Whenever Christmas comes round, it signals the start of mum’s American Cheesecake baking season. Her record was set in the early 2000s when 47 cheesecakes were made and sent out our doors over a period of 3 weeks leading up to Christmas. The whole house just smelled of cheesecake… constantly. So safe to say, everyone in the family is a sucker for the dessert. Thing is, everyone can also be quite impatient and lazy… things like needing to wait an hour for a cake to come out of the oven, or cutting a cake “neatly” are not our fortes. If you face similar problems – like a complete incapability to slice a cake and serve it without toppling it in the process, then this is the perfect solution for you; “Cheesecake Cupcakes”.
Cheesecake is not the hardest to prepare, but the tricky bit is making sure it doesn’t crack right down the middle while baking. I find adding a tray of water in the oven while you’re baking helps keep it moist and reduce the chances of a volcanic crevice. Also, dividing it into smaller portions means a faster baking time and even less chances of an unsightly crack – let’s face it, we’re not all born patissier(e)s.
This recipe is based off my mum’s old recipe, with some modifications by yours truly. Hopefully you find this recipe and these tips useful – comes in plenty handy when you need a dessert to impress with minimal effort. Enjoy!
Mini Cheesecake Cupcakes
100g digestive biscuits (crushed beyond recognition)
15g granulated white sugar
60g melted unsalted butter
500g Philadelphia cream cheese (or any full fat cream cheese really; room temperature)
120g granulated white sugar
⅛ tsp salt
1tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp lemon zest OR juice from ½ a lemon (I personally prefer using the zest)
120ml sour cream (room temperature)
Van Houten semi-sweet chocolate
Tip: Try to avoid using paper cupcake/muffin cups as the cheesecake will stick to it and will leave an unclean edge when you remove the cheesecake from the paper cup.
Mix the crushed digestive biscuits, white sugar and melted butter in a bowl, and fill the base of your cupcake/muffin cups with the mixture. Gently press the crumbs to make sure there are no air pockets. Set this aside while you make the filling.
Preheat the oven to 145°C , and set a tray of water into the base of the oven – this will help prevent your cheesecakes from cracking or breaking apart in the centre as it bakes.
Mix the cream cheese in an electric mixer until it’s smooth. Add in the sugar and mix until there are no more lumps. Slowly add in the other ingredients in the order on the list, with sour cream being the last. Once mixture is smooth and has an even texture, distribute it evenly to the cupcake holders that you set aside earlier. Make sure there are no air bubbles in your cupcakes and place them in the oven on a lower rack.
Bake for 20 minutes. Once done, take them out of the oven and set them aside to cool to room temperature. Place them in the fridge for a couple of hours, or overnight if you have the time, to cool and solidify.
When serving, you can serve as is or garnish with chocolate sauce, fresh berries and other fruits – a combination I personally really like.