I have to start off by apologizing to my co-authors as well as those who read our blog for posting so late. I have finally got around to completing the challenge, and I have to say, I really had fun with this!
My first bit of creativity with this recipe came because I do not own a 9” springform pan, so I decided to use a muffin tray and make mini cheesecakes. I used paper cups in the tray so that the batter would not stick and I would be able to get the cakes out easily.
I did not follow the base as prescribed on the recipe. I have never used Graham crackers before, so I went for the old faithful, digestive bran biscuits which I know suit cheesecake very well. I have made plenty of fridge cheesecakes, and never use any butter or sugar in the base. Reason being because I do not like how hard the base gets, or how sweet. The base without any butter or sugar does not stick very well, but in a fridge cheesecake, but I find that it compliments the texture of the cake. However, I thought that since it was the first time I would be making a baked cheesecake, I added a little melted butter to the crushed biscuits. I did not use the prescribed amount of butter, rather just enough to get the biscuits slightly cohesive. I also decided not to bake the base in the oven at all because I did not want to end up with a hard base. So instead, I just pressed the biscuit base at the bottom of the paper cups on the tray.
I used only half the amounts on the recipe. My family is traditionally not fans of baked cheesecake and I thought that it would be a waste to make a large one. Half was just enough. Here I followed the recipe as prescribed, but discovered one problem….I had mistakenly taken one tub of cottage cheese and one cream cheese, instead of two tubs of cream cheese. I used the cottage cheese anyway and hold thumbs that my cake would set. I substituted vanilla essence for vanilla extract as I do not use extract.
Once done, I spooned the mixture over the biscuit base. I then put it in the oven as prescribed for 10 min on 210 degrees C. However, this was too long, and the cake cracked. I then turned the oven down to 120 degrees C and left it for about 35 min. The smell from the oven was mouth watering.
I took the mini cheesecakes out of the oven and to my dismay they had sunk. I think due to my cottage cheese mishap. I still had high hopes that it tastes as good as it smelled.
I don’t like the topping prescribed by the recipe. I think it is too sweet and I am a big fan of toppings subtly complimenting the cake, but not being overbearing. So I bought fresh strawberries, which are in season here, and stewed them slightly in sugar syrup. I then lay them in the sunken centers of the mini cheesecakes and drizzled the left over syrup over them.
I served them immediately to my parents who could not stop raving about how delicious the cake is!
I found the cheesecake easy to make. However, next time I will opt for a cheaper cream cheese, especially if making the full amounts. After rounding up the cost, it was quite a costly dessert to make! Reserve for special occasions, but worth every penny.