Cakes & Bakes: Peanut butter baked cheesecake

Home-made peanut butter baked cheesecake | H is for Home

It’s Justin’s 50th birthday today so, of course, I had to make him a birthday cake.

Crushed plain chocolate digestive biscuits for peanut butter baked cheesecake base | H is for Home

I made a peanut butter baked cheesecake – seeing as cheesecake is his favourite kind of cake, and he’s quite partial to peanut butter too.

Cheesecake cake tin wrapped with wet tea towel

I also wanted to try out a tip that I found on the internet this week. Apparently, instead of using a Wilton Bake Even Strip (which helps keep your cake level and prevent a cracked top), you can wrap the sides of the tin with a wet cloth or tea towel.

Peanut butter baked cheesecake batter ingredients | H is for Home

It worked pretty well, there was a slight bulge to one side of the top which I put down to the overlap of the cloth. Next time I’ll use a cloth cut down to fit the circumference exactly. So long as the cloth is very wet, it won’t burn in the oven. Elasticated cloth, or nylon/polyester fabric probably wouldn’t work very well in the heat of an oven; stick with cotton or linen.

Pouring peanut cheesecake batter on to biscuit base

The plain chocolate digestive biscuits gave just that bit of extra depth of flavour over plain digestives, and baking the base for 10 minutes gave it a ‘biscuity’ taste and texture.

Chocolate topping ingredients for peanut butter baked cheesecake

I used mascarpone, but you can use Philadelphia or any other plain full-fat cream cheese.

Smooting chocolate topping on peanut butter baked chesecake | H is for Home

Results were delicious – a rich, indulgent treat.

Home-make peanut butter baked cheesecake with toasted mixed nut sprinkles | H is for Home

There’s only one slice left – that must mean that the birthday boy approves!

Peanut butter baked cheesecake
Serves 6
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For the base
  1. 150g/5oz plain chocolate digestive biscuits
  2. 30g/1oz butter, melted
For the filling
  1. 250g/9oz mascarpone cheese
  2. 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
  3. 100g/3½oz caster sugar
  4. 150g/3oz crunchy peanut butter
  5. 60ml/2fl oz soured cream
  6. ½tbsp cornflour
For the topping
  1. 125g/4½oz soured cream
  2. 50g/2oz dark chocolate
  3. 15g/½oz caster sugar
  4. 3tbsp mixed chopped toasted nuts (optional)
  6. Home-made peanut butter baked cheesecake ingredients
  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/325°F/as mark 3
  2. Grease & line and 22cm diameter spring form tin
For the base
  1. Using a food processor, grind the plain chocolate digestives into fine crumbs
  2. Add in the melted butter and combine well
  3. Tip the mixture into the prepared tin pressing down firmly & evenly using a cold metal spoon to form a level base
  4. Put the base into the oven for 10 minutes, when cool put it into the fridge to set
For the filling
  1. After washing out the processor bowl, use it to combine the mascarpone, eggs, yolk, sugar, peanut butter, soured cream and cornflour to a smooth consistency
  2. Pour the mixture into the over the base and bake for 30-40 minutes until just set
  3. Allow to cool for half an hour on a wire rack before putting the tin into the fridge to chill
For the topping
  1. In a small saucepan, gently warm the soured cream, chocolate and sugar stirring to form a smooth sauce
  2. Pour the mixture on top of the cold cheesecake and allow it to set in the fridge
  3. When cooled & set, run a sharp knife around the edge of the tin before easing the cake carefully
  4. Finish with a sprinkling of mixed chopped toasted nuts (optional)
H is for Home Harbinger

Cakes & Bakes: Lemon & blueberry cheesecake

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Slice of home-made lemon & blueberry cheesecake | H is for Home

Right, it’s official, cheesecake is H is for Home’s favourite cake!

Home-made lemon & blueberry cheesecake ingredients | H is for Home

Hobnobs ground in a food processor | H is for Home

It’s by far, the most baked Cakes & Bakes entry.

