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This is a really good cheesecake. I have received four marriage proposals, including one from a total stranger after offering them a slice of this cake. Over the years, I’ve tweaked it and tweaked it and I’m satisfied that this is as good as cheesecake gets.

Nick tells everyone that it’s the best thing I make. I don’t think it is, but it is probably the only dessert I make that he’ll eat.

I don’t even like cheesecake – give me a chocolate cake any day. But one Christmas, my cousin and I managed to polish off two thirds of one while the others were busy opening presents.

Another time, I was convinced that it wasn’t quite perfect, so I decided to try a Donna Hay ricotta cheesecake recipe instead. Chaos ensued. The housemates and friends got mad. They refused to eat said ricotta cheesecake in protest.

This is the only cheesecake I make now, because apparently, you can’t improve on perfection.

Also, I don’t want to have to eat a whole ricotta cheesecake on my own again.

This cheesecake is particularly good because it uses frozen berries which are much cheaper than fresh raspberries, which will usually cost about $10 a punnet (even in November).

The first thing that you need to know about cheesecakes is that it’s not really a cake and you can’t just apply everything you know about cake making. A cheesecake is really a custard and needs a bit more of a delicate touch, including a water bath, low baking temperatures and sufficient time to cool.

Raspberry Cheesecake
makes one 20cm cheesecake

Base
150g Oreos
45g butter, melted

Raspberry Sauce
220g frozen raspberries
20g sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
100ml water

Cheesecake
500g cream cheese
200g white chocolate
100ml cream
75g sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence

  1. Line the base of a 20cm loose-bottomed round cake tin with baking paper. Cover the outside base of the tray with foil to make sure that it is watertight as the cheesecake will need to be placed in a water bath.
  2. To make the cheesecake base, crush the Oreos in a food processor and add melted butter. Pulse a few times to combine, then press the base mixture into the cake tin.  Bake at 180C for 5-10 minutes to set.
  3. Preheat oven to 160C.
  4. To make the raspberry sauce, combine raspberries, sugar, cornstarch and water in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir continuously until the raspberries melt and heat for a further two minutes. Strain the raspberry mixture to remove the pips. Set the raspberry sauce aside to cool.
  5. To make the cheesecake, heat white chocolate and cream in a saucepan over low heat (or microwave in short bursts until chocolate has just melted.)
  6. Mix the cream cheese with an electric mixer until soft. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to check that there are no small lumps in the mixture. Add sugar, eggs, vanilla essence and white chocolate mixture and continue mixing until well combined.
  7. Pour half the cheesecake mixture over the base, then spoon 3 tablespoons of raspberry sauce over batter. Carefully top with remaining cheesecake mixture and spoon another 3 tablespoons of raspberry sauce over the top. Use the tip of a knife to make swirls on top of the cheesecake.
  8. Place cheesecake into a saucepan or larger cake tin. Fill the outer tin with boiling water halfway up the sides of the inner pan. Bake for 45 minutes on the lower rack of the oven, but make sure to check the cake at 30 minutes.
  9. To make sure the cake is cooked, shake the pan – the centre should wobble slightly. If you want to make doubly sure, check that it is cooked through with a skewer – some batter with stick to the skewer but as long as it’s not liquid, it’s cooked. When the cake is done, do not remove from the oven – just wedge a wooden spoon in the door so it can cool slowly.
  10. When the cake is cool, place in the fridge overnight. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before serving. Serve with the raspberry sauce.  
Tips for the perfect cheesecake
  • Make sure the base of the cake tin is watertight or water will seep in.
  • Make sure the cream cheese is beaten properly to begin with – it needs to be completely smooth. Don’t worry you can’t overbeat it, I’ve tried.
  • To make a spiderweb swirl like in the picture, put three tablespoons of raspberry sauce into a plastic bag, snip the tip and pipe circles, starting from the outer edge of the cake tin. Starting from the centre use a knife to draw outward connecting all the circles, then from outwards to the centre connecting all the circles.
  • Baking the cheesecake properly is crucial to getting the texture right. Don’t cheat – use a water bath.
  • Leaving the cheesecake to cool in the oven will reduce the risk of cracking (ala Masterchef). This way it’s not being subjected to a huge drop in temperature and is able to gradually cool down.
  • The cheesecake has to be chilled for at least 5 hours before serving. Remove from the fridge 30 mins before serving so that it gets to the perfect texure.
  • Use a hot knife to get perfectly smooth cheesecake sides (sadly I had no cheesecake left to make that happen, which is why the cheesecake in the picture looks a bit messy).
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