On to the plate

Experimenting with flavours, colours and style of food served at our place


Individual Cheesecakes – 4 variations

Almost immediately after Christmas I got stuck into trialling different recipes and flavour variations for cheesecake.

Randall and Kade thought it would be nice for my sisters and I to help in this way toward their wedding. First we had to decide what to make as part of the dessert table. After a few suggestions we agreed on cheesecake and Randall and Kade were all for it.

Kade had wanted something fruity and fresh, there would be the infamous Denheath Custard Squares and their wedding cake (they wanted to make sure it was eaten), which was a chocolate cake, I suggested a few flavours:

  • Lemon (or Lime)
  • Caramel
  • Passionfruit
  • Raspberry

I have a great recipe for Lemon cheesecake, it was given to me by an ex-work colleague and I tinkered with it a bit. Cheesecake is not something  I make often, under normal circumstances. Mr Fussy doesn’t like cheesecake, but apparently this recipe he’s all for. The base is made with crushed up Gingernut biscuits. I knew this recipe would work. Just don’t use vanilla bean paste in the sour cream topping, it makes it look like you’ve got dirt in it!

Original Lemon cheesecake

Vanilla bean paste in the topping doesn’t make it look all that appealing, even though it tastes fab.

Next up was caramel. I started out with one recipe but felt it was quite bland and after the cheesecake was cold the caramel flavour seemed to have disappeared. I decided to forgo that recipe and not waste good caramel sauce as an ingredient.

raspberry - the works

Could we finally be onto a winner? Trial number 4.

The raspberry version has been tweaked several time (4 to be exact). First the base in the original recipe wasn’t to anyone’s liking. Then we had the dilemma of what if we couldn’t source fresh raspberries in February. I tweaked the recipe several times trying to get a raspberry flavour without the raspberries. It was proving to be quite difficult. The best I could do was to add some Lorann Raspberry Emulsion to the cheesecake mixture. Up until this point I’d incorporated some raspberry puree in the mixture but that didn’t do much, I tried adding some to the top and swirling it in, but again it wasn’t strong enough to be detectable. So the raspberry emulsion was what we agreed to, with the use of Macadamia and White Chocolate biscuits as the base. As luck would have it I managed to get 3 punnets of fresh raspberries from Raeward Fresh Thursday night. We were in luck! Not that I had one on the night, but it had fresh raspberries on the base, the raspberry emulsion and the puree dotted on the top which I used a toothpick through to get a heart shape.

Early caramel trial

The salted caramel sauce finally made the caramel cheesecake taste like caramel.

Lastly it was the passionfruit, this one didn’t really require any tweaking from the original trial. In the trial I took some of the mixture and used the passionfruit freeze dried powder to then spoon on a layer to the top. Mum said initially she couldn’t tell what flavour it was, but then it all came together. The only change I made was to use the powder in all the mixture, not just as a topping to the cheesecake.

We served the caramel with a dollop of salted caramel sauce and the passionfruit had a splash of passionfruit pulp.

I had a taste of the caramel and passionfruit on the night, but I scored (two) lemon cheesecake for myself and Mr Fussy. Hopefully others enjoyed the selection too.

Original raspberry cheesecake

First variation with fresh raspberries in the mix and served with berries lightly dusted with icing sugar. We just didn’t want so much fuss on the night.

Funnily enough I’ve just browsed the Denheath website and looked at the cheesecakes they offer. We had the same sort of flavours. We must be thinking on the same lines, or just know what seems to appeal to the masses when it comes to flavour combinations.

The lemon cheesecake is one that I’ve had on my mind to share on the blog for some months now.

The recipes below will make 20 individual cheesecakes in a standard cupcake liner.

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Gingernut, chocolate wheaten and the shortbread base none of us liked

All recipes have a baked base using various crushed biscuit combinations.

Gingernut base:

  • 200gm Griffins Gingernut biscuits
  • 50gm melted butter
  • 2 Tablespoon white sugar

Chocolate Wheaten base:

  • 200gm Griffins Chocolate Wheaten biscuits
  • 50gm melted butter

White Chocolate and Macadamia base:

  • 200gm Select brand White Chocolate & Macadamia biscuits
  • 50gm melted butter

Heat the oven to 180degrees Celsius

Crush the biscuits in a food processor, or bash the living daylights out of the biscuits using a rolling pin.

Mix the melted butter (and sugar if you’re using gingernuts) with the crushed biscuits until all the biscuits have been moistened by the butter.

Line a muffin tin with cupcake cases.

Take 1 tablespoon of base per cupcake liner

Gently tap the mound of crushed biscuits to help them spread to the edge of the cupcake liner. Use the lid of a milk bottle or a tart press or a coffee tamper to flatten the biscuits into a uniformed disc.

Bake the bases for 5 minutes and then leave in the tin to cool while you make the cheesecake mixture.

