Thursday, 15 May 2014

Guest Post: Linda's Salted Caramel and Vanilla Cheesecake

Today's guest post features Linda, a lover of food but a hater of caterpillars (maybe you can tell us about that another time huh)? Recently welcomed to the blogging world, she is the mind behind You Berra believe it, a blog mainly focussed on reviewing good food in Canberra - of course you say, she is a lover of food! She is absolutely great at talking about the food she has eaten and is even better at getting people to talk about the food she has cooked! As you may have seen from our May Cakeup roundup, her decadent salted caramel cheesecake appeared on the buffet and was literally gone in minutes - it was just divine! Linda has decided to share the recipe with us today - lucky us!

I’m not sure where I got my love of baking from. It certainly wasn’t from my mum. Most of her creations (even sweet ones) originated from her wok. Our family oven lay dormant for many years until I started experimenting with baking myself.

I never had much of sweet tooth as a child (that developed a little later in life) but I became accustomed to baking for other people because the enjoyment of seeing the glee on people’s faces far outweighed the work that went into baking. In fact, to me baking doesn’t equate to any work. I find it rather therapeutic. Some of my old colleagues would always know when I was either stressed or upset. Perhaps the promise of a consistent (and delicious) result was cathartic.

Particularly new to my baking repertoire was cheesecake. I know this sometimes strikes fear into the most experienced bakers but cheesecake is quite simple and easy if not just slightly time consuming. There’s nothing like the sweet and savoury taste and smooth creamy texture of a baked cheesecake.

This recipe for a salted caramel and vanilla cheesecake is easier than it sounds. It was originally a Donna Hay recipe (that I’ve modified) and some of you may remember it from its appearance at the last Canberra cake up.

The important thing to remember about this recipe:
  • Do everything in the right order – for a smooth consistency follow the instructions for blending the ingredients into the cheese mixture to a T.
  • There is plenty of waiting time between the steps. So while the work maybe only equate to about 20-30 mins worth all up, the waiting time easily extends the cake making process to about half the day.
  • Make sure the sea salt flakes are sprinkled on once the caramel has cooled as this ensures the salt crystals stay intact and you will get a nice burst of saltiness!

Salted caramel and vanilla cheesecake


·         400g plain sweet shortbread biscuits
·         ½ cup (60g) almond meal (ground almonds)
·         110g butter, melted
·         350g ricotta
·         500g cream cheese
·         1 cup (175g) brown sugar
·         4 eggs
·         2 tablespoons golden syrup
·         ¼ teaspoon table salt
·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Caramel sauce
·         1 cup (250ml) single (pouring) cream
·         35g butter, chopped
·         1 cup (175g) brown sugar
·         sea salt flakes, for sprinkling

To make the caramel sauce, place the cream, butter and sugar in a saucepan over low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to high, bring to the boil and cook for 5–7 minutes or until thickened. Set aside and allow to cool. Sprinkle in sea salt flakes and mix into the caramel.

Place the biscuits and almond meal in the bowl of a food processor and process until coarsely chopped. Add the butter and process to combine. Press the biscuit mixture into the base and sides of a lightly greased 22cm springform cake tin lined with non-stick baking paper. Ensure the crust isn’t too thick around the bottom edge. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F). Place the ricotta and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 5–6 minutes or until smooth. Add the sugar and beat for 3–4 minutes or until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the golden syrup, table salt and the teaspoon of vanilla and beat until well combined. Spoon the mixture into the biscuit shell. Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes or until firm to the touch.

Remove cheesecake from the oven and allow to cool in the tin. Refrigerate for 3 hours or until set. Drizzle with the caramel sauce to serve. Serves 8–10.

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