For the past 18 months, I’ve been baking cakes for birthdays at my work. What started innocently enough with one Victoria cake for my boss Victoria turned into a bit of a tradition – goodbye Colin Caterpillar and fudge cakes from M&S, now people expect to be surprised and feted in style.
And this time, it’s the big boss’s birthday! My brief is simple:’spare no expense’.
It’s not so much the monetary expense that comes to mind though, but the waist expense of our company as I start planning this particular cheesecake. I started imagining quite a looker of a cake, with very dark chocolate crumbs and lots of layers, including gooey caramel running through it. I was going to lay the caramel sauce straight onto the base of the cake, but thought that might actually make the cake a little too unstable, so decided instead on THIS evil plan instead:
- Oreo cookie crumb base
- Baked latte cheesecake layer
- Salted butter caramel sauce
- Vanilla fridge cheesecake layer
- Chocolate fridge cheesecake layer
Beware, this is not a quick recipe, mostly because it’s really three cheesecakes in one! So this makes a monstrously large cake, which easily accommodate 20 peeps. Of course proportions can be adapted to make smaller quantities (will try to provide soon!). As it is, these huge cakes still ALWAYS disappear in a matter of minutes, there is never enough! And if you’re really balking at the quantities of cream, remember that portions don’t have to be huge to be satisfying…
Now for the recipe(s):
Make sure you pre-heat your oven at 180 degrees for at least 10 minutes before you start baking your cheesecake. You can prepare the crumb base and the caramel sauce the night before, so just a little planning required here.
Oreo cookie crumb base
- 2 packs of oreo cookies
- 100 gr melted butter
Optional (I just think it brings another level of tastiness – and I’m a GREAT believer of salt in cakes – it’s the great flavour enhancer!)
- large pinch of salt
- 100 gr caster sugar
- 40 gr cocoa powder
- a 25-30 cm cake tin with detachable bottom or tin circle
- Something to reduce biscuits to crumbs (food processor, mortar and pestle or rolling pin)
- A medium sized bowl
What do to:
- Scrape off the white filling in the oreos – actually quite easy to do, 2 packets took me maybe 5 minutes, if that much. That’s quite fun too.
- Bash the hell out of the biscuits! Many ways to go about this: a food processor will take care of this in no time, or you could put all the biscuit in a clear plastic bag and bash them with a rolling pin, or go mortar and pestle style – takes longer, but particularly effective when stressed and needing an outlet (my version of a punching bag then).
- Melt the butter in a pan or microwave (30 secs at full blast will suffice).
- Tip the crumbs in a bowl, mix in dry ingredients then pour in butter until fully incorporated.
- Transfer the mixture in the tin and spread it to a thickness or about 5mm, more of less evenly through the bottom. You can leave it at that or push it up the sides too – a fork/ spoon or fingers are all valid tools here (wash your hands!). It doesn’t matter if the sides don’t look too even, it’s artistic, innit?
- Stick in the fridge for at least 30 minutes for the butter in the base to harden and form the crust.
Baked latte cheesecake
- 3 packs of cream cheese – feel free to mix and match: mascarpone, ricotta, philadelphia – with me, it often depends on what I have available in the fridge! But that will also determine how rich your cheesecake is. Mascarpone has the most flavour and the most fat, ricotta provides a lovely airy texture and is pretty forgiving on the fat front – so using both is a nice compromise in my book
- 100 gr caster sugar – 150gr if you like yours sweeter, but in this recipe, I’m adding a layer of caramel that will largely compensate
- a teaspoon of vanilla essence (although I love using this vanilla paste that you can find in most supermarkets – especially if vanilla is only a background flavour)
- 2 teaspoons of instant coffee diluted in 1 tablespoon of boiling water (or coffee extract if you have it!)
- 4 whole eggs
- a large bowl
- an electric handmixer*
*Unless you’re lucky enough to have a kitchenaid mixer looming close by (I am lucky. And what I thought was a pure vanity buy ended up being the launch of my baking’ career’ – it is THAT good. Truly, no going back).
What to do:
- Put all the cream cheese in one bowl, with the sugar, vanilla paste and coffee mixture. Beat it for 5 minutes until ‘relaxed’ and fluffy-looking. You can easily omit the coffee altogether if you want.
- Add the eggs one by one and mix well, waiting for each egg to be fully incorporated before adding the next one.
- Get the oreo cookie crumb tin out of the fridge and pour the mixture in.
- Bake for 15 minutes at 180 degrees, then bring temperature down to 150 degrees and bake for another 60 minutes. The cheesecake should have only the tiniest wobble to it and not really take much colour. Don’t worry if it cracks a bit on top, it will disappear under the next layer. Leave it to cool down fully – probably about 1 hour.
- Pour a generous layer of Salted Caramel sauce to cover the cake – but avoid letting it run down the sides.
- Stick in the fridge for at least 30 minutes for the caramel to harden a smidgen.
Fridge vanilla and chocolate cheesecake layers
- 2 packs of cream cheese (as above, mascarpone, ricotta, philadelphia, depending on what you have)
- 600gr double cream
- 150gr dark chocolate
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence or paste
- A large bowl
- electric handmixer (or Kitchenaid)
- a medium bowl to melt the chocolate
What to do:
- Melt the chocolate – I like living dangerously, so I melt it in the microwave. Alright, not so dangerously, I zap my chocolate for 3 minutes at a low setting (350-400w), and check it regularly. You can of course do the bain-marie thang, but I generally can’t be bothered. Plus you risk getting water in your chocolate and that’s bad. Although it’s absolutely possible to save chocolate that has been wetted and gone grainy (by adding a little more hot water and mixing like mad!). Leave it to cool slightly while you do the cream.
- Put cream cheese and cream in a bowl and mix until it become firm. OPTIONS here! LEave it quite soft, and you will be able to marble your cake, whip a bit longer and you’ll get to a firmer mix that will work better as layers (as in photos).
- Add the vanilla
- Put half the mixture in the cooled chocolate and mix.
- Get your cheesecake base out of the fridge and spoon on the vanilla mixture. Even out roughly.
- Then add your layer of chocolate cheesecake.
- Add sprinkles/ maltesers/ other decorations.
- Back in the fridge for a final settle
- You’re DONE.
Next time, I think I will add a layer of plain cookie crumbs between each layer of cheesecake – to add a little texture.
Get everyone together and see the cake disappear at top speed.