Cheesecake has long been a favorite for countless dessert lovers. For me, it’s the perfect cake, with a crunchy bottom, rich amount of creamy filling and sometimes fruit topping. What more does one need? Cheesecakes are simple to make. Some like the classic version with cheese and vanilla flavour, some prefer it with fruit, or even chocolate. Here are three cheesecake varieties that can win anyone over.
Some sources claim that cheesecake was first made in ancient Greece, but one thing is for sure: Americans popularized it. In Croatia, it has become popular over the last decade, as people started following world food trends. Two basic cheesecake styles are baked and no-bake. With baked versions, the most common issues that can occur are craks. Here are some tips to help you make the best baked cheesecake:
- Always bake your cheesecake in a round, springform pan.
- To prevent cracks, you can bake your cheesecake in water bath: line the outside of the springform pan to prevent leaks. Place it in a larger pan and put in the oven. Add enough boiling water to come halfway up the springform pan.
- Sometimes, water from the water bath can leak into the springform pan despite lining the outside. In this case, it’s better to simply place a small pan of water on the lowest oven rack and place the cheesecake on the rack above. Please, use caution when you open the oven door and allow the bulit-up steam to escape.
- Cheesecake is usually baked for 50-60 minutes. It is done when its center is still a little wobbly. You should turn off your oven and let it cool inside for 10-15 minutes. You should then slightly open the oven door and let it cool inside for another 10-15 minutes. Then leave it at room temperature to cool and put it in fridge for at least 3-4 hours. This gradual cooling will prevent the top from cracking.
- If your cheesecake top cracks anyway, it’s not the end of the world. Simply cover it with sour cream topping or some fruit sauce.
No-bake cheesecakes are sometimes called mock cheesecake. They are quick and easy, require no oven, so they’re perfect for hot summer months. You can make them more interesting by adding chocolate or nougat spread to the filling. In this case, I suggest you make the bottom with chocolate cookies, which you can also use for decoration. Always use creamy cheese that mustn’t be sour or tangy, especially if you’re making chocolate version. Non-bake cheesecake need a lot of cooling in the fridge, in order to allow the creamy filling to set, as it doesn’t contain any eggs that would bind the mixture together. Make sure to always make it a day ahead. Another great version of a cake that doesn’t require the use of oven are cheesecake shots. This handy, no-fuss dessert is perfect for summer parties and entertaining and looks gorgeous as its layers are showing through the serving glasses. I suggest using small plastic shot glasses.
- 190 g cookies
- 90 g butter
- 500 g cream cheese
- 150 g sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 40 g cornstarch
- 100 ml vegetable oil
- 500 ml milk
- 400 g sour cream
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 200 Celsius.
- Finely crumb cookies and combine them with melted butter. Press the mixture over the bottom of 9 or 10 inch springform pan. Bake it for 5 minutes.
- In the meantime, prepare the filling: beat eggs with sugar and vanilla extract on medium speed until fluffy. Then gradually add cheese, cornstarch, oil and milk. The mixture will be a bit runny, but don’t worry. Pour the mixture over the cookie base and put back in oven.
- Lower temperature to 180 Celsius and bake for 50-60 minutes.
- Meanwhile, stir together sour cream with sugar and vanilla extract. Spread this over the top of your cheesecake and return to oven for another 5-10 minutes.
- Turn off oven and let the cheesecake inside for about 10 min. Then slightly open the oven door and leave it in for another 10 min. Then let it cool on room temperature and finally put it in fridge for at least 3-4 hours.
Note: You can add a bit of lemon zest to the filling.
No-bake chocolate cheesecake
- 200 g chocolate cookies
- 100 g butter
- 350 g cream cheese
- 200 ml whipping cream
- 10 g powdered gelatine
- 5 tbsp sugar
- 10 crushed chocolate cookies
- 150 g Nutella or some other nougat spread
- 100 g cream cheese
- 200 ml whipping cream
- 10 g powdered gelatin
Crush cookies and combine them with melted butter. Place the mixture into a 26 cm springform pan. Let cool in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
For the cheese filling, whip cream. In another bowl, mix cream cheese with sugar and vanilla. Combine it with whipped cream and add crushed chocolate cookies. Add whipped cream. Prepare the gelatine according to the manufacturer’s instructions and add into the mixture. Spread the filling evently over the base.
For the chocolate nougat filling, combine Nutella with cream cheese. Whip the cream and add to the filling. Prepare gelatine according to the manufacturer’s instructions and add into the filling. Spread the filling over the cream cheese filling. You can decorate it with whipped cream and chocolate cookies. Let cool in the fridge overnight and serve the next day.
-makes 40 shots-
For the base:
- 150 g cookies
- 85 g butter
For the filling:
- 250 g cream cheese
- 50 g sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla sugar
- ½ tsp lemon juice
- 240 ml whipping cream
For the fruit jelly:
- 450 g berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries)
- 50 g sugar
- 10 g powdered gelatine
For the base, crush cookies and combine with melted butter. Place the mixture into the bottom of every glass.
For the filling, mix cream cheese with sugar, vanilla and lemon. Mix in whipping cream. Put the mixture into piping bag with round tip and put it into every glass, on top of the cookie base, but don’t fill it all the way up. Leave some room for the fruit jelly.
For the jelly, combine fruit with sugar, let stand for 10 minutes. Heat until it boils, remove from the stove and add gelatine that you prepared according to manufacturer’s instructions. Let it cool for a couple of minutes and spoon the mixture on top of every glass. Let cool for 1-2 hours and serve.
Photos by: Tamara Novaković