I didn't always like cheesecake. After my second daughter was born, I thought I would make one – just because I had never made a baked cheesecake before – and I couldn't believe what I had been missing out on for all those years.

Baked cheesecake is so much better, in my opinion, than no-bake, it's got a creamy texture and tang that is irresistable, but many are afriad to make it because they think it's really complicated.

The truth is, it really isn't. As I've made more cheesecakes over the years, I find that – even if you don't use exact measurements each time – a cheesecake will still bake up nicely once you have enough sugar and eggs in the mix.

Here are some tips for a great baked cheesecake:

  • If you don't have mascarpone, add the same amount of plain Greek yogurt to the mixture.
  • Wrap foil tightly around the cheesecake tin, then bake it slowly in a water bath (at around 160° – place the tin in a deep baking tray and fill the baking tray half way with boiled water).
  • Don't overbake the cheesecake – after an hour or so, the centre of the cake should still have a slight jiggle, and that's what you want.
  • Once you have your baked cheesecake mastered, you can play around with toppings and bases. The classic base, in North America, is made of graham cracker crumbs (the closest to that, here, is crushed digestive biscuits), but you can use crushed oreos, a sweet shortcrust - or even baked brownie batter. In this recipe, I paired sweet amaretti cookies with a zingy citrus gelée.

    Amaretti and citrus cheesecake

    Serves 10-12


    200g amaretti biscuits, crushed

    45g butter, melted

    500g plain cream cheese

    500g mascarpone cheese

    250g granulated sugar

    2 tsp good quality vanilla

    4 large eggs

    For the gelée:

    250ml orange, lime and lemon juice (mixed)

    75g granulated sugar

    1/2 package (about 6g) powdered gelatin


    1. Preheat your oven to 180°C.

    2. In a small bowl, combine the crushed amaretti biscuits and melted butter. Press this mixture into the bottom of a 9" springform pan and bake in the preheated oven for five to 10 minutes, until slightly browned.

    3. Remove the pan from the oven and set aside to cool. Reduce the oven heat to 160°C.

    4. Mix the cheeses, sugar and vanilla until well-combined and creamy. Continue mixing and add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each.

    5. Tightly wrap the outside of the springform pan with two or three layers of tin foil, making sure the foil is a couple of inches higher than the rim of the pan. Pour the cheese mixture over the top of the amaretti biscuit base and place the springform pan in a larger roasting tray.

    6. Place the tray in the preheated oven and fill half way with boiling water. Bake the cheesecake for about an hour. It will be slightly brown on top and the middle of the cake with be slightly jiggly.

    7. When the cake is finished, cool it on a wire rack for up to two hours. Do not remove it from the pan.

    Place the cooled cake in the fridge for at least eight hours.

    8. Make the gelée: place the citrus juice and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook until the sugar is completely dissolved. Sprinkle the powdered gelatin over the top of the hot mixture and whisk until completely dissolved.

    9. Allow the juice mixture to cool slightly before gently pouring over the top of the cheesecake. Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and return it to the fridge for the gelée to set.

    10. When the gelée has set, use a paring knife dipped in hot water to loosen the sides of the cake from the pan. Gently remove the outer part of the springform pan.

    The cake will keep in the fridge for up to five days.