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Baking made easy

Simplicity is the key to these great recipes suggested by Annie Bell.

In her new book, Annie Bell’s Baking Bible (Kyle Books, £25), food writer Annie Bell explains the techniques that produce perfect baking every time, be it sponge cakes, biscuits, brownies, tray bakes, fairy cakes, macaroons, muffins or meringues. Be it's perfect Victoria sponge cake or a classic Bakewell tart every recipe has been tried and tested by Annie to make sure they really are as easy as possible. There are no specialist or tricky methods, no piping bags or hard-to-find ingredients; each and every recipe has been designed to succeed first time round. Here are some recipes to try: 

Chocolate lime cheesecake

SERVES SIX

The creative chocolatiers of this world have proved that chocolate goes pretty much with anything you care to marry it with, but we all have our favourites. I’ve always loved chocolate with lemon, and lime is just as successful. Here it’s layered, chocolate top and bottom, with a bank of lime-sharp curd in between.

For the crust


30g dark chocolate (50 per cent cocoa solids), broken into pieces
75g unsalted butter, diced
80g plain flour, sifted
40g fine polenta or cornmeal
40g golden caster sugar

For the filling


350g full-fat cream cheese
150g golden caster sugar
4 medium eggs
finely grated zest and juice of 2 limes
1 tsp vanilla extract
300g soured cream

Kit


20cm non-stick cake tin with a removable base, 3cm deep
Food processor Foil

Little extras


Unsalted butter for greasing
Chocolate curls for decorating
Cocoa for dusting

1) Preheat the oven to 180°C fan oven/200°C electric oven and butter a 20cm non-stick cake tin with a removable base, 3cm deep.

2) Gently melt the chocolate and butter together in a bowl set over a small saucepan with a little simmering water in it. Stir in the remaining ingredients for the crust. Using your fingers, press the mixture onto the base of the prepared cake tin, taking care to seal the edge where the collar meets the base to prevent the cheesecake mixture leaking out. Bake for 15–20 minutes until starting to darken at the edges and then allow to cool.

3) Place all the ingredients for the filling, except the soured cream, in the bowl of a food processor and whiz until smooth. Pour the mixture through a sieve onto the base and level the surface. Bake the cheesecake for 25–30 minutes until just set and slightly risen; it may also be starting to colour.

4) Remove from the oven and allow to settle for four to five minutes before smoothing the soured cream over the surface and returning to the oven for a further ten minutes. Remove from the oven – it may still appear slightly shiny and liquid, but should firm up on cooling and chilling. Set the cheesecake aside to cool and then cover it with foil and chill overnight. To serve, smother the surface with chocolate shavings and dust with cocoa.

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Have you tried this recipe? What's your favourite dessert to make? 

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