Totally Foolproof Baked Vanilla Cheesecake

Never ever underestimate the power of a classic cheesecake.

Cheesecake is my favourite dessert of all time - hands down. It has evolved massively from just the minimal, plain Vanilla cheesecake. Now you can find incredibly extravagant and outlandish recipes, everything from triple chocolate to coconut & chilli! The sky really is the limit for your imagination when it comes to cheesecake flavours, but as with any type of art, it's so easy to forget the beauty of a classic - the original.

I couldn't tell you how many different desserts I've enjoyed in my life, but I can become so overstimulated by all the elaborate puddings on offer, so it's nice to break it down and enjoy the quiet simplicity of a classic cheesecake. Vanilla cheesecake can easily be complemented with any fruit or sauce of your choosing, making it incredibly versatile and adaptable even after it has left the oven!

That's right, you heard me: OVEN.

This is going to be a baked cheesecake. If you have tried a baked and a non-baked cheesecake, then you (should) know that a baked cheesecake tastes far more delicious and superior, but is usually a total bitch-fest to make. I tried a baked cheesecake recipe once, endorsed by a certain celebrity chef, which involved setting the cheesecake in a water bath while cooking in the oven. The water leaked into the tin, and it turned into a lumpy, watery pus, like I had been popping a T-Rex's back acne. Tragedy.

So after I fed the 'pus-pie' to the next door neighbour's cat, I decided all the water baths and egg-separating was too much bollocks for a cheesecake, and I stuck to making no-bake cheesecakes ever since.

Until now.

I've tweaked and mixed different recipes to produce an easy but perfect baked cheesecake that requires no water baths, no egg-separating, and no arrogant ingredients (in my working-class opinion) such as buttermilk, sour cream or créme fraîche. This recipe uses ingredients which you are more likely to have in the house aready, or will be easily available down at the local shop. Finally, this recipe is pretty impervious to any human error, and because it's low-baked, it's even pretty difficult to burn it! Anyways, let's get down to business!


What You'll Need:
250g digestive biscuits (HobNobs are better!)
100g butter
400g full-fat cream cheese
500ml full-fat Greek yoghurt
200g white sugar
4 large eggs
3 tablespoons plain flour
1 tablespoon of good-quality Vanilla extract

1. First, we need to make our biscuit base.

I measured my biscuits out (if you read my other recipes, you'll know how much I loathe measuring!) but you can save yourself the hassle by buying a sleeve of biscuits that ways around 250g, more or less, and just use the whole packet.

If you have a food processor, grind your biscuits to a rubble. For us poor folk, slip your biscuits into a freezer bag or carrier bag (as long as there are no holes!) and batter them with a heavy object.

Once crushed, add your crumbs into a bowl.

2. Microwave your 100g of butter until it's completely liquid.

Pour this over your biscuit crumbs and mix thoroughly until your crumbs are buttery and as damp as wet sand.

Some biscuits can be drier than others, so if you think you need more butter, do add more butter.

3. Pour your crumbs into a buttered springform tin (any tin that's roughly 10-inches and has a removable bottom).

Spread the crumbs out with your hands and make sure you have a base that's equally thick all around. Then press your crumbs down with your palms until densely packed. Make sure you get around the edges too!

Once you have a nice, thick base, pop your tin into the fridge to harden while we make the cheesecake filling!

4. Preheat your oven to 150C/300F.

Empty your 200g of sugar, your 3 tablespoons of flour, your 400g of full-fat cream cheese and your 500ml of full-fat Greek yoghurt into a large bowl (it's full-fat or nothing; if you want fat-free, eat a cabbage.)

Mix everything together until combined and creamy.

This works much better if the yoghurt and cream cheese are at room temperature and not chilled!

5. Whisk your 4 eggs in a jug with your tablespoon of good-quality vanilla extract. You can use any vanilla extract really, though premium quality is better as vanilla is the headlining act in this cheesecake.

Add your vanilla-eggs into your cheese mixture, and mix until everything is completely combined and shiny.

Your batter is finished!

6. Remove your biscuit base from the fridge.

Pour in all of your cheesecake batter, making sure you don't get any sloppage around the sides of the tin.

Carry your tin over to the oven carefully, without tilting it, and place in a low-level shelf in the oven. Bake for 50-60 minutes.

7. When done, the cheesecake should be golden around the sides and will have risen a lot around the edges. The middle of the cake will be sunken and wobbly. This is normal, don't panic! Turn off the oven, and leave the door slightly open until the cake has completely cooled (about an hour.) The sides of the cheesecake will sink back down and give you a smooth, flat cheesecake.

Once cooled, pop the cheesecake in the fridge to chill for a couple of hours before serving.

It's a long wait, but it is a worthy wait!

Serve alone, or with jam, sauce, chocolate or fresh fruit - anything you can imagine!

Thanks for reading,

Anthony :)



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