Lemon Curd Cheesecake Cupcakes

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Muffin tins have to be one of the greatest inventions of all time. You can use them to make muffins (obviously), cupcakes, mini lasagnes, potato stacks, breakfast pots, pastry cups and my new favourite: mini cheesecakes. [Note to self: write blog post of 10 Best Recipes using a Muffin Tin]. This cheesecake recipe would adapt well to many flavours (see note below) – I just happened to have homemade lemon curd in the fridge that I wanted to use, so I went that way. And I’m glad I did, because they were sublime. The other great thing is that cheesecake cupcakes look well-proportioned; a thin regular-sized cheesecake doesn’t look nearly as appealing as a really tall, fat cheesecake, but then you’ve spent half your salary on cream cheese (which some people might say is excessive). You can also sub-divide the batch: have two at home for dessert, take 4 to the office the next day for your colleagues and serve 6 at a dinner party. Genius.

Lemon Curd Cheesecake Cupcakes

 – adapted from Dishin’ with Di

250g cream cheese
200g ricotta
100ml castor sugar
0.5 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
4 tsp lemon curd
8 Tennis/Tea Lovers biscuits
30g butter
Lemon curd, for topping
12 muffin cases

Take the cream cheese out of the fridge, to soften it a little. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Crush the biscuits until they have the texture of bread crumbs – either in a food processor or put them in a ziplock bag and bash them with a wine bottle. I do the wine bottle method – it’s very quick and easy. Melt the butter in a mixing bowl, and add the biscuit crumbs. Give them a good mix  to distribute the butter. Arrange the muffin cases in a muffin tin and divide the biscuit mixture evenly between the cases. Its about 2 teaspoons per case. Press the mixture down firmly with the back of a spoon, and pop the whole tray in the fridge while you make the filling.  Beat the cream cheese and ricotta together until smooth. Add the sugar, vanilla and lemon curd and beat briefly until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.

Divide the mixture between the muffin cases – they should be almost full. Bake for 20 minutes. They will seem a little wobbly, but that’s okay – they will firm up and sink as they cool. Don’t overbake them or they’ll be dry. Let them cool to room temperature in the pan on a rack, then gently remove the cupcakes and transfer them to a container in the fridge. Once they are cool, spread a teaspoon of lemon curd on the top of each one. To serve, remove from the muffin paper (comes off easily), plate and dust with icing sugar.

I haven’t tried any of the following yet, but I imagine many variations of this delicious recipe. Omit the lemon curd and add:

  1. An extra 0.5 tsp vanilla extract. Top with crumbled fudge for Vanilla Fudge Cheesecake Cupcakes.
  2. 2 tblsp of cooked strawberries. Top with cream and a strawberry for Strawberries & Cream Cheesecake Cupcakes.
  3. 1-2 tblsp peanut butter. Top with chocolate-covered peanuts for Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cupcakes.
  4. 2 tblsp finely crushed Oreos. Top with cream and a half/mini Oreo for Cookies & Cream Cheesecake Cupcakes.
  5. A few drops of peppermint essence. Top with shards of dark chocolate for Mint Chocolate Cheescake Cupcakes.
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