Lemon Gingernut Cheesecake

(20 cupcakes is 2/3 of this recipe, or use this full recipe in a 10” springform round tin)


Base –

  • 1 packet of Griffins Gingernuts
  • 75gm butter – cooled
  • ¼ cup sugar

Cheesecake –

  • 750gm cream cheese (3 packets) – room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs (size 8)
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon

Topping –

  • 1 cup Sour cream (250gm tub) – room temperature
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • zest of 1 lemon


Base –

  • Heat the oven to 180deg C.
  • Melt the butter and allow it to cool.
  • Crush gingernuts.
  • In a bowl mix together gingernuts, butter and sugar.
  • Line the base of a 10” loose bottom tin with tinfoil and spread the mixture into the base.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes until the base is lightly brown.

Cheesecake –

  • Turn down the oven to 140deg C.
  • Mix the sugar and zest together to get the lemon oils for added flavour.
  • In a medium bowl beat the cream cheese for about 30 seconds to loosen it.
  • Add the vanilla then gradually beat in the sugar (3 additions) scraping the bowl as needed. During the last addition of sugar mix in the lemon juice.
  • Beat in the eggs one at a time scraping the bowl after each addition.
  • Pour/spread the cheesecake mixture on the cooled base and bake for 45 – 50 minutes or until the centre is just jiggly when the tin is tapped.
  • Cool for an hour before adding the topping.

Topping –

  • Combine the sugar and lemon zest together.
  • Mix the sugar with the sour cream, vanilla and salt.
  • Pour the topping over the cooled cheesecake and leave the cheesecake in the pan, on a rack, to cool completely before unmoulding onto a plate.
  • Cover and refrigerate the cheesecake for a minimum 3 hours, preferably overnight.
Creamy velvety cheesecake

Beautiful and creamy. The perfect amount of zing from the lemon juice and zest.

Basic Cheesecake recipe

(makes 20 individual cheesecakes)


  • 500gm Cream cheese – room temperature
  • 130gm Sour cream – room temperature
  • 135gm castor sugar (see notes on variation for Caramel)
  • 1 scant teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs – size 7, room temperature
  • Zest of 1 lemon – optional


  • Heat the oven to 140deg Celsius.
  • Cut the cream cheese blocks into cubes.
  • Place the cream cheese into a bowl and using an electric hand mixer beat the cream cheese so that it’s softened.
  • Add the sour cream and beat to incorporate it.
  • Add the castor sugar, or brown sugar for a caramel flavour, and vanilla extract, and zest if using, and beat until the mixture is smooth and fluffy.  ** Add the passionfruit powder **
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beat only until incorporated – do not over mix.
  • Spoon mixture into the prepared (with bases) cupcake cases. The mixture should fill the cupcake papers leaving a gap about 5-7mm from the top.
  • Gently jiggle the cake pan to help smooth the cheesecake, then give a couple of gentle taps to help release any air bubbles.
  • Place the tin into the centre of the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes. The cheesecakes are baked when the middle still jiggles when you lightly tap the side of the tin.
  • Remove the tin from the oven and leave to cool to room temperature before removing the cheesecakes. The cheesecakes will firm up while cooling.
  • Refrigerate overnight, or at least 4 hours.


  • Passionfruit – add freeze dried passionfruit powder – begin with 2 tablespoons and taste. Add more depending on taste.
  • Caramel, replace the castor sugar for 110gm brown sugar  * Make sure there’s no lumps in the brown sugar, squash them with the back of a spoon before adding to the mixture
puree hearts

Third attempt. Using freeze dried raspberries in half the batch. First attempt at the raspberry puree “hearts”.

I used the same basic cheesecake mixture for the raspberry variation, with the zest of 1/2 lemon and the addition of 3 teaspoons of Lorann raspberry emulsion, and as I mentioned I put some fresh raspberries on the base and piped small dots of raspberry puree on the top more for decorative purposes since the flavour seems to lessen during baking.

I was a bit over raspberry, so when it came to the 3rd attempt to perfect the raspberry variation I decided to mix things up and make some lime and roast strawberries and add a drop or two of balsamic vinegar. They weren’t to be serious contenders, just to add a bit of spice to life (give me a break from raspberry – a berry I don’t like).

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Lime and roasted strawberry with balsamic vinegar for fun.

Thanks Natalie and her family for being good sports and taking lots and lots of cheesecakes off me, Mum too for being a taste tester, and Mr Fussy who is a fan of raspberries and a very honest judge of flavour, for steering things in the right direction. My MIL also obliged helping us eat the many cheesecakes that were served up and took a keen interest in what was developing.

I think I’ve had my fill of cheesecake for the year, however I’ve got lots of left over base ingredients. Thank goodness for that new fridge/freezer. I’ll make Mr Fussy the Lemon Cheesecake again, before June which is the best by date on the two packages of cream cheese I have left. Thank goodness cream cheese has a long shelf life.