Banoffee Cheesecake Attempt #1

A couple of my friends are getting married in May. In Greece. But will get back to that part another day, I’m not ready to face ingredient difficulties yet. They have asked me to make their wedding cake. Well, actually I offered, it probably came before ‘congratulations’. The trouble is, they don’t really like cake…

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Not exactly a small problem when it comes to wedding cake. So we thought how about wedding cheesecake!
No, not those massive stacks of cheese garnished with grapes but actual cheesecake.
A quick google search confirmed that it wouldn’t be a first, so on with the flavour search!

Banoffee pie is one of their favourites (in fact wedding banoffee pie was considered) so I have begun transforming it into a cheesecake.
Again, not a totally original idea – is anything anymore?!
They prefer baked cheesecake, New York style, it would certainly mean we don’t need to worry so much about a fridge on this tiny greek island and it would be steadier for stacking. It needs at least two tiers after all!

There are lots of recipes online, many of them are unbaked though. The main decision to be made is whether to have
a) plain New York cheesecake topped with banana and caramel
b) plain New York cheesecake with banana in between the crust and the cheese, caramel on top
c) banana flavoured cheesecake with caramel on top
d) banana flavoured cheesecake with banana and caramel on top

Then there is the problem of banana oxidising and going brown, could I encase it in caramel?
If I put the banana in between the crust and the cheese it would cook, would it have any reaction with the cheese mixture? Would it even be nice? Baked banana isn’t really the banoffee flavour I’m going for after all…

The only thing to do is try the options and see what happens! Luckily I have plenty of time and lots of eager family members to eat the tests 🙂

I decided to start with option d), because I want to try a banana flavoured cheesecake mixture as I have never made one before and I figured I may as well see what happens with the banana and the caramel.

After lots of research I decided to give this recipe a go, I modified it to fit a 8″ cake tin but I would just use these same quantities if I made it again as it was only about 4cm tall. I also made a digestive biscuit bottom instead and baked it in a water bath at gas mark 1 for about an hour and 10mins after the initial 15min blast at gas mark 5. I also left it to cool in the oven.

The cheesecake itself came out well, there was no splitting which is always my main worry with baked cheesecakes. The base wasn’t crispy, next time I will cook and cool it before adding the mixture. Then again, perhaps a little water got in there even with the tin foil. There are some bubble marks on the top because I whisked all the ingredients at the end, next time I will be sure to fold in the last bits to obtain a smooth finish. Not that it makes any difference if you’re covering it.

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I was really pleased with the chocolate cage! It was really easy to peel off the baking paper once set and looks fantastic even if I didn’t get it on very straight. It gives the cheesecake that little extra touch of elegance, definitely making it more fit for a wedding! I based my design on henna patterns – very simple ones, some of the more intricate ones are well beyond me I think! Here’s my tutorial on the cage.

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Next came the topping, by this point I had a whole 30mins before I had to collect my cousins from school. I will not try to do this in that time again.

I kind of winged it, using my popcorn coating caramel recipe of a knob of butter and a few tablespoons of sugar, I had some cream to hand so I bunged that in too. I didn’t cook it for anywhere long enough and added the cream way too early hence it being so pale. It was good though, kind of like butterscotch. I then dipped slices of banana in, popped them on top and ran out the door.

In my absence the caramel and the bananas didn’t get along. I’m not sure what exactly happened, but some caramel liquid came out and luckily just dripped into a pan placed underneath (thanks mum). You can see in the photos how it doesn’t exactly look beautiful, I wonder if just cooking it longer would have done the trick. I think I will experiment with dipping pieces of banana in actual caramel, or brushing on a a thin layer. More like a glaze. It would have to be very thin not to break peoples teeth!

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The Verdict:

Having sat down with a slice I think its too sweet overall. Thats probably the caramel on the top. As for the cheesecake itself, you wouldn’t know it was baked! Its deliciously creamy and relatively strong in banana flavour but not overpowering. I’m not sure how it would stand with another one on top of it as it isn’t as sturdy as a New York cheesecake. It lacks the kind of dry consistency which would probably balance better with the caramel as well. The dark chocolate is great with it. I would make this cheesecake again and probably not bother with a topping as its delicious as it is 🙂

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