New Year's Cheesecake

1/02/2011 02:11:00 AM

Happy new year everyone!  Hope you've all had a fabulous night and aren't suffering too bad with hangovers!   Last night we decided to skip the mad crowds in the city, and had a quiet little party... of awesomeness!  We started with a yummy dinner of chicken cacciatore, beans, rice and salad cooked by my friend Jess, and then returned to our place for chips, champagne and cheesy horror films!

But as you can surmise from the title of this post, there was another element to this party - cheesecake.  Tyler Florence's Ultimate Cheesecake, to be exact.  The recipe is here. Enjoy!  (I've obviously omitted his warm lemon blueberry topping.)  Tyler's Ultimate cheesecake is my favourite cheesecake of all time.  It's exceedingly rich, smooth, dense and delicious.  I've made it a bunch of times, but never actually blogged it.

I hadn't planned on baking anything for the party (after the epic Christmas parties, ham dinner and turkey dinner, I was knackered!), but after dinner we kinda got the idea in our heads that cheesecake would be nice so we swung by the supermarket and picked up the ingredients.  Because that's the kind of person I am!

Mmm... digestives!
I guess it's a little odd to start baking something in the middle of a party, but you know what? The girls were all watching Vampires Suck, and it looked like it would, well, suck.  (Sitting through Twilight was bad enough!)  Hehe, I think that spending most of that time in the kitchen was much more fun! 

My favourite part of a cheesecake is the biscuit base.  I like McVitie's Digestives!  Tyler's recipe also includes a bit of cinnamon in the base, which gives the finished product a very homely taste and aroma.

There weren't enough biscuits to go all the way up the sides of my tin, but I don't mind the rustic look.
Mmm... I love cheesecake batter.  There's no whipping of the egg whites in this recipe, which gives you a deliciously dense filling - just cream cheese, eggs, sugar, sour cream, lemon zest and vanilla.

Now, a water bath is essential for a velvety smooth texture and an uncracked surface, but I've often had problems with them.  In fact, the very first time I ever made this cheesecake (back in 2004, if you can believe that!), my foil lining leaked terribly, and the cheesecake got waterlogged.  I thought it would be a good idea to take the cake out of its tin and put it back in the oven to dry out, but I was wrong.  After a short while in the oven, the cheesecake softened and collapsed!  It was heartbreaking.  You can see the damage here.  Not all was lost, because I scooped the remaining cheesecake into bowls and re-named it "blueberry cheesecake pudding", and thus it wasn't a total loss.  (I may even have scooped fallen bits of cheesecake from the bottom of the oven and eaten those myself, but let's keep that between us, okay?)

So now I always double wrap my springform tins - twice with glad wrap, and twice with foil.  Just like when I made my Japanese cheesecake.  I've seen Anna Olson from Sugar do a water bath with no wrapping around the springform tin at all, and I have no idea how water doesn't leak in.

Haha, you can totally see my glass of champagne in the background

All wrapped up and ready to be put inside a baking tray with water

And after the baking time....

Luckily my water bath didn't leak, but check out how buttery the tin got!


One of my friends can't eat any gluten, so I baked some of the mixture in separate ramekins, with no crust.  They puffed up magnificently in the oven, but collapsed as soon as they were out. Oh well.

You're meant to chill the cheesecake overnight before slicing in, but obviously we weren't going to wait.  I let it firm up a little, just to make sure it was sliceable, and then we dug right in.  I think it was just after the stroke of midnight.  Happy cheesecake!

You can see the inside, whilst set, was still quite wobbly.  It was rather light (for a cheesecake!), soft, and almost gelatinous in its wobble.  (Please, let's avoid Christina Hendricks references here, shall we?)

Happy New Year!

We ate half the cheesecake between 6 of us, and stashed the rest in the fridge.  A warm cheesecake, fresh out of the oven, is a lovely thing, but I think it's even nicer after being chilled overnight.  The filling really gets a chance to set, becoming dense and creamy.

Happy New Year!  Thanks to everyone who's followed my blog throughout 2010.  Here's to a great 2011!

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  1. Happy, happy new year! I, too, was at a fairly-quiet party at a friend's place on NYE, but sadly there was no fresh cheesecake for us. Alas, alack! Serious cheesecake cravings right now...

  2. Happy new year! That cheesecake looks fabulous, I love that it has both cream cheese and sour cream in it. The water bath thing is a bit scary, I'm pretty sure most glad wrap in NZ isn't built to go in the oven so I just go absolutely nuts with the tinfoil and hope for the best, hasn't failed Hannah this is giving me cheesecake cravings too, I really want to try the peanut butter one from Kitchen :)

  3. Im not a cheesecake fan myself, but it looks great. I'm surprised you can get philly in Australia. I really like Anna Olsen from Sugar. Sadly, now that I'm back in the US, I can't watch her show.

  4. I know how it leaks in!

    I had this whiltshire (?) baking tin (12 muffin sized cakes) and I found that each time I bake ( i don't bake, i just do the cleaning) , some crust appears to get stuck at the "rim" on the bottom of the tin. Then, I realized that the batter was leaking from the own "cups".

    Sorry if this sounds confusing. I don't know how to put it in words!

  5. mmmm... that be a damn fine looking cheesecake!! Happy new year :)

  6. mmmm... that be a damn fine looking cheesecake!! Happy new year :)

  7. Hannah - Happy new year to you too! You know what that means, get baking! :)

    Laura - I totally wanted try the peanut butter one too, but all the girls wanted classic. :( I don't think our glad wrap here is meant to go in the oven either, but I put it around the outside of the tin so it doesn't touch the food. It sometimes melts a bit but it's never stuck to the tin before - I can always peel it off easily.

    Randi - Thank-you! Philadelphia is actually our standard cream cheese here, available in every supermarket. I know it's an American brand, but I'm pretty sure there are factories here that produce it.

    Michelle - Sorry I was a bit confused by what you were saying... were you talking about butter leaking out of the pan, or water leaking into the pan? Or were you talking about muffin batter leaking out of the muffin papers? 3 totally different things, but all frustrating in their own way. :)

    Michelle - Thank-you very much! Happy new year to you too. :)

    xox Sarah

  8. Gosh...Happy Cheesecake to You too!

  9. mmmm - ultimately nothing beats 'Philly' in a cheesecake! Keep on cooking - very tasty ideas...

  10. Shanieh10:59 AM

    I just got done baking a sweet potato cheesecake and water seeped in. I put it back in the oven at 200 degrees f for about 20 mins, then cut the oven off to let it sit to see if it would dry but it didnt. I then happened to come across your blog and saw where you said you tried to rebake yours and it collapsed... I ran to the oven to take mine out and saw it had hairline cracks that werent there before. But anyway I also saw where you said you wrap your springform with foil and plastic wrap. I thought about that but didnt know if it would work. Can you give more detail on how you wrap your pan please? Thanks



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