Last Sunday was Vlad's birthday, and in true work celebration fashion, I baked him a cake. Vlad is a cheesecake fiend, so the cake of choice was cheesecake.
I decided to go off the beaten track a little with this cheesecake. I didn't have any cream, so I had to choose a cheesecake without cream. I turned to the Australian Womens Weekly Bake cookbook, and found a plain baked cheesecake made without cream called the Bistro Cheesecake. Perfect!
I used chocolate ripple biscuits for the base instead of plain biscuits, exchanged the lemon zest for a cup of chocolate chips (which all sank to the bottom - oh well) and 2 tablespoons of Kahlua, and decorated the top of the cheesecake with ganache (after acquiring some cream!), white chocolate stripes and a fondant disc.
Here is a look inside the finished product (and no, I did not cut this poor battered slice):
But you get the idea. The cheesecake worked, and it tasted pretty good.
To make the basic cheesecake, you will need:
250g packet chocolate ripple biscuits
125g butter, melted
500g cream cheese
1 cup chocolate chips
2 tablespoons Kahlua
Preheat your oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
Place biscuits in a food processor and process to form fine crumbs. Add the melted butter, and process until combined. Press the mixture over the base and sides of a greased 20cm springform pan. Chill the base in the fridge while you make the filling.
Make the filling by beating the eggs in a small bowl with an electric mixer until thick and creamy. Beat the cream cheese in another medium bowl with electric mixer until smooth. Add the egg mixture to the cheese mixture, and beat until combined. (To be honest, I threw caution to the wind and added the chopped up cream cheese straight into the eggs and started beating. Luckily, it was a warm day and the cream cheese did beat into the eggs without little lumps speckling the mixture.)
Beat in the 2 tablespoons of Kahlua and fold in the chocolate chips. The mixture is liquid, so yes, the chocolate chips will sink straight to the bottom of the mixture.
Pour the cheesecake filling into the chilled biscuit base, and bake the cheesecake for 50 minutes until set and only slightly jiggly on top. (Mine took around 20 minutes longer.) Cool the cheesecake in the oven with the door ajar. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
I ended up with a small crack in the top of my cheesecake, and wanted to hide it, hence I made the ganache using 75g of dark chocolate and 50ml cream. Chop the chocolate finely and place it into a heat proof bowl. Boil the cream, then pour it over the chopped chocolate, and let the mixture sit for around 3 minutes before stirring until smooth. It will be quite a thick ganache, so spread it over the top of the cooled cheesecake.
Pipe melted white chocolate in stripes over the top of the ganache. My plan was to feather it, but it set too soon. Oh well. Make a name disc out of rolled fondant and pipe a name in chocolate on top. Glue the disc to the cheesecake with a dab of melted chocolate.
Serve and enjoy!