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London Cheesecake

by . Featured in HOW TO BE A DOMESTIC GODDESS
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Introduction

This is one of the best sort of recipes - a family hand-me-down. My paternal grandmother instructed me in the art of adding the final layer of sour cream, sugar and vanilla towards the end of the cooking time: and it's true, it does finish it off wonderfully.

I cannot tell you how much the velvety smoothness is enhanced by cooking the cheesecake in the water bath. It's not hard, though you really must wrap the tin twice in extra-strength tin foil. Once you've tried it this way, you won't even consider cooking it any other.

This is one of the best sort of recipes - a family hand-me-down. My paternal grandmother instructed me in the art of adding the final layer of sour cream, sugar and vanilla towards the end of the cooking time: and it's true, it does finish it off wonderfully.

I cannot tell you how much the velvety smoothness is enhanced by cooking the cheesecake in the water bath. It's not hard, though you really must wrap the tin twice in extra-strength tin foil. Once you've tried it this way, you won't even consider cooking it any other.

London Cheesecake
Photo by Petrina Tinslay

Ingredients

Serves: 8

Metric Cups

For the Base

  • 150 grams digestive biscuits
  • 75 grams unsalted butter (melted or very soft)
  • 600 grams cream cheese
  • 150 grams caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1½ tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1½ tablespoons lemon juice

For the Topping

  • 145 millilitres sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Base

  • 10 sheets graham crackers
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted or very soft)
  • 2½ cups cream cheese
  • ¾ cup superfine sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1½ tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1½ tablespoons lemon juice

For the Topping

  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon superfine sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

  1. Process the biscuits until they are like crumbs, then add the butter and pulse again. Line the bottom of a 20cm / 8 inch springform tin, pressing the biscuits in with your hands or the back of a spoon. Put the tin in the fridge to set, and preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4/350ºF.
  2. Beat the cream cheese gently until it's smooth, then add the sugar. Beat in the eggs and egg yolks, then finally the vanilla and lemon juice. Put the kettle on.
  3. Line the outside of the chilled tin with strong foil so that it covers the bottom and sides in one large piece, and then do the same again and put it into a roasting dish. This will protect the cheesecake from the water as it is cooked in its water bath.
  4. Pour the cream-cheese filling into the chilled biscuit base, and then pour hot water from the recently boiled kettle into the roasting tin around the cheesecake. It should come about halfway up; don't overfill as it will be difficult to lift up the tin. Put it into the oven and cook for 50 minutes. It should feel set, but not rigidly so: you just need to feel confident that when you pour the sour cream over, it will sit on the surface and not sink in. Whisk together the sour cream, sugar and vanilla for the topping and pour over the cheesecake. Put it back in the oven for a further 10 minutes.
  5. Take the roasting tin out of the oven, then gingerly remove the Springform, unwrap it and stand it on a rack to cool. When it's cooled down completely, put it in the fridge, removing it 20 minutes before eating to take the chill off. Unmould and when you cut into it, plunge a knife in hot water first.
  1. Process the biscuits until they are like crumbs, then add the butter and pulse again. Line the bottom of a 20cm / 8 inch springform tin, pressing the biscuits in with your hands or the back of a spoon. Put the tin in the fridge to set, and preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4/350ºF.
  2. Beat the cream cheese gently until it's smooth, then add the sugar. Beat in the eggs and egg yolks, then finally the vanilla and lemon juice. Put the kettle on.
  3. Line the outside of the chilled tin with strong foil so that it covers the bottom and sides in one large piece, and then do the same again and put it into a roasting dish. This will protect the cheesecake from the water as it is cooked in its water bath.
  4. Pour the cream-cheese filling into the chilled biscuit base, and then pour hot water from the recently boiled kettle into the roasting tin around the cheesecake. It should come about halfway up; don't overfill as it will be difficult to lift up the tin. Put it into the oven and cook for 50 minutes. It should feel set, but not rigidly so: you just need to feel confident that when you pour the sour cream over, it will sit on the surface and not sink in. Whisk together the sour cream, sugar and vanilla for the topping and pour over the cheesecake. Put it back in the oven for a further 10 minutes.
  5. Take the roasting tin out of the oven, then gingerly remove the Springform, unwrap it and stand it on a rack to cool. When it's cooled down completely, put it in the fridge, removing it 20 minutes before eating to take the chill off. Unmould and when you cut into it, plunge a knife in hot water first.