Cheesecake biscuit base made using Hobnobs | H is for Home

Juicing & zesting lemons | H is for Home

This week, lemon & blueberry cheesecake joins the ranks.

Eggs broken into a small measuring jug | H is for Home

Cheesecake mixture and blueberry purée | H is for Home

I’ve used Hobnobs instead of the usual digestive biscuits for the base. Frozen blueberries are available in the supermarket all year round and at a fraction of the price of fresh.

Adding blueberry purée to cheesecake mixture | H is for Home

Lemon & blueberry cheesecake put into a water bath before baking | H is for Home

Home-made cheesecake isn’t difficult. The secret is cooking it long & low. Wrapping the tin with foil and placing it in a water bath (bain-marie) makes sure it cooks properly all the way through without burning. You want the slightest browning of the top.

Top of home-made lemon & blueberry cheesecake before topping with fruit | H is for Home

Home-made lemon & blueberry cheesecake | H is for Home

It feels like a very indulgent cake… but I know the blueberries count as one of your 5-a-day. It leaves just one question, do the lemons make it two? 😉

Detail of a home-made lemon & blueberry cheesecake | H is for Home

If you’d like to save this recipe, you can pin it from here.

Lemon & blueberry cheesecake
Yields 8
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Cook Time
1 hr 15 min
Cook Time
1 hr 15 min
for the base
  1. 200g/7oz Hobnobs
  2. 75g/3oz butter, melted
for the filling
  1. 500g/17½oz cream cheese
  2. 350g/12oz blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  3. 3 lemons, zest & juice
  4. 200g/7oz caster sugar
  5. 3 eggs
  6. 150ml/5fl oz sour cream
  1. Preheat the oven to 150ºC/300ºF/Gas mark 2
  2. Grease the sides of a 20cm/8-inch spring-form cake tin
  3. In a small saucepan, melt the butter
  4. In a food processor, add the Hobnobs and grind to a fine crumb
  5. Add the ground biscuits to the butter and combine
  6. Empty the mixture into the base of the tin and smooth the surface evenly using the back of a tablespoon
  7. Bake the base for about 15 minutes then set aside to cool while you make the cake mixture
  8. Zest & juice the lemons. Set aside
  9. In the food processor you used to crumb the biscuit, add half the blueberries and lemon juice and purée
  10. In a stand mixer (or large mixing bowl if doing it by hand) add the cream cheese, sour cream and sugar and mix thoroughly
  11. Gently whisk the eggs in a measuring jug before adding them to the cheese mixture in 3 stages, mixing well after each addition
  12. Add the puréed blueberry & lemon juice mixture followed by the lemon zest, making sure it's well incorporated
  13. Boil a kettleful of water
  14. Before pouring the cheesecake mixture into the tin, wrap the tin in foil to make it water tight
  15. Put the tin into an oven tray (at least 5cm/1-inch deep)
  16. Pour the cheesecake mixture into the tin and put the oven tray & cake into the preheated oven
  17. Fill the oven tray to about ½cm/¼-inch below the rim with the boiled water
  18. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes
  19. When cooked, turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven, with the door ajar
  20. When completely cool, top with the other half of the blueberries and put in the fridge
H is for Home Harbinger

Cakes & Bakes: Italian cheesecake with almond crumb base

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Slice of home-made Italian cheesecake with almond crumb base | H is for Home

Lidl had a ‘Taste of Italy‘ special this week so I stocked up on a few Mediterranean bits & bobs when I popped in. I bought a couple of tubs of ricotta, not quite knowing what I was going to do with them. Of course… Italian Cheesecake!

Italian cheesecake ingredients

Ground almonds, sugar and butter in a saucepan

I fancied making it with a crunchy base using amaretti biscuits but I couldn’t find any in the shops. No need to panic, I improvised and made my own almond crumb base.

Almond crumb cheesecake base

ricotta and sugar mixture

I’ve made a fair few different cheesecakes in the past. I think this is almost up there with the all-time favourite Gordon Ramsey version.

making Italian cheesecake mixture

uncooked Italian cheesecake

It’s best served cold, straight from the fridge, perhaps with an after-dinner espresso.

