Sunday, 16 March 2014

A New Project in Cake ~ Baked Cheesecake!

Well this week I found a new favourite dessert that I could have continued eating all week!  Today I'm sharing with you a Baked Cheesecake on Chocolate Shortbread Base with Salted Butter Caramel Sauce...  Yes, that's right - all those parts of this dessert really do sound (and I promise - taste) incredible!
Last week I got an email from a friend-of-a-sister-of-a-friend-of-mine who was going to be arriving in Toronto this week to visit her brother, and wondered if I could create a birthday cake for him for their birthday celebration dinner together!  I was excited to hear she had seen my Instagram feed and seen the decorated cakes I have done recently, but actually asked if a cheesecake might be an option as that was his favourite! 
Let's not forget, I love a challenge, and I love new recipes to try out so I was super excited not only for another cake commission, but this time, for the first time for it to be a 'cheesecake' commission instead!
A recipe was actually found for me, one she knew her brother would like and like I wrote before, ALL of the elements of this just sounded incredible.  Chocolate shortbread base!? WOW.  Salted Butter Caramel Sauce?!  Served sweet and hot, this is a dessert in itself.  Together with the baked cheesecake - what a combination!
The original recipe was from the beautiful food blog ~ Tartelette, so thank you for this incredible recipe that you did most of the hard work for!  I got to do the fun part of creating and baking it :-)  Please do visit her blog and see some of the amazing recipes and photographs on her website!
I'll include her recipe here with my as-I-went photographs of the method but you can also check the original post here.  I baked the cheesecake 1 day ahead of the delivery.  This meant I could bake the shortbread base (and give it enough time to cool), and while waiting, make the caramel sauce and bake the cheesecake once it was cooled.  The cheesecake needed to chill and set in the fridge for at least 6 hours (I left it overnight) leaving only the birthday message to pipe on with chocolate the next morning, before packaging everything up!  The original recipe makes enough for 12 people - (I actually made more than I needed to as my parents are visiting from England so I thought a decadent dessert would be delicious for our dinner plans as well!!)
Chocolate Shortbread Base ~ Ingredients: (to serve 12)
250 grams unsalted butter, very cold, cubed
85 grams granulated sugar
300 grams all-purpose flour
25 grams cocoa powder
1.  Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare your pans.
The original recipe didn't mention lining/greasing the pans, but as I knew I didn't want to serve the cheesecake on the springform base I chose to add parchment paper just in case!
2.  Work the butter, sugar, flour and cocoa powder with your fingers to get a sandy mixture (or with a food processor).

3.  Work the dough for a minute and then press into the bottom of a 10 or 12 inch springform pan. 

I used a toothpick to check how deep I had made my crust!  If you like a thick crust, go ahead keep going - a good centimetre seems reasonable to me!  You may have some shortbread crumbs leftover... perhaps a few shortbread cookies could be baked up soon - just refrigerate the dough for another time.
4.  Bake the shortbread base for 40 minutes, and let it cool completely in the pan.

... so like I said, while the base cooled, I got to work on the caramel sauce... and then a little later the actual cheesecake!
Salted Butter Caramel Sauce ~ Ingredients:
240 grams sugar
80ml water
115 grams salted butter
150ml heavy whipping cream - 35%
1.  In a heavy saucepan set over a low heat, combine the sugar and water and heat just until the sugar is dissolved.
2.  Add the butter and let it come to a boil and cook until it reaches a golden caramel colour - for me this took way longer than I thought it would - but stick with it - it did turn a golden colour eventually, it just took around 10-15 minutes...
3.  Remove from the heat and add the cream (watching out for the spluttering!). 

4.  Whisk to combine and put it back on the stove.  Let it come to a boil again over a low heat and cook for 10-15 minutes until you reach a nice creamy consistency. 

