I’m not that great at baking, let’s face it. Baking requires a precision and patience that I can’t seem to get my head around at the best of times. I do get urges to bake, and I can master your typical sponge cakes, but anything fancy and technique heavy is usually an instant no-no.
But when Lorraine from NQN posted her zebra cheesecake, I knew there was no two ways about it – I was making that cake.
Preparation time: 30-40 minutes
Baking time: 1 hour
* 50g/2 ozs butter
* 250g/9 ozs cream cheese
* 100 ml/3 fl ozs milk
* 60g/2 ozs plain flour
* 20g/1 oz cornflour
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 tablespoon lemon juice
* 150g/5 ozs fine granulated sugar
* 6 eggs separated
* 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
* 2 tablespoons Dutch process Cocoa (eg Droste)
1. Prepare cake tin. Lightly grease and line the bottom and sides of a round 12 inch springform tin with greaseproof baking paper or parchment paper). Wrap two layers of foil around the tin to prevent water seeping in. Find a large baking dish that will fit the springform tin. Fill the empty baking dish 1/4 of the way full with water and place the baking dish with water (don’t put the lined springform tin in just yet) in the centre rack of an oven and switch it on to 160C/325F.
2. Melt cream cheese, butter and milk over a double boiler-use whisk to get out any lumps. Cool the mixture over an ice bath. Fold in the flour, the cornflour, 6 egg yolks, lemon juice and mix well. Whisk 6 egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Add in the sugar and whisk until soft peaks form.
3. Add one third of the egg white mixture to the cheese mixture to loosen. Then add the rest in third batches and mix well and ensure that the egg whites are thoroughly combined gently by folding-there should be no streaks at all. Divide the batter evenly in two and in one bowl, sift the cocoa in it and combine well using a folding action.
4. This is the fun bit. Take your lined springform tin and place tablespoons of cream coloured batter in a circle in the centre of the tin. Then take 3 tablespoons of the chocolate batter and place in the centre. Keep adding circles and the batter will spread of its own accord.
Don’t tilt the tin, it will just spread by itself. Keep adding 3 tablespoon circles of batter until both of the batters are used. If you don’t divide them evenly like I did and I had too much cream batter left over, I just stopped adding it and baked the leftover separately as I didn’t want to ruin the zebra effect.
5. Carefully transfer the cheesecake into the water bath in the oven making sure not to tilt the cheesecake. Bake cheesecake in the water bath for 1 hours or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean and the top is golden brown at 160 degrees C (325 degrees F). Chill thoroughly.
I think there is nothing more magical than taking the cake out of the oven, marveling at the stripes and then the holding of breath when you first cut a slice out to reveal the inner stripes.
Taste-wise, pretty good, but I think this cake was one of those that blew you away with looks, making you forget about taste. Given that I made this cake over a month ago now, I cannot honestly say that I remember the taste, but boy do I remember the visual effects.