Italian cheesecake straight from the oven

Home-made Italian cheesecake

Fancy giving it a try? Pin the recipe for later!

Cakes & Bakes: Italian Cheesecake with almond crumb base
Yields 6
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Cook Time
1 hr
Cook Time
1 hr
For the base
  1. 40g/1½oz butter
  2. 150g/5oz ground almonds
  3. 30g/1oz caster sugar
  4. pinch of salt
For the cake
  1. 500g/1lb 2oz ricotta cheese
  2. 150g/5oz caster sugar
  3. 3 eggs
  4. 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  5. juice from ½ lemon
  6. 25g/1oz plain flour
  7. 15g/½oz flaked almonds, toasted (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 150ºC/300ºF
  2. Grease an 18cm/7-inch loose-bottomed cake tin
  3. In a medium saucepan, add the butter and put over a low heat until melted
  4. Remove from the heat add the almonds and sugar and combine well
  5. Tip the mix out into the cake tin and press uniformly into the base using the back of a spoon
  6. Bake the base for 10 minutes, set aside and allow to cool
  7. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the ricotta and caster sugar until smooth
  8. Gently beat the eggs in a measuring jug before adding gradually to the cheese & sugar mix. Stir well after each addition
  9. Mix in the vanilla extract and then the lemon juice
  10. Sift the flour into the mix and combine well
  11. Pour the mixture on to the almond crumb base and bake for a hour
  12. After the hour, turn the oven off and leave the door ajar allowing the cake to cool in the oven
  13. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the toasted flaked almonds over the top
  14. Allow to cool in the tin completely before removing
H is for Home Harbinger

Cakes & Bakes: Baked Banana Cheesecake

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Baked banana cheesecake | H is for Home

Our favourite dessert to make for a dinner party is a freshly-baked, light & airy vanilla cheesecake. The recipe we posted, one of Gordon Ramsay‘s, is by far the most popular of our Cakes & Bakes series.

This week, I suggested to Justin that I’d make a baked banana cheesecake for a change. Being a traditionalist, he wasn’t as enthusiastic about the idea as I was. I went ahead and made it anyway – I thought that if it was put in front of him, he’d eat it anyway. And so he did!

The secret to a light & airy banana cheesecake is to whisk the mixture to within an inch of its life. Using an electric food mixer makes the job a lot less laborious. However, doing it by hand with a balloon whisk will burn off a lot more calories and tone up the bingo wings! 🙂

Cakes & Bakes: Baked Banana Cheesecake

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: makes 6-8 slices

Cakes & Bakes: Baked Banana Cheesecake


  • for the base
  • 150g/5oz ginger nut biscuits
  • 50g/2oz butter
  • 25g/1oz Demerara sugar
  • for the cake
  • 400g/14oz cream cheese
  • 125g/4½oz low fat plain yoghurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 medium-sized, very ripe bananas
  • 180g/6½oz caster sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC/325ºF/Gas mark 3
  2. Grease a 20cm/8in deep, spring-form cake tin
  3. In a food processor, grind the ginger nut biscuits making sure there are no lumps
  4. In a medium-sized saucepan on a low heat, add the butter & Demerara sugar and stir until the butter is melted and sugar has dissolved
  5. Remove from the heat, add the ground ginger nuts and mix
  6. Put the mixture into the cake tin and press firmly & evenly into the base using the back of a spoon
  7. Put the tin into the fridge while you make the cake mixture
  8. In a food mixer, using the balloon whisk attachment, mix the cream cheese and yoghurt on a high speed setting for 3 minutes until aerated
  9. In the food processor that was used for grinding the ginger nuts (no need to clean it out between the two stages), puree the bananas
  10. Add the banana puree to the cheese & yoghurt mixture and whisk on a low speed for a minute
  11. In a measuring jug, whisk the eggs before adding it to the cake mixture in 2 stages, whisking after each addition
  12. Add the vanilla essence to the mix then add the caster sugar and whisk until well blended, light & airy
  13. Remove the cake tin from the fridge and cover the bottom & sides with a double layer of tin foil
  14. Pour the cake mixture into the tin, over the ginger nut base and place the tin into a deepish baking tray
  15. Add water to the tray, to a level about 1.5cm below the rim
  16. Carefully put the tray containing the cake tin into the oven and bake for 75 minutes
  17. Remove from the oven, take the cake tin out of the water bath and allow to cool for 10 minutes
  18. Remove the cake from the tin, allow to cool for a further 20 minutes before chilling in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight.

