Silky Smooth Caramel Cheesecake

My colleague turned 50 and asked for a lemon-lime cheesecake (the office favourite). I insisted on making a different version. Luckily, it became an instant hit. The cheesecake is baked in a water bath. It is relatively simple to make – making and cooling the caramel is the hardest part – but it does need some planning as baking and cooling takes a long time. It is very much worth it though, this cheesecake is incredibly smooth and cuts like room temperature butter. It is topped with piped ganache.
Having a watertight cake pan with a loose base definitely helps for baking.

Ingredients:

  • 150gr bastogne cookies (or digestives)
  • 25gr butter
  • 4 eggs (3 whole plus one yolk)
  • 600gr cream cheese
  • 20gr flour
  • 150gr sugar
  • 75ml water
  • 100gr heavy cream

Makes one 20cm round cheesecake. Serves 10-12.

Recipe:

Blitz the cookies and butter together in a kitchen machine. Push this into the base of your springform. I use a watertight pan with a loose base (and silicone ridges to make it watertight), else make sure you wrap the springform in plastic film and then aluminium foil prior to placing it in the waterbath.
Bake the base for 9 minutes on 180°C. Set aside to cool.

Have a larger water pan at the ready. I use a 25cm cake pan. Don’t be tempted to bake this without a water bath, the texture won’t be as good.
There will be a bit of caramel leaking into the waterbath during baking. Somehow caramel always does this to me (and probably to you too, unless you made some secret agreement and forgot to tell me).

Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan. Without stirring, heat until a dark caramel has formed. In one go, pour in the cream. Don’t do this half-heartedly, or the cream will splutter. You want to get that temperature down quickly. Turn off the heat and stir until the caramel has fully dissolved.
Stir the caramel into the cream cheese and combine well. Leave to cool.

Stir the flour into the cream cheese.
Add the eggs and egg yolk one by one to the cream cheese mixture, stirring well but avoiding too much air being beaten into the mix. This could crack the cake when baking.

Pour the batter onto the baked base in the form. Place the cake tin in your water bath. Add some with boiling water. Not fully until half of the filled cake tin, as you need to be able to safely put it into the oven. Slide it halfway into the oven, so it is stable, then top it off with more boiling water from the kettle, until the cake form is half submerged.

Bake for 12 minutes on 220°C, then turn the oven down to 100°C and leave it for an hour. Yes, an hour.
Once cooked, open the oven door a little bit, place a thick wooden spoon inbetween to keep it ajar. Let the oven (and cake) cool down like that. This avoids it cracking.
Once cooled for an hour or so, take it out of the oven. Cool further in the fridge.

Serve with ganache, caramel sauce, whipped cream and/or nuts.

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