As the title suggests, this cheesecake is really good.
There are a couple of reasons for this post. Firstly, I love cheesecake.
Secondly, I recently discovered people who do not like cheesecake. Shock, HORROR! Believe it or not, these people are walking, talking members of society and they’re everywhere.
I’m sure you guys have your reasons for not liking cheesecake and I believe that I may have identified a couple of them. In all seriousness, there are some things that are very wrong with cheesecake – especially readily available cheesecake. A lot of people find it too heavy, too dense or simply don’t like cakes that have a cheesy texture. This is all very reasonable, but then brings about the question: what the hell kinda cheesecake have you been eating?
The original recipe is Donna Hay’s classic baked cheesecake, which I first saw when she demonstrated it on MasterChef Australia. I was skeptical about just how perfect it could be, but I tried it once many years ago and I’ve never looked back. I’ve adjusted the ratios and temperatures a bit and swapped the baked flour base for a biscuit base, so the recipe below is the way I prefer it, but it is also failsafe. If made correctly, this cheesecake will change people’s minds. Because of incorporating ricotta, the cake is light, fluffy, creamy and, for all the bakers out there, it does not crack or sink in the middle! It also has less of a cheesy feel or taste than many other store-bought cheesecakes.
Important: – Let your creativity run wild and add alcohol wherever possible. This particular recipe is for a plain cheesecake but there’s plenty that can be added to it before or after baking. You can add caramel to the filling, or whole oreos, coconut cream, or even some fruit for a tangy summer feel. Just be mindful of things that can affect the texture, such as chocolate. The cheesecake pictured was made for a dear friend’s birthday, so to make it a bit special I added Bailey’s Irish Cream to the filling and topped it with homemade salted caramel and roasted macadamia nuts.
The best part? The recipe is super duper easy!
- Use ricotta – this is what makes it so much lighter. You do need some cream cheese for a smooth texture, but ricotta is what’s makes the cake lighter and a bit milder.
- Remove air bubbles on top of the cake before baking by tapping the base of the tin on a bench. This will pop any bubbles at the top of the cake and ensure a smoother finish.
- Use a smaller cake tin – I only own two sizes of springform pans, which are 23cm and 20cm. For this baked cheesecake I always use the smaller 20cm one. You’re not making a smaller cake, you’re making a taller one. The recipe is designed to cook the cake in a measured and controlled way, using low temperatures and residual oven heat to cook the filling while keeping it soft. Spreading the same cake batter over a larger surface area makes it cook faster, increasing the chances of burning, sinking or cracking.
- Low and slow – keep the temperature low and be patient with it. Refrain from opening the oven to check on it. The result is creamy goodness.
~ Ingredients ~
- 200g buttersnap biscuits
- 100g unsalted butter, melted
- 250g cream cheese, softened
- 550g ricotta
- 4 eggs
- 1.25 cups caster suger
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1.5 tablespoons cornflour
- 1.5 tablespoons water
~ Method ~
- Preheat oven to 150C. Place the biscuits in a food processor and process until completely crushed, resembling bread crumbs. Add the melted butter and process until combined.
- Spread the biscuit mixture over the base of a 20cm springform cake tin, pressing and smoothing with the back of a spoon. Set aside.
- To make the filling, place the cream cheese, ricotta, eggs, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a food processor. Combine the cornflour and water in a separate bowl, stirring to remove any lumps, then add to the food processor. Process the cheese mixture until smooth.
- Lightly grease the sides of the cake tin and pour in the filling. Tap the bottom of the tin on a bench to remove any air bubbles, then place in the oven. Reduce the heat to 140C and bake for 1 hour, then turn the oven off and let the cake sit inside for 1 more hour. Chill before serving.
Yield: 8-10 slices