Bookmarks: Cheesecake

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"Cheesecake" book by Hannah Miles with chocolate & ginger cheesecake and little jug of creme fraiche and squares of dark & white chocolate

Cheesecake by Hannah Miles (Masterchef 2007 finalist and a lawyer to boot!) arrived through the letterbox at a very opportune time – the eve of Justin’s birthday.

baklava cheesecake recipe

We’ve blogged about cheesecake before – in fact, it’s one of our most visited posts – there are a lot of cheesecake fans out there!

chilli chocolate cheesecake recipe

So we’re looking forward to sharing a load more varieties in this post.

berry sundae cheesecake recipe

Each double page spread presents you with a delicious cheesecake recipe on one side with beautifully styled and photographed image on the other.

valentine cheesecake recipe

The range of recipes in the book (there are 60 in all) spans mini-cakes, cake pops, baked cheesecake, no-bake cheesecakes, even cheesecakes with jelly on top!

whisky and raspberry cranachan cheesecake recipe

They’re divided up into chapters such as fruity cheesecakes, candy bar cheesecakes, party cheesecakes and around the world cheesecakes.

mini popcorn cheesecake recipe

There’s also a useful introduction that includes types of cheese you can use, troubleshooting (I’ve been asked in the past about how to stop cracks appearing – it’s covered here) and information about storing & freezing.

sticky toffee pudding cheesecake recipe

No great amount of equipment is needed for most of the recipes – usually just a 23cm/9-inch spring form cake tin. A few of them call for perhaps a silicone mat, piping bag & nozzle, push pops, chef’s rings, sugar thermometer or blow torch.

vanilla cheesecake recipe

Anyway, back to Justin’s birthday – cheesecake is his favourite kind of cake so I told him to choose a recipe from the book and I’d make it for his birthday. He decided on the chocolate ginger option.

"Cheesecake" book by Hannah Miles with ingredients to make a chocolate & ginger cheesecake

Chocolate Ginger Cheesecake

Yield: serves 12

Chocolate Ginger Cheesecake


  • For the crumb base
  • 300g/10½oz ginger biscuits/cookies
  • 150g/1¼ sticks butter, melted
  • For the filling
  • 650g/2¾-3 cups cream cheese
  • 600ml/2½ cups crème fraîche
  • 4 eggs
  • 100g/½ cup caster/white sugar
  • 200g/7oz dark chocolate, melted & cooled
  • 6 balls preserved stem ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tbs ginger syrup (from the preserved stem ginger jar)
  • 150g/5½oz dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2tbs plain/all-purpose flour, sifted
  • For the topping
  • 150g/5½oz white chocolate
  • 30g/1oz dark chocolate


