Monday 25 May 2009

Baked New York Cheesecake

*If you'd rather just buy this ready-to-eat, it is available on my Baked Goods to Order list at £15 per cake :)*

Luscious, creamy New York-style baked cheesecake- characteristically tall, tinged golden brown, smooth and rich but with a slight tang and delicious chewy digestive base.

I will be honest with you, if you have never baked a cheesecake before in your life you may find it rather fiddly and time-consuming: all the ingredients need to be mixed carefully, then baked slowly in a moist oven, then cooled gently, then refrigerated for at least 12 hours before the cheesecake can be eaten. They are also prone to cracking down the middle, so if appearance is important then it may take a bit of practice before you know how to best prevent this, depending on your own oven. I have included the tips that work for me below, follow them carefully and hopefully the result will be perfect :)

Baked New York Cheesecake

Before you begin:
  • Firstly bring all the ingredients to room temperature before starting (takes roughly half an hour from refrigeration).
  • Line the base of an 8" loose-bottomed/springform cake pan with greaseproof paper. DO NOT attempt to use a normal cake pan as it will be impossible to remove.
  • Preheat your oven to 150 C (140C fan assisted). Create a moist oven by placing a shallow tray of hot water on the bottom rack.
The base:

Crush together (I find the easiest way is to place in a bowl and pound with the bottom of a heavy pint glass) and press tightly into the base of the lined cake pan:
175g (6oz) digestives
50g butter, melted
Handful of oats (optional)
The cake:

*Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature and be careful not to overmix*

Beat 600g full fat soft cheese (also called cream cheese) on low with an electric whisk until soft.

Combine and beat in on slow speed until just combined:
175g (6oz) caster sugar
3 tbsp flour
Pinch of salt

Fold in gently until just combined:
3 large eggs, beaten- add one by one
300ml sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
Finely grated zest of 1 orange/lemon (I use a bit from both)

Pour batter into pan over digestive base. To remove air bubbles, lift and knock the pan down onto the counter firmly a few times, and run a butter knife through in an “S” pattern.

Place the cake on the rack above the tray of water and bake for 80-90 mins. DO NOT open the oven whilst cake is baking. Cheesecake is done when the edges are puffy and only a small spot in the center (about 1" in diameter) still jiggles. DO NOT bother testing with a skewer or toothpick like a regular cake, as it will not come out clean.

Leave to cool in a warm place (remove from the oven and cover the pan with a bowl, or turn off the oven and leave it inside with the door slightly ajar). After 10 mins, scrape around the edges with a
thin spatula to ensure the cake doesn't leave a residual skin on the sides as it shrinks and tears away whilst cooling. Return it to its warm place to cool completely in the pan, then refrigerate the cake for at least 12 hours (preferably overnight) until cold and firm.

To remove the cake from a loose-bottomed pan, place the pan on top of a large can or jar and pull the sides downwards. Remove the pan bottom by sliding a spatula under the digestive base and pushing the cake carefully onto a serving plate.

The cake tastes best served at room temperature, and is easiest sliced with a hot knife or taut dental floss.


  1. Hi Samantha, thanks for the recipe! I tried it and followed the steps closely and I found that the 'cheese' part was delicious. However, the base was a little too thick and soggy. Any tips for that? I heard that the bakers at the Hilton bake their cheesecake base separately.

  2. Hi there :) Thanks for visiting the blog and trying the recipe- hmm regarding the thick base, are you using an 8" pan? If so it should be just the right thickness, but maybe try using less biscuits so a thinner layer is created.

    As for being soggy, try using less butter so the mix is a bit drier, and don't crush the biscuit too finely- ideally it should be tightly packed but with little crunchy pebbles, held together with just enough butter. Also I find refrigerating it first helps, or some people say to chuck it in the freezer as you are mixing the cheese part.

    Failing that, yes maybe pre-baking will help. Let me know how it turns out!


  3. Hi Samantha, I recently made one cotton cheesecake. It's not my first time baking this same recipe anyway but the problem is I always have a densed portion which tasted like the egg white sinking at the bottom. Have you got any idea how this happens?

    Thanks in advance!

  4. Hi Akira,

    Hmm without seeing your recipe I can't really say why, but my guess is maybe that you didn't whip the egg whites separately until stiff? Cotton cheesecakes are very different from this New York one, more like chiffon sponge rather than creamy and rich and thus they require that the egg whites are beaten until stiff before folding into the rest of the mixture.

    I will soon be posting a recipe for cotton cheesecake so look out for it, hopefully it will help :)


  5. I used this recipe to make my own version of a cheesecake(substituted philly with low-fat hung curds). Turned out dense rather than fluffy but good enough for a first attempt. Will soon try a variation soon to perfect it. Thanks for the recipe and the tip on removing the cake from the springform pan :-)

    1. You're very welcome Bergamot, never tried a curd version before it sounds interesting! x