2 am Water Baths

I have made approximately two cheesecakes in my life, with one successful biscuit crumb base, and the other turning a little too toasty (as I wasn’t even supposed to set the base in the oven for that recipe). Last week I received an order from a colleague for a classic cheesecake for her sister’s birthday, an order I couldn’t refuse  as I’ve had this other recipe on hold for a few weeks now. 
New York Cheesecake, one of my favourite cakes, and definitely one of the most beautifully decadent desserts one could order. What makes New York Cheesecake different from other non-regionally-tied cheesecakes? According to the ever trusty (LOL, right) Wikipedia, New York cheesecake relies upon heavy cream or sour cream. In my case, it was sour cream. 
The only problem with the recipe I’m about to share with you is that it’s meant for to produce a very tall, 9-inch cake. The order I received was for a 6-inch cake, which left me with enough batter for an identical 6-inch cake AND an 8-inch square cake! 
Two cheesecakes at home during the weekend does a body good. Not. Forget munching on toast and honey for my movie-watching snack! I just gave up and cut myself a massive wedge of cake, digging into it throughout a rerun of Hancock. I also told myself I’d make it up with an extra lap in the pool… which would have been great had I even gone to the pool… 
Alright, enough of the guilt-ridden soliloquy, let’s get on to the recipe and slightly complicated process of making a New York cheesecake.
First of all, before you get excited and start mixing up ingredients, here are a few tips from seasoned bakers on producing the perfect cheesecake:
  • Ensure all wet ingredients are at room temperature, so take everything out of the fridge 30 minutes earlier
  • If you didn’t heed the above advice and now find yourself with too-hard cream cheese, place the unwrapped cream cheese in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 15 seconds
  • Do not over mix the filling, just mix until combined
  • Use a springform pan
  • Butter the sides of the pan, or run a butter knife around the edges of the cake immediately after removal from the oven
  • Prepare a water bath to keep the oven (and therefore your cake!) moist. You do this by wrapping the springform pan in tin foil (under and around the sides), then placing the pan into a bigger pan which you will then fill with boiling water halfway up the sides of the springform pan
  • Do not open the oven door at any point, if you want to check if it’s set, then shake the oven door gently to see if the cake jiggles
  • Perfectly baked cheesecake should be puffy around the edges (try to avoid it turning brown and hard), and then you shake the oven, only the very centre of the cake should jiggle slightly (gawd, I love saying jiggle)
  • When the above point happens, switch off the oven, but don’t open the door, and leave it in until the oven has cooled (or for roughly another hour)
  • Cool completely on a wire rack before popping in the fridge to set overnight 
And now, my dear friends, on to the amazing recipe! 
New York Cheesecake
by ouncesandgrams.tumblr.com
First, preheat the oven to 175C, and prepare your springform pan and create a seal for the water bath (ie foil)
  • 200g cookie crumbs
  • 1/4 c caster sugar
  • 114g melted butter
  1. Blend the cookies – I used McVites plain digestives – into fine crumbs, then combine all ingredients in a bowl
  2. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan, bake for 10 minutes or chill in the fridge while preparing the filling
Cake filling
  • 900g cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  1. Cream the cheese and sugar until smooth
  2. Beat in milk
  3. Then add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition
  4. Beat in sour cream, vanilla and flour until just incorporated. Do not overmix
  5. Pour the filling over the prepared crust, fill the roasting pan (the larger pan which you place the springform pan in) with hot water about 1/2 way up the sides of the springform pan
  6. Bake for an hour or until just barely set
  7. Turn off the oven, leave the cheesecake in until the oven is cool, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack, after which you refrigerate overnight so it’s completely set

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