2 cup grated carrots
– 1/2 cup chopped, toasted pecan nuts
Cream Cheese frosting
-250 gr Mascarpone cream cheese (1 packs)
-1 pack Betty Crocker Cream Cheese Style Icing
-fresh lemon juice (as much as you like, I used almost a whole lemon)
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Method
Preheat the oven. Prepare your baking pans, grease them with little butter and cut out baking paper on the bottom.
Spread the chopped pecan nuts on a baking tray and put it in the hot oven, stirring and turning them frequently so they don’t burn.
In a large bowl, mix the flour with the spices, baking powder, baking soda, salt.
In another large bowl, mix the eggs with the sugar, melted butter, yogurt and vanilla. I don’t use the electric mixer at all when I make carrot cake,  only a large hand mixer.
Stir in the carrots, then add the flour mixture, finally the chopped pecans. Stir well until everything is combined.
Pour equally in the prepared pans and bake for 20-25 minutes.
For the cream cheese frosting, I mixed the Betty Crocker icing with the Mascarpone and lemon juice.
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Matcha Green Tea and Coconut Cream Cheese Cake

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This was my second cake to take to our “cake tasting meeting” I mentioned in my previous post (White Truffle Chocolate Cake). Although we were only supposed to bring one cake each, I made two, and this Matcha cake was my  +1 simply because I wanted the girls to taste it.

I think of this cake as unusual, unconventional, nontraditional, and weird even, but lovely at the same time. I like it, and I was very curious how other would comment on it and wanted to see the overall reviews. There were a few “hm…, and oh, that’s interesting…, and hm….hmmm very smooth…, and even disgust from someone else. Fair enough. I think you either love it, or hate it. Me?  I love it, and will make it again for sure!

 

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First time I made this Matcha cheesecake back in January  (Matcha Green Tea Mini Cheesecakes with Double Chocolate Oreos and Coconut Cream Cheese). This time instead of individual mini cheesecakes, I made one large for the girls. I used the same recipe, but now I used normal size chocolate Oreos with chocolate cream filling.

 

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Ingredients: 

-200 gr double chocolate oreos
-50 gr melted butter
-500 gr Mascarpone cream cheese
-thick coconut cream (I used the Natco coconut milk, and I only used the thick cream from the upper half of the can, so I didn’t mixed it)
-200 ml double cream
-powder sugar (maybe 2 Tbsp, but depends on your personal taste- my cake was not very sweet)
-1 Tbsp Matcha powder
crushed Oreos (optional, but I wanted to have a “dirty” effect, and also the Oreo crumbs tasted good in the cream)
Method:
1. Crush the Oreos, with the filling left in them, then mix it with the melted butter.
2. Divide evenly in the cheesecake pan, then press down firmly. Put in the fridge for about 1 hour.
3. In a mixing bowl, mix the Mascarpone with powder sugar, matcha powder, coconut cream and double cream. Finally stir in the Oreo crumbs.
4. Divide evenly on top of the firm biscuit base, smooth the top, then put back in the fridge for overnight.
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Blackberry & Lemon Cake

 

