Plan for leftovers

Well I’m going to get ahead of the curve and tell you right now what to do with your leftover Christmas cake, and why you should make sure you have leftovers. (Doctoral advisory: if you don’t like Christmas cake or cheesecake, or fruits and nuts in your cake, or marzipan, or any of the good things in life because you think it’s more fun to be grumpy, then you should look away now.)

You see, I’ve been (w)racking my brain for something clever to do with last year’s Christmas cake, which I’ve been plying with booze for an entire year. Of course there’s nothing wrong with just eating a slice now and then (my favourite way to enjoy it is actually with a piece of nice, sharp cheese), or making truffles, or “rum”balls, or indeed cake pops. But in truth I was a little worried about poisoning people (myself included). I know the whole point of feeding the cake is that it should last forever, but just how long is forever? Google how long to keep a Christmas cake, and you find a bunch of useless information about how people make it a couple of weeks or months in advance (duh!). Clearly in this world of instant twitterfication the idea of actually preserving a cake for 12 long months is not a popular one.

Anyway, it looked fine, it smelled damn fine (very Scottish), and in the interests of health and safety, I did subject both the Philosophe and myself to eating a tiny sliver, neat. It was still delicious, and we did not die.

But I had a tub of mascarpone, and a bit of orange-scented dulche de leche left over from birthday cake adventures, so it was clear that this cake was destined to be reborn as a cheesecake.

Now if you Google “Christmas cake cheesecake” you will encounter my problem: no one out there has had a similarly hairbrained brilliant idea. What to do? Put it in the cheese mix? Build a crust out of it like they do with sponge cake for this tiramisu cheesecake? What if the raisins get charred?

I’ll spare you the entire creative process from confusion to beautiful, inspired clarity, but I must thank the Philosophe for delivering the final lightbulb. Without him, it may just have been a disaster.

So, find your favourite baked cheesecake recipe, and prepare to violate it thoroughly. For instance:

– Make a base of crushed, homemade biscotti and melted butter

– Cover that with a thin, expertly rolled disc of marzipan (NOT the horrid white stuff they use for wedding cakes. The real stuff: almonds + egg white + sugar)

– Cover that with a layer of Christmas cake (use thin slices to cover what you can, and then patchwork/smush/squash/fill the gaps with bits and pieces till you cannot see the marzipan)

– Now add your filling (which is where a cheesecake recipe actually comes in handy: this one is top secret, but does contain mascarpone, yoghurt, cream, and dulce de leche instead of sugar. Oh, and 3 eggs).

– MAKE SURE YOUR SPRINGFORM PAN DOESN’T LEAK, and then bake as usual.

I wish I had been a better blogger and taken a picture of the lovely layers in every slice. But it was late, and dark, and there was cheesecake to be eaten. It tastes of marzipan and spice, with little hidden nuggets of fruits and nuts, all enrobed in a silky creamy decadent uplifting pillowy willowy angels-are-singing cheesy robe. (Oops, sorry, I just got an email telling me to embrace my inner Nigella this Christmas.)

So now you know. You can thank me next year.

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