(picture note: credits to my mom for her beautiful orchids!)
If you’re looking for a dense cheesecake with an oreo base and a wonderful lemony flavour, today is your lucky day :)
I had previously shared about the high expectations my family has of me when it comes to their birthday cakes. Thankfully, Jon is really quite an easy man to please. His birthday cake was not only not a surprise to him, since he had long requested for this cake, accompanied me to buy the ingredients, and almost even paid for the ingredients, until I responded with a resounding NO. Yet, he is still happiest with this cake, counting down to the day that he would finally get a slice all to himself.
I still remember the times when I almost solely relied on Martha Stewart’s recipes ( I think it was because her site was easy to navigate and I was afraid of venturing out) and decided to try out her cheesecake recipe although I was (and still am) a self-proclaimed not-a-fan of cheesecake. Executing it was just like a quest – I had never baked something in the oven for so long, much less having to pour boiling hot water into the tray while the cheesecake is in the oven.
When I pulled the cheesecake out of the oven the first time, the baked cheesy-lemony-oreo smell permeated the kitchen and I just couldn’t help but continuously run my fingers over the smooth golden top of the cake. When Jon put the first bite of the chilled cheesecake in his mouth, his satisfied grin made me realise that from then on, this recipe would definitely be a staple in my repertoire. And it has, having baked this countless times.
New York Cheesecake
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Classic Cheesecake and Triple-Chocolate Cheesecake recipe
The Oreo Base
9 oz oreo cookies (measured without the cream in the middle)
6 tbsp (or 28g) melted butter
1. Preheat your oven to 325°F or 165°C.
2. Line a 9″ springform pan with parchment paper.
3. Using a food processor, bamix, or mortar and pestle, pulse the oreo cookies until finely ground. Transfer to a bowl.
4. Bit by bit, pour the melted butter into the ground oreo cookies and using a spoon, mix it all together. At this point, the oreo and butter mixture will resemble a coarse paste.
5. Pour everything into the springform pan and using a spoon, press the oreo down firmly until it covers the entire base of the springform pan evenly.
6. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, take it out of the oven and set aside. The temperature used to cook for the filling is the same as above so adjustments to the oven temperature will not be needed.
The Cheesecake Filling
2.5 lbs bar cream cheese, room temperature
1.5 cups granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
grated lemon zest of one lemon
3 tbsp lemon juice (the lemon quantity I put is is triple of what Martha suggests but we like it this way)
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup sour cream
1. Set a kettle of water to boil.
2. Put the cream cheese in a stand mixer and on medium, mix cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
3. With the stand mixer on low, pour the granulated sugar into the cream cheese bit by bit. When done, allow it to continue mixing to ensure that everything is well incorporated. Add the salt.
4. Stop the stand mixer. Using a grater, grate the lemon zest directly into the batter. Quite a bit of the flavour of the zest gets lost if this is done in advance since zest dries up pretty quickly so I find it best to grate it directly. A little more or less doesn’t kill :)
5. Slice the lemon in half and squeeze out the lemon juice. I usually squeeze it directly into the batter, making sure that none of the seeds fall in. If you’re afraid that it’ll be too sour, put less first and you can add more after adding in the sour cream.
6. With the stand mixer on medium, add the eggs one by one, ensuring that everything is incorporated well. Add in the sour cream. At this stage, I would recommend that you taste the filling and add more lemon if desired, as I usually do.
7. Wrap the sides of the springform pan with foil. Do ensure that the foil is tightly wrapped around till at least half the height of the springform pan. Pour the filling into the springform pan.
8. Put the springform pan on top of a roasting pan and put this in the middle of the oven. Carefully pour the hot water into the roasting pan, ensuring that the water does not go above the foil on the springform pan. I do not suggest that you put the roasting pan while the oven is preheating as the boiling water will sizzle on the roasting pan as you’re pouring it in – this is really dangerous!
9. Bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes. The cheesecake is ready when the top of the cheesecake has a deep golden brown colour and only jiggles very slightly when moved. Leave at room temperature to cool and when it is at room temperature, put the cheesecake in the refrigerator to chill overnight. Just before serving, remove the foil, run a knife round the sides of the cheesecake and carefully remove the sides of the springform pan. In my experience making this cake, it is easy transferring this cake to a cake board or cake stand as the base is quite firm and holds well. After every slice, clean your knife for a neat cut.