It’s been a few weeks since my last post, but I haven’t been neglecting my baking – I’ve been in Japan! It was an incredible trip and I was amazed to see their interest in French patisserie as well as their own local spin on desserts and sweets. But that’s for another post…
This one is going to focus on the first of my “other cakes”- that is, cakes that sit outside the foam-based and butter-based batters.
And what better place to start than cheesecakes! I recently wrote an article for The Urban List Brisbane about what makes the perfect cheesecake and it really does come down to creating a smooth, creamy filling.
Regardless of whether you like your cheesecake baked or fridge-set, a cheesecake is essentially a set custard made up of cream cheese, sour cream, butter, sugar, eggs and flavouring.
According to Michel Suas:
“The success of a cheesecake lies in the incorporating of ingredients and the baking of the batter. The ingredients, in their separate, singular states, vary in firmness and texture. Most importantly, the cream cheese is very firm, the sour cream very soft, and the eggs very fluid”
He goes on to suggest that all ingredients are room temperature to ensure even mixing and that the bowl is scraped down frequently to ensure even mixing.
You can also have a bit of fun with the cheesecake base which is traditionally made by mixing a packet of sweet biscuits with melted butter. You can use gingernuts, butternut snaps, chocolate cookies or regular digestive biscuits.
You can also decide whether you want to just have the base along the underside of the cake or up around the sides. I think the sides generally looks a lot nicer but the bottom is easier so I swap between the two.
This recipe was inspired by Jade from Cake Kiosk who makes a salted caramel cheesecake from her 70s caravan-come-food truck.
I cobbled together the recipe from a few sources – the filling is from my friend and colleague Jane who is our work’s cake queen and the salted caramel is from a chocolate making course we both recently attended at Spring.
I will warn you, this cake is extremely rich so try to resist cutting yourself too large a slice!!
Salted caramel baked cheesecake
1 packet gingernut biscuits, crushed
120g melted butter
750g cream cheese
2/3 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tsbp flour
½ cup sugar
350g caster sugar
150ml thickened cream
150ml liquid glucose
2 gms sea salt
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease and line a 23 cm spring form cake pan.
To make the crust, combine the butter and biscuits and then press into the base (and sides) of the tin. Bake for 10 minutes and then set aside to cool while you prepare the filling.
Increase the oven setting to 230 degrees.
In an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until fluffy using the paddle attachment. Add the sugar and flour, then continue to beat for 3 minutes.
Add the eggs one at a time, remembering to scrape down the sides of the bowl regularly.
Stir in the sour cream and vanilla essence.
Pour the filling into the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 110 degrees and bake for a further 30 minutes. Switch the oven off and open the door. Leave to cool for at least two hours.
To make the salted caramel, use a saucepan over a medium heat to melt the sugar. Initially melt 1/3 of the sugar, then add the next third and allow to melt before adding the final third.
Boil the cream at the same time so that it’s boiling hot, t hen add to the sugar.
Take the pan off the heat and stir through the butter and salt. Finally mix through the glucose. Set aside to cool.
Once the cake and the caramel are cooled, pour the caramel over the top of the cake then refrigerate overnight to set.
Tip – you’ll know when your filling is ready when it is set to the touch but still has a bit of a wobble when shaken.