Cheesecakes are one of the go-to foods in our household. They make great low-carb/keto deserts, and because they are very low sugar and grain-free they can be eaten as proper nutritious foods in their own right, and eaten often, not just for treats. In fact we use them for a quick breakfast, lunch or snack, with a dollop of double cream.
In this post I will not give full recipes as I have already posted one here before (see below) but instead I am offering tips and ideas so you can get inspiration and hopefully confidence to try out your own experiments. I’ve gone through my photos and found quite a few to share with you. Enjoy!
My Basic Approach
This is the starting ‘recipe’ I play around with: The base, if I want one, is made with melted butter and a gluten-free crumb of some kind (ground almonds for example), which is pressed down into the base of the tin and refrigerated to firm up. The middle is made with cream cheese and eggs and a flavouring beaten together and poured over the cooled base, which is then baked until done, allowed to cool then refrigerated. Toppings, if needed, are added when cold, and can vary from or a sprinkling of cocoa powder or yogurt, creme fraiche or gelatinised cream. The fun comes with all the variations and flavours that can be used: vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, blueberry, cinnamon, brandy… get creative!
Baked Lemon Cheesecake (full recipe)
Very presentable: individual, baked lemon cheesecakes.
I have a full recipe for baked lemon cheesecake here. It’s a good starting point if you have not made one before. Unless a citrus fruit allergy lurks, this cheesecake is a pretty reliable winner.
Over the years I have weened myself (and the rest of the family) off sugar so we can use much less sweetener in our deserts. I now add less than 1 tsp of honey per portion (For example no more than 5 tsp honey in an 8in diameter, 2in deep cheesecake which will make 6 portions) and it still tastes sweet enough to us. I’m sure it is possible to go lower, but for me it’s not really necessary. If you are on a super strict diet, then try leaving out sweeteners altogether. If you get on with stevia, this can be an excellent way to lift the sweetness a tad, without slinging your pancreas into disarray.
Using Goat’s Dairy
You can now buy goat’s milk, butter, cream, soft cheese, yogurt and hard cheese from the supermarkets, so cheesecakes are great for people that cannot tolerate cows milk but can eat goat’s dairy products (like 3/4 of my family!). To make goat’s creme fraiche you need a bit of time (1-2 days), some goat’s cream (only Waitrose sells it in England) and a spoonful of goat/sheep yogurt. Mix a spoonful of the yogurt into a pot or two of goat’s cream. Leave it, lightly covered with a lid of some sort, in the kitchen, but not in the fridge, and the yogurt microbes will ferment the cream, making it into creme fraiche! When it is thick and tastes delicious, pop it in the fridge, covered, and use in a few days. It makes a superb white top layer for a cheesecake!
I used soft goat’s cheese in the filling, goats butter and goats cheddar (yes!) in the base and simple goat’s yogurt for a topping. Delish!
Cheese in the base mix – really?
The base of this cheesecake is made with ground hazels in melted butter with a tsp honey blended in too and then, the surprise ingredient, a tablespoon of shredded goat’s cheddar cheese. I thought the cheddar might help stick the base together better when it is cooked, and it did, as you can see above, but amazingly, without making it taste cheesy!
Lining your cake tin
Cheesecakes can look lovely when presented as a complete piece, so it is important you can get them out whole. To this end I use a tin with a push up base, but the problem with them is that the mix can dribble out of the bottom and mess up your oven. I now use 8in cake tin liners like the one above (from Lakeland). It works brilliantly, and makes lifting the cheesecake out a piece of… cake!
It also gives the cheesecake a nice crinkled edge as you can see.
Blueberry baseless cheesecake
This one is an example of a cheesecake without a base. I can’t quite remember what the recipe was, but I reckon there is a swirl of raspberry compote through the cake, and I believe the topping is creme fraiche.
Dried fruit in the base and candied peel on the top show that I relaxed a little on my usual low-sugar criteria, so this recipe was not ketogenic. But it was a really novel idea and turned out very well.
Birthday thin-crust cheesecake
This lovely looking treat shows how much you can play around with cheesecake recipes – their shape, thickness and ratio of base/middle/topping; As you can see I used a shallow heart-shaped tin for this one. The topping looks like icing, but it is a mix of yogurt and cream and has some grated lemon zest sprinkled over the top.
Remember all of these cheesecakes are made with great quality, nutritionally sound ingredients — eggs, nuts, full-fat dairy. The aim is to make delicious food that is grain-free, gluten-free, low-carb, low sugar, and often ketogentic. It just shows what you can achieve on a ‘restricted’ diet.
Chocolate deep-pan cheesecake
A birthday cake. This time with a deep tin. The white chocolate buttons were a bit of indulgence, but this cake was for my husband who can eat cow’s dairy. I never got to taste it! No doubt, you will be wondering if he had to eat the whole thing. Questions below please.
This one cut beautifully. The gelatin-cream topping is firm, and the chocolate cheese layer, thick and creamy. I wasn’t so happy with the base – you can see its a bit crumbly, but hey, who’s complaining? This was muchly appreciated by the birthday boy!
We had such a great crop of blackcurrants this summer that I started putting them in all sorts of things, including this delectable creation. The base had some pressed into it, and the topping was simply blended sieved blackcurrants, which was left over from some ice lollies I was making in our very hot July this year. Tart and sharp, they add a bright note and colour.
Pan-cheesecake – for people in a hurry
If time is not on your side, but you want a decent breakfast to set you up for a great day, try this: Beat an egg with some soft cheese, a dash of maple syrup and a drop of vanilla. Fry in butter in a little pan, dot with blueberries, serve with some cream. Split it with your mate or just eat the lot, and… off you go!
So, go for it! Cheesecakes go down a storm, and, basically, never fail. Just blend some eggs and soft cheese together and cook it. The rest is up to you.