Cheesecake is another sweet marvel discovered in my school days. The notorious turkey twizzler school dinners of my generation have had much bad press, although, I must say that I was never one to complain. The highlights of these joyous years being, 18p double chocolate cookies fresh out of the oven for breakfast (yes breakfast), chips, chocolate concrete and a surprisingly delightful and light vanilla cheesecake. Luckily for my health, I had a pittance to play with and thus could not indulge my every desire, but, when cheesecake was on the menu, I would skimp on the main course to ensure I would not miss out. Chips and cheesecake it is. I have to admit the light as air, heavenly smooth texture of this is still something of a mystery to me, l marvel at how and where their recipe was devised. Divine intervention seems the only clear answer.
This particular recipe came about when looking for a suitable answer to the challenge presented to me in the form of my brothers birthday. A health conscious, gym face who rarely gorges on anything as gluttonous cake, it needed to be special! Who knows when this boy is going to eat cake again! He is so unacquainted with the stuff he cannot even put his finger on what he likes. So it was my job to create something that would be pleasing to a palate so ignorant to the joy that cake can bring to ones soul.
This cake is not for the health conscious, but if you are going to do cake, you need to do it properly. Especially on a landmark occasion, turning a quarter of a century is a big deal and something that must be celebrated without restraint.
I have a confession to make also. I went for the easy no bake option due to bring pressed for time and tired from another soul melting week at work. My intention was to go for the grand gesture of the baked cheesecake but, from experience and much research I believe that this cake is birthday worthy, sweet, smooth and heavenly without the fuss of creating a water bath to retain the smooth texture that I so desire (a cheesecake baked without the water bath does not a happy Louise make)!
Nobody need know that it took a fraction of the time and effort of its baked cousin mwahahahaha.
600g soft cheese
250g double cream
100g Icing Sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla pod if you want to be fancy)
400g strawberries hulled, chopped
2 tbsp caster sugar
For the base;
100g butter (melted)
250g digestive biscuits
Line bottom of 23cm loose bottomed tin with baking parchment. Whizz biscuits in food processor, alternatively place in food bag and bash violently with rolling pin or other suitable blunt object (i find the meat tenderiser works after a long day at work). Mix with melted butter. Pack down into baking tin. Refrigerate.
Mix cream cheese with vanilla extract. Whisk double cream and icing sugar in separate bowl to stiff peak stage (until it is stiff and can stand up without flopping down on itself). Fold cream mixture with cream cheese mixture. Fold in half of chopped strawberries. Pour onto biscuit base. Refrigerate.
Put remaining strawberries in bowl with 2 tbsp of caster sugar. After 30 mins puree in food processor (or mash with potato masher as I did, getting the food processor out seemed like a chore, although, I don’t think I got as much from the strawberries as a result). Pass through sieve and add to top of cheesecake. Leave to set (I left the cheese cake overnight but a few hours will do).
Voila, a deceptively easy, beautifully smooth cheesecake minus the risk of a cracked top or curdled texture. Simplicity at its finest!