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A whole lotta cheesecake

Cheesecake is the answer to many questions.

I recently found myself having to prepare desserts for three different events in as many days: a special birthday dinner, a casual lunch and a friend’s ‘bring something delicious along’ Christmas party. Time is SHORT, with the run up to Christmas and AS ever more mobile (he’s not yet able to scale our makeshift trunk/barrier into the kitchen area, but I fear he’s not far off). What could I make up in a huge batch, in minimal time, which is universally delicious?

This cheesecake is another recipe from my mother’s 1970s American cooking bible (see also Devil’s food cake and date and walnut loaf). She has been making it for our family for as long as I can remember, and always uses her huge ‘pound cake’ tin, large enough for two regular cakes at least. This really does yield an ENORMOUS cake.

And so, a perfect choice for my multiple events: a regular round cake for the birthday, three individual cakes for the lunch, and a backpack-portable, loaf-shaped cake to take to the Christmas party. Sure, DS and I ate two of the individual cakes long before any of the events. Luckily the birthday cake was big enough to provide plenty of leftovers for lunch. Phew.

I just about managed to get all of the mixture in my magimix, but did make a fair few spills trying to get it into the tins. With a Kitchen Aid or similar I think you’d be fine. I also realised, shockingly, that I don’t have a springform cake tin, fairly essential for cheesecake baking. I opted for silicone instead, which is marvellous as it doesn’t stick. However, the cake doesn’t look as pretty when you turn it out as the nice golden bit ends up on the underside. Shame.

Disclaimer: this cheesecake doesn’t have a crust. No, crust, you say? But surely that’s the best bit? Well, when the cake is this good, you don’t NEED it. I know. Unbelievable. I serve it straight up, or with a raspberry coulis. If you’re feeling fancy, you could top with a pecan praline or other such naughtiness.

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Et en français...

Perfect New York Vanilla Cheesecake

Takes 20 minutes, plus 55 minutes baking time

dessert / quietly smug / easy peasy / perennial / party / brunch / vegetarian

Yes, there are a lot of different cheese and cream based products in this baby. The original recipe calls for 450g cottage cheese, which I have replaced with a mixture of ricotta and mascarpone. This is mostly because you can’t buy cottage cheese in France, but I also think the mascarpone adds a whole new level of creaminess. Feel free just to use cottage cheese if you prefer.

* Cream cheese - 450g

* Crème fraiche or sour cream - 500g

* Ricotta - 150g

* Mascarpone - 300g

* Sugar - 340g

* Eggs - 4

* Lemon juice - 2 tbsp

* Vanilla essence - 1 tsp

* Plain flour - 3 tbsp

* Corn flour - 3 tbsp

* Butter - 115g, melted

Line the bottom of a large springform cake tin with baking paper and lightly grease the sides.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

Cream together the cheeses and creams in a mixer or with a wooden spoon.

Add the rest of the ingredients, except the butter, and mix to combine.

Add the melted butter and mix to combine.

Pour into the prepared tin.

Bake for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 160 degrees and bake for another 45 minutes. The cake should be lightly golden on the top and still slightly wobbly in the middle.

Leave to cool, then use a hot, damp knife to detach the sides from the tin. Store in the fridge. Best served cold.


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