Nothing screams Easter more than lovely, sticky hot cross buns. I love hot cross buns during the Easter holidays, but the inner sweet tooth in me is always on the look out for a winning Easter dessert.
With Easter fast approaching I thought I would try something a little different this year by combining two of my greatest loves – cheesecake and hot cross buns – to create the ultimate ‘Hot Cross Baked Easter Cheesecake’. Sound strange? Well the flavours actually work. The mix of fruit and spices paired with a creamy cheesecake filling, provides a fun, modern twist on an old favourite.
The cheesecake’s crispy biscuit base is topped with a luscious PHILADELPHIA cream cheese filling infused with traditional hot cross bun flavours, including mixed spice and orange peel, giving it a delicate balance of spice versus fruit. PHILLY Cream Cheese Blocks are the perfect base for a consistently creamy cheesecake. The cream cheese also combines beautifully with the thickened cream and eggs to make the cheesecake really light and fluffy.
Although I am a big fan of the fuss-free no bake cheesecake, this cheesecake is best baked to really bring out the fruity and spicy flavours of the hot cross bun (not to mention a beautiful aroma from the oven!). To prevent the cake cracking, I recommend baking the cheesecake in a shallow water bath. Just make sure you use extra wide aluminium foil to wrap the spring form tin to prevent water seeping through the base. We don’t want a soggy bottom!
To create a golden, sticky glaze I like to boil some of the leftover orange peel with a couple of teaspoons of caster sugar to give the cheesecake a wonderful sheen. And of course no hot cross bun is complete without a cross, even the non traditional variety. I like to use raw marzipan for the cross for some even extra decadence.
If you’re not a fan of dried fruit, simple exchange the sultanas with chocolate chips to make a hot cross chocolate cheesecake.
The recipe is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser amongst your friends for your Easter celebration cake. And it’s dead easy too! There’s nothing like the sweet aroma of hot cross buns wafting through the kitchen to get your taste buds into gear this Easter.
Serves 8 – 10
FOR THE BASE
- 250g digestive biscuits
- 100g unsalted butter, melted
FOR THE TOPPING
- 600g of full fat PHILADELPHIA Block Cream Cheese Original – softened
- 200g thickened cream
- 160g caster sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 heaped tablespoon of mixed spice
- 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence or seeds from one vanilla pod
- Zest from one large orange
- 200g of sultanas/raisins
- 50g of raw marzipan
1. Preheat the oven to 160c (gas mark 3). Lightly grease the base and sides of a 23cm spring form tin with unsalted butter. Using a food processor with the blade attachment, blitz the digestive biscuits into fine crumbs. Alternatively, if you don’t have a food processor, simply crush the biscuits in a sealed sandwich bag using a rolling pin.
2. Pour the biscuit crumbs into a large mixing bowl, add the melted butter and stir together until well combined. Pour the crumbs into the tin and press into the base with the back of a spoon until evenly distributed. Cover and place the tin in the fridge for 30 minutes to allow the base to set.
3. Beat the cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer with the paddle attachment until the mixture has a smooth consistency. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl now and then. Add the cream, vanilla essence, cinnamon, mixed spice and orange zest and beat lightly until well combined and mixture thickens slightly. Fold in the sultanas and stir by hand, ensuring that they are evenly dispersed.
5. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Sprinkle with the remaining sultanas. Place tin in a roasting pan (first wrap the cake tin in foil) and fill this with water up to about 5mm (1/4in) from the top of the cake tin. This creates a water bath in which to bake the cheesecake, preventing it from drying out and cracking in the oven.
6. Bake for approximately 40-45 minutes or until firm on the top with a very slight wobble in the centre. Keep the cheesecake in the oven with the door slightly ajar until it cools completely to room temperature. Place in the fridge to chill and set for 3-4 hours.
8. Place one tablespoon of orange zest and caster sugar in a saucepan with 30m of water and bring to the boil. Take off the hob and set aside until completely cold. Use a pastry brush and spread a thin layer onto the cake to create shiny glaze.
9. Knead the marzipan lightly with icing sugar then roll into a long 30cm rectangle. Cut two 1cm strips of marzipan and arrange in a cross over the cake.
10. When you are ready to serve, remove from the fridge and slice into generous pieces served with some whipped cream.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do! 🙂
With thanks to PHILADEPHIA Australia for hosting me as part of their Easter 2015 campaign.