My friend Natalia recently celebrated her 23rd birthday. For her birthday dinner I planned on making her a cake, and settled on white chocolate and raspberry which is one of her favourite flavour combinations. I chose to make a cheesecake because I figured the flavours would translate well, plus it’s always popular and a nice twist on the typical birthday cake.
I waited until the day of her birthday dinner to make the cake. In hindsight this was a poor choice as I underestimated how long it would take to set. I have used variations of this recipe twice before; both baked and unbaked. It tasted much better unbaked in my opinion but I thought it had a bit too much gelatin in it last time. I detest the typical cafe/restaurant cheesecakes because they are so full of gelatin that the textural quality of the cheesecake is ruined. It’s a fine line. You need the cheesecake to be able to support it’s own weight without collapsing, but you also want it to be as soft and luscious as possible, not rubbery and solid. I think this cheesecake came very close to that mark, but it just didn’t have time to set properly so it sank around the edges. The raspberries may have also prevented the gelatin from setting slightly as some fruits do.
The good news is that it tasted excellent. The flavour of white chocolate and raspberry was obvious. The raspberry jelly on top was smooth and fresh against the creaminess, and the almond biscuit base complemented it all perfectly. I reduced the sugar content slightly because I included white chocolate, but I still found it a bit sweet. I guess a certain level of sweetness has to be expected with white chocolate and raspberry, but I try to aim for as little sugar as is needed in my baking. The recipe has been amended to include the amount of gelatin and sugar that I think would work well.
White Chocolate & Raspberry Cheesecake
Heavily adapted from Donna Hay’s recipe which I originally posted here.
- 1/3 cup almond meal
- 3/4 cup plain flour
- 1/4 cup caster sugar
- 90g chilled butter, chopped
- 150g good quality white chocolate (I highly recommend Whittaker’s)
- 100ml cream
- 500g cream cheese, cut into small pieces
- 70g sour cream
- 3/4 cup caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 Tbsp cold water
- ~7-8g clear unflavoured gelatin
- 2 Tbsp boiling water
- 250g frozen or fresh raspberries
- 250g frozen or fresh raspberries
- 100ml water
- 1/3 cup sugar
- ~5-6g clear unflavoured gelatin
- Cold water
To make the base, place ingredients in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips to form course crumbs. Line an 8″ (or slightly larger) spring-form pan with baking paper and pour in the crumbs. Spread out evenly and smooth down using the back of a large spoon. Try to make it as flat and even as possible. Bake for 15 minutes at 160C until lightly coloured, and allow to cool in the tin.
For the filling you first need to make a white chocolate ganache. This will incorporate the white chocolate flavour whilst keeping the cake smooth and creamy, and will also help it to set. Roughly chop the chocolate into small pieces and place it in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream in a saucepan until scalded (beginning to boil) and pour it over the chocolate. Stir gently until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth. Allow to cool, stirring occasionally.
Start on the jelly whilst the ganache cools. Chop up the raspberries and add to a small saucepan with water and sugar. Bring to the boil, whilst stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to a low simmer for about 3-5 minutes. Strain through a sieve or muslin cloth into a heatproof bowl or measuring jug to remove the raspberry pulp and seeds. Immediately sprinkle over the gelatin whilst stirring. Once the gelatin has fully dissolved add cold water to make up to 250ml. Set aside to cool, but don’t let it set.
To make the filling, combine cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, vanilla essence and white chocolate ganache. I used a stick blender to do this in a large bowl but you can also use a food processor. Blend until smooth, whilst trying to avoid incorporating air. Sprinkle gelatin over the cold water in a small bowl to soak for a couple of minutes. Add boiling water and stir until completely dissolved. Pour into cheesecake mixture and combine well. Roughly chop the raspberries (if you wish) and stir through the mixture. Avoid over-stirring so the mixture doesn’t become pink.
Prepare the sides of the spring-form pan with a small amount of butter. Pour in the filling and smooth out the top as flat as possible. You will need to have a bit of room at the top for the jelly so take out some of the filling if there is too much (I had just enough space). Allow the cheesecake to set slightly in the fridge or freezer before pouring over the jelly. If possible, refrigerate for 24 hours or overnight before removing from the tin. To ensure it comes out smoothly, heat a butter knife in a mug of boiling water and scrape around the edges to loosen.
If you wish to decorate with chocolate shards as I have done, simply melt a small amount of white chocolate and spread out evenly on baking paper. When set, cut into triangles of various lengths.