epic birthday treat – vanilla cheesecake with salted caramel topping

Go on, wipe the drool off your keyboard – I don’t want to be responsible for your computer malfunctioning. But I do want to be responsible for the delight you’ll shreek when you make this cheesecake. It’s TDF (to die for) and even, as my uncle would say, to KILL for (because really, who wants to die when you could live and still eat cheesecake?). So, where was I…oh yeah, right. This dessert brought the house down – I didn’t have a negative or even so-so response after everyone had licked their plates clean. It came about as I asked my brother, who just so happens to share my birthday albeit 6 years younger, what type of birthday cake he’d like me to make – and he suggested a cheesecake, and I then jumped over the moon. With excitement! I thought, YES I can make that delicious creation I found on tastespotting the other day, combining my favourite, all-time flavour, vanilla, with a touch of salted caramel .

It really was the perfect end to a perfect birthday week of wining, dining and catch-ups. It’s definitely a week I save up for, as it is not only our birthday but also my husbands birthday two days beforehand. Crazy huh? But its a common thing, partners sharing similar, if not the same, birthdates…kinda cool I think. Soulmate material, for sure.

Tangent…and we’re back. So, I love chocolate, cheesecake, vanilla and caramel, and in this creation, these stars perform a fantastic show. I was going to make my own biscuits for the base, as the recipe suggests, but do you think i found the time to?! Hello Arnott’s choc ripple, you made my day!

All in all it was simple to make, just a bit time consuming, but I would do it all over again if i had the chance (and I say that because I really need a reason to make this – its just too rich to eat all on my own!). UPDATE: The filling overflowed as the biscuits didn’t come high enough up the sides of the tin – I have made this again since, and it turned out perfectly, but of course, I have no photographic proof for you!

choc-crusted vanilla cheesecake with salted caramel topping (adapted from The Former Chef)

you’ll need…

(for crust)

500g buttery, chocolate biscuits (i used Arnott’s choc ripple)

1/2 cup flour

120g butter (i found i needed a bit more to make the crust bind)

(for filling)

900g cream cheese @ room temp

1 cup sugar

4 eggs (always use free range)

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

1/4 cup milk

(topping)

1 cup sour cream

1 tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla paste

(salted caramel)

1 cup sugar

1 cup cream

60g butter

1tsp fleur de sel (or use sea salt – i finally purchased the fleur de sel and man, does it make a difference)

here’s what you do…

1. grind biscuits in food processor until nice and fine. add the flour and pulse to combine, then add butter and continue to pulse until it reaches the consistency of wet sand.

2. press the crumbs into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan (i lined mine with foil) and then up the sides to form an even crust.

3. preheat fan-forced oven to 150 C.

4. for filling, put the milk in a saucepan with the vanilla and bring just to the boil before turning off. let the milk sit for 15 minutes for the vanilla to infuse.

5. put cream cheese into a bowl (i used my stand mixer) and add the sugar, beating until combined and smooth. add the eggs one at a time, with the mixer on, stopping to scrape down the sides and incorporate ingredients. add the milk/vanilla mix and beat until free of lumps.

6. pour the filling into the pan with the crust, placing the pan onto a lined cookie tray (to catch any buttery drips). bake for 50 min – 1 hour, or until set on top but soft and jiggly in the middle.

7. while that’s happening, mix the sour cream, sugar and vanilla. when the cheesecake is cooked, let it cool for 10 minutes, leaving the oven on, then pour this mix on top and bake for another 10-15 minutes. remove, and let it cool for 1 hour before refrigerating for at least 4 hours.

8. for the topping, melt the sugar in a heavy-based pan, stirring constantly to avoid burning the sugar (i omitted water from my caramel as i found it prevented the sugar from caramelising). once it has all melted and is rich amber/mahogany coloured, pour in the cream and put on very low heat, constantly stirring to melt all the caramel that has hardened from the cream. once all melted, whisk in the butter and salt, and allow to cool.

9. the caramel will be VERY thick and sticky, and i ended up melting it a bit just to liquify it so it could be poured over the cheesecake. it will set quite quickly as it hits the cold cheesecake. then top with a bit of extra fleur de sel, but only right before serving, as the caramel will soak it up if left on there for prolonged periods. enjoy!

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