I’ve always wanted to make cheesecake – especially a tangy lemon cheesecake which is my favourite! The following recipe is a combination of the “Summer Fruit Cheesecake” from Cake Days by The Hummingbird Bakery and Nigella Lawson’s “London Cheesecake” from How To Be A Domestic Goddess. I really like the way Nigella adds extra egg yolks and includes more lemon juice and lemon zest in her recipe. Makes the cheesecake beautifully lemony and super smooth when you taste it!
Making the biscuit base and cheesecake topping was very easy. What could be simpler than bashing (or grinding) some digestive biscuits and adding melted butter and then whipping together the cream cheese, sugar, eggs and lemon zest and juice?
The awkward bit was making sure the cake tin was well insulated within the foil. I doubled mine up to super-protect it. The last thing you want is water seeping into the tin and making the biscuit base wet and stodgy – not nice. The other very important thing is to make sure your cake tin can sit comfortably in a roasting tin, so that you can pour water into the roasting tin and it comes half way up the well protected cake tin. The roasting tin I used was 14 inches (35.6 cm) by 11 inches (27.9 cm). Then very carefully place in the oven.
The next delicate part of the cooking process is knowing when to remove the cheesecake from the oven. Most recipes suggest 45-50 minutes but mine took a little longer. It should have set nicely round the edges and have a little wobble in the middle before adding the topping and cooking for a further 10 minutes.
It really is delicious and well worth the effort. I doubt whether I will ever buy another cheesecake again! It’s fantastic served with raspberry coulis!
- For the biscuit base:
- 220g digestive biscuits
- 100g unsalted butter (melted or very soft)
- For the cheesecake topping:
- 700g cream cheese (ie Philidelphia)
- 150g caster sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
- For the topping:
- 145 ml sour cream
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Line a 20cm (8 inch) spring-form cake tin with baking parchment.
- Process the biscuits in a food processor until they are like crumbs (or break them up by hand by placing in a plastic bag, sealed and then crushed with a rolling pin.
- Pour the crushed biscuits into a bowl and pour over the melted butter. Mix together well until combined.
- Press the biscuit base into the cake tin and press down well with your hands or the back of a spoon.
- Put the tin in the fridge to set (about 30 minutes).
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4.
- Beat the cream cheese gently until it's smooth.
- Add the sugar and mix well.
- Beat in the eggs and egg yolks, then finally the vanilla and lemon juice.
- Don't over mix but make sure everything is well incorporated - it should be like a nice thick runny batter.
- Put the kettle on.
- 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.
- Pour the cream-cheese filling into the chilled biscuit base.
- Pour the 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 (mine took about 60 minutes) 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.
- Take the roasting tin out of the oven and remove cake tin (carefully) from the water bath and foil.
- Leave the cheesecake to go cold (still in the cake tin) for at least 2 hours.
- Remove the Springform and then place in the fridge (still with cake tin bottom in place) overnight.
- In the morning place the cake in the freezer for about one hour (this will help you remove the cake tin base in one piece).
- With a knife that has been dipped in boiling water and then wiped, carefully start separating the cheesecake from the cake tin base.
- Once base is removed place on cake stand and return to fridge until your ready to serve.
- Remove from fridge approx 20 minutes before serving.
- Serve with cream or raspberry coulis.