Cheesecake, for me, is HARD. I find it fiddly, time-consuming and stressful to make, and I haven’t tried to make it since I made it as a 13 year old teenager in food technology class. Back then, it took 2 hours to cook, leaked all over the oven and overran from my lesson into the lunch break, which displeased my teacher at the time! I was put off ever baking a cheesecake again. But it was my adventurous promise to bake a cheesecake for one of my best friend’s 20th birthdays that meant I had to go through the turmoil of cheesecake making again. And the first try did not go well at all.
I used a recipe made for a much larger tin than mine for a start. So much so, that it was enough mixture to make 2 1/2 cheesecakes with my tin in the end! Then, I tried the bain-marie method that I’ve seen so many bloggers use. It didn’t work. The cheesecake was just refusing to set, the biscoff crust was getting soggy, the top was beginning to burn, and after 2 hours in the oven, the centre was still a bit gooey and uncooked. It tasted nice, sure, but I didn’t have the heart to give my friend such a poor effort of a cheesecake, so I cut out the uncooked part and fed the edible bits to my housemates, who weren’t fussed about the presentation at all! I poured the rest of the cheesecake batter into a tupperware box and left it in the fridge for a few days so that I could calm down from my frustration, because the thought of baking another cheesecake made me want to cry a little bit.
I’m moving out of my house in a week, and am desperately trying to use up all my food, so it turned into a blueberry and lemon cheesecake instead of plain vanilla for that reason. I have so many lemons, I’ve lost count, and the blueberries in my freezer are fat, juicy and sweet. I just don’t have the heart to throw them away when I leave ; they need to be eaten! It seems a biscoff crust wasn’t working for me, so I switched back to good old digestive biscuits. Not as good as biscoff, I admit, but I wasn’t taking any chances this time.
So I sat down and gave the classic cheesecake another shot. Thicker crust, greased and lined tin, foil covering the top to keep it pale, and NO BAIN MARIE. It worked beautifully, even in my temperamental oven that bakes quicker on one side than the other. I admit, I did a little happy dance around the kitchen when I pulled it out in one piece from the tin onto a plate. It was better than good, it was perfect!
I have a mini cake tin that I impulse bought at poundland once because I thought it was cute, and I thought I might as well give it a use with the rest of my cheesecake mixture. It’s the perfect size for giving as a gift to a friend, don’t you think? I didn’t quite coo at the cute little size of it, but I was close to doing so. Anything miniature is cute in my opinion, hence I own a tiny little grater, and find the tiny jars of nutella that poundland sells adorable. I’m a sad, sad person, I admit that. 😛
I suppose I should give you the recipe now that I have bored you with my cheesecake drama:
450g Full fat cream cheese
200g Digestive biscuits/graham crackers
75g Melted butter
125g Caster Sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of 2 lemons, juice of 1
1/2 – 1 punnet of blueberries (depending on size)
100ml Soured cream
2 tbsp Plain flour
2 small eggs/ 1 1/2 large eggs (basically beat 2 eggs in a bowl and don’t add all of it)
(be careful when adding the eggs, as the mixture can get very runny)
Preheat your oven to 120C/100C fan. Grease the bottom and sides of a 20cm springform cake tin and line the bottom with baking parchment.
Crush the biscuits in a ziplock bag or sandwich bag with a rolling pin until you have fine crumbs. Then, in a bowl add to the melted butter and mix thoroughly. The crumbs should stick together like wet sand. Press the biscuit mix into the base of the tin, making sure it is evenly spread, then bake for 5-10 minutes.
Now, using an electric whisk, beat the cream cheese till it is creamy and soft. Then whisk in the sugar until well combined. Beat in the flour, vanilla, soured cream and eggs (a little at a time). The mixture should be thin but will coat a spatula and leave it clean if you run your finger across the batter left on it. Do not add the rest your eggs if it gets to this stage before you have finished whisking them in.
Fold through half of your blueberries, so that they bleed a little into the mixture. Pour onto your biscuit bases and add the rest of the blueberries where the distribution is sparse. Don’t overcrowd the tin with blueberries, however, as the cheesecake will not bake properly. Bake for 45 mins with a foil lid, keeping an eye on it, then leave the cake to cool at room temperature. Stick it in the fridge to chill for around 4 hours or overnight. To serve, place it on a pretty plate or cake stand, dust with icing sugar and garnish with fresh blueberries if you have them.
Now that I have had better success with my second batch of cheesecake, I will certainly be more tempted to make more in the future. I think I prefer baking cakes though! This cheesecake is deliciously creamy and the blueberries give a nice sharpness to cut through the sweetness. I hope you get round to making this cheesecake one day, and don’t be disheartened by my previous failures!
Love Sian xxx