This is a very easy cheesecake recipe and is quite delicious. Reflecting on it though, I think next time I’ll make a deeper base, so I’ll double the base ingredients by adding another half or another quarter digestive biscuits and butter.
Cheesecake was first mentioned in Ancient Greece before the Romans adopted it. These earlier forms of cheesecake though were quite different in taste and consistency from the cheesecake we know today.
The modern cream cheese used in cheesecakes was developed in 1872 when William Lawrence from New York was looking for a way to recreate a soft French-type cheese which could make the cheesecake creamier. In 1928, James Kraft developed a form of pasteurised cream cheese, acquired the Philadelphia trademark and marketed Philadelphia Cream Cheese which is now the most commonly used cheese for cheesecake.
Cheesecakes can be baked or unbaked. This particular cheesecake contains eggs and is baked.
Cheesecakes are baked in a leak-proof spring-form tin within a water bath to distribute the heat. Because of the high density of most cheesecakes, it goes on cooking once removed from the oven. Don’t skip resting the cheesecake in the fridge overnight. I did once and it just didn’t taste right – it really does need to go in the fridge all night.
- For the base:
- 125 grams digestive biscuits
- 60 grams butter
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- for the filling
- 175 grams dark chocolate (chopped small)
- 500 grams cream cheese
- 150 grams caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon custard powder
- 3 large eggs
- 3 large egg yolks
- 150 ml sour cream (or just use a 142ml pot)
- ½ teaspoon cocoa powder (dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water)
- Some for the glaze - (optional)
- For the topping (optional):
- 75 grams dark chocolate (finely chopped)
- 125 ml double cream
- 1 teaspoon golden syrup
- Process the biscuits to make rough crumbs and then add the butter and cocoa.
- Process again until it makes damp,clumping crumbs and then tip them into a 20 cm springform tin.
- Press the biscuit crumbs into the bottom of the tin to make an even base and put into the freezer while you make the filling.
- Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180ºC/350ºF.
- Put a kettle on to boil.
- Melt the chocolate either in a microwave or double boiler, and set aside to cool slightly.
- Beat the cream cheese to soften it, and then add the sugar and custard powder, beating again to combine.
- Beat in the whole eggs and then the yolks, and the sour cream.
- Finally add the cocoa dissolved in hot water and the melted chocolate, and mix to a smooth batter.
- Take the springform tin out of the freezer and line the outside of the tin with a good layer of clingfilm, and then another layer of strong foil over that. This will protect it from the water bath.
- Sit the springform tin in a roasting pan and pour in the cheesecake filling. Fill the roasting pan with just-boiled water to come about halfway up the cake tin Bake in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour. The top of the cheesecake should be set, but the underneath should still have a wobble to it.
- Peel away the foil and clingfilm wrapping and sit the cheesecake in its tin on a rack to cool.
- Put in the fridge once it's no longer hot, and leave to set, covered with clingfilm, overnight.
- Let it lose its chill before unspringing the cheesecake to serve. To make the chocolate glaze: Very gently melt the chopped chocolate, cream and syrup.
- When the chocolate has nearly melted, take off the heat and whisk it to a smooth sauce.
- Let it cool a little, and then Jackson Pollock it over the chocolate cheesecake on its serving plate.
- Use the remaining glaze as an accompanying sauce.