Troubled by temptation

Food and thoughts of food trouble me…they constantly tempt and tantalise me.  My job does not make it any easier with always being around such delicious foods and aromas.
A few weeks ago, I was asked by Pat Tarr to assist with the food styling for a Spar photo shoot.  Lots of shooting unfortunately means lots of eating.  Fortunately, I love eating and this makes me love my job.  Everyday brings a new foodie adventure.
Before you read on, please remember that these recipes and posts are not sponsored by Spar.  The recipes developed have been mainly around the products that I sample while doing my in store promotions.  I have a range of products in Spar and over the years have developed many relationships with the store managers and owners.  I have also found many foodie friends at Spar.
The first shot on the list was of a Spar Cream cheese and the second one was smoked salmon.  Pat had mentioned that the cream cheese was delicious but I thought how much better could it possibly be? The team decided to take a break and the salmon bruschetta looked too delicious to resist.  It was heavenly and somewhere between my first and second bite, my mind began to race.  Where else could I use this cream cheese?  I could not resist the other variants in the range which were the Sweet Chilli and the Fig!  It was not just slightly better than the other ones I had tried – It was head and shoulders above!  It was the plain variety, however that caught my attention…the possibilities were endless.
Far too often, I have heard complaints about cream cheese frosting turning into a curdled mess.  Its happened to me a few times and its simply heartbreaking.  I was determined to test this cream cheese because it made so many promises to my taste buds.  But would it work?
And so the temptation began….
I am not a dessert fan….give me a plate of curried mince samoosas any day and I could happily munch away.  But this cheese really got me going.  Carrot Cake? Red Velvet?  No!!!  I needed something new to satisfy my fantasy.  Most of the dishes I prepare are generally a result of some craving.  Weeks of thought and wandering aimlessly around the supermarket aisles thinking of flavours and textures resulted in an insatiable desire for a Passionfruit Cake.
Here is the recipe resulting from my latest food obsession:
For the cake, you will need:
250ml self raising flour
Pinch of salt
5 eggs
150ml sugar
60g melted butter
1 x 110g tin passionfruit pulp (Grenadilla)
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius.  Grease and line 3 x 20cm cake tins.
Sift the self raising flour five times.  Add the salt to the sifted flour and set aside.
Place the eggs into a mixing bowl.  Beat the eggs with a hand held beater for a minute.
Gradually add the sugar and beat until the mixture triples in volume.
Fold in half the sifted flour and repeat with the other half.
Add the passionfruit pulp and melted butter.
Fold the mixture again and ensure the ingredients are well combined.
Divide the batter between the 3 tins and bake for 10 – 12 minutes.
The cake should be light golden brown and should come away from the sides of the tin.
Remove from the tins and leave on a wire rack to cool.
For the cream cheese frosting:
150g butter, softened
400g icing sugar, sifted
375g cold Spar Cream Cheese
45ml fresh cream
Strawberries, to garnish
Mint sprig, to garnish
1 x 110g tin passionfruit pulp (grenadilla), to drizzle
Place the butter into a mixing bowl.
Beat the butter with a hand held beater and gradually add the sifted icing sugar.
Continue beating until the butter is light in colour.
Add the cream cheese and continue beating until well combined.
Pour in the cream and whisk for a few seconds.
Ice each layer with a third of the cream cheese frosting.
Sandwich the cakes together.
Garnish with strawberries and mint sprigs.
Drizzle with passionfruit pulp.
A quick word on cream cheese:
Avoid the budget brands and the high moisture content will cause the frosting to split.
The butter should be softened but not warm.  The best way to describe it as cold but at room temperature.
Do not overbeat the cream cheese as this can cause the frosting to split.
Add the cream cheese only when the icing sugar and butter are ‘married’.

And now for the tasting....



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