 5.  Pour it into a jar and leave to cool (taking a few taste testers as you go - it is really spectacular!)

*** Unless you are making the sauce at the last minute before serving, if made ahead the sauce will actually set as it cools, but a quick blast in the microwave and it will go deliciously creamy and runny again... As well as warm - such a wonderful complement to the cold, thick and rich cheesecake.  Perfection!  ***
Baked Cheesecake ~ Ingredients:
2 pounds cream cheese
115 grams unsalted butter, soft
1/4 cup sour cream (or creme fraiche)
1 cup sugar
5 eggs
2 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
Zest of 1 lemon
1.  Preheat the oven to 325°F.
2.  Combine the cream cheese, butter, sugar, lemon zest, sour cream and cornstarch in the bowl of a mixer and whip until combined.  Do not incorporate too much air or the cake with crack.  Make sure the butter and cream cheese are very soft.


3.  Add the egg yolks one at a time and whip until just combined.  

4.  Whip the egg whites until stiff and gently fold them into the cream cheese batter.

5.  Pour the batter over the cooled chocolate shortbread crust.  The batter will reach the rim of the cake.  Wrap your springform pan with heavy duty foil and set it in a large roasting pan.  Add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the pan.

6.  Bake at 325°F for 1 1/2 hours.  Then, turn the oven off, crack open the door of the oven and let your cake cool in there for 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and chill in the fridge completely, for a few ours, or better yet, overnight.

So... Chocolate Shortbread Base, Baked Cheesecake and a Salted Butter Caramel Sauce all done, chilled and ready to eat!  The final touches for my cake commission were a Happy Birthday message and just to package it up and deliver it (hopefully keeping it a secret from the birthday boy himself so his sister could surprise him with it at their birthday dinner... And apparently it worked and stayed a secret all day, yey!).

In my world, having lived in England for most of my life, and now being in Canada for the fifth year I have two schools of thought on cheesecake.  My Mum and family have always made an unbaked cheesecake with a digestive crust and usually a delicious lemon or strawberry flavour.  But then, I seem to have come across more baked cheesecakes (just like the famous New York Cheesecake) since moving here... Something I had never had until I moved to North America! 

This was definitely the best baked cheesecake I have ever had so thank you Tartlette for the combination of amazingness, and to my 'cake commissioner' this time for picking the recipe! 

I love the three colours of the cheesecake... the dark chocolate coloured base... the plain, off white cheesecake batter, and then the browned top from the slow and low bake!

For the birthday message, I melted up some bittersweet Baker's chocolate and piped away.  It set pretty quickly - probably as the cheesecake itself was very cold!  ... And then I put it back into the fridge before packing it up, just before delivery.

Salted Butter Caramel Sauce in what else but a mason jar?!  And the cheesecake on a cake board and set in a cake box.

My first cheesecake-cake commission done and delivery (through a blizzard of snow!) it was time to explore Toronto with my tourist parents and then back home for dinner where we enjoyed our own cheesecake for dessert as well!

Decorated with a little bit of the leftover chocolate... Random pattern...
I was very glad I made a second cheesecake for us... It gave me the chance to photograph the inside of the cake as well as the outside.  Here's my posing slice!...

Warm caramel sauce drizzled on top!  The great thing about pour your own sauce is how much (or I guess if you're not so much of a sweet tooth, how little) you can choose to drizzle on!  I, and actually, we all chose to drizzle a lot :-D

I've been thinking about this cheesecake maybe too much since we had our last piece of it a couple of nights ago... So it is definitely going to get a repeat bake VERY soon!  And the birthday boy also enjoyed his surprise birthday cheesecake and they all loved it :)  Yey!!  


  1. Wow this looks so good! I've never attempted a real baked cheescake before. It always seemed like it would be so hard to get it right. You make it sound pretty easy though. That caramel sauce looks delicious! Thank you for sharing it and your red velvet music cake at What We Accomplished Wednesdays. Have a lovely week! ~Deborah

  2. Oh my gosh, this is my kind of sweet indulgence!
    Thanks for linking to Tutorial Thursdays on Marigolds' Loft.
    Look forward to seeing you again this week.
    Pinned :)
    Marigolds' Loft


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