One-Minute Microwave Berry Cheesecakes
My mom, born in Mississippi in 1916, always called Memorial Day “Decoration Day” while we were growing up. While I knew why we celebrated Memorial Day, the idea of “Decoration Day” was a bit murky for me. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized many people literally went to cemeteries to decorate graves and remember. As fewer and fewer people are buried as years go on, this is worth tucking away in our heads.
Here’s the current scoop from TIME.com. It might surprise you.
Just looking at this cake will tell you that it’s not difficult to make and it’s NOT. A quick glance at the recipe, however, might put you off. Don’t let it. There may be a little reading involved, but the cooking and baking are fairly simple and don’t take long. In fact, though it’s two layers, you only bake one cake. After it’s cool, you cut it in half.
But listen, if you’re not a baker, this is just the cake for you… because you can get away without baking a cake at all! Just buy a Sara Lee pound cake and cut it into layers–maybe three?–and do a loaf-shaped cake on a pretty rectangular tray. Follow the rest of the directions for the berries and filling and there you are! You could also bake a box cake into cupcakes, slice them, put half in a pretty coffee cup and decorate from there. Whatever you do, this is a beautiful, tasty cake for Easter, Mother’s Day, or the Memorial Day picnic. (Assemble this cake where you’re serving it.) If you don’t have a special cake plate, don’t worry about it. Whoever eats this will be happy no matter what. Next time you run in Good Will, see a funky antique shop or a garage sale, keep an eye our for great serving pieces. No need to spend a fortune at the department stores.
Another idea comes from my mother-in-law, who, when I was a young wife, often made a similar cake using a homemade or store bought angel food cake. To cut calories, she used Cool Whip, but I can’t go that far. If I’m eating cake I want to eat cake. Let them eat cake! But if you really must cut the whipped cream for health or allergy reasons, try the Cool Whip version.
Cook’s Note: While October isn’t prime berry time (there are still a few blueberries coming from upper Michigan and Canada), I made this earlier in the year and knew it would be perfect for the Power Foods Berry Post. Save the recipe for next spring if you’d like to try it with all fresh berries.
I made this for Mother’s Day and took it to a friend’s. We all had a tiny slice with a huge cup of coffee.
Easy Berry Butter Cake (Aida Mollenkamp–courtesy Food Network)
Difficulty: Easy | Total Time: 1 hr 5 mins, plus cooling time | Active Time: 25 mins | Makes:8 to 10 servings
For the cake:*
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for coating the pan
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon fine salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), softened, plus more for coating the pan
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup whole milk
*Or use a purchased cake like Sara Lee Pound Cake
For the filling:
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 1/2 pounds mixed berries*, washed (if you’re using *strawberries, they’ll also need to be hulled and quartered) You might not need quite this many berries; mine didn’t fit on the cake.
For the cake:
- Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat an 8-inch round cake pan with butter and flour, tap out the excess flour, and set the pan aside. Combine measured flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk until evenly combined; set aside.
- Place measured butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium high until light in color and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add sugar and continue to beat on medium high until white in color and the texture of wet sand, about 3 minutes more.
- Add eggs one at a time, letting each incorporate fully before adding the next. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. With the mixer on low, add half of the flour mixture. Mix just until incorporated, then add milk and continue mixing until smooth. Add the rest of the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated, about 2 minutes more.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, about 15 minutes. Run a knife around the perimeter of the cake and turn out onto the rack, right side up, to cool completely. Meanwhile, make the filling.
For the filling:
Place mascarpone in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whip on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add cream, sugar, and almond extract, increase speed to medium high, and whip until ingredients are combined and firm peaks form, about 15 seconds more. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
To assemble: *
- Slice cake in half horizontally using a serrated knife. Divide filling evenly between the cut side and the top of the cake. Divide berries evenly over the filling. Stack cakes on top of each other and serve.
If using a purchased cake like frozen Sara Lee pound cake, you might want to slice it (into thirds, perhaps) while it’s still partially frozen. (Recipe first posted in May of 2012)
Note: I’ll share with you that whenever I’ve made a recipe by Aida Mollenkamp, it’s been incredible. I don’t see her on Food Network anymore; is she still on? But she does have a lot of recipes. One that immediately comes to mind is her lasagna. Can’t make that very often.
I like berries because of all the things they can do for us…provide tons of vitamins, fiber, antioxidants, memory ability boosters, and more… But I also love them because they’re gorgeous, inexpensive (relatively), taste incredibly good, and are low in calories. Many of them are also easy to grow at home. And while we’re out of berry season in most places in the country, I just got a couple of pints of Michigan blueberries much like the tiny wild Maine berries that are often lusciously sweet-tart and make such great pancakes and muffins. For more on berries and why we should eat them, click here.
Need some fall love?
Try reading this week on my Dinner Place blog (Cooking for One):
Sing a new song,
|Check it out!