Sunday, 3 June 2012

Vanilla Cheesecake

LOOK! No cracks!
This first picture isn't pretty, but I just had to prove that I made a cheesecake that didn't split open as it cooled - a rarity for me!

The recipe is a Gordon Ramsay one, which has only been published online in the Times, so is no longer available unless you are a subscriber. It's a fairly standard mix of cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, sugar and vanilla, on a digestive biscuit crumb base, and I originally chose it because it used the same amount of cream cheese (500g) and sour cream (300g) that I had leftover after Christmas baking one year! Add 200g sugar, 3 eggs, 2 tablespoons cornflour and a splash of vanilla extract, et voila! After an hour's baking at 150C, it is supposed to be golden brown on top, but I've never achieved that effect with this recipe - it stays pale and interesting.

Vanilla Cheesecake
In fact, after an hour the cheesecake is always still very wobbly, and usually I bake for a bit longer, but this time I decided to be more courageous and  switched off the oven. I left the cheesecake for 30 minutes in the closed oven, then ran a knife between the tin and the cheesecake to free it from the tin, and left it to cool completely in the oven with the door open slightly. I don't know if it was the shorter baking time, or freeing the cheesecake from the tin which stopped it cracking, but it's the first time I've made this particular recipe without the cracks appearing.

This is one of my favourite baked cheesecake recipes; the proportions of cream cheese, sour cream and eggs gives a lovely texture which isn't too heavy or claggy. The only criticism is that as a vanilla cheesecake, it's a little too sweet. Previously I've always made it as a lemon version, so hadn't really noticed how sweet it is, as the lemon has cut through the sugar.

Take your pick...
add strawberries, roasted rhubarb or chocolate sauce.
We have a variety of tastes in this family - CT eats hardly any fresh fruit, if he can avoid it, and is a chocoholic, while the rest of us like fruit, but don't always want the same fruit at the same time, or the same amounts of fruit in relation to cheesecake. To cater for everyone, I decided to leave the cheesecake plain, and offer strawberries, roast rhubarb or chocolate sauce as an accompaniment.

It's a long weekend, to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, so we felt deserving of a more luxurious dessert than I usually make. CT and FB are enjoying extra time to relax away from work, and Hubs and I, being retired, are carrying on as usual. We're not exactly anti-royalists, but we're not really celebrating or taking part in any organised events either; I tried to come up with a red, white and blue dessert, to stay with the spirit of things, but the rest of the family told me not to bother - taste was more important than looks to them!

I've just realised that Vanilla Cheesecake could be a contender for this month's Alpha Bakes Challenge - bake something with a 'V' in the name or ingredients list - but I'll  hold it in reserve for the moment, as I'd like to find something more interesting than V for Vanilla.


simple baking said...

Thanx for sharing this. You can really pair this one with any fruits. Bookmarking this one for future :D.

Caroline said...

That texture looks amazing! I've never made non-cracked cheesecake - perhaps I need to practice more ;-) I love the idea of serving all the different accompaniments as a mix and match - great way to ensure everyone has exactly what they want!

Laura loves cakes said...

I do love a good cheesecake...this looks really tasty and I love the fruit pairings too! :-)

Foodycat said...

It looks absolutely perfect! Can't show Paul, cheesecake is one of his favourite things and I really can't make a whole one for the two of us!

Suelle said...

Just being two is a bit of a handicap, Foodycat - I got 12 portions out of this cheesecake over three days. I wouldn't want to keep it any longer.

I've never tried freezing baked cheesecake, but instinctively distrust the idea.

Baking Addict said...

My cheesecakes always crack in the middle - I love the look of yours. Vanilla cheesecake is one of my favourite - just can't go wrong with vanilla. Look forward to seeing what 'V' bake you come up with :)

Choclette said...

Oh I like the pale and interesting look. My understanding of cheesecakes is that they invariably crack, so the fact that you have "cracked" it, is little short of amazing. I'm very lucky CT will eat pretty much anything I put in front of him and apart from meat he is equally blessed.