Remember when you were a child and birthdays were awesome; cakes were just the highlight weren’t they? Well they were for me, as I’ve always been kinda food driven.
Historically I don’t tend to have the best of luck with birthdays; I’ve had some pretty crumby things happen over the years. Not least being ill when I was younger and not being able to eat any cake! The birthday curse got really REALLY bad in my twenties, but since hitting 30 it’s been kinda quiet. I don’t particularly like to talk about it in case I wake the sleeping dragon, but *touch wood* it hasn’t reared its head in about five years now. You can tell it’s been slumbering, even my birthday cakes have come out well!
Last year Mr. P was at work so during the day I lazed in the bath, painted my toenails (copper), made myself an epic cake, and took pictures of it. Pretty neat, huh? Later on we went out for dinner and I had far too many champagne cocktails, but as I didn’t even get a hangover the next day you can bet I was one happy bunny. The curse is well and truly sleeping. I just hope it’s a hundred-year-magical-slumber like Sleeping Beauty’s, because if it comes back you can bet your ass that curse is getting none of my cake. I mean look at it, this is one tasty cake.
But how can you make your very own cheesecake of awesome I hear you cry? After all, you’ve just had to bask in its glory, surely you should get something in return?
Of course my lovelies, this is for you:
For the crust
200g biscuits, made into fine crumbs (something quite dry: digestives, malted milk etc.)
For the cheesecake filling
600g full fat soft cheese
200g golden caster sugar
3 tbsp plain flour
1½ tsp vanilla extract
1½ tsp lemon juice
3 large eggs, plus 1 yolk
200ml full fat Greek yoghurt
For the topping
200ml soured cream
1 tbsp golden caster sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
1 small jar of salted caramel
Preheat the oven to fan 160C/conventional 180C/gas 4. Line the base of a 23cm springform cake tin with parchment paper.
For the crust: melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in the biscuit crumbs to distribute the butter evenly. Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan and bake for 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack while preparing the filling.
For the filling: turn the oven to fan 200C/conventional 240C/gas 9. In a table top mixer beat the mascarpone and soft cheese at medium-low speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Slowly add in the sugar, then the flour and a pinch of salt.
Using the whisk attachment, keep your mixer on medium-low and add in the vanilla and lemon juice. Whisk in the eggs and yolk, one at a time, scraping the bowl and whisk as needed. Keep an eye as the mix is prone to puddle at the bottom. Add the yoghurt and whisk to blend. Keep the mixer slow and be careful not to over-beat. The batter should be smooth and light.
Brush the sides of the springform tin with butter and put it on a baking sheet. Pour the filling over the biscuit base. Knock the tin on your worktop and burst any bubbles that come to the surface; the top should be smooth. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to fan 90C/conventional 110C/gas 1⁄4 and bake for another 25 mins. The sides of the cake should be firm, but the middle will still have a bit of a wobble. Switch the oven off and leave it to cool in the oven for about 2 hours before taking it out and leaving it to cool fully on a rack.
Stir together the cream, juice and sugar. After a few seconds you’ll start to feel the mixture thicken, at this point pour it over the cheesecake, pushing the cream up to the edges.
Take your jar of salted caramel and if it’s runny drizzle it over the cake. If your caramel is quite firm, heat it up in a bain marie, then drizzle. Using a spoon handle (or utensil of your choice) carefully swirl the caramel into the cream. Cover the tin loosely with foil and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
Run a round-bladed knife around the sides of the tin to loosen any stuck edges. Unlock the side, slide the cheesecake off the bottom of the tin onto a plate, then slide the parchment paper out from underneath.
Ta daa! One awesome cheesecake.