Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Strawberry Cheesecake (with Speculoos Crust)

Strawberry Cheesecake (with Speculoos Crust)
Don't let this cheesecake fool you with its prettiness. It's EVIL I tell you! This will forever be known to me and Asian Gaga as the Cheesecake Disaster of 2014. It was close (but not quite) as devastating as the Trifle Disaster of 2012. I've decided that my birthday dessert attempts for Asian Gaga must be cursed. They've resulted in some of the biggest fails in my recent baking history.
Strawberry Cheesecake (with Speculoos Crust)
So why was this such a fail? It looks fairly good in the photos, doesn't it? Well it was all fine while I was taking these photos, and then slowly I started to realise that it hadn't set properly and the whole thing was starting to melt into a puddle in front of me. In a panic I rushed to try and get it back onto a plate, but the stupid (but gorgeous) cake stand I was taking the photos with doesn't have a flat base, so the crust had split into four or five pieces which made it impossible to lift up, and there was a bloody super high lip on the edge of the stand so I couldn't just slide the damn thing off! ARGH! By this point there were smears of cheesecake everywherrrreee and the strawberries had started sliding off the edges and I was starting to freak out. I eventually got it on to a flat plate (with a lot of swearing). And then I realised that because it was totally not set, the sides were probably going to collapse even if I put it back the fridge. So I had to move it again into a cake tin to hold the sides up. This was a MESS. The cake was threatening to completely fall apart. Strawberries were rolling on to the ground. I was getting hysterical. AND THE TIN WAS TOO BIG. So I had to move it AGAIN. 

By the end of it there was cheesecake all over me and the kitchen and about 3 different tins because I couldnt match up my springform tins with their matching bases (I have a lot of them). It was awful. My husband actually fled the house to go shopping in the middle of my meltdown, because he knows better than to be anywhere near the vicinity of one of these disasters. I felt so bad because the cheesecake actually tasted really great, and I had this feeling while I was making it (I was sorta loosely making it up as I went along) that I hadn't added enough gelatine but I was on the cold and flu meds and kinda out of it so I just kept going (I also exploded a ton of melted butter all over the inside of my microwave, I'm just that good). I knew better, but I still managed to completely stuff it up.
Strawberry Cheesecake (with Speculoos Crust)
The cheesecake somehow still tasted great, even though it was a little melty as it came back to room temp. If I had the time I would have just started from scratch again, but Asian Gaga was already in her car and on the way when this was all happening. Of course she was a dutiful best friend and ate it all anyway, told me it was great and ignored the smears of cheesecake on the floor. The cheesecake itself is a chilled Strawberry Cheesecake with Strawberry Jelly on top and Fresh Strawberries. The crust is made with speculoos (aka Biscoff cookies for those of you in the US). I was so excited to find the Lotus brand in Coles (on special!) and bought about 10 packets, I'm not kidding. These lovely spiced biscuits make an excellent cheesecake crust that match so well with the strawberry and I really recommend you try it if you can find the biscuits. But if you can't get your hands on them, ginger nut biscuits/ginger snaps will work well with this flavour combo too. Anyway, since I'm still completely happy with the flavour of the actual cheesecake, I'm going to share the recipe with you with some modifications so that you can avoid any of my pain (I've more than doubled the gelatine amount so it should be nicely set - if you make this recipe please let me know if it is too firm or not firm enough!).
Strawberry Cheesecake (with Speculoos Crust)
Strawberry Cheesecake (with Speculoos/Biscoff Crust)
(makes one 7 or 8 inch cheesecake)
For the crust:
250g (about 9oz) speculoos (aka Biscoff cookies), I used Lotus brand (you can substitute with ginger nuts/snaps or any other biscuit of your choice)
75g (about 5 tbsp) butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) and grease and line the base of an 18cm (7inch) or 20cm (8 inch) springform cake tin with baking paper (I used 18cm). 
  2. Place biscuits in a food processor and blend until crushed to small crumbs, then add melted butter and blend until just combined.
  3. Press mixture in an even layer on the base of the prepared tin.
  4. Bake in oven for about 7-10 mins, make sure it does not burn.

For the strawberry mixture:
400g (about 1.5 punnets/14oz) fresh or frozen strawberries, hulled
1/3 cup (about 65g) sugar
3 tsp lemon juice + grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1 vanilla bean pod, split and seeds scraped (or 1 tsp vanilla extract/vanilla bean paste)
4 tsp powdered gelatine
  1. Place gelatine in a small bowl with 3 tsp of cold water and set aside to soften.
  2. Place strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and zest and vanilla bean pod and seeds into a medium saucepan on medium heat.
  3. Simmer until sugar is completely dissolved and fruit softens, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add gelatine and whisk mixture over heat until gelatine is completely dissolved. 
  5. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes. Place 1 cup of mixture aside to use for topping later, the remaining amount will be added to the cheesecake.

