london cheesecake

It has been a while!!! Yes, yes, you have heard it all before – I have been busy, blah, blah, blah.. In this instance, it happens to be true – I had another baby since my last post, set up another business and have been running around like a headless chicken (what a thought!) trying to hold everything together.

Now that my little girl is all grown up, well, all 10 months of her anyway, I have been itching to cook and bake again.

My little JL :)

My little JL 🙂

My recent obsessions have been mainly Korean – Pajeon (the only Korean food that my hubby (henceforth known as (my) Lord and Master, aka, LAM, will eat willingly – “Korean Pancake!” he says), Doenjang Jjigae, Dwaeji Kalbi, etc, but those are all for another post since I was so excited with the results of those dishes that they were all eaten before I had a chance to take any pictures.

A couple of weeks ago, the LAM and I brought our kiddos out for dinner. While I rarely eat dessert, I had a craving for something sweet that night. Since the dessert menu was not very extensive, we ended up ordering a piece of cheesecake to share.

The cheesecake was just so terribly so-so that I have been thinking of making one myself for the last 14 or so days. And the problem with that is once an idea gets into my head, I simply cannot dispel it.

So! Since we have friends coming over with their kids tomorrow for a swim and dinner date, what better chance to make, yes, you guess it, a cheesecake!

The LAM and I have tried making a few types of cheesecake before. We found that we prefer a denser cheesecake. That means a ton of cream cheese. SIGH. My already expanded waistline weeps at the thought, but what is the point of eating cheesecake if it is not cheesy?? Have we all not had some pseudo-cheesecake that had been bulked up with cake or cream, or god knows what else, because cream cheese is not cheap?? SACRILEGIOUS!!

As all cheesecakes go, this one started with a digestive biscuit base. The recipe calls for normal digestive biscuits but I happened to have some chocolate ones sitting in my fridge (for emergencies only, I swear!) so I decided to use them instead.

I used a 9-inch Springform Cheesecake pan (the recipes calls for an 8-inch one) and I was a tad worried about there not being enough biscuit base to cover the entire bottom of the pan. It turned out I need not have worried because there was enough – unless you like a really thick base (EEK??) then by all means increase the quantity of the biscuits. I also used my beautiful food processor to blitz the biscuits but I am sure they can be bashed up using a rolling pin.

The base was left to set in the fridge for a few hours (or overnight) before I wrapped the base with aluminium foil. I am super KS and used 2 layers of super strong foil because I really, really do not want any water from the bain marie to get into my cheesecake (YUKS).

London Cheesecake 1

Once that was done, I got on with the cheesecake mixture. I mixed everything together until the batter was smooth and shiny. It is important to taste the mixture and adjust the amount of lemon juice that you use because some lemons are more tart than others. If you are squirmish about eating raw eggs, then a cheesecake is probably not the thing you’d wanna make. YOU MUST TASTE THE MIXTURE BEFORE YOU BAKE IT!

London Cheesecake 2

London Cheesecake 3
And then pour it over the base.

London Cheesecake 4

Smooth with a spatula, and you will have the most beautiful looking cheesecake ready to be baked!

London Cheesecake 5

The other important thing about making a cheesecake is that you need to keep an eye on it towards the end. I don’t mean constantly opening the oven door to peek (NO NO NO!) but to sort of press the top very gently to check the if it is ready. Personally I prefer a cheesecake that is more “set” (firmer to the touch) but once the LAM and I baked a cheesecake and it was not as “set” as we would normally have it and he loved it! So it is a matter or trial and error and finding that right firmness at the end of the day. At this stage, the top of the cake is firm enough to not collapse under the weight of the topping that I shall be using but it is still very wobbly beneath.

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This cake is so pretty! Pity that the top will be covered with a sour cream topping. The topping is optional but I think that it does complement the cheesecake. If you do not want to put the topping then simply bake the cake for about 10-15 more minutes.

I simply made the topping and then used the back of a spoon to spread it around.

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London Cheesecake 8

The result should be a dense, dense cheesecake that tastes of cheese. As it should. HMMMMMMMM 🙂

London Cheesecake 9

London Cheesecake
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For the base
  1. 150 grams digestive biscuits
  2. 75 grams unsalted butter (melted or very soft)
  3. 600 grams cream cheese
  4. 150 grams caster sugar
  5. 3 large eggs
  6. 3 large egg yolks
  7. 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  8. 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
For the topping
  1. 145 ml sour cream
  2. 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  3. ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Process the biscuits until they are like crumbs, then add the butter and pulse again. Line the bottom of a 20cm springform tin, pressing the biscuits in with your hands or the back of a spoon. Put the tin in the fridge to set, and preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4.
  2. Beat the cream cheese gently until it's smooth, then add the sugar. Beat in the eggs and egg yolks, then finally the vanilla and lemon juice. Put the kettle on.
  3. Line the outside of the chilled tin with strong foil so that it covers the bottom and sides in one large piece, and then do the same again and put it into a roasting dish. This will protect the cheesecake from the water as it is cooked in its water bath.
  4. Pour the cream-cheese filling into the chilled biscuit base, and then pour hot water from the recently boiled kettle into the roasting tin around the cheesecake. It should come about halfway up; don't overfill as it will be difficult to lift up the tin. Put it into the oven and cook for 50 minutes. It should feel set, but not rigidly so: you just need to feel confident that when you pour the sour cream over, it will sit on the surface and not sink in. Whisk together the sour cream, sugar and vanilla for the topping and pour over the cheesecake. Put it back in the oven for a further 10 minutes.
  5. Take the roasting tin out of the oven, then gingerly remove the Springform, unwrap it and stand it on a rack to cool. When it's cooled down completely, put it in the fridge, removing it 20 minutes before eating to take the chill off. Unmould and when you cut into it, plunge a knife in hot water first.
Adapted from "How to be a Domestic Goddess" by Nigella Lawson.
The Domestic Goddess Wannabe