You know, I used to think baked cheesecakes were some sort of baking masterwork no-one could tackle. I’m not sure exactly what is was, maybe the idea of actually baking cream cheese, which I still find kind of hard to digest. However, I have to say that if you follow a few very easy steps, a baked cheesecake can be as easy as a non-bake one.
First of all, the oven temperature, which cannot be as high as for a victoria sponge. The reason behind it is that the cheese has been mixed up with eggs (and other ingredients, most of the time), so by increasing the temperature above 160 degrees Celsius you usually overbake the cheesecake and this results in cracks on the surface.
The same applies to the baking time. Bake it until the cheesecake still has a little wobble in the middle. I know it sounds off-putting, but the cake will keep on cooking upon cooling and the wobbly bit will set as nicely as the rest of the cake.
Last, the resting time. Allow the cheesecake to cool completely in the oven, then put it in the fridge and allow plenty of cooling time there. The cold of the fridge not only allows the cheese to become firm again, but also stabilises the whole cake so that when you try to unmould it the cheesecake doesn’t collapse and, most importantly, doesn’t melt.
This recipe is taken from the GBBO book, but can serve as a basic recipe to personalise your cheesecake and come up with unusual flavour combinations.
- 250g digestive biscuits
- 50g unsalted butter
- 100g dark chocolate + some for the decoration
- 50g white chocolate + some for the decoration
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 500g full-fat cream cheese
- 250ml soured cream
- Crush the biscuits to a fine powder. I find the easiest way to do this is in a food processor, but feel free to put them in a sealed bag and unwind all of your frustrations on them with either a rolling pin or the bottom of a glass. Once reduced to a fine crumb, combine with the butter to create a sand-like consistency. If using a food processor, add the butter directly from the fridge as it will combine better and the mixture will hold together. If doing it by hand, then use room temperature butter.
- Transfer the mixture to a 23cm springform tin and line both the base and the sides. Try and push the buttery crumbs up the sides as much as possible to create a crater-like biscuit base. Chill in the fridge until set.
- In the meantime, pre-heat the ovnen to 150 degrees Celsius.
- Chop the dark and white chocolate as finely as you can, the put on one side.
- Put the cream cheese, vanilla extract and sugar into a bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix those in until thoroughly combined.
- Stir in the soured cream and the chopped chocolate, then transfer the mixture to the prepared biscuit base and spread evenly on top.
- Bake for 1 hour or until set. As said, the cheesecake should still have a bit of a wobble to it in the centre. Turn off the oven, the take the cheesecake out of the oven and shut the door. Use a round bladed knife or a palette to run around the sides and loosen them, then pop back into the oven and leave to cool down with the door closed.
- Once cold, take out from the oven and pop in the fridge to set completely for at least 3 hours, if not overnight.
- When ready to serve, unmould the cheesecake and use a potato peeler to shave curls from the rest of the white and dark chocolate.