After my experiments with the sweet potato cakes I was left with quite a lot of leftover cake and decided to try baking it into a cheesecake to give it a new lease of life. This may sound odd, but I was inspired by my trip to Chicago in the summer, where I saw a carrot cake cheesecake. This involved a thin carrot cake base, topped with cheesecake and another round of carrot cake. I didn’t actually taste it (I went for an Oreo cheesecake) but the idea has stuck with me.
For my cheesecake I crumbled some of the sweet potato cake and pressed it into the base of my tin, in place of the usual biscuit base. I then made a basic vanilla cheesecake mix, and cut the remaining cake into 1cm cubes. I stirred most of the cake cubes into the cheesecake mix and used the rest to top the cheesecake.
I was really excited to see how the cheesecake would look when I sliced into it and after an impatient wait for it to cool I had my first slice. The cheesecake was very incredibly smooth and creamy and the cake base was soft but held together well. Most of the middle cake cubes had drifted towards the surface but they had stayed fully submerged and although soft, were still different enough to add their own texture. The top cake cubes had turned a lovely golden brown and gone ever so slightly chewy. The little pieces of pecan nut I had used on top of the sweet potato cake were given a light toasting and added their own toasty nut flavour when you happened upon one.
The orange and spices from the sweet potato cake had permeated into the cheesecake itself and given it a lightly spiced flavour of its own. Quite unusual on first bite but addictively good. The whole thing reminded me a bit of bready and butter pudding, only with much more creamy filling. Just divine. So if you have a bit of leftover cake lingering in a tin, don’t throw it out – turn it into a delicious cake cheesecake instead. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
Sweet Potato Cake Cheesecake
(Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson)
400-500g sweet potato cake (or cake of your choice)
600g cream cheese
150g caster sugar
3 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180C. Have a deep 8inch/20cm springform tin close at hand.
Weigh out 150g of the sweet potato cake and crumble it into fine pieces using your fingers. Melt the butter and pour it over the top of the cake crumbs. Mix together briefly and then press into the base of the tin. Press down well so that they form a flat base. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and beat again, followed by the egg yolks, eggs and vanilla.
Cut the remaining sweet potato cake into 1cm cubes. Lightly stir three quarters of the cake cubes through the cream cheese mixture. Do not over mix or the cake will start to break apart.
Pour the cheesecake mix into the springform tin. Scatter the remaining quarter of the cake cubes over the top of the cheesecake and press down so they are partially submerged.
Boil the kettle. Wrap the tin in a large sheet of foil and place it inside a deep baking tray. Place the tin in the oven and pour the boiling water into the baking tin, so that it comes half way up the sides of the cheesecake tin. Make sure your foil comes above the water level.
Bake for 55 minutes. Test if the cheesecake is done by giving it a gentle shake. If the centre ripples and looks very runny, then give it 5 minutes more. However, a gently wobble in the centre is fine as the cheesecake will continue to cook after you have taken it out of the oven.
Take the cheesecake out of the oven and baking tray. Remove the foil and place the whole tin on a cooling wire to cool.
When cool, place in the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours to ensure it is sufficiently set.
When ready to serve, run a hot knife around the inside edge of the tin to release the cheesecake. Remove the tin collar and serve.
Makes one 8inch/20cm cheesecake