My baby boy is 16. How did that happen? I’ll save you the ‘it seems like only yesterday’ speech, mostly because it doesn’t seem like only yesterday, in fact, I can barely remember those first few weeks, to be honest, plus it’s a bit yawny when parents start getting all misty eyed. Suffice to say, we’re the proudest parents, we love him to bits and we’ll move on to the birthday cake of choice.
The rule at English Towers since time immemorial has been that the birthday person gets to choose their own cake. Sometimes they’re evil and just choose the hardest thing humanly possible, kind of like ‘Challenge Anneka’ but without helicopters and with more butter, or sometimes, like Charlie, they just choose the thing that’s loaded with the most of the stuff they really love. We’ve just spent a fab few days in New York together (much more of this to come!) and while sightseeing, we managed to fit in a bit of shopping, stocking up on all the mad things they sell in America: Nutter Butter cookies, Double Stuff Oreos and, our absolute favourite, mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. So, my Birthday Cake Challenge was to create a chocolatey, peanut buttery extravaganza. Not a cake, though, a cheesecake – his favourite thing ever.
Here’s how it came about. You will need:
100g salted butter
Pack (332g) chocolate digestive biscuits
200g dark chocolate
150g smooth peanut butter (I like Meridian, which contains no palm oil and is made in the UK)
500g cream cheese
100g icing sugar
200ml double cream
So firstly, get all your ingredients together ready. Whip the cream and weigh everything out. Melt the butter gently in a saucepan. While it’s melting, smash up the biscuits. You can use a food processor, but I find it easier and less messy to pop them a few at a time into a plastic food bag and bash them with a rolling pin. It’s therapeutic too.
Pour the butter over the biscuit crumbs and stir, then press the crumbs firmly into the bottom of a medium springform tin. Pop the base into the fridge to firm up.
Next, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl nestled over a saucepan of simmering water. As usual, don’t let the water touch the bowl and turn it off once it’s bubbling. The residual heat will melt the chocolate. Stir in the peanut butter then set aside to cool.
Mix the cream cheese and the icing sugar together until smooth, then stir in the chocolate and peanut butter mixture, then add the whipped cream. Stir until it’s all combined.
Then pile onto the biscuit base. Chill until firm (ish), then decorate. We used Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
The birthday boy was in London at a gig, so he ended up finally blowing out his candles at about 1am. Still, any time is cheesecake time, right? Happy birthday, Chas xx