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Is that time of the year again, when the blackberry bushes are in full bloom, and we pick a handful every time we step out the house, just like we do every season.
I choose to bake a plain sponge cake and fill it with blackberry cream this time. The lemons came into the picture in form of lemon syrup which I drizzled generously on top of each cake layer, and also used in the frosting. Funny how a blackberry cake turned out to be pink, but there’s no secret to it, the magic was to simmer/boil the fresh blackberries with lemon juice for a few minutes and they turned from black to beautiful red.
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When I finished this cake and my son first tasted it, he pulled all sorts of faces to me, then pushing his plate away he said “Mom, this is the most disgusting cake I ever had!” Pff…..that bold honesty put me off a little bit, and when tasting it myself I almost fell for it, but after leaving an almost untouched, full cake in the fridge over the night (which never happened before in this kitchen), the next morning our disappointment turned into amazement and now I can say that this is the kind of cake which is best to leave to rest and chill in the fridge for at least 6-8 hours before eating (must be the cream cheese!). Surprisingly the next morning this cake was wonderful, the flavours of the lemon and sweet blackberry combined and even my son’s face lit up with happiness and he finally had a slice of cake that he could enjoy.
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Ingredients
Sponge cake:
-6 eggs at room temperature, separated
-6 Tbsp granulated sugar
-6 Tbsp all purpose flour
-1 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-pinch of salt
Lemon syrup:
-3/4 cup water
-1 Tbsp granulated sugar
-4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (about 1-2 smaller lemons)
Blackberry cream:
-3 cups powdered sugar
-375 g butter at room temperature
-1 pack Mascarpone cream cheese
-300 g fresh blackberries (but take away 1 cup to place them between the cake layers)
-2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (1 lemon)
-1/2 tsp salt
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Method:
Preheat the oven. Line the bottoms of two 8″ cake pans with baking paper, no need to grease.
In the bowl of the electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with the sugar until you get a firm, shiny peak. Now gradually add the egg yolks, one at a time and the vanilla extract.
Mix the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the flour mix to the egg cream, but very gently and using only a large spoon until everything is combined. Evenly divide the batter into the cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Remove from the pans by sliding a thin spatula or knife around the edges then transfer to a wire rack, remove baking paper from the bottom. Let it cool completely, then cut both  cakes in two equal layers.
Blackberry cream:
Put 1 cup of blackberries with 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice in a small saucepan. Simmer for a few minutes until they go red and soft. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, pushing the blackberries through with a wooden spoon until only seeds are left in the strainer. Discard seeds, and put the gained puree aside to cool down completely. There should be about 5 Tbsp puree.
In a bowl of the electric stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, start whipping the butter slowly with the powder sugar and salt (this is the part I hate because I just can’t do it without my kitchen ending up all dusty….). Increase speed to high and beat until white and fluffy.
Add the cream cheese, a Tbsp at a time and mix until well combined, then whipping 2-3 more minutes until fluffy again, scrapping down the bowl as needed.
Drizzle in the cooled blackberry syrup 1 Tbsp at a time then beat another minute. If you think it’s getting too soft or started to curl, then add more powder sugar and 1 Tbsp of butter.
Make the lemon syrup by combining the lemon juice with the sugar and water in a saucepan on the stove. When it gets hot and started to simmer, take it off and start drizzling the syrup directly on the cake layers. Let it cool for a few minutes before filling your cake with the cream.
After each addition of blackberry cream, put a few blackberries before stacking with another layer of cake. Finish off with generous amount of ream to the sides and lighter layer of ream on the top. I made few rosettes (which by the way are far from perfect, but just can’t seem to master this technique….. 🙂 )
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Walnut Cream Cheese Cake

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I had three layers of thin walnut cake in my freezer, and all I did now was whip a pack of Mascarpone cream cheese with double cream and few tablespoon of ground walnuts and sugar. Oh, and some vanilla extract to make it even better 🙂
This cake was gone by the evening…
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Ingredients for the filling:
250 g pack of Mascarpone cream cheese
600 ml double cream
pinch of salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
5-6 Tbsp mixture of ground walnuts and brown sugar
I actually might have put more than that, because I wanted lots of walnuts in the cream, but everyone can adjust the quantity to fit their personal preference.
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Ingredients for the cake:
-2 2/3 cups flour
-2 cups brown sugar
-1 tsp Mixed spices
-1 tsp ground cinnamon
-1 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp sea salt
-4 large eggs
-1 cup coconut oil, melted
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-3 cups freshly grated carrots
-1 cup chopped nuts
-1/2 cup yogurt
This quantity will result in a pretty big cake, with thicker layers than mine here. So, if you want thin layers then you should use only half of the ingredients. I had mine baked weeks ago, and when assembling my cake back then I had to cut of the excess since it would have been much thicker then I wanted for that particularly cake. I freezed those cutoffs, and now only took them out and made a filling.
Method:
Preheat the oven. Prepare your baking pans, grease them with little butter or greasing spray. I used giant paper cases.
In a large bowl, mix the flour with the spices, baking powder, baking soda, salt.
In another large bowl, mix the eggs with the sugar, vanilla. I actually never use my electric mixer when I make carrot cake, instead I only use a large hand mixer.
Stir in the carrots, then add the flour mixture, finally the chopped pecans. Stir well until everything is combined.
Pour equally in the prepared pans and bake for 20-25 minutes.
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Coffee Cupcakes with Toffee Mascarpone and Figs

 

