I have vivid memories of being a kid and thinking that eating a cake called a “cheesecake” sounded fucking disgusting, wondering why anyone would put cheese into cake. I must have thought it was gonna taste like someone had bunged cheddar or camembert into it. Of course, I had no idea what I was talking about, or what in fact cheesecake was at the time – I now know that it is not only one of the most unreal things out, but such an easy thing to make.
Things like cheesecake, while they might not be on high rotation at home, do remind me of my partner Jules. Jules loves absolutely anything to do with cheese, including cheese that comes in cake form. It may have been her idea to put a recipe for one in my book. For Jules’ birthday a mate of hers sent her an actual cake tower made out of soft cheeses – let me tell ya, it’s one of the most impressive and also intense amount of calories I’ve ever laid my eyes on.
Whoever invented cream cheese must be one of the bravest and smartest people on Earth. I felt like you couldn’t move for cream cheese in the 90s – Philadelphia on everything. When it comes to adding a little cinnamon and sugar to it, then you have created a whole other level of obsession. Truly, every cafe that I went to as a child had a revolving display cabinet in it, taunting people with spinning cheesecakes. Let’s be honest, I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t love to destroy an entire cheesecake on their own. God, can you imagine how crook you’d feel?
I digress, but I think while cheesecake may be seen as a little old school and daggy, you can’t argue with how much it reminds you of a good time. Go hard, Cheesecake, you weird and wonderful tidal wave of caloric density.
Wake and Don’t Bake Orange and Lemon Cheesecake
- Cooking Time: under 30 mins to not even cook. Resting time: 4+ hours
- Hectometer: 3/10
- Cheese Singles and Ice Magic (just kidding)
- 1 orange (half for juice, one for zest)
- 2 lemons (two for juice, one for zest)
- 200g Scotch Finger or Digestive bickies
- 100g butter, plus extra for greasing
- 500g cream cheese, at room temperature (block form, not spreadable)
- 140g caster sugar
- 1 cup thickened cream
- 1 teaspoon ground Dutch cinnamon, or just normal shit
- 20cm-ish round springform cake tin
Doesn’t hurt to get your zest sorted before anything else here. Zest the orange and one of the lemons into a bowl, and keep just a pinch of them to one side in its own spesh bowl.
There are a few ways we can start this party. We need to bust up the bickies into a breadcrumb consistency somehow. A food processor pulsing them apart does a champagne job of it, as does bunging them in a clean tea towel and bashing them to breadcrumb-sized bits with a rolling pin. Dad suggested I back over them in the car, which I think he has actually done. I use a food processor, cos flexxxxxxx.
Grab most of the citrus zest if you wouldn’t mind thanks, and add it to the crushed bickies. We need to melt that butter next in a small saucepan over a low heat, but don’t heat the fucken bajeezuz out of it – just melt it, Michael. It needs to be cool enough to mix thoroughly into the biscuit mix as well…do all that now please, ta.
Grease up the cake tin with butter and if you can be fucked, cut a piece of baking paper to fit the base – it can help make serving it a little bit neater, but it’s not a crucial move. Crucial Move sounds like a movie with Harrison Ford in it from the 1990s that I would have watched eating cheesecake, I reckon. Tip the buttery, zesty, biscuity mixture into the tin. Now press that biscuit-orange-butter shit flat AF across the base. It can help to use something that has a super flat top on it to help press it down; the back of a spoon might work, or even your fucken hands, eh?
Give it a good press flat and whack it in the fridge for a moment while we make the other shit.
Grab a bowl and an electric mixer if you have one (though a whisk is fine too), and work the cream cheese apart as you add the sugar and kinda make it into a heavy paste. In a second bowl you’re gonna need to whip the cream. This one’s a shit job with a whisk cos it takes longer than trying to mow the fucken grass with a pair of scissors. But if you gotta, ya gotta – I feel ya. Beat/whisk until the cream is getting nice and thick, at which point the cinnamon goes in along with the cream cheese, orange and lemon juices. Give it a good mix together until it’s really bloody thick yet smooth enough to be able to spread across the base.
Grab that cake tin out of the fridge and spoon in the mixture evenly across it with a spatula or a spoon or, I dunno, the back of your Nokia 3210 cos it seems like it was super popular at the same time cheesecake was and they’d get along great.
Sprinkle over the orange and lemon zest you set aside from earlier. Back in the fridge we go and now we wait…for like as long as you can kinda be fucked, tbh. We want it to get super cool and set together nicely. The truth is, overnight is the best, but 4 hours might be enough if you’re in a pinch.
There it is, legends. What a classic.
Photo by Warren Mendes.
This article first appeared in The Big Issue Ed#652.