If you’ve seen cottage cheese all over TikTok but have no idea what to actually do with it, let baker, writer (she wrote the Postal Bakes cookbook and does the Sweet Disposition baking newsletter) and stylist Lucy Burton show you the way. As Lucy says, “cottage cheese – once the mainstay of the diet plans we all tore from women’s weekly magazines in the 90s and 00s – is a delicious ingredient, but one that’s been largely overlooked in recent years. Thankfully, this year’s viral TikTok trend has brought cottage cheese back into all our consciousnesses and shopping baskets, and I couldn’t be happier to see it back in the spotlight.”
“Whether or not you’re prepared to spoon it over a salad, I implore you to start baking with it. Behaving much like yogurt, buttermilk or ricotta, cottage cheese brings a tangy, creamy quality to all manner of sweet treats and is, I think, particularly good in cakes. If the little flecks of curd put you off, you could absolutely blend it before whisking it into your batter. Personally, I kind of love how these sweet, rich moments enhance a cake sponge, but I’ll let you decide on if that’s for you.”
“The texture of this cake, tender but robust, falls somewhere between a classic sponge and a baked cheesecake. Top it with gorgeous plums, which are in season in the UK as we speak and bring the perfect sour, soft note to the cake. A long bake roasts them until they’re perfectly jammy, and a few toasty flaked almonds make this my perfect autumn dessert.”
500-600g plums, weighed whole with their stones
2 tsp orange blossom water (optional)
90g unsalted butter
300g cottage cheese
150g light brown sugar
150g plain flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp fine salt
15g flaked almonds (optional)
A few spoons of demerara sugar (optional, or use light brown sugar if that’s all you have)
1. Heat your oven to 180C and grease and line an 8” cake tin with baking paper.
2. Destone and chop two thirds of the plums into chunks. Place in a bowl with the orange blossom water, if using, and stir to combine. Destone and half the remaining plums and set aside.
3. Place the butter in a small pan, and set over a medium heat. Allow it to melt, the bubble, then foam for five minutes or so, until it is deeply golden and you can see little dark brown flecks bubbling. This will give the cake a gorgeous nutty taste. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool slightly while you make the rest of the cake.
4. Place the cottage cheese, sugar and eggs in a large bowl, and whisk until combined and smooth. Add the flour, baking powder and salt, and whisk again until evenly mixed. Carefully add the butter, then whisk until combined and glossy.
5. Add the chopped plums, and fold until evenly dispersed through the batter. Pour into your prepared cake tin.
6. Gently place the plum halves on the top of the cake, then sprinkle with the flaked almonds, and a little sugar on top of the plums, if using.
7. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes – 1 hour, until the cake is golden, the plums are jammy and a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out with a few crumbs, but no wet batter. This cake keeps really well in an airtight tin for 3-4 days.