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I was glad to find fresh figs at the store because I had this cupcake in my mind for a while now. Not this recipe though.
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Many recipes pair the figs with honey, but I wanted something else. Maybe figs with honey is very delicious, but in my imagination something is missing. I wanted something different.
Now, you may remember that not so long ago I said that I don’t like boxed cakes, and it’s true, I don’t, but recently I found a blog post about how to improve a boxed cake to taste like real cake from a good bakery. This pushed me towards buying a boxed cake, you know…just to experiment.
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So, I chose a coffee cake from Betty Crocker. As for the icing, I bought double cream and Mascarpone cream cheese. At that point I wasn’t sure what else I will add to the icing, but later I remembered that I have some left over Toffee sauce which would be just perfect. And it truly was!
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Back to that blog post about how to make a boxed cake better, there were various tips, and I decided to change 3 things. First, instead of using vegetable oil, I used good quality, French butter, melted. Secondly, instead of medium eggs, I used three large of the best eggs, and finally I add to the mixture 100 gr Pecans and 1 tsp of vanilla extract. And of course, I didn’t bake one cake, but instead I baked the batter in form of cupcakes. I am very satisfied with the final result.
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The best thing about the whole experience was definitely the fact that I didn’t have to use any extra sugar, nothing in the batter and nothing in the icing either. Well, I know that the box cake contains sugar, and the Toffee sauce also contains sugar, but still, the fact that I did not touch the sugar container the whole time of making these cupcakes made me feel better. Yey!
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Ingredients:
-1 box of Coffee Cake from Betty Crocker
-3 large eggs or 4 medium
-90 ml melted butter
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-180 ml water
-100 gr Pecans, chopped
For the icing:
-300 ml double cream
-250 gr (1 pack) Mascarpone cream cheese
-Toffee sauce (the ones you pour over ice cream for example)
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Method:
Preheat your oven, and line the cupcake pan with the paper cases.
Put the eggs, melted butter, water and cake mixture in a large bowl, and mix well, finally add the pecans too.
Divide the batter evenly in the pan and bake for about 20-25 minutes.
When ready, let them cool on a wire rack.
Put the cream cheese in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer adding the Toffee sauce gradually. I can’t tell you how much really, it depends on how you would like your icing to be. More Toffee sauce means sweeter and more brownish icing. In terms of consistency I’m not sure how much it would change, but I assume you don’t want to add a whole bottle of Toffee sauce, which would result in a runny icing. So, my advice here would be to taste after every spoonful of sauce to make sure you’ll get what you like. Also, don’t forget that there is 300 ml of double cream to add to this which will take away from the colour and the taste.
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Now, if you don’t want your kids to stuff themselves with too many cupcakes, then coffee cupcakes is definitely the way to go….as good as these were, my kids didn’t seem to be interested at all because they are “coffee cupcakes”. They know coffee is a drink for adults and this kept them away from the kitchen this time. Well, selfishly, I didn’t mind a bit 🙂
We ate few with my husband during the weekend, and the rest went to the freezer….

Easter Carrot Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

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I waited for this cake with great anticipation. Because I love, love, love carrot cakes!

Before, I baked carrot cakes in form of cupcakes many times, but this time I wanted one, big cake. I used a different recipe, not my usual, because I wasn’t sure that my cupcake recipe would yield the desired amount for a cake.

 

my son made the chicken basket at his art class in school

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I baked three separate layers in giant paper baking cases, of 18 cm diameter each. I think 18 cm is my favourite size for a cake, not too small and not too large, just perfect.

 

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This recipe I found on –aspicyperspective– site and, although I made few little changes (simply because I didn’t have quite everything at home, so I improvised and used substitutes here and there), I might try the original recipe at another time.

 

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before I put the chocolate eggs on top

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Ingredients
-2 2/3 cups flour
-2 cups brown sugar
-1 tsp Mixed spices
-1 tsp ground cinnamon
-1 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp sea salt
-4 large eggs
-1 cup coconut oil, melted
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-3 cups freshly grated carrots
-1 cup chopped pecan nuts
-1/2 cup yogurt
Cinnamon Cream Cheese frosting
-750 gr Mascarpone cream cheese (3 packs)
-vanilla extract
-ground cinnamon (as much as you wish)
-1 pack Betty Crocker Cream Cheese Style Icing (I had one of these at home and I used it more to experiment, and also because I didn’t want to use icing sugar and butter)
-salt (I found the icing way too sweet for my liking, so I put salt to take away some of the sweetness)

 

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Method
Preheat the oven. Prepare your baking pans, grease them with little butter or greasing spray. I used giant paper cases, so I didn’t do any of those.
In a large bowl, mix the flour with the spices, baking powder, baking soda, salt.
In another large bowl, mix the eggs with the sugar, vanilla. I actually never use my electric mixer when I make carrot cake, instead I only use a large hand mixer.
Stir in the carrots, then add the flour mixture, finally the chopped pecans. Stir well until everything is combined.
Pour equally in the prepared pans and bake for 20-25 minutes.
For the cream cheese frosting, I mixed the Betty Crocker icing with the 3 packs of Mascarpone and salt.

 

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Valentines Day Red Velvet Cheesecake for Two

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Here’s my Valentines Day treat for the family, although we don’t care much about Valentines Day at all. Anyways, as red is one of my favourite colours I was happy to make something to suit this day.

