I have not baked cheesecake in a very long time. One day, while clearing my refrigerator, I found a box of cream cheese that has been sitting at the corner for an embarrassing amount of time.
It was just two months before it’s used by date so I turned to my old time favourite cheesecake recipe. And I fell in love with it all over again.
The cake was finished in two days. So I went out to buy another box of cream cheese and made this cake again the week after.
This happens to me quite a bit especially when I get fixated on one dessert, I start to make it in quick successions. Is anyone guilty of this too?
This cheesecake has got to be my favourite one. I’ve adapted Harumi Kurihara‘s Baked cheesecake recipe from Harumi’s Japanese Home Cooking (one of my first few cookbooks).
This baked cheesecake is the golden mean of all cheesecakes; it has found the exacting balance of rich and light. It is not your average rich, creamy and dense New York style cheesecakes nor your light as air cotton-souffle cheesecake.
This one is easy to make but kind of complicated to describe. It taste different at different temperatures – as Harumi puts it herself, it is like having different cakes! When it is still slightly warm, the center is slightly wobbly, the cake is soft, fluffy and almost souffle light. While when it has been chilled, it becomes a denser, creamier cake. I find it hard to pick my favourite way of eating this cake because both of equally good for different occasions, moods, weather.
I like adding raspberries and blueberries to this cake because the berries add a nice tartness to the creaminess of the cheese. You can, of course, choose to leave them out if you wish.
I make my own biscuit base for this cheesecake because well, I can. And I do like this crumbly base more than a usual style graham crackers or digestives base.
I always make a slightly thicker than usual biscuit base for my cheesecake because I think a higher ratio of biscuit to cream cheese is spot on. It does helps that no one would have to fight over the biscuit part of the cheesecake as it happens frequently in my family.
You don’t have to worry too much about making this – it is extremely easy and very forgiving for someone new to baking. There’s no need for bain maries and water-baths. The cake is baked at a constant temperature, if it doesn’t brown evenly on the top, you can turn it around so the all sides can brown evenly. If the top starts cracking excessively, turn down the temperature of your oven slightly.
I hope I have not bore you with so much details of one cheesecake. I shall just leave you with the recipe and let you decide for yourself how much you like this one.
Recipe: Baked cheesecake with berries
Adapted from Harumi’s Japanese Home Cooking
Makes a 8 inch spring form cake
This has got to be my favourite cheesecake recipe. I’ve been baking this even before I went to Le Cordon Bleu. Harumi Kurihara (often referred to as the Japanese Martha Stewart) makes this cheesecake with mixing butter with digestive biscuits (you can use 100g biscuits and 40g butter) to form the base. I prefer baking my own base because I think it taste better and it doesn’t take much effort. Other than that, I added zest to give it a more pronounced citrus flavour and increased the sugar just a teeny bit. Adding berries to it also gives it a lovely touch.
This cheesecake is for those who like a lighter style cheesecake; it is not and doesn’t try to be your rich, dense and creamy New York style versions. One interesting thing about this cake is that this cake taste different at different temperatures. When it still slightly warm, it is soft, fluffy souffle-like goodness. After you refrigerate the cake, it becomes denser and creamier. I still can’t decide which is my preferred way of eating it after baking this more than dozens of times.
For the biscuit base:
140g plain flour
50g granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
115g unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the cheesecake filling:
250g full-fat cream cheese, room temperature
100g granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
200ml double cream
3 tablespoons sifted plain flour
zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
125g raspberries and blueberries (do not replace with strawberries as strawberries give out a lot more liquid while baked)
1. Line a spring form cake tin with parchment paper and lightly grease the bottom and sides with butter.
2. Make the biscuit base: In a bowl, mix together flour, sugar, salt, vanilla extract and melted butter until smooth.
3. Transfer this batter into the cake tin. Using your fingers/ the back of a spatula, push the biscuit the base to all corners and making sure it is level. I like a higher biscuit ratio to cake so I like to line the sides of the cake tin as well (about 1 – 1.5cm all round).
4. Bake the biscuit base in a preheated 180 degree celcius oven for about 22 -25 minutes or until golden brown.
5. While the biscuit is baking, you can start to prepare your cream cheese filling.
6. For the cream cheese filling: Cream the cream cheese and sugar with a paddle attachment until smooth, fluffy, scrapping down the sides as you go along.
7. Add in the egg one at a time and mix well to incorporate (on medium speed). Then add in the rest of the ingredients in the order given in the recipe, mixing each one thoroughly first before adding the next. The mixture should be thickened and smooth.
8. Fold in the raspberries and blueberries with a spatula and transfer the filling into the baked biscuit base.
9. Lower the temperature of the oven to 170 degrees celcius and bake for about 50 minutes or until the top is slightly golden brown. The cake should be set in the middle.
10. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and allow it to cool for about 15 – 20 minutes before running a palette knife around the sides of the tin and transferring the cake out onto a cake board. You can eat it immediately or allow it to chill down completely in the refrigerator before serving.