The Cookbook Challenge: Week 7 Soft Recipe: Best ever baked cheesecake

by April@MyFoodTrail on January 4, 2010

in Baking, Cakes, Cookbook Challenge 2010, Recipes

Theme: Soft
Cookbook: The Cook’s Companion by Stephanie Alexander

The first time I tried to make this recipe was a few months ago. I had agreed to make a birthday cake for hubby’s cousin and found out he likes cheesecakes, so what better recipe to use than one that had “best ever” in its name?

Things didn’t exactly go according to plan and after the 50 minutes spent baking the cake and a further one hour resting it in the oven, you can imagine my devastation when I realised that the water bath had leaked into the cheesecake and ruined it! It was already 11pm and I had to work the next day so there was no chance I would be able to make it again.

I thought it would be a good recipe to make for the “soft” theme week, though the biscuit crust is not exactly soft, the cheesecake filling is. I wasn’t able to take my usual photos of the process as I was rushing to get it finished, but the steps are pretty straight forward.

Given my disaster with the water bath last time, I decided to skip it this time. Cheesecakes are prone to cracking and the water bath is supposed to help prevent this by introducing some moisture into the oven. Stephanie Alexander says that cracked cheesecakes usually means they have been baked at too high a temperature. Surprisingly, my cheesecake was only cracked very slightly on the side, even without using a water bath!

Stephanie also says that the mixture should not be over-beaten as this is likely to lead to the mixture sinking in the oven as the extra volume deflates.


Best ever baked cheesecake
Adapted from The Cook’s Companion by Stephanie Alexander

125g butter, melted
250g Nice biscuits (or wheatmeal biscuits)
500g cream cheese, at room temperature
200g castor sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour
3 eggs
2 tablespoons lemon juice
pinch of salt
2 cups sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan forced).

2. Brush base and sides of a 22cm springform tin with a little of the melted butter.

3. Line base of tin with baking paper.

4. Crush biscuits in a food processor. Add remaining butter and process.

5. Press crumb mixture into base and sides of tin, tapping firmly with the base of a glass tumbler as you go.

6. Beat cream cheese and sugar in an electric mixer until smooth.

7. Beat in cornflour, then add eggs one at a time, beating each time just until smooth.

8. Add lemon juice and salt.

9. Add sour cream and beat briefly to combine.

10. Pour batter into tin and bake for 50 minutes, then turn off oven but do not open door for 1 hour.

11. Cool completely in tin on a wire rack and refrigerate for several hours or overnight before serving.

Results: OMG, if you like cheesecakes, you will absolutely love this recipe! It was so delightfully creamy and soft but so light at the same time. It tasted amazing and is one of the best cheesecakes I have ever had. A number of people tried a piece and everyone was blown away by how delicious it was! You have to try it for yourself!

Would I make it again? Yes, definitely.

Over & Out, Rilsta xx

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Hannah January 4, 2010 at 1:02 pm

Looks like a great recipe with which to get the cheesecake-cooking fundamentals down pat! However, I've never made a cheesecake myself as generally, when the craving strikes, it strikes hard – and I don't want to wait a full day for it to set in the fridge!

Beautiful blog, by the way 🙂


ms s loveridge January 4, 2010 at 1:40 pm

wow! the cake looks very yummy!
i've never made a cheesecake and find it too daunting – but the ingredients and the number of steps involved in this one seems pretty reasonable. 🙂 will give it a go! thanks Rilsta. 🙂


penny aka jeroxie January 4, 2010 at 2:54 pm

loves great! I always love a good cheesecake. been awhile since I made one.


Conor @ HoldtheBeef January 4, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Wow, I'm surprised that something with "best ever" in the name actually lived up to expectations. Nice one!


smay January 4, 2010 at 5:51 pm

I made a cheesecake once and water leaked into it too!! Is it because of using those that with a removable ring? I tried making it second time with using a normal cake tin, (the one where you can't remove the bottom) and it was much better. Should try without water bath next time!


pecot85 January 4, 2010 at 6:08 pm

wow i love cheese cake..thank for the recipes


Ange January 4, 2010 at 7:33 pm

I adore cheesecakes too, baked or not. I dont have the perfect baked recipe yet so will have to try this one out, it looks so light & melt in the mouth soft….


Sarah January 4, 2010 at 8:39 pm

Looks gorgeous! I've had the same problem with water leaking into a cheesecake. The first time that happened, I took the cheesecake out of the tin and put it back in the oven "to dry out", and it collapsed on the oven! So sad, lol.

Now when I do waterbaths, I wrap the outside of the tin in glad wrap, then a double layer of foil.

But yours looks delicious and soft even without waterbath!

xox Sarah


What's For Tea? January 4, 2010 at 9:47 pm

Oh that looks good! I have a relative that I would love to rival in the cheesecake stakes, this could be the winner!


Maria@TheGourmetChallenge January 4, 2010 at 9:59 pm

I gotta try this!! I just LOVE the height of your cake, its looks like a super model cheesecake, and I'm sucker for any baked cheese cakes!


Adrian @ Food Rehab January 4, 2010 at 10:29 pm

oh damn! That look so creamy…I had a cheesecake craving the other day.

I was lazy so a cheesecake was had from David Jones. I mushed it all up and ate it like it was freakin yoghurt! LOL

Reply January 4, 2010 at 10:39 pm

mmmm…my mouth is watering looking at your pictures. Looks perfect! Leigh


mademoiselle délicieuse January 4, 2010 at 10:57 pm

Woah, that is one silkenly smooth looking cheesecake! If my stomach wasn't feeling acidy, I would definitely go a slice now =)


imasugarjunkie January 5, 2010 at 12:07 pm

ooh I LOVE cheesecake! This looks devine and full of cheesecakey goodness! well done!


