What’s creamy, tangy and smooth with a crunchy base? A Cheesecake of course! Made with a lovely cream cheese from the local cheese shop in Victoria Market (Curds and Whey).
I used to make a white chocolate cheesecake which had so much white chocolate that I refused to eat it, much to the delight of my brothers. So I decided to look around for another cheesecake recipe which was not too sweet yet tangy for my taste buds (I don’t like freeze cheesecakes, so that’s out of the question). That was when my mum stumbled upon a Stephanie Alexander recipe for baked cheesecake on one of those weekend magazines that came along with the newspapers a long time ago.
The recipe looked tedious, enough to put me off as a novice baker attempting such a recipe. But I decided to go ahead with it as the final product looked good in the photos. When I made it the first time, I’ve never heard of using a water bath, and I was often scared of burning myself (burned myself across 2 fingers before). So pouring freshly boiled water into a baking tray with the cheesecake in an oven wasn’t exactly my idea of fun… almost burned myself again.
The final product was fantastic though! Golden on top, with no cracks in sight. Smooth, tangy and creamy as well. It was love. Surprisingly it was fast to do too, the tedious part was just preparing the tin! To make it better, all I needed to do was to reduce the amount of digestives used in the base (didn’t like the thick base). My family loved it so much that they jumped ship from the old recipe! Since then, I’ve used this recipe for all the cheesecakes I’ve baked.
Personally, I find that a water bath prevents unwanted cracking on the top of the cheesecake. Something these cheesy cakes get when baked without a water bath. I’ve heard many bakers have that problem. Out of all times I’ve done it (roughly 10 times), the top has only cracked once which I believe was due to baking it at a wrong temperature.
So my belief that the hot water provides enough steam to balance the heat in the oven and cook the cheesecake slowly without any cracks stands. I’ve never done this recipe without a water bath but I’m not going to try anyway.
Enjoyed with a spoon! Lovely~
Best-ever Cheesecake (I AGREE!)
Adapted and modified from Stephanie Alexander (The Cook’s Companion)
Makes a 22cm by 6cm inch round cheesecake
- 75g butter, melted (100g)
- 250g wheatmeal biscuits (300g)
- 500g cream cheese, at room temperature
- 200g caster sugar
- 1 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 2 tbsp of lemon, or more for tang
- few drops of pure vanilla/vanilla extract to taste
- pinch of salt
- 2 cups sour cream
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C.
- Brush the sides and base of an 22cm by 6cm springform tin with a little melted butter.
- Remove the base from the tin and cut a round piece of baking paper to fit it. Brush the paper with a little butter and set aside.
- Tear off an 80cm piece of aluminium foil and fold it in half. Place the foil of the base of the tin and place the buttered round of paper on top. Sit the springform tin over the base and lock the sides into place, leaving excess foil outside the tin.
- Draw up the excess foil around the tin and fold the top out of the way. This is the watertight container.
- Crush the biscuits in a food processor. Add the remaining butter and process. Press the crumb mixture into the base of the tin, tapping firmly with the base of a glass tumbler or similar as you go.
- Beat the cream cheese and sugar in an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in the cornflour, then add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating each time just until smooth.
- Add the lemon juice, vanilla and salt. Add the sour cream and beat briefly to combine.
- Pour the batter into the tin and stand the tin in a large baking dish. Pour boiling water into the dish to come halfway up the sides of the tin.
- Bake for 50 minutes, then turn off the oven but do not open the door for a further hour.
- Lift the tin from the water bath and flatten the foil away from the sides just in case there is any water trapped inside. Cool completely in the tin on a wire rack and refrigerate for several hours or overnight before serving
* I used an 8 inch springform pan, and took a few short cuts with the tin prep. Basically instead of drawing a circular sheet of paper for the base, just tear a piece large enough to cover the base and lay it on top of the aluminium foil which will clip it in place and would still work as a water tight container without the butter brushing of the base. My springform tin looks more like this and this, rather than this, so I’m not too sure how the tin prep method works with the third kind of tin.
* I’ve also used less butter and biscuits as I didn’t like a thick base. Original proportions in brackets.