  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas mark 3.
  2. To make the crumb case, crush the biscuits/cookies to fine crumbs in a food processor or place in a clean, plastic bag and bash with a rolling pin. Transfer the crumbs to a mixing bowl and stir in the melted butter. Press the buttery crumbs into the base & sides of the prepared cake pan firmly using the back of a spoon. You need the crumbs to come up about 3-4cm/1½ inches high on the side of the pan so that they make a case for the filling. Wrap the outside of the pan in cling film/plastic wrap and place in a roasting pan half full with water, ensuring that the water is not so high as to spill out. Set aside.
  3. For the filling, whisk together the cream cheese, crème fraîche, eggs, sugar, melted chocolate, finely chopped ginger, syrup and chopped chocolate in a large mixing bowl. Sift the flour over the mixture and stir in, then pour the mixture into the crumb case. Bake in the preheated oven for 1-1¼ hours until set but still with a slight wobble in the centre. Turn off the heat and leave to cool completely in the oven, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 3 hours or preferably overnight.
  4. Once chilled, melt the white and dark chocolate for the decoration in separate, heatproof bowls set over 2 pans of simmering water. Leave to cool slightly, then spread the white chocolate in a thin layer over the top of the cheesecake. Spoon the dark chocolate into the piping bag and pipe swirls over the top of the cheesecake in pretty patterns. If you don't have a piping bag, you can swirl patterns of the chocolate using a spoon. Chill in the refrigerator until the chocolate has set before serving.



23cm/9-inch spring form cake tin, greased & lined A piping bag fitted with a small, round nozzle/tip (optional)

I felt a bit of pressure as I knew we’d be photographing the finished product as part of this post. I dreaded it ending up as one of these “Nailed it!” Pinterest pins! Fortunately it turned out well – we’ve just had a slice each with coffee.

slice of baked chocolate and ginger cheesecake with small cup of black coffee

Cheesecake is available from Ryland Peters & Small the publishers, Amazon and Hive.

[Many thanks to Ryland Peters & Small for this review copy]

Baked Vanilla Cheesecake

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Home-made baked vanilla cheesecake with blueberry compote | H is for Home

I’ve been making this version of baked vanilla cheesecake since way back in 2004! It’s a Gordon Ramsay recipe that I tore out of a weekend newspaper magazine supplement. Luckily the page has been protected inside a plastic punched pocket (that’s the proper word for one of those things apparently!) otherwise it would have disintegrated by now from all the use it’s seen.

Home-made baked vanilla cheesecake in its baking tin

It’s a dessert that I go back to again & again. It’s really easy to make and is simply delicious – especially after it’s had a few hours to cool down. The consistency is light and melt-in-the-mouth; so much better than those recipes that use gelatine – which I don’t eat as I’m vegetarian.

Home-made baked vanilla cheesecake | H is for Home

It’s great served with a ginger or summer fruit compote. We had some with a lovely blueberry compote made from frozen blueberries (much cheaper than the fresh ones and you can get them year-round). Of all the Cakes & Bakes I’ve made over the years, this has long been Justin’s favourite!

Gordon Ramsay's vanilla cheesecake
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For the biscuit base
  1. 100g unsalted butter, plus a little to greases the tin
  2. 200g digestive biscuits (I sometimes use ginger nuts with about half the above quantity of butter)
  3. 50g caster sugar (Again, I use half this amount if using ginger nuts)
For the filling
  1. 500g cream cheese (I've used both Philadelphia and mascarpone successfully) at room temperature
  2. 200g caster sugar
  3. 3 eggs
  4. 2 tbsp cornflour
  5. 300ml soured cream
  6. 1 tsp vanilla essence
  1. Lightly grease a 20cm spring-form cake tin
  2. Melt the butter gently in a small pan on a low heat. Roughly break up the biscuits and and place them in a food processor. Process the biscuits for 2-3 minutes until they resemble fine crumbs. Add the sugar, then pour in the melted butter and process for 30 seconds to combine
  3. Put the biscuit mixture into the base of the tin, using the back of a tablespoon to smooth the surface evenly. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes
  4. Rinse out the processor bowl. Place the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl and process for 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the cornflour, sour cream and vanilla essence and process for 30 seconds to combine
  5. Pour the filling into the tin and bake in a low oven at 150°C for 1 hour. When cooked, the cheesecake should be well-risen, with a golden brown top. It should feel slightly firm to the touch - if the mixture still appears wet, continue to bake a little longer. When cooked, turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven, with the door ajar. When completely cool, place in the fridge. Serve with summer berries and pouring cream
  1. Cooking the cheesecake in a bain marie or using a Wilton Bake-Even Strip stops the top from cracking
H is for Home Harbinger