 

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Red velvet cake also fits perfectly, but since lately I was so much into cheesecakes, I thought of combining them into one desert.
This cheesecake though is a bit different from the others I made before. This one is a baked cheesecake, and has eggs as well.
Oh, and is really yummy!
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Ingredients
For the base:
-2 pack of original Oreos biscuits
-50 gr melted butter
For the filling:
-3 pack light Mascarpone cream cheese
-lots of red food colour gel paste
-1 egg
-2 Tbsp sour cream
-1 cup white sugar
-4 Tbsp unsweetened Cocoa powder
-2 tsp vanilla extract
For the icing:
-300 ml double cream
-2 Tbsp powder sugar
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Method
Preheat the oven. Lightly grease the cheesecake pan with butter.
Crush the biscuits using a rolling pin or a food processor. In a bowl mix the biscuit
crumbs and the melted butter, then divide evenly in the mini cheesecake pan. With this recipe I got 10 mini cheesecakes of the size 3 inches in diameter. Press down the crust, then bake it for about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl beat the Mascarpone with powder sugar, adding the vanilla, sour cream, cocoa powder, red colour paste, finally the egg.
Fill the cheesecake pan evenly up to 3/4 full, and smooth the top. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
Let it cool in the pan completely, then cover with cling film and put in the fridge for overnight. Again, I had to argue with my husband about eating or not eating the cheesecakes before the night even started…..eventually I manged to keep him away until next morning.
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Before serving, take them out form the fridge, and carefully push them out from the pan before putting any whipped cream on top.
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Almond Cupcakes with Raspberry Cream Cheese

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I wanted something delicate, something feminine, something pink.

 

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Almond and raspberry seemed a good choice. I searched for recipes, but I didn’t find anything that I imagined, so I ended up improvising.

 

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The final result was good, and my cupcakes turned out the way I wanted. They remind me of the Frangipanes  and the Almond Fingers we used to buy in Belgium. And they even crumble the same way, too 🙂

 

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I haven’t used lot of sugar, I usually don’t make my cakes too sweet anyway. The fresh raspberries from the icing adds an interesting tone to this cake, and is definitely different then the usual sugar from the top of the Belgian Frangipane.

 

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Ingredients:
-1 cup flour
-1 cup ground almond
-2 egg whites
-125 gr unsalted butter, room temperature
-3/4 cup caster sugar
-1Tbsp almond extract
-1tsp vanilla extract
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/3 cup almond milk, or regular milk
-pinch of salt
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-200 gr fresh raspberries
-1 or 2 Tbsp powder sugar
-250 gr Mascarpone cream cheese
-300 ml Madagascan Vanilla Double cream, or just plain double cream + vanilla extract
Method:
Preheat your oven, line the cupcake pan with the cupcake cases.
In a bowl mix the dry ingredients and set aside.
In another bowl whisk the butter and 3/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy, then add the egg whites, the vanilla and almond extract and beat a little more.
Add the flour and almond mixture to the batter and pour in the milk. Stir until all is incorporated.
Divide the batter into the cupcakes tin, and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool down before icing.
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Blend the raspberries in a small blender together with the powder sugar. You can put 1 or 2, or as much or less sugar as you wish. The complete icing cream will be less sweet after beating the fruit puree together with the cream cheese and double cream.
In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese gradually adding the raspberry puree and the double cream. If you want a stronger pink, you can use pink colouring gel paste.
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I wanted my cakes to be as white as possible, and it actually was during mixing, but they were the same brownish colour after I got them out from the oven. Makes me wonder how is that possible to see really white cakes on the Internet….there must be some kind of trick to it, they look almost unnatural, unbaked…
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Coconut and Pineapple Cheesecake

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Here I bring you another cheesecake! As I said earlier, we love cheesecakes.

 

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It is probably the most favourite type of desert within our family because it’s creamy, it’s moist, it’s rich, and cheesecake after cheesecake, there is always room for even more.

 

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I like to experiment new flavours, and I might say that one of my new years resolution was to try as many new recipes and flavors as possible, because why stuck to the boring chocolates and vanillas, which are just as delicious by the way.
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The idea to make these came after my last research for the Matcha recipes, and since I used coconut with the Matcha cheesecake, and it tasted so good, I wanted to use it again paired with something else. Coconut and pineapple seems to match really good, and I’ve seen lots of recipes.
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This cheesecake is really easy to make, and I think it looks good in the crystal glasses.
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To decorate, I made pineapple flowers. I have done them before few years ago and I think they look awesome, and of course totally edible.
Ingredients:
-200 gr ginger biscuits
-50 gr melted butter
-thick coconut cream (about 3-4 Tbsp)
-250 gr mascarpone cream cheese
-300 ml double cream
-3-4 Tbsp powder sugar
-1 tsp vanilla essence
-200 gr pureed pineapple
Method:
Make the ginger biscuits into crumbs and stir in the melted butter. Divide evenly into the glasses (I only made 5 glasses), and put in the fridge to set.
Chop the pineapple into small cubes and transfer into a food processor to puree.
Beat the mascarpone cheese with the sugar, vanilla, then add gradually the pineapple puree, coconut and cream. Beat all together but not for long, only til gets fluffy but not stiff.
Scoop the cream on top of the biscuit base, then put it back to the fridge and leave it to set overnight.
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