Cheese? In a cake?
I once made a really disastrous cheesecake. It was a chilled one, and either I hadn’t whipped the cream enough or I hadn’t chilled it for long enough, or a combination of the two, but when I popped open the springform tin the cheesecake just flopped all over the place. Thankfully my dinner guests were my sisters, who were quite happy just to grab a spoon and dig in! I think that kind of made me nervous about making cheesecake though. And as for a baked cheesecake, the whole bain-marie situation has always terrified me. But lately I’ve had a real taste for cheesecake, and not just the cop out chilled sort but the creamy deliciousness of the proper baked sort. So I conquered my fear (with the help of Nigella, as usual) and made this. Oh my, it was good.
London Cheesecake (from How to be a Domestic Goddess)
1. Put 150g digestive biscuits in a food processor and blitz until crumbs, then add 75g unsalted butter, melted and mix again. Press into the base of a 20cm springform tin then put in the fridge to set.
2. Beat 600g cream cheese until smooth then mix in 150g caster sugar. Beat in 3 large eggs and another 3 large egg yolks, then add 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract and 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice. Once that’s done boil the kettle; you’ll need the water shortly.
3. Take the tin out of the fridge and line the outside with at least two layers of strong tin foil, using one large piece which covers the bottom and the sides for each layer. Basically, you don’t want any water getting in to spoil your lovely cheesey cakeyness. Put the tin into a roasting dish and pour the cream cheese mixture onto the biscuit base. Pour the hot water from the kettle into the roasting tin around the cheesecake until the water is about half way up the side of the tin.
4. Very carefully (i.e. without your hands wobbling and sploshing recently boiled water on yourself, your cooker or your cheesecake; you might need to get a grown up to help) put the roasting tin in the oven and bake for 50 mins at 180 c / gas mark 4 until set.
5. While it’s in the oven whisk together 145ml sour cream, 1 tbsp caster sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. When you reach the 50 minute mark pour the sour cream mixture over the cheesecake and bake for another 10 minutes.
6. Take the roasting tin out of the oven and carefully lift the springform tin out of the water. Take off the tin foil and cool on a wire rack. Once it’s cooled put it in the fridge to chill. By this stage you might be getting really impatient but this really is an essential step! Nigella suggests exercising even more patience by taking it out of the fridge 20 mins before eating “to take the chill off”. I suggest trying to control yourself for as long as possible then giving in to the sweet calorific deliciousness.