White Chocolate and Gingerbread Cheesecake – White Christmas Theme

I have been looking for ideas for festive cake with the twist. I flipped through some Finnish magazines,  made internet search and find out that after leaving Finland six years ago there’s been hype in Finnish food magazines of glögg cheese cake with gingerbread crust. Yes I know,  most of you might think, what in the earth glögg is. It’s a popular and very traditional Finnish (Scandinavian) spiced winter drink. We enjoy it steaming hot when winter weather gives its best; cool and snow. Read about glögg in my other post via link here.


Traditionally glögg is ruby red, so my cake should be red, but I wanted to make a white cake specially to take White Christmas Challenge from Very Good Recipes, hence the white theme here. ……Look at the cake!
It’s in fact yellow, in celebration of golden sandy dunes in Dubai desert.

Let me tell about gelatin. It took me a good hour or more to read and understand the beauty of converting gelatin sheets to equal quantity of gelatin powder. After all, I don’t want yello cake. And what about secret or discovery of Davis Gelatin. Why it reads edible gelatin on package, is there also other kind of gelatin on sale in grocery shops?! It reads also clear and unflavored, what about that weird smell of this gelatin. It says halal, but honestly,  I almost quit making the cake because this odor. I am use to gelatin sheets which are odorless.

After several double checks, I came up with gelatin measures like this 1 tablespoon gelatin powder = 3 sheets. In case you might want to do your own research,  here’s the link.

If someone knows pure vegetarian gelatin sold in supermarket in Dubai, leave me a comment please. Above mentioned is from Spinney’s.


White Chocolate and Gingerbread Cheesecake recipe

200 g Gingerbread cookies
75 g butter or margarine

6 sheets of gelatin (= 2 table spoon of Davis Gelatin, New Zealand)
400 ml whipping cream
200 g white chocolate
400 g cream cheese like Philadelphia
50 ml water
200 g lingonberries or cranberries (optional)

3 sheets of gelatin (1 table spoon of Davis Gelatin)
350 ml of white glögg (Finnish spicy winter drink)


  1. Cover 24 cm spring form pan with baking paper and wipe insides with oil or cover with fling foil, cake will come out smoothly after it’s settled.
  2. Crush gingerbread cookies with spin roll or mixer. Smelt the butter and add to crushed cookies, pulse couple of times until mixed well. Press the cookie butter mixture on the bottom of cake pan
  3. Whip the cream until soft peaks forms add some powder sugar.
  4. Smelt the white chocolate over a hot-water bath
  5. Mix white chocolate smelt with cream cheese and add to whipped cream and vanilla.
  6. Boil the 50 ml water and add/sprinkle gelatin, mix well, make sure gelatin is all dissolved and add gelatin liquid to cream-cheese mixture. (I added it through fine strainer)
  7. If you use berries, fold them into cream and cheese mixture last. Note berries have to be soft and juicy.
  8. Pour over the cookie mix and let settle in fridge (abt. 3 hours)
  9. Make the glaze: heat half of the juice/ glögg and add 1 table spoon of gelatin mix well and add rest of the juice/ glögg. Pour over the cheesecake which is already settled in fridge. Let stand in fridge until glaze is settled, about 1 hour.
  10. Remove cake from spring form cake pan gently on to a serving plate and decorate with white chocolate chips


Note from baker: I have used cranberries, since the best option, lingon berry is not available here in Dubai.  Cranberries need to get some frost to get soft. Let them stand overnight in freezer and use them when thawed thoroughly. If  you use cranberries you might really need to use that optional sugar.



Wishing you a white white winter or sandy winter like we have here in Dubai!


White Glögg – Spiced Finnish Christmas Drink

The amazing smell of cinnamon and spices is surrounding my house inside out. It’s time to warm up with nice cup of glögg, a traditional Finnish winter drink called glögi in Finnish.

When weather starts to get cooler, on November in Finland, this spicy drink is just so lovely warmer. The most popular glögg is traditionally made by heating up blackcurrant juice with spices like cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, mace, cardamom, orange peel, ginger.

I am making it to get the wonderful smell of festive spices into my house. I miss the snow and coldness of Finnish winter, this drink brings me back to my homeland whenever where ever I smell or drink it.

Glögg is available everywhere in Finland from November to January. You can get the readymade mixture and tune it for your liking with some almonds and raisins, which you have to spoon after or during drinking of it.

Modern winter drink glögg has its roots in the ancient Swedish mulled wine punch called glödgat vin, which literally means “glow wine”.  My version is non-alcoholic, but in mainstream Finnish families, part of the juice is replaced with red wine, and a dash of stronger spirit, like vodka, punsch, brandy, calvados or gin may be added to it. I have made white glögg from apple juice. Nowadays this white version has become popular, made with white wine or cider, or fruit juices like apple, pear or white grape juice.

On Christmas dinner, glögg can be served first as a welcome drink or last with the dessert, or instead of coffee and tea.

White glögg recipe


1 liter apple juice (I used cloudy apple juice, any kind of goes)

1-2 teaspoons cloves (whole)

1-2 teaspoons cardamom seeds roughly grounded

2 sticks of cinnamon

Pinch of ginger powder

Sugar (optional)


Cook half of the juice with spices about ½ hour with low heat. Strain and add rest of the juice and heat until hot again. Add sugar for your liking.

Glögg is served from tea glasses or mugs, mixed with a few blanched almonds and raisins.

Season Greetings!


Cranberry Upside Down Cake with Toffee – Cranberry madness continue

What’s with the cranberries! I have fell in love with them on this season. I promise this is the last cake or bake with cranberries, well ….almost, I had something in my mind, I’d love to share later. This is the season after all.

Everyone knows Pineapple upside down cake, but have you ever tried to make cake upside down with cranberries.
I like the flavor of brown sugar with cranberries, they match together so well with hint of cinnamon, which I left out this time, because my dear cake-taster doesn’t like cinnamon. I left out butter from topping and drizzled the cake with toffee sauce and few flakes of coconut.


Cranberry Upside Down Cake recipe


1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
120 g butter, softened
1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar

4 cups cranberries, rinsed, get rid of bad cranberries, and at room temperature (just a bit less than a 350 g bag of cranberries).
50 g butter
1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Preparation method

1. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

2. Beat butter and sugars on medium speed until smooth and fluffy, about 1 minute.
a. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
b. On low speed add half the flour mixture then mix to combine.
c. Add sour cream and vanilla. Mix to combine.
d. Add remaining flour mixture and mix until smooth.

3. Butter a 18 cm (9″) cake pan and sprinkle evenly ½ cups sugar mixed
with one teaspoon cinnamon on bottom, add cranberries and bits of butter here and there.

4. Spread batter evenly over the cranberries in the cake pan.

5. Bake at 180 – 200°C until golden brown, edges begin to pull away from the side of the pan, and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes.

Cool on rack for 10 minutes. Run knife around edge to loosen cake. Invert onto plate.

Note: When you pull out cake of the oven to test, it might appear liquid. The cake is like moving on top of the layer of cranberries. The large amount of butter and shifting cranberries made an almost liquid layer on the bottom of the cake. It will come together when cake cools, the cake is at best on next day when it’s settled.

Toffee sauce


120g light brown sugar
120g butter
100ml cream or full cream milk

Preparation method

1. Melt the butter and sugar in a saucepan over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved but not burned.
2. Stir in the cream or milk and heat gently until bubbling, stirring continually until thickened (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat and serve warm.


Surprise your loved ones, friends and neigbors with lovely home made gift. I did two cakes with this recipe and used two 15 cm cake tins. Wishing you very happy festive season!