Over time, I’d wonder how to make a better version of items sold at coffee shops, as I would think I could make them cheaper – and maybe better! – as they wouldn’t be mass produced. A cheesecake was one of those items.
Growing up around older family members who lived through the Great Depression, they knew how to cook using little. My great-aunty Thel would get me into the kitchen whenever I went to visit. She had a recipe book that she had typed up on a typewriter that I now have in my possession, which I use. I loved being in the kitchen, learning a little off them all.
When we had the COVID lockdowns in 2020, I mentioned to someone that I wanted to make a cheesecake. We spoke about it, and decided that I would do a baked cheesecake. First, I tried following a recipe, but it wasn’t right. So I got experimenting and found this one worked best by taking bits and pieces from other recipes.
Having a base of vanilla means this cake can be altered with different flavours. I have tried incorporating chocolate, but that wasn’t a hit. Fresh mango, strawberry and lemon, however, have been a hit. I’m thinking of trying orange at some stage. I’ve also done some with coconut-flavoured essence, which is good but not a huge favourite for everyone.
I have made other recipes in this Tastes Like Home section as they are easy to do, and I use Katherine Sabbath’s fairybread cake recipe (Ed#600) as a go-to cake, as I can change it up with flavours and colours if I want to do a marble cake – or do cupcakes.
I enjoy cooking for other people and have often given a whole cheesecake away as I want to share. I never know how a person’s day is going, so it might make a person’s day just by receiving a homemade cake from scratch, and lift their day to a more positive one.
I now enjoy adding the cheesecake to great-aunty Thel’s recipe book, and sending a cheesecake to anywhere one is needed.
250g plain biscuits (such as Marie, Milk Coffee, Scotch Finger)
2 x 250g blocks cream cheese (room temperature)
½ to ¾ cup of caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pre-heat the oven to 160°C. Line a 20cm springform cake tin with baking paper or foil.
Crush up biscuits until they’re fine, and put into bowl.
Melt butter, then pour into crushed up biscuits. Stir to combine.
Let the mixture rest, or chill, while making filling.
Using an electric beater, beat cream cheese. Add in caster sugar and mix well. I have done this with ½ cup of sugar and was fine if you don’t want it too sweet.
Add vanilla extract and mix. Add in one egg at a time and mix well after each egg.
Pour biscuit mixture into the tin. Use a spatula to spread it evenly over the base. Pour filling onto the prepared base.
Bake for 40 minutes, until the cake is set. (It should still wobble slightly in the middle.) If you want slight colour to the cake, then increase the temperature to 180°C and leave in for a few extra minutes, until slightly golden.
Cool in the pan, and refrigerate overnight.
CINDY SELLS THE BIG ISSUE AT GOODWOOD, BLACKWOOD AND THE ADELAIDE SHOWGROUNDS FARMERS’ MARKET.
Published in ed#682