Nutella Birthday Cheesecake and Surprise Doves – a cautionary tale

Chocolate cheesecake

“It seemed like it would be a top romantic gesture at the time,” explained the man I sat next to at an especially lovely dinner party in Soho the other week.

“I heard that the groom is supposed to give the bride a present on the wedding day, and I really wanted it to be a surprise. So I put a lot of thought into it, and this is what I came up with.”

The idea was pretty simple – release live doves. Take pictures.

“So the first problem was it couldn’t be a total surprise at the wedding itself, because we had to practice holding the doves to make sure we didn’t kill them. If you hold them too low down, you can break their wings and suffocate them, too high up, and you can press on their hearts and send them into cardio arrest. Basically it was more pressure than I was expecting.

“So it’s the morning of the wedding, she’s having her make up done, and I’m all SURPRISE! DOVES! And she gives me a look and says; That really IS a surprise …

“So we get to the end of the ceremony, and the photographer’s in place, ready for the doves’ big moment. And I’m holding the dove and suddenly I realize, the dove is not moving. I start to really panic – did I break it? Is my first symbolic act of marriage going to be throwing up a dove only for it to plummet back to earth, stone dead?

“Ultimately, it was fine. It flew away.  But as wedding day romantic gestures go, it might not have been my best thought out plan. Basically, I wish I’d gone with jewelry.”

I am no big fan of surprises. I like the build up, the anticipation, the planning, almost as much as I like the event. So for my birthday, which is this weekend, I stick to a formula. Duck and pancakes. Champagne and cheesecake. No messing around.

This is the cheesecake.

If you are a Pinterest person, you’ve probably already seen a multitude of Nutella Cheesecake recipes out there. Nutella is to Pinterest what Bacon is to Brooklyn. Anyway, this recipe is mostly adapted from a Nigella Lawson one – I think it’s probably in her new Italian cookbook, which I’m going to buy myself for my birthday – with a little bit of added Pinterest inspiration. It’s really easy to cook – an assembly job really – and got raves from my friends when I made it back in the summer.

10 oz Graham crackers – which is about two thirds of a pack (or 250g digestives)
3 oz room temperature unsalted butter
16 oz (2 packets) cream cheese
1 jar Nutella (13 oz)
2 oz icing sugar / confectioners’ sugar
coco, hazelnuts, Bacci chocolates to decorate
 
  • Process the graham crackers (or digestives) to rubble. Add the butter and a tablespoon of nutella and blitz again until the mixture looks like wet sand
  • Pour this mixture into a 23 cm springform pan and press it down to form a base. Use a jar or a cup – something with a smooth curved edge – to press the crackers into the sides of the tin. Chill
  • Make sure the cream cheese really is at room temp – otherwise it never really blends. Whip it in the mixer until it’s smooth, then add the confectioners’ sugar (icing sugar) and the rest of the Nutella (which also really needs to be at room temp)
  • Dollup this mixture into the spring form tin and smooth. Chill over night in the fridge
  • Serve straight from the fridge with a fresh dusting of coco powder, or crushed hazelnuts, or Bacci chocolates ground in the processor (and birthday candles)
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10 Responses to Nutella Birthday Cheesecake and Surprise Doves – a cautionary tale

  1. Annika says:

    Okay, thanks! I’ve been wrecking my brain over what kind of cake to make for my husband’s birthday on Sunday, and this is going to be it! It’s perfect.

    • Kate says:

      I hope you enjoy it – it’s best served straight from the fridge and cut with a knife dipped into hot water between slices. Happy birthday to your husband!

  2. rebecca says:

    This line “Is my first symbolic act of marriage going to be throwing up a dove only for it to plummet back to earth, stone dead?” just made me laugh really hard.

    I tend to think involving any sort of animal in a wedding ceremony is probably not the best idea but kudos to him for making the effort!

  3. Kate says:

    I like look looking at peoples’ wedding photos anyway, but I would have LOVED to have seen the photo of this guy throwing up a dove – did his dread read in his eyes?
    I agree with you about animals at weddings. My friend recently got married in India in a very grand ceremony. There was even an elephant all dressed up and looking fabulous. Unfortunately, it had bad gas, and the thing she most remembers about getting married is that it smelled horrendous.
    Glad you’re enjoying the blog!

  4. Rose says:

    Kate, what sort of cream cheese should I buy here in England? Sorry if that seems a silly question: I always get confused about it. Also, would this freeze? One cheesecake, one person to eat it = need to exercise some sort of restraint.

    • Kate says:

      I use Philadelphia, but I guess any brand of cream cheese would be fine. I’ve never tried freezing it – I honestly don’t know. You could make half the amount though and make it in a smaller tin, or even in cupcake or muffin cases. I hope you enjoy it.

  5. Rose says:

    I’m curious to know why you haven’t answered my question.

  6. Rose says:

    Thanks Kate! I made your chicken with plums for Sunday lunch yesterday and it was lovely. My 11-year-old niece, who loves to cook, made individual leek and blue cheese pithiviers as an accompaniment. Fab.

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