This easy Baked Cheesecake is smooth and creamy on the inside and topped with a luscious Fresh Cherry Sauce.
I love seeing fresh cherries in the shops at the start of Summer and then buying a bag to sit in the fridge looking all deep red and pretty. I live in Australia, so fresh cherries just happen to coincide with my absolute favourite time of year – Christmas. When I was growing up, I remember cherries sitting in our fruit bowl around Christmas time but I never ate them because I didn’t like cherries. Not until I was older, but now that I’ve converted (thanks to this Cherry Coconut Chocolate Tart), any excuse to use them and I will. This Easy Baked Cheesecake and it’s amazing Fresh Cherry Sauce companion, came about when I was imagining a baked cherry cheesecake but in actual fact, the cheesecake itself does not have any cherries in it. Some lemon and vanilla, but no cherries. The cherries shine purely in that dark and unctuous fresh cherry sauce.
This baked cheesecake has cheesecake fan approval
So when my sis-in-law, who is a huge cheesecake fan (so much so that she requests it for her birthdays) tells me that this baked cheesecake is the best she’s ever had, it makes me a very happy baker indeed. I made this for a Christmas get-together she was holding and then I remade it again after Christmas and it always turns out perfectly.
It is unequivocally, the best baked cheesecake ever. Ok, yes, you have to bake it, but the texture and flavour are so worth it.
The real fresh cherry sauce deal
The fresh cherry sauce is totally out of this world stuff. Pitting the cherries is made very quick by chopping them in half, then just taking the pit out with your fingers, as long as they are ripe. The flavour though is like nothing else. Tart and sweet all at once but also silky smooth. You could probably use a tin of cherry pie filling if you wanted to save time and if available but we don’t have it here in Australia and I’m quite happy with that. It doesn’t take long to make yourself plus you control what’s in it.
How to bake a cheesecake
- Always use a spring form baking tin. Turning it out of a regular cake tin could end up in a mess.
- I always grease and line my baking tin with baking paper as it makes for an easier release later, without damaging the sides of the cheesecake. You might get little lines around the edge but I think it adds to the character.
- Make sure you place a tray of water into the oven on the bottom rack. This will create steam in the oven and in turn keep the cheesecake moist and stop it from cracking.
- Let it cool slowly. By this I mean you cool it in the oven. When the baking time has finished, turn the oven off and let it cool for ½ an hour before opening the oven door. You then let it cool a further 1 ½ hours, right where it is before transferring to the fridge to cool completely. This is another step that stops a baked cheesecake from cracking.
FOR THE CHEESECAKE
- 150 g digestive biscuits (like granita or graham crackers)
- 80 g unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 750 g cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup caster (superfine) sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 200 ml light sour cream
- Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
- Pinch of salt
FOR THE CHERRY SAUCE
- 550 g fresh cherries, halved and pitted
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons corn flour (cornstarch)
- 4 teaspoons water, extra
FOR THE BAKED CHEESECAKE
- Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / 160C fan forced. Grease and line an 8 inch round spring form tin with baking paper.
- Blend the biscuits to crumbs (if you don’t have a blender, put the biscuits in a bag and crush them with a rolling pin)
- Add the melted butter, cinnamon & ginger and mix well.
- Press firmly into the bottom of the prepared tin and about 2cm up the side.
- Bake for 5 minutes then set aside while you make the filling.
- Increase the oven temperature to 220C / 430F / 200C fan forced.
- Add the sugar and vanilla and beat well, again scrape down the sides as necessary.
- Add the eggs and extra yolk, one at a time beating until each is well incorporated.
- Add the sour cream, salt, lemon juice and zest and beat well.
- Pour the filling over the top of the biscuit base and smooth over the top as much as possible.
- Place a dish or cake tin filled with warm water on the bottom shelf of the oven. Then place the cheesecake onto a separate baking tin (to catch any butter that might leak out in cooking) and place in the middle shelf of the oven. Bake for 10 minutes.
- Lower the oven temperature to 110C / 230F / 90C and bake for a further 20 minutes. There should be a slight wobble in the centre.
- Turn the oven off and allow to cool in the oven for half an hour with the door closed, then open the door and let it cool for a further 1 1/2 hours before transferring to the fridge to cool completely.
FOR THE FRESH CHERRY SAUCE
- In a medium saucepan, combine the cherries, water, lemon juice and sugar and bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn the heat down so the mixture is just simmering.
- Simmer stirring every so often for about 10 minutes until the cherries have softened and the liquid has tripled.
- Make a slurry using the cornflour and extra water. Slowly dribble the slurry into the cherries while stirring constantly so that it doesn’t turn lumpy.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
- Pour the cherry sauce over the top of the cheesecake right before serving, piling all the cherries up in the middle.
- I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (4 teaspoons worldwide)
- For best results, you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
- Keep in mind the 3 hours worth of cooling and setting time.
TOOLS USED IN THIS RECIPE
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