Well….. You’d swear I had planned it, but I can assure you, I hadn’t! This week’s episode of the GBBO opening with cheese cakes!
Anyway.. I love cheesecake – especially New York style baked ones… Yum and Yum. And I’m gonna throw this out there right now – there is nothing healthy about this bad boy, it’s sheer indulgence!
This week’s bake off challenge takes a little commitment too, and if you’d like to find a simpler non bake cheese cake recipe – do. But this is one I use regularly and it goes down an absolute treat (also – anyone from work, here it is….. you’ve been asking for it long enough!) and is truly delicious.
This an easy enough recipe, it just does require a little more time than the cookies did. And you’ll also have to factor in cooling time for when it’s ready to eat. So if you’re gonna tackle this bad boy either make it a day before you plan on serving it, or in the morning if you plan to have it for desert that evening.
Also… I’m about to share with you my secret base ingredients. It’s kinda killing me a little, but to be fair, if you make my base you’ll never want a digestive biscuit base again…
For the recipe below I have names some well known, popular brand ingredients. However, for this week’s challenge I set about using ALDI brand ingredients as much as I can to reduce the cost of this recipe (for example ALDI brand soft cheese is 79c a pack in comparison to Philadelphia cheese which is in and around €2 in most shops….). Fingers crossed the cheese cake comes out as nice as it usually does, but I’ll let you know in the accompanying vlog!
This is a New York style baked cheese cake. Here’s what you’ll need…
- Large mixing bowl
- Electric whisk
- 23 inch (deep dish) springform cake tin
- Baking parchment
- Food processor (cos I’m too lazy to crush biccies by hand)
- Extra bowl if you decide to make chocolate gnache!
The Shopping List
- 900g Philadelphia cheese, or other full-fat soft cheese (normally 5 packs)
- 250g Caster sugar
- 3 tbsp plain flour
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
- finely grated zest of 1 lemon (about 2 tsp)
- 1 ½ tsp lemon juice
- 3 large eggs, plus 1 yolk
- 200ml sour cream
For the base you can make a simple digestive biscuit base or you can have what was once my secret base mix of Oreo Cookies and Hobnobs (ratio is up to yourself, but I go with more Oreos than Hobnobs for a better taste… the Hobnobs add a bit of strength to the structure and texture.)
Chocolate ganache topping
Sounds daunting, doesn’t it? But it’s actually way easier that you think. It’s simply equal parts cream to good quality dark chocolate. For mine, I use 70% dark chocolate. So Ill be using 150ml cream to 150g of chocolate.
Cheese cake filling:
- STEP 1 Position an oven shelf in the middle of the oven. Heat the oven to 180C/ 160C fan/ gas 4.
- STEP 2 Line the base of the cake tin by putting a square piece of parchment paper or foil on top of the tin base and then clipping the side on so the paper or foil is trapped and any excess sticks out of the bottom.
- STEP 3 For the crust, melt 85g butter in a medium pan. Stir in 140g biscuit crumb mix into the butter, or visa versa, the mixture is evenly moistened.
- STEP 4 Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan and bake for 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack while preparing the filling.
- STEP 5 For the filling, increase the oven temperature to fan 220C/ 200C fan/ gas 7. Beat The 900g full-fat soft cheese at medium-low speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.
- STEP 6 With the mixer on low, gradually add 250g golden caster sugar, then 3 tbsp plain flour and a pinch of salt, scraping down the sides of the bowl and a spatula.
- STEP 7 Continue by adding 1½ tsp vanilla extract, 2 tsp lemon zest and 1½ tsp lemon juice. Whisk in 3 large eggs and 1 yolk, one at a time, scraping the bowl and whisk at least twice.
- STEP 8 Stir the carton of sour cream until smooth, then measure 200ml and pour into the mixture. Continue on low speed as you add the sour cream. Whisk to blend, but don’t over-beat. The batter should be smooth, light and somewhat airy.
- STEP 9 Brush the sides of the cake tin with melted butter and put on a baking sheet. Pour in the filling – if there are any lumps, sink them using a knife – the top should be as smooth as possible. Bake for 10 minutes.
- STEP 10 Reduce oven temperature to 110C/ 90C fan/ gas ¼ and bake for 45 minutes more. If you gently shake the tin, the filling should have a slight wobble.
- STEP 11 Turn off the oven and open the oven door for a cheesecake that’s creamy in the centre, or leave it closed if you prefer a drier texture. Let cool in the oven for 2 hours. The cheesecake may get a slight crack on top as it cools.
- STEP 12 Run a round-bladed knife around the sides of the tin to loosen any stuck edges. Unlock the side, slide the cheesecake off the bottom of the tin onto a plate, then slide the parchment paper out from underneath.
The way you mix it matters! Not mixing it thoroughly can lead to a lumpy mixture but over-mixing can whip in too much air. This can result in uneven cooking, bubbles, and cracking.
Make sure everything is at room temperature! It is essential to have the soft cheese at room temperature before starting. Ideally, let it come to room temperature in its pack for 2 hours. If you’re short of time, cut the soft cheese into chunks and leave to soften for 1 hour.
Fill the gaps! My cheesecakes almost always end up with the Grand Canyon in the centre after cooling. To hide the gaps I fill them in with sliced strawberries or raspberries before decorating.. no one ever knows!
Top it with what ever you want! This cheesecake recipe goes with anything. I’ve tried blueberry compote, chocolate gnash with either strawberries or raspberries and to be fair, it goes with anything.
Chocolate Ganache Topping
Once your cheesecake is cooled you can add a topping of your choice. Most people choose chocolate! So here is how I make my Chocolate Ganache.
Chop up your chocolate in to small chunks, the smaller, the better as they will melt quicker. On a low heat, slowly head up your cream. Do not allow the cream to boil, this is very important! You’ll know your cream is warm enough when it begins to gentle steam or when you see very small bubbles appear around the edge of the sauce pan.
With your chocolate chunks in a mixing bowl, pour the warmed cream over the top and allow to sit for a couple of minutes – do not mix it at this stage. Just allow the cream to melt the chocolate.
After 2 minutes approx gently mix the cream and chocolate with a whisk. Do not over mix it as you will lose the sheen of the chocolate. Once smooth, pour directly over the cake, allowing the excess to drizzle of the sides. Using a spatula or knife, smooth the ganache all the way around the sides and finally, allow to cool and set. Decorate with berries of your choice and refrigerate!
Also, for cakes and buns – If you decided to allow the cream and chocolate mixture to cool fully in the bowl, you can then whisk it and it turns into a chocolate ganache frosting!