Have Your Cake, and Eat Cheese, Too

By Jessica Yoon | Caroline Hatchett

By

Jessica Yoon
Caroline Hatchett
Apple Custard Cake, Walnut-Raisin Butter, Honey Caramel, and Winnimere Cheese Ice Cream
Apple Custard Cake, Walnut-Raisin Butter, Honey Caramel, and Winnimere Cheese Ice Cream

The finale of a meal approaches, a difficult decision looms: cheese plate or dessert. At Lula Cafe in Chicago, Pastry Chef Kelly Helgesen fuses the two to make that crucial, final decision a no-brainer. Helgesen’s dessert is “inspired by a cheese plate” and artfully includes all the elements that go into composing an exceptional one: fromage (read: funk), textural variety, and a broad spectrum of flavors—sweet and not so much.

Winnimere, a spoon-able, raw milk cheese from Jasper Hill Farms in Vermont makes up 25 percent of Helgesen’s classic ice cream base. Pungent with a sweet undertone, it pairs seamlessly with a super moist apple custard cake. A loose batter makes the cake that is “more apples than anything else, and bakes at 325°F for just more than an hour,” says Helgesen. “The moisture from the apples turns the cake into custard.” The supporting cast is led by a house walnut butter swirled with plump golden raisins and a sticky, caramelized honey-cream spread. Guests can make each bite as sweet (or not) as they like. 

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