A plain baked New York cheesecake is always extremely popular. It's important not to overbeat the ingredients - stop mixing as soon as each ingredient you add is just incorporated. You may think the cake isn't fully baked when you take it out of the oven, but it will set into a perfect cheesecake overnight! You can also fold in chopped cookies, brownies or berries just before baking to make a flavoured cheesecake.
900 g cream cheese
190 g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
140 g plain flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
50 g caster sugar
50 g unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
a 23-cm round springform cake tin, greased and base-lined with greaseproof paper
Makes 10-12 slices
Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F) Gas 2.
For the base: Put the flour, baking powder, sugar and butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat until you get a sandy consistency Add the egg yolk and mix through - it will still be sandy but it will be a little more moist.
Press this mixture into the base of the prepared cake tin, using the ball of your hand or a tablespoon to flatten and compress it. It must be pressed down to form a dense base.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. It should have lost its sandy texture and come together to form a coherent base. Set aside to cool.
Put the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on slow speed until you get a very smooth, thick mixture. Add one egg at a time, while still mixing. Scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula after adding the second and last eggs.
The mixture should be very smooth and creamy The mixer can be turned up to a higher speed at the end to make the mix a little lighter and fluffier, but be careful not to overmix otherwise the cheese will split. Spoon the mixture onto the cold cheesecake base.
Put the tin inside a larger tin or in a deep baking tray and fill with water until it reaches two-thirds of the way up the cake tin. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown but still wobbly in the centre. Don't overcook.
Leave the cheesecake to cool slightly in the tin, then cover and refrigerate overnight before serving.
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