This space has been sorely neglected over the past 1 month and I feel utterly regretful about that I’M SO SORRY. Work is somehow up to my neck and sometimes 24 hours a day really does not seem enough - anyone feeling me on this?? Feeling pretty out of my depth on the work front too, dealing with a lot of things that I feel particularly inexperienced. Although it makes me a little nervous and afraid, I must say that I’m gaining tons of experience from it. Oh well! A little fear never hurt anyone!
Work aside, phew! I’ve been trying out all sorts of quick recipes. Those kind of recipes that you go to when you need a home-cooked meal in under half an hour. It’s been really doable and I’ve been trying to think out of my box for them, while not compromising the yummy-factor! Think one-pot pastas (I promise that they are LITERALLY one-pot AKA minimal dish-washing!) and easy grain-bowls and open-faced sandwiches.
But today is for a recipe for the #slowlife. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as a damn good cheesecake. The best cheesecakes, in my humble opinion, are the plain New-York type cheesecakes. Good old creamy filling with a buttery graham/digestive biscuit crust. I’m quite specific about my crust-filling ratio too because I’m food-obsessive like that (1/3 crust and 2/3 cake). To be clear, I’ve got nothing to hate about vegan/tofu cheesecakes, but that’s really not my cup of tea. In my world - if you want a cheesecake, eat that damn full-cream cheesecake and enjoy every bite of that calorific goodness.
The only thing as equally satisfying as eating a full slice of cheesecake is actually making the perfect cheesecake and sharing it with loved ones. I’ve had my own fair shares of sunken ones, cracked ones, browned-tops and even those that do not remotely taste like a cake. Finally amidst all those failures, we’ve emerged victorious.
This is now my go-to cheesecake recipe. It’s simple enough to bake it yourself, and looks gorgeously smooth so that it’s great for an occasion. It tastes good with any way you wanna jazzy it up - with berries; a nutella frosting; a raspberry marbling etc.
(Look at these babies. Isn't nature the prettiest?)
There are only 2 things to note. Firstly, making a cheesecake takes patience - in the sense that you gotta let it cool down in the oven after baking for a couple of hours and that it will taste best after refrigerating it overnight. It is a great cake to prepare the night-before any party. Secondly, I cannot stress enough on the importance of the well-known Cheesecake Rules of which I will emphasize further here. These rules are to make sure the cheesecake turns out gorgeous - smooth and without cracks.
(Note that I call them rules because I used to think they were optional, but I’ve come to realise they are pertinent parts of making this thing of beauty)
1. Let your cream cheese cool to room temperature. This is non-negotiable if you want a smooth, lump-free cake
2. Pre bake the crust! Most other recipes do not usually mention this but I highly recommend it. The butter comes out more fragrant, and the crust is crispier. What’s not to love?
3. Pay attention to temperature. Changes in temperature can be due to drafts caused by opening and closing the oven doors repeatedly (argh I have itchy fingers too!). Be patient, tie your fingers down, and trust that your oven will do the work. It’s hard, I feel you guys.
4. Water Baths. Another sure way to prevent cracks. A water bath ensures the cheesecake cooks all around evenly. Just make sure to wrap the outside of the springform pain with aluminium foil to prevent water from seeping into the cake!
5. Loosely covering the top with a foil. I’ve been trying to find out how to prevent browning over the top in order to achieve that smooth glossy finish, and it turns out it’s just as easy as covering the top of the springform pan with a foil layer.
6. Cooling. This is another test of patience as it is related to temperature. Letting the cake cool in the warm switched-off oven for approx 2-3 hours after it’s been baked also ensures that there’s no cracks down the middle.
Let’s just say I remember The Boy eating an entire half of this cheesecake by himself (I made a blueberry version) because he’s just as much as a cheesecake fiend as I am. I guess that’s why we’re together!
Okay cheesecake time it is. This is the basic recipe so feel free to play it up! I added strawberries cos uhh they were on sale.
Strawberry Cheese Cake
Makes a regular-sized 9-inch springform pan
Ingredients for the Crust:
16-20 plain digestive biscuits / Graham crackers
1 stick butter, melted
Ingredients for Cheesecake Filling:
450g cream cheese, at room temperature (I personally love Philadelphia cream cheese)
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons plain flour
Seasonal fruits as desired - strawberries, blueberries, raspberries
Any toppings wanted
1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C
2. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and wrap the outside of the pan with aluminium foil tightly. This prevents any water from seeping into the crust through the water bath.
3. Pulse the digestive biscuits into crumbs via a food processor. Add the melted butter into the crumbly digestive biscuits and pulse again for another minute until well incorporated. Press the mixture evenly onto the bottom of the springform pan, packing as tightly as possible. Bake the crust for 10-12 minutes and remove from oven and let cool.
4. In the mean time, prepare the cheesecake filling. Using a mixer, mix the cream cheese until soft and creamy. Add in the milk and the eggs one at a time and mix thoroughly. Add in the sour cream, vanilla extract, lemon zest and flour until just incorporated.
5. Pour the filling onto the cooled prepared crust. Place it in a rimmed baking tray filled with approximately 1cm of water (this is your water bath!). Cover the top of the springform pain with a loose aluminium foil to prevent browning of the top of the cheesecake.
6. Transfer the entire apparatus into the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. DO NOT open the oven door. After 30-35 minutes, turn the oven off and let the cheesecake cool in the oven with the oven door closed for another 3 hours (this prevents cracking). Chill in the refrigerator after that. It is best to chill it overnight for at least 10-12 hours.
7. On serving, top with your toppings of choice and/or seasonal fruits. I personally like to serve it cold but it’s up to you!
The cheesecake is the best thing to make for a slow indulgent weekend. It's also perfect if you want to make a dessert a day ahead! I swear I could eat cheesecake everyday, but I really shouldn't.
1. Just booked flights for an upcoming Taiwan and Japan holiday with The Dad. AM SO EXCITED. Thinking of the food and autumn weather just makes me all fidgety. It’s not my first time in those countries but we are gonna be heading to a different region so yippee! Am free to recommendations and suggestions!
2. Tons of recipes coming up including savoury ones! Yes I’m getting back in touch with my savoury roots, finally!
3. Rock-climbing in Batu Caves with some friends this weekend in KL, Malaysia. Somehow we love anti-gravity sports. Can’t wait!