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Cook: 55-60 minutes


  • Filling:
  • 900 g Philadelphia cheese, or other full-fat soft cheese
  • 250 g golden caster sugar
  • 3 tablespoons plain cake flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3 large eggs, plus 1 yolk
  • 284 ml carton soured cream
  • Soured cream topping:
  • 142 ml carton soured cream
  • 1 tablespoon golden caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Shortbread crust:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • pinch of salt

Position an oven shelf in the middle of the oven. Heat the oven to 180ºC/ 160ºC fan/ gas 4.
Line the base of a 23 cm springform cake tin by putting a square piece of parchment paper or foil on top of the tin base and then clipping the side on so the paper or foil is trapped and any excess sticks out of the bottom.

For the crust:
Mix the flour, butter, sugar and salt well together. Press on bottom and sides of cake tin and bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack while preparing the filling.

For the filling:
Increase the oven temperature to fan 220ºC/ 200ºC fan/ gas 7.
In a table top mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat 900 g full-fat soft cheese at medium-low speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.
With the mixer on low, gradually add the golden caster sugar, then the plain flour and a pinch of salt, scraping down the sides of the bowl and the paddle twice.
Swap the paddle attachment for the whisk. Continue by adding the vanilla extract,  lemon zest and  lemon juice. Whisk in the eggs and  yolk, one at a time, scraping the bowl and whisk at least twice.
Stir the soured cream until smooth, then measure 200 ml (just over ¾ of the carton).
Continue on low speed as you add the measured soured cream (reserve the rest). Whisk to blend, but don’t over-beat. The batter should be smooth, light and somewhat airy.
Pour in the filling – if there are any lumps, sink them using a knife – the top should be as smooth as possible. Bake for 10 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 110ºC/ 90ºC fan/ gas ¼ and bake for 45 minutes more.
If you gently shake the tin, the filling should have a slight wobble.
Turn off the oven and open the oven door for a cheesecake that’s creamy in the centre, or leave it closed if you prefer a drier texture. Let cool in the oven for 2 hours. The cheesecake may get a slight crack on top as it cools.
Combine the reserved soured cream with the soured cream, golden caster sugar and  lemon juice for the topping. Spread over the cheesecake right to the edges. Cover loosely with foil and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
Unlock the side of the cake tin, slide the cheesecake off the bottom of the tin onto a plate, then slide the parchment paper out from underneath.
Decorate to your choice.

Recipe and photo’s: Mariska Lavery

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