I feel so privilege to have sampled many cheesecakes in my short life. Some baked, some weren’t. When I was in primary school, my mom took my sister and I to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel for an afternoon tea and there I discovered my love for cheesecake. The cheesecake was baked and decorated with sweet fresh strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. Since then, it became my constant birthday present from my family year on year. Each year, I celebrated my birthdays with my favourite cheesecake baked by the very talented Italian patisserie chef of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. As I grew up and travelled the world, I have since discovered, tried and tested various cheesecake recipes and attempted to recreate them all in my humble home.
New York’s Carnegie Cheese Cake is indeed amongst those delicious cheesecakes I rate very highly. When I was 17 I even detoured from Washington D.C to New York just to have the cheesecake at Carnegie’s. Many wondered why a 17-year-old teenager chose to sit in a diner to have a cheesecake rather than go out and enjoy the nightlife in New York City. No one understood then and even now that eating great food with great company is my ultimate life’s pleasure.
Food, scent and music often bring back memorable experiences and the scent of a freshly baked cheesecake always brings sunshine to my face and comfort to my heart and certainly my belly. I have tried cheesecakes in Rome-Italy made with mascarpone (yum!), then one made with lemon zest from Lyon-France (very nice too) and recently from my favourite beach restaurant hideout spot in Andalusia-Spain, a baked cheesecake which they served with caramel syrup, surprisingly light and not too sweet (heavenly!). All the cakes were very nice, though none will take the place of the cheesecake that was made by the talented Italian chef of Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
How I wish I knew who he was, so I could thank him and ask him to train me. I worked hard over the years to create and perfect a cheesecake recipe that is close enough to the cheesecake I used to enjoy as a young girl from the talented chef of Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Over the years I finally made my cake stay still and not sink, not get burnt or become too dense to slice. I am grateful to my family and friends who tolerated many of my failed experiments and now repay them with this version that they can finally enjoy. I have only baked this cake on very special occasions for my loved ones. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! Feel free to decorate it with other types of fruits or even with edible sugar-coated flowers.
Serves 8 (12 slices):
8 inches round deep cake tin (lined with baking paper), food processor or a blender, a weighing scale, pastry brush, a large mixing bowl, a heatproof bowl, a saucepan, palette knife and a whisk.
For the base:
- 300g. digestive biscuits, broken into pieces
- 100g unsalted butter, soft and almost melted
For the cheesecake:
- 200g good quality white chocolate, broken into small equal sizes
- 600g cream cheese
- 250ml curd cheese or cottage cheese
- 100 ml. double cream
- 90g. golden caster sugar
- 50g. corn flour
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 4 eggs, whisked
- 70g fresh mix of raspberry and blueberries
For the base:
- Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C.
- Using a food processor or blender add your biscuits and butter until well combined and biscuits turn into fine crumbs. Add into your baking tin and bake in the oven for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool.
For the cheesecake:
- Mix the sugar and cornflour in a bowl, then add your cream cheese, curd cheese, cream, eggs, and vanilla extract, whisk all together until well combined.
- Meanwhile, put some water on your saucepan over medium-low heat, place your bowl on top, making sure the bottom of your bowl does not touch the water (Bain Marie). Add your chocolate pieces on the bowl and melt it over simmering water, gently stir.
- Once melted, add the chocolate pieces into your cream cheese mixture, then fold in some of your blueberries. Once well combined, pour over the biscuit crust and bake in the oven for 40 minutes.
- Cover the cake with a foil when it turns just a bit golden brown to stop it from burning. After 40 minutes you can turn off the oven heat and leave it resting inside the oven for around 30 minutes.
- Run a palette knife around the edge of the cake before releasing the spring-loaded cake tin. Decorate with more berries and then serve.