An indulgent baked cheesecake that’s a delicious, sweet end to a Christmas meal. To make your life a little easier on the day, set some time aside to bake this cheesecake up to 3 days ahead, and store in the fridge, wrapped in cling film – without removing it from the cake tin. The texture of the cheesecake is silky smooth. This is thanks to baking it in a water bath – which sounds daunting, but really isn’t! You really must wrap the tin twice in heavy-duty foil, though.
Recipe and styling by Claire Ferrandi
Photograph by Dylan Swart
White chocolate and ginger baked cheesecake with caramel and golden berries
- 200g ginger biscuits
- 30ml (2 tbsp) ground almonds
- 70g butter, melted
- 3 x 80g slabs white chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 x 230g tubs cream cheese, at room temperature
- 250ml (1 cup) sour cream
- 250g demerara/treacle sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 10ml (2 tsp) vanilla essence
- pinch salt
- 15ml (1 tbsp) ground ginger
- white marshmallows, toasted
- seasonal berries (like blueberries, raspberries and strawberries),
- some dusted in edible gold dust (available at speciality baking stores)
- cherries, some dusted in edible gold dust
- fresh mint leaves
- Cadbury Crunchie chocolate, roughly chopped
- store-bought caramel sauce
Preheat the oven to 150°C. Grease and line the base and sides of a 20cm springform cake tin. When lining the sides of the tin, cut the baking paper 6cm higher than the height of the tin, taking care to overlap the join, so there is no gap. (The cheesecake will rise during baking, and lining the tin above the edge of the wall stops it from overflowing – imagine the layer of baking paper acting as an extension of the baking tin.)
For the base, add the ginger biscuits to a blender and blitz until a fine crumb forms. Add the ground almonds and butter and pulse once or twice more until the mixture is combined. Tip the mixture into the prepared cake tin and press very firmly and evenly into the base, smoothing out with a spoon.
Bake the base in the preheated oven, 15 minutes, before cooling at room temperature, 10 minutes. Chill in the fridge, 30 minutes, while preparing the cheesecake filling.
Place the chopped white chocolate in a microwave-proof bowl and melt on high, 1 minute. Stir until all of the chocolate is smooth and melted. Set aside to cool down a little at room temperature.
Add the cream cheese, sour cream and sugar either to the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl if using hand-held beaters. Beat with the whisk attachment of the stand mixer or using hand-held beaters until smooth, about 5 minutes. Add the 4 eggs, 1 at a time while beating, followed by the egg yolk, vanilla essence, salt and ground ginger. Beat until smooth and well combined. Fold the melted white chocolate into the mixture. Boil the kettle.
Line the outside of the chilled cake tin with heavy duty foil, so as to cover the bottom and sides in one large piece. Then line the outside of the cake tin with heavy duty foil again to create a watertight double-layer and place the cake tin in a deep roasting tray. (The method in the madness is to make the cake tin watertight, to protect your cheesecake from the water as it is cooked in the water bath.)
Pour the cream cheese mixture into the biscuit base and pour boiling water into the roasting tray around the cheesecake tin. The water should come about halfway up the sides of the cake tin; don’t overfill, as it will be difficult to pick up the roasting tin.
Bake in the preheated oven, 1 hour and 40 minutes (the cake should be set, but have a slight wobble). Turn the oven off, but leave the cake in the oven with the door ajar, 1 hour. Remove the cake tin from the water bath after the hour has passed and chill in the fridge to firm up, 4 hours or overnight.
Remove the cheesecake from the fridge 20 minutes before serving. Carefully remove it from the cake tin and peel off the baking paper.
Place the cheesecake on a round serving platter or cake stand and decorate it. Begin by adding the larger decorations like the toasted marshmallows and strawberries. Arrange the berries on top in layers, adding a few of the larger pieces too. Finally, finish off with cherries, mint leaves and pieces of Crunchie chocolate, and drizzle over the caramel sauce, before serving. Dip a sharp knife in hot water to help with slicing.