If you have visited my blog a few times, you can guess that I have a weird love/hate relationship with food. Not only do I love to eat my problems away, I also get myself into more problems because of eating (it’s complicated). I recently came across the trend of ‘anxiety baking’ and very soon realized, it is real! Baking does have a therapeutic effect on the mind. I love baking, from fudgey brownies to gooey cookies and even savories like lasagnas, pies and pizzas. However when it comes to cake, I am stumped. I don’t know what it is about a cake but I just can’t bake one correctly. So when I attempted to make cheesecake, I knew I was taking a tremendous risk.
I had been emboldened by my numerous successful brownie baking attempts and so after a month of watching videos, I readied myself to make cheesecake. But did I bite more than I can chew? (HA!) Let’s find out.
The main ingredient in the recipe is cream cheese. Cream cheese is slightly expensive in Pakistan. And not knowing how my cake would turn out, I was extremely reluctant to spend money on it. Then I saw a video of one of my favorite Youtubers, showing how to make cream cheese at home from fresh milk. And I knew I had to try.
Now many recipes of cheesecake are no bake, meaning you just have to chill them and they are done. But I wanted a baked one, and so I carefully read up on the differences between the two. Here is what I did.
To make the crust of the cheesecake, I used Saltish Biscuits. Most recipes I saw used either digestive biscuits or Marie. I, however prefer Saltish, because they are kinda salty and so balance nicely with the sweet cream cheese mixture. After grinding them and adding butter, I set the biscuit layer into a greased pan, lined with baking paper. Next I put the pan into the preheated oven (160`C) for 15 minutes.
Once I had the cream cheese ready, I moved on to make cheesecake mixture. Into a large glass bowl, I added cream cheese that I had made, and mixed it with two spoons of ‘Puck cheese spread’. I wanted to make it cheesier I guess. Next I added sour cream, lemon zest and lemon juice and folded it in. In a separate bowl I mixed two whole eggs and cream of tar tar with fine sugar. I beat em together until creamy. Then I added vanilla extract. This I added to the cream mixture and mixed gently. I also added two tablespoons of all purpose flour to the mixture to give it a little extra strength. All the videos I watched told me not to beat the concoction too much because it can cause cracking.
I took out the slightly baked biscuit layer and let it cool. Then I added the cream cheese mixture to the pan. Inside the over, after taking out the pan, I had placed a tray with water to heat it up. I covered my cheesecake pan with foil, and placed it in the tray of water and put it in the over.
The videos I watched told me to bake the cake on high for a few minutes and then slow bake. My oven dilapidated as it is, is a victim of over cleaning. Meaning the baking temperatures printed on the stove knob have been wiped clean (SIGH). So I turned the knob in my estimate more than halfway up and let it cook for 10 minutes. (I know which mark is 180 `C so I guess other temperatures accordingly). After 10 minutes I lowered it to 160 `C (yes, I guessed) and let it bake for 45 minutes.
At this point I had no way of knowing how to tell if the cheesecake was baked. The tutorial told me to give the pan a little shake. If the sides stayed put and only the center jiggled a little, that meant it was done. Once I reached that stage, I turned off the oven and let the cake sit in the oven for 10 more minutes. The top had turned a slight golden brown too! I loved every minute of it.
After 10 minuted I removed the pan from the oven and let it cool.
I took a million pictures and waited for the sun to rise so I can share with the world what I had done (I usually bake in the dead of the night, because everyone is asleep and there are no distractions).
Do you have a special cheesecake recipe that you want to share? Let me know in the comments below!