Soulful Baker by Julie Jones is one of those charming baking recipe books that make you want to test your boundaries when it comes to baking. Each recipe is presented with a touch of Julie’s own personality as she guides you through each step. The images are sumptuous and the steps are clearly laid out. When “Who’s For Dinner?” received a review copy of this b0ok we were enamored by the quality of design and layout. Featuring breathtakingly beautiful creations that look as stunning unbaked as they do baked – including irresistible celebration cakes and treats, delicious breads and yeasted dough, chocolate dishes, desserts and a range of brunch ideas – Soulful Baker takes you on a step by step journey into a culinary wonderland.
Here’s a lovely recipe in Julie’s own words for you to try! The book is available to buy online and in bookstores.
Vanilla Baked Cheesecake with Seasonal Fruits
I find baked cheesecakes to be far more indulgent than their gelatine set cousins. They are rich, creamy and incredibly smooth and make for a very luxurious dessert indeed. Baking the cheesecake at a lower temperature for a longer time should hold off any unsightly cracks and will also prevent any colour from being taken. One important piece of advice that I will pass to you (learned through experience) is to ensure that the tin(pan) you use is leakproof. There is no fun in seeing all of your careful preparation leaking out of the tin (pan), covering the bottom of your oven!
Use a 21cm (8½ inch) round, 6cm (2½ inch) deep loose-bottomed cake tin (pan)
- 90g (3oz/scant ½ cup/¾ stick) unsalted butter
- 200g (7oz) crunchy oat cookies
- pinch of salt
- 500g (1lb 2oz) full-fat cream cheese at room temperature
- 100g (3½oz/½ cup/1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 80ml (3fl oz/⅓ cup) double (heavy) cream
- 200g (7oz/1 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 30g (1¼oz/¼ cup) cornflour (cornstarch)
- 5 eggs
- 400g (14oz) mixed summer berries or seasonal alternatives
- 2 tbsp icing (powdered) sugar
- 100ml (3½fl oz/generous ⅓ cup) water
- juice of 1 lemon
Preheat the oven to 160°C fan/180°C/350°F/gas 4. Line the base and sides of the tin (pan) with non-stick baking paper.
First, make the base. Gently melt the butter in a small pan and set aside. Crush the cookies to a fine crumb, either by hand or in a food processor and add a pinch of salt. Pour in the melted butter and combine well. Press the mixture evenly into the base of the lined tin (pan), smoothing out evenly with the back of a spoon. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove and leave to cool completely.
Turn the oven down to 100°C fan/120°C/240°F/gas ¼–½.
Beat together the cream cheese and the butter until smooth – it is important that both are at room temperature to ensure that the mix will be lump free. When smooth and well combined, add the cream, sugar, vanilla and cornflour (cornstarch). Mix until smooth, then beat in the eggs. Pour over the base, removing any air bubbles that rise to the surface.
Bake in the cooler oven for up to 2 hours, checking after the first hour, then again 30 minutes later. The cheesecake should have a slight wobble towards the centre when ready. Only remove from the oven at this point if you feel that it has set sufficiently, otherwise continue to cook for longer. That said, it is worth bearing in mind that the cheesecake will continue to set as it is cools. Remove from the oven but do leave it in the tin (pan) until completely cooled. Refrain from putting the cheesecake in the fridge as it will change the consistency completely, losing its luxury.
Wash and prepare the fruit, halving any larger berries. Add to a pan along with the sugar and water and gently simmer for 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add a few drops of lemon juice – a certain level of tartness is a welcome contrast to the richness of the cheesecake.
Slice and serve with some of the fruit spooned over the top.
Aged 30, Julie re-trained as a chef and after spending just a few weeks in a Michelin-starred kitchen she realised how flavour could be taken to a whole new level. After her mum was diagnosed with dementia she started to bake with her as a form of mutual therapy, taking photos of their baking days together and posting them on Instagram as a precious record….Soulful Baker was therefore born.