Esz January 5, 2010 at 1:40 pm

Oh yay so you CAN make baked cheesecake without a water bath!! I always thought it was a bit dangerous to have all that water sitting about in your oven. So glad to hear that the recipe still works without one. I am so going to try it now.

That said – I wonder if just a small ovenproof bowl in the oven with water in it would achieve a similar result to a water bath? Because it's really there for the steam and moisture in the air isn't it?


Agnes January 5, 2010 at 1:40 pm

It looks fantastic! I've never baked a cheesecake in a water bath – but I generally cover the top with something so I'm not fussed about cracks. I can only imagine how devastating it would be to have water seep into a beautiful cheesecake!

And welcome back to the internets!


Rilsta January 5, 2010 at 7:26 pm

Hi Hannah: Thanks for visiting & your lovely compliment! Yeah, the downside to making your own cheesecake is the hours you need to let it set in the fridge before you can dig in!

Hi ms s loveridge: I always thought making cheesecakes was going to be hard, but this recipe is relatively easy! Let me know how you go!

Hi Penny: This was my first time making one!

Hi Conor: This cheesecake was definitely best ever!

Hi smay: Yep! I used a springform tin (removable outer) but I covered the outside with foil. Provided your oven isn't too big or too hot, the cheesecake shouldn't crack without a water bath… at least mine didn't!

Hi pecot85: Thanks!

Hi Ange: This has definitely become my go to baked cheesecake recipe. It really is light & melt in your mouth!

Hi Sarah: Thanks for the tip! The time it leaked I double wrapped it in foil, but obviously that wasn't enough or I didn't do it properly!


Rilsta January 5, 2010 at 7:32 pm

Hi What's for tea: Definitely give this recipe a go! This will help you win the cheesecake stakes! 🙂

Hi Maria: LOL! I like the supermodel cheesecake! I'm a sucker for baked cheesecakes too and this is one of the BEST!

Hi Adrian: That's funny! Why would you mush it up? Cos it tasted bad?

Hi Leigh: Thanks! 🙂

Hi mademoiselle délicieuse: Aww, hope your stomach gets better! I'll save a slice for you! 😉

Hi imasugarjunkie: Thanks!

Hi Esz: Make sure your oven temperature is not too hot and don't open the oven door. Do try the water in a spearate bowl – I'm sure it will work similarly. The worst thing that can happen is that your cheesecake cracks, but it will still taste the same (which is great!) 🙂

Hi Agnes: Thanks! I will keep that in mind if I make a different cheesecake that cracks.


Iron Chef Shellie January 6, 2010 at 3:09 pm

"best ever" and "never fail" are words I try to avoid now when it comes to trying recipes!

Looks amazing though! nice and creamy =D


Rilsta January 7, 2010 at 11:19 am

Hi Shellie: Hehe! I actually google for "best ever"! 😛


Thermomixer January 8, 2010 at 6:50 am

Great cheescake indeed – sure deserves best-ever title from its appearance in your pics. congratulations.

Something that you can use to stop the water getting in is an oven-bag wrapped around the outside and tied with cooking twine – it works. The water bath keeps it cooler rather than just providing steam, so if you are ever game enough to add water to the recipe then it's worth a try.


Rilsta January 11, 2010 at 11:55 am

Hi Thermomixer: Thanks for the tip! I shall keep that in mind next time if I want to use a water bath! I didn't know that about it helping the cake stay cooler too!


Rizka January 11, 2010 at 10:28 pm

Oooohhh the cheesecake looks yummmm thanks for sharing the recipe I think I will try this one day.. So tempting..!


Rilsta January 12, 2010 at 11:46 am

Hi Rizka: You have to try it – it's really good!


Linda April 22, 2013 at 4:47 am

Hey Rilsta, thanks for this recipe, I made it yesterday for my birthday party today, and it was divine. I put some cherries on the top. Yummm!


Donna December 17, 2013 at 2:34 pm

This is very similar to my own favorite recipe. My recipe beats the egg whites separately first and folds it in after mixing the other ingredients. Also includes a teaspoon of vanilla essence. Cooks at a slightly lower temp for an hour. Also, no need to grease the tin or use paper. There is enough butter in the crumb mix.


sandra March 5, 2014 at 2:14 pm

This is a good recipe. I just done it yesaterday. Only this morning I be able to taste it. It just super nice. Thanks for sharing your best recipes.


Peita May 11, 2014 at 8:46 pm

Baked this cake this morning for Mother’s Day with my family. It was so easy to make. Everyone commented on how light and tasty it was. My daughter in law loved it and said to me as I was leaving “Sorry, but I’m keeping the rest of it”. Will keep this recipe for future events.


Nanna May 16, 2014 at 3:02 am

Wow,look just lile THE cheesecake I was looking for!!:) Can I ask how many deciliters 2 cups of sourcream is?:)


April@MyFoodTrail June 1, 2014 at 8:01 pm

It is 500ml. Hope you like it!


Shamiela August 17, 2014 at 6:42 pm

Made different types of cheesecakes, so far this tasted the best,,,,Yummy!


Shelvia August 21, 2014 at 4:15 pm

April, Is this “the” recipe??? 🙂 Sooooooooooooooooooooo yummy!


Sammy September 5, 2014 at 11:10 am

This was the first baked cheesecake I’ve ever made & it turned out amazing!! I had to put 1/2 cup I cotta cheese as didn’t have enough sour cream. I put some berries & bit of cream dusted with some icing dust & was a massive hit!!! Hubby couldn’t get enough & when it was all gone, he wanted more!


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