Just over a week ago, two things happened on the same day. Firstly, I made this cheesecake. Secondly, Chris broke up with me. I’m fairly certain the two are unrelated, just in case you’re worried that this is a cursed cheesecake.
I really thought the cheesecake was going to work perfectly. The cheesecake mixture was lovely. The flavours worked really well together, the texture was wonderful and it was just nice and easy. When it went into the oven, I was full of confidence. But it didn’t work perfectly. It came out with a big old crack down the middle. It went into the oven all pretty and it came out ugly. I didn’t expect it and I didn’t understand what had gone wrong.
Sometimes things go wrong and you really can’t put your finger on why. Maybe if you went back and looked hard enough you’d find out. Maybe you won’t ever know. But you know what? Taking the cheesecake out of the oven isn’t the end of the cheesecake making process. Give it time to cool down and you can eat it! And it’s going to be amazing.
Adapted from Cheesecakes by Maxine Clark
For the base:
275g (makes 2 cups once bashed into crumbs) dark chocolate digestives, plain digestives or graham crackers
75g/2.65 oz /6 tbsp (2/3 of a stick) butter
For the cheesecake mixtures:
700g/24.7 oz soft cheese (I used half full-fat Philadelphia and half light Philadelphia), at room temperature
150g/2/3 cup caster (superfine) sugar
3 eggs, separated
30g/3 tbsp + 1 tsp plain (all-purpose) flour
1 tbsp vanilla extract
175g/6.2 oz plain chocolate (around 50% cocoa solids)
1 tbsp finely ground espresso (you can use powder, I used freshly ground beans)
3 tbsp Tia Maria
Line the base of a 23cm springform or loose-based round cake tin with baking paper and grease the sides of the tin.
Put the biscuits or graham crackers in a sandwich bag and bash them with a rolling pin until fine. If you’re not feeling particularly like taking some rage out on the biscuits, put them in a food processor instead and whizz until finely ground.
Put the butter in a saucepan and melt over a low heat, then stir in the ground biscuits until evenly mixed. Tip into the cake tin and press evenly over the base of the tin so that the mixture is well packed in.
Put in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes. Put the oven on 180C (350F) fan oven/190C (375F) conventional oven.
Put the cream cheese in a large bowl and beat with an electric whisk or a wooden spoon until smooth. Beat in the sugar and then the egg yolks. Put half of the mixture into a separate bowl.
In the first bowl, stir in the vanilla and flour. Set aside.
Melt the chocolate in a small bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Let it cool slightly, then stir it into the second bowl of cheesecake mixture (not the mixture with the flour in), along with the espresso powder and Tia Maria.
Put the egg whites into a clean bowl and whisk with clean whisks until soft peaks form. Fold half into each bowl of cheesecake mixture.
Drop alternate spoonfuls of the mixture into the tin and then use a sharp knife to swirl them together into a marbled effect, but don’t overmix.
Bake for 30 minutes, then cover with foil to stop it browning too much and bake for a further 10-15 minutes (total cooking time 40-45 minutes, mine took 40 minutes in a 180C fan oven). It should be golden brown and still soft in the centre. It might have a big crack in it too, but don’t panic
Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in there with the door ajar. Allow the cheesecake to cool completely in the oven, then chill in the fridge for several hours before serving.