Vanilla Baked Cheesecake. My favourite!
I am going to get straight into it here. I do not care much for eating cake. I love making cake and giving it to my friends and family. I bake my flatmates and brothers a birthday cake every year. I love that! But eating cake, yea not so much. I'll have a bit. Usually to make sure that I am happy with the recipe. The only cake that I will actively choose to eat is baked cheesecake. I love the texture, the sourness of the cream cheese, the base. Now that is something I could eat until I am deeply uncomfortable.
I prefer vanilla because I just want the pure flavour. I don't want spice or lemon or caramel or whatever. Good base, good cream cheese, good vanilla. Thank you very much.
Heilala vanilla is what I have chosen to go with. Dark, sticky and very aromatic, it comes from Tonga and it is beautiful.
I have made this cheesecake gluten free and it is a very minor adjustment. I actually prefer this gluten free base as its got a good seemingly solid foundation but crumbles in the best way
80g shredded coconut
40g ground almonds
70g light brown sugar
100g melted butter
1 tsp salt
Cheesecake mix -
500g good quality cream cheese, room temperature
200g caster sugar
3 tbsp Heilala vanilla
Take a round 25cm tin and grease lightly. Line the tin with baking paper and set aside (see the post' The Art Of Lining')
Preheat the oven to 170C
Mix all the ingredients for the base in a bowl and tip into the tin. Spread the crumbs around the base and press well. Flatten evenly with the back of a spoon. Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 15 mins. Remove and leave to cool. Turn the oven down to 140C.
To make the cheesecake mix, you can either use a standalone kitchen mixer or a hand held one with a bowl. As long as you use the paddle/beater attachment. Place the cream cheese in the bowl and beat on low to start so as to break up the cheese. Gradually increase the speed to medium while adding the sugar and cream. Add the eggs one by one until each one is beaten in. Finish with the cornflour and the vanilla. Tip the mix into the tin and carefully tap the tin on the bench to get rid of any bubbles. Place the tin on a baking tray and then in the middle of the oven. Cook for 1 hour and then check, it may need another 8-12 minutes. At this point, it is best to do this in small bursts of 2-3 minutes, not 8 or 10 at once. This is because eggs need to be treated with care when it comes to cooking. They can jump over into a state of overcooked-ness very fast. The short amounts of time gives us that control. For the finished and set cheesecake, we are looking for a set wobble. Like a shudder when tapped. It shouldn't be loose, it should look stable.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool. When the cheesecake is almost room temperature, place in the fridge overnight or for at least 4 hours. Once fully chilled and rested, remove from the tin and dig in!!
I don't serve this with anything - I just want to be fully immersed in vanilla and cream cheese.