Additional Information

For vegetarians check that the cream cheese is a brand that does not contain rennet.

For vegetarians check that the cream cheese is a brand that does not contain rennet.

Tell us what you think

What 16 Others have said

  • I made this cheesecake for my family for Christmas. I added some mango puree to half the mixture, swirled them together and it was a hit with everyone!!! Will definitely be making this recipe again :)

    Posted by Tambrlyngar on 27th December 2015
  • Absolutely delicious and so easy to make! Family loved it. Will definitely be making this cheesecake again. I used 250g of biscuits and increased the butter and was a very nice base. Great tasting cheesecake!

    Posted by Guru11 on 10th May 2015
  • This was the first cheesecake I'd ever made, and it went down very well! Here though are some recommendations to anyone else cooking this: 1) I used a 23cm tin and this worked fine. 2) When you prepare the biscuit base, make sure that it's pressed flat in the tin: which will probably mean that it needs to be compressed into the bottom of the tin quite hard. 3) Based on (2)... Make sure the base is flat because otherwise pouring on the cheesecake mixture and topping leads to an uneven result. 4) I used fresh vanilla pods in the base, and vanilla paste (one step away from vanilla essence) in the top. This worked well :-) 5) Make sure the cream cheese is mixed well, even though it's already, er, creamed. This will lead to a lighter cheesecake base. Otherwise though, please be assured this is well recommended! What a great dessert. I could hardly believe that I could produce a cheesecake of this quality when I'd never cooked one before. And trust me... This is no #humblebrag... It's all in the recipe.

    Posted by jandc415 on 16th February 2015
  • Made this for hubby's birthday and we loved it. Perfectly balanced flavor.

    Posted by designermamma on 21st February 2015
  • I own a small cheesecake business, and I can't afford for a single cheesecake to be soggy. So I NEVER use a spring-form pan. Instead I use a "Kuhn Rikon Push Pan". It never leaks and is so much easier to use. For water bathing a cheesecake or cake, there is; in my opinion, nothing better. Look Up Kuhn Rikon Push Pan on Google. You will love the end result.

    Posted by sol_williams on 1st February 2015
  • This has become my 'go to' cheesecake. A couple of things: 1. Having drowned two attempts, I've given up on the foil and now use an oven bag (Turkey or Goose size); good conductivity, easier to lift the tin from the bowl, NO chance of flooding! 2. I have a "sour tooth" and so have increased the lemon to 2 tsp. 3. I prefer a slightly thicker, more compressed crust, and now use 1½ of the stated measures and compress it by hand. Just a fabulous recipe - so light!

    Posted by fatmatt on 1st January 2015
  • This was the first cheesecake i ever made and was just fantastic. Wasn't overtly sweet - it was just perfect, soft and the base was nice too. I have made many cheesecakes of different recipes ever since but none have quite matched up to this one! Thanks NL!

    Posted by on 4th October 2014
  • Made this cake a few weeks ago. Brilliant! I'm making one at this very moment and addes a little bit more lemon juice. The juice of half a lemon to be exact. I'm letting it cool down and keep it in the refridgerator overnight to enjoy tomorrow!

    Posted by rivagirl on 14th July 2014
  • Tip for cooking cheesecake in water bath...get some crock pot liner bags and put one around the pan then wrap the pan in foil. No water gets into cake.

    Posted by on 4th June 2014
  • A nice & easy cheesecake - I made it yesterday and there is barely any left today.. that says it all :)

    Posted by monicah on 28th April 2014
  • I routinely make Nigella's Cherry cheesecake as its the perfect dessert when you're stuck for ideas but this sounds like heaven on a plate! Will report back with results.

    Posted by KatyJegs on 23rd January 2014
  • Tastes like heaven! The fresh auromatic flavour of lemon juice balances the richiness of the cheese itself. L-O-V-E IT!!! <3

    Posted by Wei-Ting on 6th December 2013
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