Monday, 8 August 2011

Ottolenghi's Caramel and Macadamia Cheesecake

I was really excited when I was invited by Heavenly Housewife to participate in the cheesecake challenge as Ottolenghi's caramel and macadamia cheesecake is my favourite cheesecake in the world and has been on my to bake list for far too long. I have been avoiding baking this partly because it has quite a few components to it and seemed a bit of a faff but I'm really glad I gave it a go. Plus I have had quite a few mishaps with caramel in the past.  Unfortunately, it's not quite like Ottolenghi's as I was running out of time - literally finished baking today which is the deadline! and therefore made a few mistakes. I burnt the caramel :( but it still tasted ok and I think the tin I used was way too large as the base is quite thin and the cake is about half the height as the ones sold in Ottolenghi! I didn't have time or any more nuts to remake the nut topping so I just went with the burnt caramel macadamia nuts!
Despite all that, it's really delicious and I'll admit I've already scoffed a quarter of the cake!! I would definitely make this again but probably only for a special occasion or maybe one more time just to make sure I get it perfect :) If anyone wants a slice, let me know!

Do check out the other fantastic bloggers who joined in this event as I'm sure their cheesecakes are much better! 

Heavenly Housewife from Donuts to Delirium

Stevie from Weird Combinations

Tammy from Il Dolce Bacio

Liz from Tip Top Shape

Vanessa from Sweet Artichoke

 cake base 

 baked cheesecake 

 burnt caramel! you really have to watch it like a hawk

 burnt caramel coated macadamia nuts 

 making caramel sauce- not quite ready yet 

 lovely caramel colour - not burnt this time! hurray 

 assembling the cake - chilled cheesecake which cracked in the middle 

 cover with caramel sauce 

 add macadamia nuts on top 


Recipe from Ottolenghi's Cookbook
Serves 8-10

For the cheesecake
600g cream cheese
120g caster sugar
1/2 vanilla pod
4 eggs, lightly beaten
60ml soured cream
icing sugar for dusting

For the base
160g dry biscuits (HobNobs)
40g unsalted butter, melted

For the Nut topping
150g macadamia nuts (not enough to cover whole cheesecake of size shown)
90g caster sugar

For the caramel sauce
65g unsalted butter
160g caster sugar
100ml whipping cream

  • Preheat the oven to 140C. 
  • Lightly grease a 20cm springform cake tin and line the base and sides with baking parchment. 
  • To make the base, whiz the biscuits to crumbs in a food processor (or crush in a ziploc bag). 
  • Mix with the melted butter to a wet, sandy consistency.
  • Transfer to the lined tin and flatten with the back of a teaspoon to create a level base. 
  • To make the cake batter, put the sugar and cream cheese in a mixing bowl. 
  • Slit the vanilla pod lengthways in half, and using a sharp knife, scrape the seeds out into the bowl.
  • Whisk by hand, or with an electric mixer until smooth. 
  • Gradually add the eggs and soured cream, whisking until smooth. 
  • Pour the mixture over the biscuit base and place in the oven.
  • Bake for 60-70 minutes, until set - a skewer inserted in the centre should come out with a slightly wet crumb attached. 
  • Leave to cool to room temperature, then turn out of the tin.
  • Chill the cake for at least a few hours. 
  • To prepare the nut topping, scatter the nuts over a baking sheet and roast in the oven at 140C for about 15 minutes, until golden. 
  • Remove from the oven and set aside. 
  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Place the sugar in a large saucepan with a very thick base (make sure the sugar is not more than 3mm high). 
  • Heat the sugar gently until it turns into a golden-brown caramel.
  • Do not stir it at any stage. 
  • Don't worry if some small bits of sugar don't totally dissolve. (Note to self - watch the pan closely as it changes very quickly from brown to burnt).
  • Carefully add the toasted nuts and mix gently with a wooden spoon. 
  • When most of the nuts are coated in caramel, pour them on to the lined tray and leave to set. 
  • Break bits off and chop them very roughly. 
  • To make the caramel sauce, put the butter and sugar in a thick-bottomed saucepan and stir constantly over a medium heat with a wooden spoon until it becomes a smooth, dark caramel.
  • The butter and sugar will look as if they have split - don't worry, just keep on stirring (see pics above).
  • Once the desired colour is reached, carefully add the cream while stirring vigorously. 
  • Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  • To finish the cake, dust the edges and sides with icing sugar. 
  • Spoon the sauce in the centre, allowing it to spill over a little.
  • Scatter lots of caramelised nuts on top. 
  • The cheesecake will keep in the fridge for 3 days. (probably not in my house!) 


  1. That caramel is tricky! I think it looks good even with the burnt macadamia nuts! The most important thing is that it tasted good.

  2. Great job daaaaahling. Yeah, caramel is a bit of a pain (for me the most annoying thing is cleaning the pot and the spoon), but you've done a beautiful job, and I am so happy the way the cake tastes, its just like at the restaurant. But I've also learned that somethings are easier to just pay for LOL.
    Thank you so much for participating with us :D, its been lots of fun. I hope we can do it again soon.
    *kisses* HH

  3. I think we've all had that "but I only looked away for a moment" with caramel! Nothing you can do but start again.
    Gosh this cheesecake looks good - I bet the flavours really hold their own agains the cheese

  4. I'm just drooling at this cheesecake. And today I was just thinking about how it has been ages since I made one and then you go and make the one of my dreams! Great job! :D

  5. Lovely lovely cheesecake, I would be happy to have a slice.

  6. That looks like one professional cheesecake! And it has all my favourite things in it too ;0)

  7. Nazneen - yes caramel is tricky indeed. There's always next time :)

    Heavenly Housewife - somethings are definitely easier to pay for! Thanks for inviting me to participate, it was good fun.

    Caked Crusader - the flavours are amazing. Highly recommend it.

    Lorraine - Do give this recipe a try, you won't regret it!

    Umm Mymoonah - thanks, you may want more than a slice! :)

    Chele - thanks, you're too kind. I'm really embarassed about the burnt nuts but I ran out of time and nuts to remake them.

  8. Your cheesecake looks wonderful! Even with a few burnt nuts! It's so delicious that it doesn't even matter. It was great baking along with you!

  9. Look delicious and nice! gloria

  10. That looks delicious, never made a cheesecake with caramel but I think I might give that one a try. I love Yotam Ottolenghi's recipes

  11. Ooh I'd like a slice. The cake looks great. The caramel is tricky, I got it all over the kitchen. More stringy than mozzarella. Well done.GG

  12. Wow. This looks amazing!!

  13. Reeni - thanks! It was lovely baking with you too.

    Gloria - thanks!

    Red - Do give it a go, you won't be disappointed.

    GG - thanks!

    Kerrycooks - Thanks!

  14. Hi, is there any way to stop cheesecake from cracking???

    1. Use a waterbath and avoid mixing the eggs too much after adding it in. Good luck!


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