THEMED MONTH!!!! I’m super excited about it because there is just so so much potential for disaster here. What can I say? I just love livin’ on the edge like that (which then reminded of that Aerosmith song. I ❤ the teenage nostalgia of that tune).
To get you in the mood for this month, I will commence this post with this totally ridiculous YouTube video that I found because….well just look at the title people! How does such nonsense even exist? (also, so so many awesome condiment related puns here):
Alright, now that you’re really feeling a love for condiments (because who wouldn’t after seeing a man in a green skintight bodysuit wearing tighty whities and shooting guns full of ketchup and mustard?), let’s really kick things off. To start this month off with a bang (because go big or go home am I right?) I thought I’d go super crazy and incorporate a little of everybody’s favourite childhood condiment, the humble ketchup (actually that’s a lie. It’s not humble at all. Why else would it have needed all the ridiculous fads that it’s had over the years? Remember when they came out with purple and green ketchup? What up wit dat?:
I mean, maybe I could’ve gotten behind it if it was some super healthy food that was trying to make itself more appealing to children. But seriously? Did anybody know of any kids who were like “Whoa, whoa, whoa!!!! What is that red liquid you’re about to place all over my food? It looks suspiciously vegetable-like. Tomatoes perhaps? Oh wait, also filled with excessively unhealthy levels of sugar you say? Well in that case…load ‘er up!)
Let’s talk about a few fun ketchup factoids that I found on the interwebs before we really get into this post. My two favourites from this site were 1) That apparently ketchup was inspired by a Chinese condiment created from fermented fish which the British tried to emulate at home (although in my personal opinion, thank all that is holy that they never managed to truly replicate this because, ugh). 2) “In the 1700s, tomatoes were believed to be poisonous, and in fact were nicknamed “the poison apple.” The theory was eventually debunked when it was discovered that the pewter plates upper-class Europeans were eating tomatoes on were leaching lead.” Oh ye dumb dumb folk from the 1700s. Here in the 21st century, we’re way too intelligent to make that kind of foolish error 😉 .
Ok, so here’s the skinny on the magical mystery recipe whirlwind tour that I’m about to take you on. When I first started thinking about doing a ketchup based dessert, I of course immediately Googled “ketchup desserts”. Much to my astonishment, I instantly found that someone had in fact already attempted this. However, the only recipe I could find (and it was everywhere), was one for a “Heinz Ketchup Cake” (actually, slight lie, I also found one for a ketchup ice cream, aka “carnival cream“, which was basically a cherry almond vanilla ice cream to which a soupçon of ketchup was added).
Here’s the thing though, all reviews of it seem to pretty much say that it basically tastes like a spice cake and you wouldn’t know ketchup was in it.
Now of course, I wanted to a) do something different, but b) if you’re putting ketchup in it, I want to at least be able to somewhat taste it. What to do? I topped my cranium with my trusty thinking noodles and got to work:
What is ketchup exactly? It’s choc full of sugar and it’s acidic right? You know what else fits that bill? Lemon cheesecake! Using that as a jumping off point, and taking the spice cake concept from the original ketchup dessert recipe, I opted to make a Ketchup Spice Cake Cheesecake. I started off hesitantly adding the ketchup to all the other ingredients in my food processor 1 tablespoon at a time. It wasn’t until I got to the 1/2 cup mark though that I deemed it perfect. I’m not going to lie to you guys, despite how excited I was to attempt this, I was totally expecting this to be a failure of epic proportions. It was so not. I would make this again in a heartbeat (and very likely will). What does it taste like you ask? Well, with all the spices in it, it kind of reminded me of pumpkin pie. It was creamy and spiced, and pairing it with a pretzel crust (which I had never made before, but was also a brilliant addition since it added a nice salty note to the whole thing) added a nice crunch to the whole operation. I know the real question you want answered though. Could you taste the ketchup? Yes. Now before you start freaking out, you could taste it in a really good way. At first bite, your pallet is hit with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove, but just before that becomes overpowering and cloying, the tang of the ketchup rounds it off. I know that sounds weird, but just trust me on this one. To be honest, if I didn’t tell you there was ketchup in it, I don’t think you’d guess. You’d probably assume lemon or some other tangy thing, but once you know, I definitely think you get that “aha! that’s what it is” moment.
In case you think my tastebuds have in fact been burned off in some sort of tragic accident, I was not the only one who found this surprisingly delicious. Kevin was totally a fan too (although his trepidatious facial expression upon first bite was priceless. Oh camera, where were you in that moment?)
All I can say is that you should really give this one a try if you catch-up my drift 😉
Yield: 9 large squares or slices
- 2 cups crushed pretzels
- 1/2 cup vegan butter, melted
- ¼ cup cookie butter (or an additional ¼ cup melted butter if you don’t have this)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons molasses
- 1 cup cashew butter (or ½ cup cashews soaked overnight)
- 1 cup canned coconut milk or coconut cream
- 1 cup vegan cream cheese
- 5 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon maple extract
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 2-3 tablespoons lemon liqueur or lemon juice (to taste)
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon cloves
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- large pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons molasses
- Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease and line with parchment paper an 8×8 (or 9×9) round or square pan.
- Make the crust – In a large bowl, add all the crust ingredients, mixing until fully combined.
- Press firmly into the bottom of your prepared pan (pressing down with the bottom of a glass) and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool while preparing the filling.
- Lower oven heat to 325F
- Add all your cheesecake ingredients to a food processor (or blender would probably work too), and blend until completely smooth and creamy. Taste and add more lemon liquor or juice if it’s not tart enough.
- Pour filling over crust and bake for 45-60 minutes or until the edges look slightly set, but the center is still slightly wobbly (not liquidy though, it should just have a slight shake to it).
- Allow to cool completely before refrigerating.
- Store in the refrigerator.