For the cheesecake:
3/4 cup thickened/heavy cream
400g (14oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (100g) sugar (preferably caster/superfine)
Remaining strawberry mixture from above, should be just over 1 cup
Optional: Extra fresh strawberries to decorate, about 2 punnets
  1. Place cream in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high until it reaches stiff peaks (take care not to overwhip). Place cream in fridge until ready to use.
  2. Place cream cheese and sugar in another large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high until smooth and fluffy. 
  3. With the mixer on low, gradually add the remaining strawberry mixture from above (making sure you leave 1 cup behind for topping) to the cream cheese mixture. Beat until completely combined.
  4. Gently fold in in whipped cream until smooth. 
  5. Pour mixture over prepared crust and chill in the fridge until just set, about 2 hours (or about half an hour in the freezer).
  6. Reheat remaining 1 cup of strawberry mixture in saucepan until it is pourable, then pour over top of chilled cheesecake. Return to the fridge to set overnight.
  7. Run a sharp knife under hot water to warm it up, then carefully run knife around the inside edge of the cake tin. Carefully remove from springform tin. Top with extra fresh hulled strawberries. Keep chilled until ready to serve.
Strawberry Cheesecake (with Speculoos Crust)
Print Friendly and PDF Pin It


  1. Oh you poor thing! I thought these type of disasters only happened to me!! It's so frustrating isn't it, especially when it happens when you're in the middle of photographing your creation. Nevertheless your cheesecake looks and sounds spectacular!

  2. have never thought of using speculoos for a crust, have used arrowroot and scotch fingers a few times tho, these look great!

  3. Oh boy! Glad to know I'm not the only one who has disasters in the kitchen. If my disasters looked as amazing as your cheesecake though, I'd be pretty happy :)

  4. Oh no poor you! At least you got the beautiful photos and if Asian Gaga is anything like me, the appearance won't have mattered at all next to the flavour (which I am imagining right now, mmm... I'm speculating that with speculoos it will have tasted a bit like Ben & Jerrys strawberry cheesecake ice cream?)
    Hope you're not still on the meds! xxx
    La Lingua : Food, Life, Love, Travel, Friends, Italy

  5. OMG I LOVE SPECULOOS!! My Belgian friend sent me a care package with these delicious biscuits AND Speculoos paste (like a spread and tastes just like the biscuit, I ate it from the jar by the spoonful oops). Love this idea for a the cheesecake <3 Hope you are feeling better!

  6. oh i totally know what you are talking about. i had about the same disaster with my "little red riding hood cake" when i made it for the first time. it's a mascarpone and cream cheese cake with a chocolate sponge cake bottom and topped with whole strawberries like your cake as well. i took the cake ring off and two minutes later it was one big mess on my cake plate followed by a little meltdown.
    Maybe you want to add some extra gelatine to the cheese mixture too (not only to the strawberry puree) to give it a better hold. Specially because the whole berries on top weigh it down a lot.

    1. Half the strawberry mixture goes into the cheesecake, so there's more gelatine in both...

  7. Using Biscoff cookies as the crust for cheesecake is brilliant!! Can't believe I never thought of it before.

  8. Glad you got the photos though :D we all have bad baking days! I had a run of them the other week =_=" its ok because you always learn from your mistakes! and thanks for sharing your mistakes with others ;)
    and yes! flavour is what matters!!

  9. oh no sounds like a horrible baking experience! but i'm sure it still tasted great and hey, it looks amazing in the photos!

  10. literally just stumbled across Speculoos about 2 days ago, it's so wrong it's right. Haha I love your blog because your posts actually make me laugh, which is very refreshing for a food blog and this cheesecake looks cray cray gewwd

  11. I remember the trifle disaster of 2012! Those were some heavy times. At least this cheesecake was completely salvageable! And it looks like it tastes delicious as well :)

  12. Wow, this cheesecake looks incredible!

  13. At least it held up for the photos. It looks awesome and I bet it was delicious. If you ever have a repeat just leave the cake on the cake plate and slip the springform (minus the base) you used to make it over the cheesecake and clip it closed and then refrigerate like that. Saves a catastrophe trying to move it.

    1. Shellie, that's exactly what I did. But as I mentioned in the post, the lip of the cake stand prevented me from sliding anything under it so I still had to lift it out of the stand to get it on to anything else.

  14. Your cheesecake looks delicious! The pictures are awesome, so now I'm craving it..hahaha

  15. Well this looks absolutely delightful.

  16. Definitely going to try this recipe! (Once I translate it to U.S. units of measure, that is...)

    ♥Emma, from It's Emma Elise

  17. I understand your pain. I think we've all been there with some type of dessert. Mine was also an apple pie. A perfect apple pie...until I had to transport it to my mother's for Christmas dinner and carefully placed it in the back seat of my truck. Two minutes in to the trip, I took a long right turn and thud. It slid between the seat and the door. Thankfully I took pictures of it before transporting. And I didn't even tell you about my melting lamb cake at my niece's christening.....

  18. Oh, how disappointing about the cake not setting! You wouldn't know it based on these photos though, they are beautiful.


Comments are moderated and will be published ASAP. If you are viewing this on your phone, you might have to click the Preview button before posting your comment for it to work. People who comment make my day! ♥